October Blog Series: Saving Time & Energy
Insights From: Jamie Bracewell (Edgewater Fullscope, Director of Marketing)
- "We liked the exposure to Power BI, seeing how it works with AX 7.0, and seeing how easy to use it is."
- "We are looking at upgrading from modified 2009 to AX 7.0. We appreciated the feedback in sessions and hearing from others how to do it."
- "We took the Academy session on Monday on LCS. It was valuable to learn what could be used."
The highlight of the closing session was the much anticipated Town Hall Meeting with members from the Microsoft management team. This year the team included Dan Brown, general manager, Dynamics AX R&D; Sri Srinivasan, general manager, Dynamics AX; and Pepijn Richter, director, ERP product marketing. Here's a recap of the questions and answers:
What is the projected availability date for data and code transfer for AX 7.0? (The audience coined a new phrase "data migration cockpits.") Upgrade previews should be available in May/June 2016.
Will Microsoft infinitely support on premise solutions? Microsoft is committed to a hybrid model. You can expect on premise solutions to continue to be a big part of the Microsoft business. The AX 7.0 release for on premise is planned for September/October 2016. Microsoft has a cloud first strategy. We will continue to deliver first in the cloud but then offer an on premise solution. Why cloud first? The essential component of cloud is it lets Microsoft learn faster, especially from an application standpoint.
How will we convert historical data in AX 7.0? Master data is aligned to new abstractions in AX 7.0. Reference data, transaction data, master data – you can choose what to convert.
How will AX 7.0 run in the cloud and use a data warehouse? Integrations will be in place to support data warehouses, including Azure API services.
How much machine learning functionality will be in AX 7.0? It's not just machine learning but other things from the Microsoft stack. You'll see more and more in the platform itself. The AX framework supports input/output from machine learning, or information can come from something like Cordana analytics. Machine learning is the force behind demand planning in 7.0. Take this tip - don't think about the technology, focus on the value provided to the business.
How do I help justify the decision to management to go with AX versus SAP or Oracle? First you must consider how Dynamics AX fits into the ERP space. SAP and Oracle are well suited for large enterprise and Fortune 1000 companies. Dynamics has always targeted the lower enterprise market and upper mid-market space. To be successful, we must have a distribution model that will scale, and we believe our best go-to-market strategy is through partners because they hold the industry expertise.
Microsoft provides systems in a very different way than SAP or Oracle. One main example is Lifecycle Services (LCS). For context, see ERP Analyst Josh Greenbaum's recent comments on 7.0 and LCS (Early preview feedback on upcoming Microsoft Dynamics ‘AX 7’ ERP release & Lifecycle Services (LCS)). With LCS, you always have the ability to capture your business processes easily and immediately within AX, so your system is always in tune with your business. LCS captures meta data that is powerful and helps derive task guides. If you looked at LCS six months ago, look again. It has changed a lot. LCS also offers a great way partners to bring their solutions for AX to the cloud. (For example, see the Edgewater Fullscope Food AXcelerator in theAzure Marketplace)
As end users, we need more training (not from partners but from Microsoft) to be more self-sufficient. How can that happen? More and more documentation is available online, so this should help. Additionally we have a multi-layered training approach. First are technical conferences for functional and technical work streams. The next conference is set for February on AX 7.0, and it will offer 85 sessions over three days. Second, we continue to publish short videos in Help. Finally, we are offering more advanced, deep dive training sessions, like the upcoming one on advanced warehouse management.
READ MORE: 5 WHS AX Tips & Tricks
Partner question: How can partners better educate their sales and marketing teams to talk about AX 7.0 to prospects and customers? Information is available now on PartnerSource. In November/December, we'll announce additional opportunities for all areas of your organization, including sales and marketing.
If you are a Microsoft Dynamics AX customer, we hope you enjoyed the AXUG 2015 Summit and found it valuable. If you would like to learn more about optimizing your AX investment, including system performance, upgrades or managed support, visit our website today or contact us by email at [email protected].