October Blog Series: Saving Time & Energy
Insights From: Jamie Bracewell (Edgewater Fullscope, Director of Marketing)
Organizations continue to swim in a sea of data. When it comes to ERP upgrades, having control of your data, and determining what you really need to upgrade and what you don't, can be the difference in a smooth ride or a hair-pulling experience.
Thanks to Gina Pabalan, director of Customer Support and Optimization Services (CSO) at Edgewater Fullscope for taking us through the possible perils and considerations. In her session, Think Twice Before Upgrading Historical Data to AX 2012, she started by clarifying the definition of historical data as any closed transaction for inventory, production orders etc. It does not include master data, summary data or any open transactions.
- Serial numbers/records for warranty tracking
- Batch records and serial numbers for FDA regulations and compliance
- Historical data for statutory requirements, forecasting, sales and business trend analysis
- Credit records
- Master planning data
- And more …
It's the combination of cost and risk that should drive the decision to update data. So what should it cost to upgrade? There are two main factors. The first is complexity of your system, including how many interfaces and how many modifications. Next is how much remediation of the modifications will be necessary? Perhaps the new release may supply the functionality that you originally needed and you'll no longer require the mod. Or, perhaps not. In the perfect would you could just upgrade with a vanilla implementation, but ERP worlds are complex and not perfect, and out-of-the-box implementations are rare. (To this I will add that part of the power and beauty of Dynamics AX ERP is its ease of use and ability to quickly modify it to map to your exact business processes. This flexibility is great but challenging when it comes time to upgrade.)
Many organizations find that upgrading can sometimes cost more than the implementation. Consider these numbers. The number of tables in AX 2009 is just over 1900, while the number of tables in AX 2012 is over 6000. Items/product tables alone are 132 in AX 2009 and 379 in AX 2012. Also consider Microsoft has released 18 builds of Dynamics AX since it became available. The AX database has evolved and it is complex.
But the upgrade considerations extend beyond "just moving data." What about reports? The more the data becomes normalized, the more difficult reports gets. Because reports moved to SSRS in AX 2012, all AX 2009 reports have to be touched and updated. That said, executives support ERP projects and budgets because of the data that ERP delivers – operational and financial data that should drive future business plans and decisions. Just get the C-levels their [accurate] reports and is well.
So here is the question of the session: does your data need to sit in AX 2012 or can it sit elsewhere?
Different theories exist, and several AX customers in the room expressed varying opinions, including using a data warehouse. Data warehouses allow you to build a database the exact way you want, and then pull reports from the data warehouse versus Dynamics AX. Benefits of this approach could include decreased upgrade costs, lower risk, easier on users and improved archiving strategy.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to share them with our CSO team. We believe no one surpasses Edgewater Fullscope when it comes to delivering valuable ERP consulting services to leverage your Microsoft investment. From the initial project performed by our Implementation team using our EDGE methodology combined with Microsoft Lifecycle Services for rapid and predictable projects; to post-go live ERP optimization, support and training delivered by our dedicated Customer Support and Optimization (CSO) services team, we can help. Visit our AX services website for more information.