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What's Next from On-Prem MS Dynamics AX? Discover your Dynamics 365 Cloud Migration Options

What's Next from On-Prem MS Dynamics AX? Discover your Dynamics 365 Cloud Migration Options

July 16, 2021
Sohaib Zaidi

As mainstream support for even the most recent version of Dynamics AX (2012 R3) is ending in 2021, many organizations using it are looking to migrate to next generation Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud Applications. Since the Dynamics 365 ERP portfolio is massive, decision makers often get confused which available option can fit into their business needs. In this article, we’ll discuss what option does Microsoft has recommended for existing Dynamics AX users.

Microsoft Dynamics AX – An Overview

Formerly known as Axapta, Dynamics AX is a powerful ERP solution used across diversified industry verticals to support sophisticated operations. With the launch of Dynamics AX 7, the transition to Dynamics 365 started. The mainstream support for AX 2012 R3 (current version) is going to end on 2021 and extended support will end in 2023.

Available Options for Existing Dynamics AX Customers

Microsoft has advised its existing Dynamics AX Customers to migrate to Microsoft Dynamics Finance & Operations. This Microsoft’s flagship ERP app is based on Dynamics AX, and features everything an organization needs to manage, plan, and analyse its financial and operational processes. Currently, upgrades from Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and AX 2012 R2 to Finance & Operations are supported.

Deployment Options Available for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations is available on three different deployment options.

  1. Cloud – Cloud is the flagship deployment option in which D365 Finance & Operation is hosted on Azure by Microsoft and available as Subscription-based SAAS, allowing fully automated updates through Lifecycle Services (LCS) potentially reducing costs for hardware, infrastructure maintenance and implementation.
  2. Cloud & Edge – This is Hybrid deployment model in which data is stored locally. However, advantage of the cloud services like automatic updates are available. Data synchronization options are available to synchronize local data to the cloud.
  3. Local Business Data – This is On-premise deployment model, particularly useful to enterprises due to compliance, geographical or political reasons. Data is stored locally and is within their control.

Though, different deployment options are available, however, the most preferable choice can be Cloud deployment due to

  • Low cost of ownership
  • Business continuity
  • Data Security

All these deliverables are available for “Dynamics AX Existing Customers” only. In case, enterprises are not current users and required fresh licences for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, then they will be allowed to takes as separate applications as

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations

Dynamics AX Vs Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

Technical Differences between Dynamics AX & Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

Infrastructure – AX is primarily a desktop-based application with some web and mobile add-on components while Dynamics 365 Finance & operations is cloud-based ERP solution that can be used anywhere from any device.

Customizations – In Dynamics AX, custom development is applied using the over-layering method. However, in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, extensions are used as opposed to over-layering. It means that core code of the ERP system is locked down, not allowing any customizations. However, you fields, methods or controls to tables, classes and forms can be added.

Integrations – Dynamics AX could not be integrated with other products and therefore had to be used separately. However, Finance and Operations can be integrated seamlessly with other Dynamics 365 Apps such as CRM, Power BI and Office 365 apps. It means that enterprises can get an end-to-end business solution.

User Interface – User can view important information on one central list page with all information available on FastTabs and in FactBoxes. In Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, all apps are unified, offering access to different modules from same place.


Microsoft Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Upgrade Path

  • Move From Dynamics AX 2012R2 and AX 2012R3

A Full Upgrade path to Dynamics 365 is currently only available from AX 2012 R2/R3. Customers currently running Dynamics AX 2012 R2 or AX 2012 R3 can use LCS (Lifecycle Services) to bring full transactional history through reimplementation or upgrading code and data when moving to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. However, deprecated codes features such as enterprise portals, partitions, database storage, file storage of file attachments, direct database connection and virtual company accounts will not be included.

  • Move From Dynamics AX 2009/4.0/Earlier Versions

Customers using Dynamics AX 2009 or earlier versions can only bring base data to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations as migrating the full transaction history is currently not supported. The path recommended by Microsoft is to use the Microsoft AX 2009 DMT to migrate your select data such as:

  • Configurations and setups of ledgers, customer groups, vendor groups, etc.
  • Master Data such as customers, vendors, projects, accounts, etc.
  • Balances from ledgers, stock, prices, etc.
  • Open documents like pending invoices, PO’s, SO’s, etc.
  • System configurations; Number sequences, users, user groups, security, etc.
  • Anything represented as entities (denormalized views). Custom fields/tables
  • Entities allow communication agnostic of environment
  • Anything represented as entities (denormalized views). Custom fields/tables

Concluding Remark

If your organization is planning to migrate from Dynamics AX to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, you definitely want to understand the complexity and impact of an ERP migration on your entire business processes.

This is where OpKey’s Autonomous Test Automation comes into play. Know the impact of change on your business processes in real-time with AI-driven Impact Analysis.

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