The Microsoft Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 migration: Why to start planning now.

posted in: Cloud/SAAS, Microsoft Dynamics | 0

By:  Dann Anthony Maurno

One segment of the Microsoft Dynamics AX community is ready, willing, and eager to migrate to Dynamics 365 for Operations. But there also exists some of that “Our old system works fine” reticence.

The case for web-based clients and the relative value of subscriptions over big yearly checks will continue to win over more cloud believers, says Sonata Software’s Dynamics AX and 365 Technical Architect Ajmal Mohammed. If for no other reason, AX users on older versions are wary of being left behind while their competitors steam ahead with digital transformation

MSDynamicsWorld will host Mohammed and Senior Technical Lead Girija Shankar for the webinar Accelerate Your On-Premise Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Migration twice, on both Wednesday, February 8 at 4 AM EST (for European attendees) and Thursday, February 9 at 11 at AM EST.

Mohammed and Shankar will educate existing Dynamics AX users about some of the most desirable features of Dynamics 365 for Operations. They will also run down the challenges of migration from on-premises AX to Dynamics 365 and explain how accelerated migration is possible, using both standard and specialized tools.

Ajmal spent some time with MSDynamicsWorld clarifying the need for accelerated migration that these Dynamics AX users feel.

MSDW: What is the urgency to make the migration? What do Sonata customers typically hope to gain? 

Ajmal Mohammed: There are all different customer priorities and different needs to be addressed. For example, they want to leverage cloud as a platform, and Dynamics 365 is a managed application. They want to move from CAPEX to OPEX, and leverage Dynamics 365’s scalability.

Second, if you look at Dynamics AX 2012 and its performance, it’s more of the rich client [interface], and customers want to leverage a modern technology stack with zero footprint of the AX client, and Dynamics 365 offers you a Web-based client.

Apart from that, they want to enable the business workflows of applications like PowerApps. How can you leverage additional capabilities like PowerApps and Flow to enable business workflows that were not possible in Dynamics AX or Dynamics CRM?

So these are some of the key elements which are part of Dynamics 365 that they look forward to leveraging and why they are moving from earlier releases to Dynamics 365 for Operations.

You hear of a reticence among customers, a feeling that “What we’ve got works fine, why bother?” What are those customers missing? 

One example is that many customers we speak to have multiple instances. They operate in multiple countries and have siloed instances of Dynamics AX across areas of countries and regions. And one of the elements they want to leverage is to consolidate into a global instance which can be accessible across [regions] with Web being the primary interface for all the client sessions.

A second is the richness of the application itself, the new user interface.

They are already looking at other elements of PowerApps and Flow, not only to leverage the capabilities of Dynamics 365 for Operations, and the CRM and ERP competence within Dynamics 365, but they also see the power of Flow, which enables them to extend these business workflows to their [global instances] as well.

Do you feel that a reticent organization is a noncompetitive one? 

Yes. So, most of the customers or prospects we are speaking to feel that they still have to gain more competency or advantage over their competition; as part of their digital transformations, one of the elements is moving to Dynamics 365.

What must a company be prepared for in an accelerated migration? A phased migration, or is a one-time migration feasible between Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Operations?

Businesses want their current operations to transition to Dynamics 365 as quickly as possible. So the core operations and the current operations are transitioning to Dynamics 365, then they want to jump into leveraging more capabilities within Dynamics 365.

So most think “Move my current operations to Dynamics 365, subsequently I will leverage more of Dynamics 365 to gain a critical advantage.”

And is it the partner’s purview to rein in the migration? To define what belongs in Phase One and what can wait?  


What assurances do customers have now, what proven migration tools? 

We leverage some of the tools that are delivered with Dynamics, through Lifecycle Services. Apart from that Sonata has its own implementation tools to accelerate this migration. Assuming the customer either is on AX 2009, or 2012, we have an accelerated product tool which can rapidly migrate your customizations from earlier versions to Dynamics 365.

So [in the webinar] we focus specifically on Dynamics 365 for Operations, what is the migration path, what tools can be leveraged as part of the migration, and how to accumulate these tools to upgrade your current implementations to Dynamics 365 for Operations.

MSDynamicsWorld will host the webinar “Accelerate Your On-Premise Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Migration” twice, on Wednesday, February 8 at 4 AM EST (Click Here to register) and on Thursday, February 9 at 11 AM EST (Click Here to register).

About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).