Is it your time to move on from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365?

Marketing Team
Published on January 26, 2022

Since the first release of Microsoft Dynamics AX in 2002, it has been the ERP backbone of countless businesses and many of our clients. Because Microsoft is putting more resources into Dynamics 365 Finance as AX support for all versions will be phased out after 2021. You may be hesitant to investigate enterprise cloud solutions because Dynamics AX already fits your requirements. That hesitancy is understandable. You shouldn't feel pressured to go into the next cloud option without first learning about the significant features and platform advancements that could help your organization run more smoothly than ever. Our goal is to help you get the most out of your AX investment today while also assisting you in strategizing growth and developing a practical strategy for the future. This is Tech Falcon's primary goal, so you'll never have to worry about your system being handled, maintained, or optimized, regardless of platform.

What is Microsoft Dynamics AX?

Microsoft Dynamics AX is a robust ERP system that aids multinational businesses in organizing, automating, and optimizing their activities. Microsoft Dynamics AX is easy to use and implement, with a quick return on investment. This program after being integrated with the Dynamics 365 product suite works in tandem with other Microsoft products to provide a comprehensive, sophisticated ERP. Business intelligence, warehouse management, financial management, retail and e-commerce, inventory management, project management, service management, human resources, manufacturing, and distribution are just a few of the sectors covered by Dynamics AX. It includes certain sales and marketing skills as well if not all the features of a comprehensive CRM.

What if you stay on Dynamics AX for now?

You don't have to stop using AX just because Microsoft will no longer provide mainstream support for it. If you plan to continue to maintain your own AX version, there are a few things you should have in place. These are best practice standards for AX management, regardless of which path you choose. Although there are a few different elements to this work, it is not difficult. One important factor to remember is that you have no one to turn to if things go wrong. As a result, it's important to make sure you have a solid support system in place. This solution is best for companies with few customizations and/or strict change management procedures. Dynamics AX will most likely be viewed as a legacy program that is decommissioned in the short to medium future.

  • Managed services capability

Although this may sound complicated, it may be as simple as establishing a single point of contact for all AX users in your organization when they encounter a problem; this person can then register all events in a common location and either assist or forward the issue to the change request process.

  • Change request process

You should have a process in place for change requests to ensure that only critical changes are forwarded to the appropriate team. This will normally entail a requester providing information about why a change is required, and then a panel deciding whether the change is allowed for development. The decision-making group is usually made up of commercial and technical individuals who look at the problem from all sides.

  • Development capability

Because Microsoft no longer provides fixes for difficulties you're having, you'll need to be able to fix them yourself. A developer with a thorough understanding of the Dynamics AX object model and the X++ capability will be required at the very least. Consider using the Power Platform for fresh work outside of your system, which you can easily move to your new system when you update.

 

  • Source control

Source control is a centralized repository for your code that is accessible to any developer and ensures that the entire development team is aware of each other's changes.

What you Need to do Now and in the Future?

After the dreaded announcement on the Microsoft website about ending support for mainstream Dynamics AX, you need to assess not just your present but the future. As discussed above you might continue to stay with AX but that takes a lot of effort as if you face any mistakes or severe complications, you'll be on your own. You should investigate an alternative – a cloud enterprise solution unless you have the professional resources and funds to make a soon-to-be-obsolete platform work. If you are thinking about choosing your next business platform look no further as Dynamics 365 will blow you away with the next-level functionality and opportunities for customizations.

Microsoft D365 is a collection of integrated business applications that provide teams with the tools they need to operate, manage, and innovate, such as finance, sales, and customer service. Because of this focus on the user experience, it's likely that the AX customizations you made are either included in D365 or are planned for future release. However, just because you're moving to a cloud ERP doesn't mean you have to give up your unique modifications. Microsoft Dynamics 365 has clearly defined expansion points and APIs. You gain the capacity to react to or create the events that these points generate. Microsoft has the ability to add additional extension points to practically any scenario. D365, on the other hand, might already be able to perform what you need it to do — and in a more accurate, comprehensive, and clean manner. You can stay compliant with industry standards and provide your employees access to critical information using Dynamics 365, regardless of where they work. Through a trusted and unified network of applications, you'll be better able to control security threats. Authentication, authorization, data security/encryption, and database are the four layers of D365's security structure, with each level reflecting varying levels of access to your company information.

