In a not so long distant future, it is expected from Microsoft to come out with the already available Dynamics AX Azure to be made available on private cloud and On-premise version. Give the recent developments in Microsoft approach and focus on cloud technology, shows us the long term strategy, which will be adapted for Dynamics AX as a product.
Thus from a service provider point of view it becomes even more important to advocate Dynamics users to consider upgrading from the current version being used. Here we are going to discussing some possible approach which can be adopted moving customers to the newest version of Dynamics AX. Four strategies or upgrade scenarios and beneficial tactics will be discussed, which would help in a seamless migration from the existing AX to New versions of AX.
1. For AX 2012 R3 Users, Choice between Cloud and On-Premise:
It is no secret that when it comes to business logic and Data Models of Dynamics AX 2012 R3 version and new Dynamics AX are similar. So making the upgrade from the AX 2012 R3 to new version would be fairly straight-forward. Thus a more standard approach is all that is needed. But the question which would linger around with both the client and the service provider is to either host the AX on the public cloud, private cloud or to choose On-premise.
The hosting in the initial stages of public cloud deployments of new Dynamics AX will be handled by Microsoft’s Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) Deployment Services. For a better approach suggestion, it would be important for service providers to familiarise with the new Dynamics AX on Microsoft Azure, this can be achieved by gathering knowledge on LCS tools in order to estimate licensing cost and evaluate potential upgraded project risks, such as recognizing solution areas with the highest number of merge conflicts, etc.
When it comes to integration with any third party application the new version of Dynamics AX should be easier to implement when compared to AX 2012 and earlier versions. But at this point-of-time you can only perform code upgrades as data upgrade won’t be available until Fall 2016 at the earliest. In addition, new Dynamics AX does not have any data upgrade scripts yet. And data migration scripts have to be created during the upgrade.
2. For AX 2009 Users, Upgrade to AX 2012 then new AX Version Transition Approach:
A larger number of enterprise takes time to migrate to new versions of Dynamics AX for a number of reasons such as time, resource, budget and on most occasions their familiarity to the existing system. Thus on many occasions enterprise skips versions. Even Microsoft has mentioned that for AX 2009 extended support will be provided till 2018, hinting Microsoft’s intent of wanting the AX 2009 users to upgrade at their own pace.
Transition of customers or users thus becomes an integral part of any upgradation activity. For a seamless transition it is better advised to transition the customers Dynamics AX solution to AX 2013 R3 CU8 on the first place. This might be the most secure and cost effective strategy while planning to move to new Dynamics AX from a version such as AX 2009. As mentioned earlier the new Dynamics AX is similar to AX 2012 R3 CU8 in terms of business logic and data model. So the exposure to the AX 2012 environment will help both the enterprise and individual users from the organization to adapt the AX environment, so making the transition straightforward when new Dynamics AX is adapted.
There are few reasons which has to be taken into account as a service provider to consider upgrade suggestion of AX 2012 R3 to be carried out in 2016 and later upgrade them to the new AX version at a later point of time.
- Dispersal of Upgrade Costs & Risks Over Time – It has to be noted that jumping few versions to new Dynamics AX substantially increase upgrade costs and risks associated with upgrade project exponentially. So it becomes a more conducive approach to have smaller, well-planned, iterative upgrade steps.
- Subsiding Upgrade Project Risk- one of the main reasons why an upgrade project is stalled or delayed is because of underestimating the project. There are many factors such as accumulation of unexpected cost and increased error rate. Not taking such factors into consideration would result in the migration project over shooting the project cost and leaves an unsatisfied customer.
- Avoid the Big Leap- When an organization is running AX 2009 and migrating directly to latest version of Dynamics AX would refer to a big leap when it comes to user’s interface and processes of the system. This sudden change will create unnecessary strain, unease and confusion for users.
3. Full Upgrade or Re-implementation or A Mix Approach:
There are scenarios where as a service provider you might come across unsupported upgrade paths. During these situations we are left with a number of choices such as re-implementation or a combination of upgrade & re-implementation, these approach tends to be more efficient solution provided to the clients than a full solution upgrade.
Few notable situations when the suggestion of re-implementation has to be suggested are,
- Level of customization which has been implemented in the current system. In case of customizations having conflicts with the new version of standard AX, would make the upgrade complex and costly.
- Consistency of customer’s data in the existing Dynamics AX solution also determines the strategy to be followed.
- The use of ISV or any third party integration tool which is not supported by the new version plays a role too.
Similarly, the situation when a mixed upgrade strategy for the customer needs to be suggested.
- When the requirement for upgrade from the customer is to re-implement only specific Dynamics AX modules.
- In situations when the customization is actually part of the new version of AX and those customizations needs to be removed, thus only migrates data.
- If the need is full data migration and code re-implementation. This scenario mainly arises when there are multiple Dynamics AX version used for different businesses and wants to transition/merge them to one corporate solution.
In short to fix the implementation strategy a deep analysis of each specific case should be performed to determine which option is best for your customer. Cost efficient and time efficient options depends on data and customization in the current customers AX version that needs to be upgraded. To plan your upgrade strategy, service provider and the customer should deliberate a variety of factors such as,
- Source System Version
- Database Size and Quality
- Customization and New Functionality
- ISV Solutions and Integrations with Third Party Application
- Budget, Timeline, Downtime Limitation and Resources
Thus an initial assessment to identify the discussed factors and in-turn helps in identifying which strategy to be followed for customer’s unique situations.
4. Small Customer, how about Going for NAV Instead
The situation completely changes when the customer or users of older versions of AX such as the AX 4.0 or older, seem to be struck and do not see an efficient means of migrating their existing solution to a new version. The less the 50 users the new version is not available since the limitation is a minimum of 50 users, making the new Dynamics AX too big.
In such situation rather than struggling with the approach or strategy, the simplest of solution are to migrate the existing AX system to Dynamics NAV. Migration to NAV from the existing AX is also made easy with number tools available which make migration easy.
KARYA Technologies’ Microsoft Dynamics AX Service Offerings
KARYA Technologies’ Microsoft Dynamics AX Services are aimed at helping our clients exploit all relevant base functionalities, scale-to growing business needs, integrate AX effectively with internal and external systems such as CRM, Legacy Systems, Mobile Applications and EDI Frameworks and enhance the BI/Reporting capabilities.
KARYA Technologies is a Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partner with a large resource base of experienced and Certified AX Professionals on board.
- We have a proven record of excellence in Implementation / Upgrades and Production Support.
- We help AX integrate seamlessly with other Enterprise Systems (like CRM), Web Portals, Trading Partners (like EDI), Microsoft Office Suite.
- We practice and preach sure-step methodology.
- We have experience with Localization and Globalization aspects of AX.
- We can recommend and implement suitable Industry Vertical Add-on Solutions.
- We have a strong Infrastructure team to support AX implementations.
- We provide 24x7x365 Operational Maintenance and Production Support for your AX Environment.
- We have an efficient Global Delivery Model.
To learn more about KARYA Technologies’ Microsoft Dynamics AX.