Microsoft Dynamics AX Implementation Best Practices from Convergence 2014

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Dynamics AX ImplementationThis year, Microsoft Dynamics Convergence was mind blowing and super energetic, proposing strong topics, interesting interactive activities, and impressive networking possibilities. During the conference, Microsoft has focused on Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation methodology, which is considered a key element in determining the success or failure of this software solution. In a nutshell, AX implementation methodology implies consulting and processing a series of ERP best practices known to help organizations avoid a variety of errors, ranging from obsolete values and unknown/invalid items to system crashes.

Successful AX Implementation in 2014

Microsoft re-evaluates AX implementation best practices periodically, adjusting them according to new updates, upgrades, and add-ons. However, the recent Microsoft conference has set new directions, compiling different elements previously required for a successful AX implementation (leadership support, planning, solution selection, implementation team and schedule, change management techniques, training, etc.) into three main factors: people, process and technology. Here is a summary of this new approach.

      • People: In order to avoid AX implementation failure, you need to have the right team on your side. This means that the employees you choose for implementing the new system must not only have knowledge and skills, but also be strongly committed to your goals. For organizational commitment, you need to explain why your organization needs a new system or an upgrade to a more advanced ERP solution. In addition, for a perfectly coherent Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation, you’ll need a dedicated project manager, a technical solution architect, a functional solution architect and team members who can perform specific tasks. If you have no employees to take up these roles, you should consider outsourcing. Another important aspect is developing a contingency plan, which could help you prevent a series of issues if key employees leave your company during the implementation phase.
      • Process: The new Dynamics AX implementation guide recommends that organizations:
        • Run comprehensive analyses of different scenarios along with performance and functional requirements
        • Opt for appropriate design alternatives, such as the entity-relationship (E-R) model, which defines a data modeling technique that presents the components included in that model and the relationships between them, and User Experience Design (UXD or UED), which addresses all aspects implied in human-computer interactions
        • develop appropriate codes and review them
        • test system performance
        • train users and ask them for feedback.

Additionally, you can opt for two different implementation methodologies: the waterfall model, which goes through specific phases (conception, initiation, analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance), and agile methodology, which promotes adaptive planning, time-boxed approaches, and evolutionary development, allowing implementation teams to respond rapidly and efficiently to change.

      • Technology: On the technology side, Dynamics AX delivers a complex ERP solution with an upgradable portfolio, which conforms to current business needs while evolving to meet future demands. Since Microsoft has decided to develop a variety of upgrades for this solution, it’s very important that you create an upgrade project after implementing Dynamics AX 2012. The Create Upgrade Project tool included in Dynamics AX enables users to create various upgrade projects and even configure notifications based on preset functionality. With this tool, upgrading to the latest Dynamics AX versions becomes a simple endeavor.

Aside from pointing to AX implementation best practices, Microsoft used this conference to reconfirm the fact that Dynamics AX 2012 will soon deliver not only a more advanced, comprehensive on-premise system, but also a reliable cloud-based ERP solution. From April 2014 onwards, a new AX version, referred to as Dynamics AX 2012 R3, will make available a series of complex capabilities, including cloud services, allowing users to run agile operations and engage more customers than ever before across the World Wide Web.

By Clients First Business Solutions South Central - Oklahoma Microsoft Dynamics AX Partner

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