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Microsoft Dynamics AX to D365 Finance and Operations upgrades: Paths and potholes

by Peter Joeckel
President & Founder, HandsFree - Dynamics ERP Productivity Tools

When we first started working with companies on their Microsoft Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade projects I expected that, like previous AX upgrades, the conversations to be straightforward and focused on typical upgrade questions surrounding:

  • Cost to upgrade
  • Time to upgrade
  • New functionality

ERP running in a public cloud was a change from earlier generations, but I expected most organizations today to be committed to a journey straight to the cloud. Surprisingly, many potential upgrade clients don't see it that way. Working with companies on these projects has yielded some interesting results:

  • Expected - the major cost, functional and technology differences between D365 F&O in the cloud versus on-premise.
  • Unexpected – the number of companies choosing to upgrade their current version of AX to AX 2012 R3 with a plan to stabilize on that platform before making the D365 F&O move.
  • Unexpected – the costly, time consuming, research and development nature of the AX to D365 F&O upgrades.
  • Unexpected – the major discrepancy in Microsoft resources available to companies with over 150 users versus those with less.

The bottom line is that an AX upgrade to D365FO is not a linear process like past AX upgrades. There are multiple decisions, or forks in the road, that must be selected, and each of those comes with its own challenges and consequences.

In the rest of this article, let’s take a quick look at some major potential AX to D365FO upgrade options and the biggest decision driver. And for a more visual approach, you can view a whiteboard explanation.

On-Premises versus in the Cloud

The primary driver for this decision has been the dramatic difference in functionality available in the cloud versus on-premises. These differences are clearly outlined by Microsoft.

Currently, the primary justification for an on-premises implementation is a legal requirement.

D365FO versus AX 2012 R3

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About Peter Joeckel

President and Founder at HandsFree ERP, utilizing people, processes, and tools to improve ERP project productivity.

Your ERP Project - My Experience. ERP selection, implementation, and challenged project turn-around expert—Lead HandsFree client advisor in the Summit NA Circle of ERP Excellence lounge.

More about Peter Joeckel