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Bidding Adieu to Dynamics AX 2009/2012 Support: Dynamics AX Upgrade or Re-implementation?


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With Microsoft’s recent announcement of ending support (albeit with exceptions) for Dynamics AX 2009 and AX 2012, the ERP world is in a turmoil. Moving from one version of ERP to another is a complex task; not only do you upgrade your business logic or ‘code’, you need to upgrade business data to the new data model. For this, you have two options in hand: 1) re-implement the entire system from scratch, or 2) upgrade only those elements that make sense to your current business and its future goals.

With Microsoft initially not providing an upgrade path for AX 2009 or AX 4.0 to Dynamics AX, if you are running AX 2009 or AX 4.0 instance, chances are that you are tempted to do a re-implementation. With so many new features, a cool UI, and the investment Microsoft has done in this platform, it is totally worthwhile.

  • A re-implementation enables you to change current processes and adopt new functionality.
  • You can archive/delete unwanted data and potentially remap existing data to new structures.
  • You may also find that your customizations are now part of standard code or part of a third party package – so you can let other people worry about future code upgrades.

However, a re-implementation will still require full testing and data migration. And if you do not want to go through the hassle of re-implementation, the ideal choice then is upgrade. The good news is that Microsoft has a well-defined code upgrade service and a comprehensive and well-tested approach to upload data in Dynamics AX. This makes upgrading an attractive option to consider.

Upgrade

Microsoft provides an upgrade patch from AX 2009/AX 2012 to Dynamics 365. The code upgrade service currently accepts a model store file as input which essentially means that you can upgrade anything from AX 2009/ AX 2012 to Dynamics AX. Microsoft’s current code upgrade service is through the Microsoft lifecycle services (LCS) and consists of the following procedure:

The AX 2009 migration approach aims to get companies onto the new product without doing a full migration of historical data unless your business processes require historical data like an MRO.

By analyzing what is relevant for your company, you can choose to migrate only that data to Dynamics 365. This could include:

  • Configuration of ledger
  • Set up of customer and vendor groups
  • Set up of master data
  • System configuration

Upgrades from AX 2012 support code as well as data migration; by using an LCS-driven methodology to make the upgrade process automated and predictable, code migration will provide extended estimates for any additional development work.

Best Practices

While upgrading to a newer version of Dynamics AX, it may be helpful to review some best practices which can streamline your project and avoid problems. Microsoft and its partners have developed a body of knowledge and tools which can be helpful as well. These include:

  • Analyzing customizations
  • Purging and archiving data
  • Analyzing database space requirements
  • Create project plans for testing
  • User acceptance testing and end user training
  • Downtime window project plan
  • Upgrade execution plan
  • Prepare source database & application object server (AOS)
  • Use of state transfer tool
  • Prepare targets – database & AOS
  • Inheritance table considerations
  • Additional considerations

Be Prepared

According to the support lifecycle policy, Microsoft has an obligation to provide support availability guidelines for all of its products, including operating, storage, and backup solutions for the software. However, it’s important to know exactly when Microsoft will stop supporting a certain AX version. Since replacing a previous ERP version with a newer release requires a lot of planning and time, with sufficient preparation, you can create a more coherent, strategic plan for upgrading to Dynamics 365 with minimal disruption. ERP system upgrades are a fact of life; they can be postponed, but not dodged. So whether it intimidates or excites you, two things are required for a successful upgrade: careful planning and informed decision making.

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Manoj Nair
About the Author - Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience in Software Consultancy, ERP Implementation, Testing, ISV Development & Client Management. He is a Senior Project Manager at Indusa and is responsible of managing various software programs through cross functional coordination.

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Contibuting Author: Malavika Nityanandam


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