North America Industry Lead
As many of you know Microsoft is not extending the deadline for support on AX. This means many businesses are forced to face the reality of an upgrade sooner rather than later.
My colleague at Avanade, Ted Root and I wrote this article as a guide to how you can- and why you should- upgrade to D365 now.
The need to be ready for the future – and for whatever it throws at you – has never been clearer than it is today. Companies that have moved major parts of their operations to the cloud have an edge in the current disruption because those operations have greater reliability than their on-premises counterparts. And no aspect of your operations is more important than your ERP system.
You wouldn’t begin a lengthy road trip without knowing that your car’s engine was in great shape. Your ERP system is the engine of your business; you can’t consider yourself future-ready for the journey into the future unless your ERP is in great shape, too.
Simply put, if you’re still running Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, 2009 or 2012, you’re not optimizing operational efficiency – an essential pillar of digital success, according to executive research from Avanade, MIT CISR and others. Many companies – maybe including yours – have suffered through costly, painful upgrades to on-premises ERP, or they’ve lost data, or scrambled to find expertise and resources. I can understand a company not wanting to undergo that again anytime soon. But every day you delay you lose competitive advantage, get a day closer to the end of system support and increase the cost and difficulty of maintaining aging customizations.
Why you need Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365, running on Microsoft Azure, was designed to address these issues – and more. It integrates CRM, ERP and business intelligence capabilities. Together with industry-specific applications, it delivers crucial infrastructure for the future-ready enterprise.
Its agile cloud infrastructure creates new levels of operational agility, efficiency and effectiveness – crucial benefits whether the times are troubled or tranquil. Dynamics 365 takes advantage of the cloud’s push capabilities to deliver multiple releases each year. That’s means more innovation and competitiveness with less risk and cost than traditional ERP. You activate updates when you’re ready, so you enjoy an evergreen cycle of ERP advancements while remaining in control of your ERP system.
When you upgrade or migrate to Dynamics 365, you get the tools and technologies your employees need now and for the future. That means intelligent tools with machine learning capabilities, native business intelligence, superior usability, broader functional coverage and stellar integration with Office 365. You get mobile apps, user-focused workspaces, low-code and no-code PowerApps and PowerAutomate workflows that your employees can create themselves.
Customizations don’t get in your way
With Dynamics 365, customizations no longer hinder progress. The service comes with extensive built-in functionality so your need for customizations decreases. The customizations you do create are less intrusive and more future-safe because you create and adopt them without changing the core system code.
Business users get the solutions they need while IT needn’t worry about the integrity of the system.
In a way, Dynamics 365 is more than just, well, Dynamics 365. That’s because it has superb integration with Office 365 and other Microsoft 365 services, Azure services, and a large and growing ecosystem of third-party apps.
By eliminating data silos across the enterprise, Dynamics 365 enables employees to gain the information and insight they need for their jobs. And that performance, in turn, can boost customer experience – for example, when customer-facing workers can use accurate, real-time inventory data to deliver a better online experience to shoppers.
Overcome the obstacles: Here’s how
For companies looking to kickstart their upgrades or migrations to Dynamics 365, preparation is the key. Here are five steps that should be part of that preparation:
Develop a transformation plan. It’s an obvious first step, but the larger point is that you’re not adopting Dynamics 365 in isolation. Understand all the ways your ERP solution fits into your environment.
Have the right tools and experience.
Fully fleshing out your transformation plan will be key to understanding the tools and expertise you’ll need to implement it with optimal quality and lower cost and risk.
Use intelligent technologies to accelerate success.
The latest AI-enabled test and migration automation technologies can help a company achieve its goals for a fast, reliable, cost-effective implementation.
Evaluate the technical considerations.
For example, do you need to refactor code due to new concepts and application sealing, or can the relevant customization be refactored automatically or semi-automatically?
Keep business considerations in mind. Your planning should evaluate new business areas, determine if business processes are up-to-date and documented, uncover crucial integrations and applications, and determine if data is defined accurately.
What to do next
It’s time to check your engine, step on the gas, and let AX fade away in your rear-view mirror as you journey into the future.