Even though the initial release date for Microsoft Dynamics 365 was on November 1st, 2016, a lot of organizations are still taking their time before they upgrade to the latest version. This makes perfect sense as organizations are looking to get the maximum “mileage” out of their system while it’s still being supported. Considering the fact that there are only a couple of weeks before support expires for AX 2009 SP1, we thought it might be a good time to answer some commonly asked questions and describe some of the details regarding the upgrade to Dynamics 365.
1. Do I have to upgrade to Dynamics 365 at the end of the support lifecycle for my current AX version?
No. You are in no way required to upgrade. However, for organizations using AX 2009, AX 2012 and AX 2012 R2 mainstream support lifecycle ends in 2018 and it would be advisable to consider the possible consequences of using AX past the mainstream support end date. Also, it’s never too early to start planning for the upgrade. There are numerous advantages to running the latest version of Dynamics. View this infographic to find out about the top ones.
Support for Dynamics AX continues as follows:
Read more on Microsoft Lifecycle Policy website.
2. Do I have to upgrade to Dynamics 365 in the cloud?
No. There are three deployment models for companies to choose from. The cloud deployment is the newest one and it certainly offers distinct advantages and added features (some of which we covered in our recent blog ); but some organizations still prefer the familiarity of on-premise deployments. Additionally, Dynamics 365 can be deployed in a hybrid model (on-premise + cloud), allowing for a mixture of features that your organization might require. All of these deployment scenarios are flexible in a sense that no matter which one you initially select – it is always possible to migrate to one of the alternatives.
3. What happens to my existing customizations?
As a rule of thumb, the older the system, the higher the chance that the customizations currently present won’t be able to get effectively transferred to the new environment. This is partially due to the fact that Microsoft has started using extensions instead of over-layering for customization coding. The good news is that there are migration tools available for both the custom code and existing transactional data. Since only upgrades from AX 2012 R3 and AX 2012 R2 are supported, upgrading from older versions might mean that most of the customizations will have to be re-developed. That is, unless they haven’t already become a part of D365 standard functionality.
In Platform update 8 and the July 2017 Application release, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition, provides an upgrade path that customers who currently run Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can use to move their data and code to Finance and Operations. Currently, upgrades from AX 2012 R3 and AX 2012 R2 are supported. The upgrade process is built on the following elements:
- • Tools to help you bring forward existing custom application code from AX 2012.• A data upgrade process that you can use to bring your database forward. Therefore, you can upgrade your full transactional history.
4. What happens to my existing Dynamics AX licenses?
Depending on whether you decide to deploy D365 in the cloud or go with an on-premise or hybrid deployment, you can chose from different pricing models for your existing AX licenses. As you can see in the table below, cloud deployments use a subscription model (per user, per month) so your existing licenses would be transferred to the appropriate monthly subscriptions. If you chose to go with the on-premise deployment, you have options that allow you to stay with the annual perpetual licensing as well as move to monthly subscriptions.
To help existing Microsoft Dynamics customers with the transition to the cloud, Microsoft is providing a 40% discount to the price of Microsoft Dynamics 365 through November 1, 2019.
5. Will our staff need to be retrained?
No. The majority of business in Dynamics 365 have been carried over from the most recent AX version. Significant upgrades have, however, been made to the user interface. The new UI allows for a much more intuitive user experience further speeding up the onboarding process. For organizations upgrading from AX 2009 – the necessary training may be more extensive. This is something that is addressed as a part of the implementation, during which training workshops are held to ensure a smooth transition. Microsoft Dynamics 365 also features a Task Recorder tool that can be set up to guide end users through various activities step-by-step. This can serve either as a training tool or as a reference that users can utilize as a refresher for some of the tasks that may not be a daily routine for them.
6. Will the upgrade disrupt our operations?
No. D365 upgrades are handled through Microsoft Life Cycle Services (LCS). This environment enables a standardized, highly structured approach to ensure predictable and repeatable outcomes of Dynamics 365 implementations. LCS offers a unified view of all relevant information as well as regularly updated services that help you manage the application lifecycle of your implementations. All new builds are initially deployed to test environments to ensure full functionality and a seamless transition.
7. How long will the upgrade process take?
The length of deployment depends largely on the unique requirements of your organization. If you need to deploy D365 across multiple sites and/or countries – the length of deployment will be extended. Similarly, the amount of users or the extent of necessary customizations can also play a role in determining how much time will pass until the go live date. To give you a starting point, here are some very general time-frames:
- • Vanilla Upgrade: If we’re talking about no customizations and very simple processes, an upgrade from AX to D365 can take between 2 and 16 weeks.• Rapid365℠: A pre-configured, best practices environment from Merit Solutions can take between 4 to 6 months.• ERP My Way: A more traditional approach that includes extensive business process mapping and customization will take 8 to 12 months.
8. How much will the upgrade cost?
Similarly as with the length of the upgrade project, the cost is highly dependent on your particular requirements and deployment choices. As with any systems upgrade, there are costs associated with moving to the new platform. We help you understand these costs, and the impact of selecting any of the available pricing models.