What is Dynamics 365 Finance?

Dynamics 365 Finance enables businesses to have control over their money. It provides a variety of dependable solutions for a variety of financial processes, including accounting, forecasting, budgeting, accounts payable and receivable administration, and financial reporting. You can automate financial activities like reporting, invoicing, and accounts receivable management with Dynamics 365 Finance to boost user productivity and financial performance. The solution also includes high-quality analytics programs that provide you with the information you require. Use AI to forecast future events, such as when debtors will pay and how your cash flow will look in the near future. It can also assist you in making smart budget ideas.

Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance

To move from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365, the right choice would be to choose the Finance module as it provides the upgraded support and functionalities of dynamics AX. Despite the fact that Dynamics 365 for Finance is substantially the same software as Dynamics AX7, the cloud-based edition of D365F&O does include several new capabilities. The deployment and interface are two major enhancements that users are likely to notice right away. All Dynamics 365 apps are browser-based, so you don't have to install anything on your computer to utilize them. This new login technique also improves accessibility and mobility, since the app can now be accessed and used from nearly any device with an internet connection. D365 Finance has also got a huge revamp since AX 2012, making it seem very different from its predecessors. The sleek new design aims to improve the user experience while also fostering collaboration among users. Each user can customize their homepage with personalized colors and default start pages. Dynamics 365 outperforms prior versions of AX in terms of reporting and business intelligence, thanks to artificial intelligence-powered analytical services and larger sets of corporate data. Another significant distinction between AX and D365 Finance is that, whereas AX may be customized through development, D365 Finance can be extended through the use of third-party add-ons or extensions that can be installed and withdrawn fast as needed. Static cubes generated in SQL Server Analysis Services in previous versions of Dynamics AX have been replaced with real-time in-memory multidimensional analysis capabilities in reporting.

FeatureDynamics AXDynamics 365 Finance
Infrastructure Costs Server costs average $25,500/server + $13,950/server/year (according to Forrester).No server costs.
License PricingPerpetual licenses for users and serversMonthly licenses for users.
$210 USD/user/month for combined Finance & Supply Chain license full user.
($268.80 CAD/user/month)*
ReportingDifficult & complex, especially in AX 2012. Faster & easier. Often further enhanced with Power BI.
Updates Requires separate updates for each machine.Your Dynamics partner can update your whole environment remotely.
User Access Desktop, requiring installation. Virtual machines for remote.Web-based access from anywhere, mobile-ready.
Integrations Difficult, requires customization. Office 365, Dynamics CRM apps, and more.
Support Microsoft Mainstream support for AX and its servers has ended. A Dynamics partner may still offer AX support. Microsoft support and Dynamics partner support both available.

Conclusion

Customers who are currently running Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can use the upgrade path provided by Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (platform update 8 and later) to migrate their data and code to D365F&O. Upgrades from AX 2012 R3 and AX 2012 R2 are now supported. Dynamics AX 2012 systems that use obsolete features like virtual businesses or data partitions, however, cannot be updated at this time. Microsoft's upgrade analyzer can go through the Dynamics AX 2012 system and advise pre-upgrade chores including data cleanups, SQL optimization, and scoping out functionality gaps left by deprecated features to help customers prepare for the update. Although much of the capability in AX and Dynamics 365 Finance is the same, there have been numerous enhancements in Dynamics 365 that may be worth investigating further to see if an update is worthwhile. This is where a partner with extensive knowledge in both systems can assist you in mapping out your requirements and comparing staying vs. upgrading, allowing you to make an informed decision. We at Tech Falcon can support and guide you to grow with the changing market needs.