Posted on February 26, 2019

Charting Microsoft Dynamics AX Upgrade Options

4 key factors for evaluating your optimum upgrade path

While enterprise software is critical to supporting your evolving business needs, is it always in your best interest to immediately upgrade to the newest release? Not necessarily. Your ideal Dynamics AX upgrade options depend on how your current software version meets your current needs and your vision for the future. Evaluate these four major considerations:

  • Microsoft support for your existing version.

  • Application functionality for your business.

  • Your Digital Transformation Strategy.

  • Current infrastructure setup.

Whichever direction your initial assessment leads, consider speaking with a knowledgeable Microsoft Dynamics partner who can help you rank key metrics for a more accurate financial and functional comparison.

Ensure ongoing support

Regardless of which software version you use, keep in mind Microsoft’s Lifecycle Support schedule and the time required to migrate – takes from 1-2 years, depending on organization size or complexity. The following expiration dates for mainstream or extended support of your existing system might impact your Dynamics AX upgrade decision.

Dynamics AX 2009 – Mainstream support has already ended on October 2018, with extended support ending in October 2021

Dynamics AX 2012 R2 – Mainstream support for 2012 R2 for versions through version R2 ends October 2018, with extended support ending in October 2021

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 – If you have Version R3, mainstream support reaches October 2021, with extended support to January 2023

Dynamics 365 (online) – With this cloud-based option, maintenance is included as part of the pay-as-you-go total solution for the life of the service. Microsoft takes care of your upgrade to latest version and streamlines a lot of your application maintenance

It is recommended for all AX version up to 2012 R2 to immediately look at upgrade to Dynamics 365 online or on prem versions depending on your organization’s strategy.

Keep pace with enhanced core functionality

Core functionality is a primary driver behind any Dynamics AX upgrade choice. The newest Microsoft Dynamics 365 option offers both CRM and ERP capabilities as a comprehensive online solution. It enables you to integrate a variety of financial, operational, marketing, customer service, sales, purchasing, human resource, and other data – seamlessly – through a Common Data Model. Dynamics 365 offers the following features and functionality:

  • Engage customers and build relationships – Fundamentally reimagine how you engage with customers- create personalized marketing, sales, and service experiences using data and intelligence to improve every interaction.
  • Optimize operations – Improve service, drive efficiency, and reduce costs with intelligence and prescriptive guidance infused throughout your business processes.

  • Empower employees – Attract, hire, and engage the best talent and unleash them to do their best work with data and insights surfaced right where they work.

  • Transform products and services – Use data as a strategic asset—identify new market opportunities, produce innovative products, and create exceptional customer experiences with a comprehensive view of your customers and operations.

Capitalize on Digital Transformation technologies

If your evolving business needs meet any of the following thresholds, be sure to weigh the financial impact of lost opportunities vs. the value of upgrading to leverage enhanced and emerging technologies.

Mobile Technology – Are instantaneous mobile applications crucial in your competitive environment? If so, explore the value Dynamics 365 mobility adds to your upgrade equation. The Microsoft Platform offers Power Apps with which you can build apps in hours—not months—that easily connect to data, use Excel-like expressions to add logic, and run on the web, iOS, and Android devices.

IoT Networks – Harness the power of new data available through expanding IoT networks.

Improved decision-making – Let Dynamics 365 Power BI (Business Intelligence) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities help you create valuable insights from rated ERP/CRM data. Power BI platform make sense of your data through interactive, real-time dashboards and unlock the insights needed to drive your business forward.

Development Platform and Integration Features – Microsoft Visual Studio is the development environment. The Visual Studio environment is customized to provide you with a smooth and familiar experience. The X++ compiler generates Common Intermediate Language (CIL) for all features. CIL is the same intermediate language used by other .NET-based (managed) languages, such as the C# programming language.

Integration – Microsoft D365 offers several data integration patters like OData, Batch Data API, Custom service, consume external webservices and excel integration and gives architects and developers the flexibility to choose the right framework depending on the business and technology strategy.

Assess your current infrastructure

There is a big difference between surviving with older patchwork infrastructure vs. thriving with upgraded capabilities that can transform your business in the face of rapid change:

In-house infrastructure. Your best Dynamics AX upgrade decision depends on the age of your current infrastructure. With sound infrastructure and mainstream product support provided through 2021, Dynamics AX 2012 R3 makes it practical to reap the ROI from your current investment for a longer time. However, if you are with an older version and are with an ageing infrastructure, it would be better for you to evaluate the below options.

Software as a Service (SaaS). Consider the value of a Dynamics AX upgrade to the cloud-based (Azure) Dynamics 365 service. You’ll gain the ability to share financial, operational, and marketing data within a single-system solution. You’ll also benefit from pay-as-you-go service that can scale up and down quickly for long-term growth or temporary seasonal spikes.

Apart from aging infrastructure, your current teams’ ability to manage the unique infrastructure needs of an upgraded application should set you thinking. Further the challenges posed by security requirements, regulations such as GDPR and fast changing technology associated with the infrastructure should cause you to seriously thing of using an outsourced platform like Azure to take care of your infrastructure needs.

Migration costs. Depending on your current solution (e.g. Dynamics AX 2009 vs. Dynamics AX 2012, R3) the cost of migrating to an upgraded version can vary. A thorough infrastructure analysis can guide you whether to upgrade or stand pat for now.

Get assistance for your evaluation

Benefit from inside experience for any Microsoft Dynamics AX upgrade decision – now or in the future – with the help of an experienced Microsoft Dynamics specialist from Korcomptenz. Our FREE, no-obligation metrics analysis will help you compare costs and benefits among your top options.

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