October Blog Series: Saving Time & Energy
Insights From: Kim Stegall (Fullscope Marketing Manager, Microsoft Dynamics AX)
Talk about a hot subject― upgrading Microsoft Dynamics AX is very important to the Microsoft Dynamics AX User Group (AXUG) community. Dan Fite, Edgewater Fullscope account services executive, presented two sessions at AXUG 2015 last week: What You Must Know Before Creating Your AX Upgrade Business Case and Tools and Considerations for Estimating the Cost of Your Dynamics AX Upgrade. Both topics drew a full house.
In What You Must Know Before Creating Your AX Upgrade Business Case, Dan explained the key points to remember when justifying the upgrade including the functional improvements in the new release, explicit and implicit topics both need to be documented, how long since the initial implementation and the upgrade version. To begin building a case for an AX upgrade, start by building business enthusiasm and don't plan the upgrade around the end of the month, quarter or year. Think about the cost to review the new system and include both software, hardware and training costs. Revisit the original business plan for AX and build on that. Emphasize to your employees that there will be no loss of functionality and they will receive extensive training on the new version.
So what's changed in AX 2012?
- Reporting – Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is the primary reporting platform for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
- Workflow - Significantly improved in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and moved to the AOS
- Security – Rewritten role-based security is introduced and roles are connected to CAL type
- Data Structure – Much of the data structure is normalized and table inheritance is introduced
- Extended data types – Relationships moved to tables
- User Interface - Rewritten
- Number sequences
- Enterprise portal
- Financial dimensions - Redesigned
- Inventory dimensions – Dimension group split into three separate entities
- Items/products – Items are not released products and associated with a product
Planning is the key to a successful upgrade and the biggest issue will be whether you need all your data.
If you're planning an AX upgrade what should you start doing now? Planning. Here are some points to consider:
- What version and release are you on?
- Do you need all of the data in your legacy AX system?
- How many customizations are in your current system and do you need them?
- How should you upgrade? Source to target; in place; re-implementation or migration
- Review the Sure Step methodology thru LCS paying particular attention to the analysis phase
On day two, Dan built on his AX upgrade business case presentation by presenting Tools and Considerations for Estimating the Cost of Your Dynamics AX Upgrade. All AX users should want to upgrade to get the benefits the new release delivers including:
- Access to thousands of new features in AX 2012
- Eliminate customizations with new features
- Maintain supportability of the system
- Have access to upgrade tools
- Make future upgrades easier
When upgrading from AX 3 or 4 to AX 2009, this could be done in the background but that isn't true when upgrading to AX 2012. Dan suggests using the LCS upgrade tools to generate a spreadsheet for customizations and upgrade analysis. He also recommends users engage with their Microsoft partner very early to ease the process.
What could you start doing today to make the upgrade easier? Start by cleaning up your data (look at the upgrade readiness report), purge old data, because to upgrade the data will require multiple runs to pass testing. Dan has created a template that will allow you to take information from an LCS Upgrade Analysis and input that information in to get a view of the effort required to complete an upgrade by the numbers. If you would like a copy, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sure Step is also a great tool. Lean into the AXUG community for AX upgrade info and talk to your ISV's quickly to make sure they have a tool set available to upgrade their products.
Are you planning an AX upgrade? If you're future plans include an AX upgrade and you would like a copy of either of Dan's presentations, please send your request to email@example.com. If you're in the market for a partner to help you with an upcoming AX upgrade, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.