The ERP class system is subject to a continuous development, new functionalities being added, integration possibilities, and new technologies which are being introduced in subsequent versions. At the same time, research shows that “Eight out of ten enterprises (80%) admit that they have modified their ERP system in a moderate or significant way in order to adapt it to the unique business requirements of their companies” (computerworld.pl “ERP exchange or modification?”). Therefore, the ERP system upgrade process is usually expensive and long-lasting.
When implementing ERP-class systems from the Microsoft Dynamics family for over 20 years, we have been dealing with system upgrade processes many times. We have carried out such projects for all system versions available on the Polish market, i.e. Axapta 2.5, Axapta 3.0, Dynamics AX 4.0, Dynamics AX 2009, Dynamics AX 2012 and currently Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.
Why should you update Microsoft Dynamics AX?
Up-to-date system upgrade projects have so far been a challenge comparable to the implementation of the system (along with Dynamics 365 this will change, but more on this at the end). They usually take place a few years after the initial implementation, often bypassing intermediate versions. They last, depending on the adopted approach and the scale of modification from several months to even 1.5 years. The upgrade of AX 2009 to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (or AX 2012 -> D365FO) will be similar. Therefore, the question arises: why update the ERP system at all. To answer this question, we encourage you to read the following considerations.
End of system support by the manufacturer
The individual versions of the system have manufacturer’s support, i.e. for example, issuing patches in response to changes in the law. However, this support lasts a certain time. For example, on October 9, 2018, support for versions AX 2009, AX 2012 and AX 2012 R2 has been ceased. For these versions, Microsoft will only release security-related patches for the next three years. This means that holders of versions before AX 2012 R3 can not count on receiving new modifications, adapting the system to legal requirements.
On the other hand, there is support by partners involved in the implementation of Dynamics AX for many years, such as our company. The example of changes recently implemented in Polish law, such as the Single Audit File (JPK) or split payment, shows that our independent solutions may be even more adapted to Polish realities.
The appearance of useful functionalities in the new version
The development of the Microsoft Dynamics system is dictated mainly by the needs reported by clients using it. These companies are tens of thousands, and Microsoft’s development budget is one of the largest in the world, hence each subsequent version brings another rich package of new functionality. They can increase the ergonomics of work with the system, better integration with external systems, shortening the time of performing everyday activities. There is also support for processes that have not been supported in previous releases.
On the other hand, you should ask yourself which new functionalities will be really useful in your company. Direct predecessors of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, i.e. AX 2009 or AX 2012, contain extremely rich functionalities. Many companies use only those features that they have met during the initial implementation, often not realizing all the available options. It is worth therefore, before deciding to update the system, familiarize yourself with its new possibilities and confront it with real needs. As Integris, we repeatedly performed such analyzes and did not always end up with the decision to carry out the migration. It sometimes happened that it was more efficient to meet new needs by making new system modifications or taking advantage of additional solutions offered by us. Of course, if it was better to carry out a version update project, the results of the analysis of new functionalities were extremely useful in this process.