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Microsoft Dynamics AX Upgrade: 5 Steps to a Successful Migration

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Ensure a Smooth Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX

The subject of a Microsoft Dynamics AX is worthy of your time and consideration because an upgrade to your Dynamics AX system allows it to stay current and allows you to take advantage of functionality in the latest version.

Dynamics AX Upgrade Process

The first thing to know about the Dynamics AX upgrade process is that it can either be considered a data migration or a re-implementation depending on the version being upgraded. With the release of Dynamics AX 2012, the underlying data structures were radically changed in order to make the system more scalable and flexible. Consequently, this created problems with data migration as it added new levels of complexity to the process. So, how can you ensure that your upgrade process goes smoothly without adding any unnecessary costs and steps into the process?

Here are the five steps to get right on the path to a successful Dynamics AX upgrade:

1. Modeling

One of the best ways to gain a firm understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the new system is by modeling your existing data with the new version. It is important to perform this without customizations so that the end users will be able to objectively evaluate whether customization is even required. The modeling process benefits end users by allowing users to gain a better understanding of the system and how it functions.

2. Migrating Interfaces

At the outset of the migration process, it is important to identify any customizations that need to be included in the new system. Examples of these could include interfaces and critical processes that are not present in the new version. These customizations should be migrated only once a legitimate modeling proof of concept has been defined. This will allow you to compress the length of the project and properly allocate development resources for the remainder of the upgrade project.

3. Migrating Data

Before data migration can be completed, it is important to define how the data will be mapped from the old system to the new system. Understand that the data will likely be migrated several times, and each time will result in a more accurate and clean dataset. It is also important to remember to look at the old data versions for detailed transactions instead of converting all of the data to recreate historical transactions in detail.

4. Evaluating Customizations

One of the advantages of this process is that it presents a good opportunity to evaluate the necessity of modified objects with the old set of code. A common issue uncovered during an upgrade project is that clients have spent considerable amounts of money on unnecessary customizations. Outside of the essential interfaces, it is important to understand that some of these customizations may need to be rewritten or removed. The reason for this is simple: carrying forward unnecessary or cumbersome customizations will only serve to corrupt the new system and processes.

5. The Go-Live

Once the data migration, code promotion, and testing iterations have been completed, it is time to prepare for the Go-Live. It is important to have a thorough Go-Live plan and to make sure that no critical processes have been overlooked. Before the Go-Live date, it is essential to simulate the Go-Live process many times until you can accomplish the complete process in the allotted time.

Planning for a Dynamics AX Upgrade

Evaluating and planning for an upgrade is a time-consuming process. But, this shouldn’t be a deterrent to a system upgrade. The alternative, which carries a greater risk, is to stick with a highly customized system of a previous version of Dynamics AX. In addition to the steps covered here, an experienced consulting partner with a proven track record of successful implementations is also an essential component to helping your company navigate the path to a successful upgrade of Dynamics AX.

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