The launch of Dynamics 365 was certainly an exciting step for Microsoft in business applications. Dynamics 365 is essentially a cloud version of Dynamics AX and CRM, which were brought together in the single platform as a single cloud offering. For existing Microsoft Dynamics users, upgrading to Dynamics 365 is a great opportunity to rethink what’s possible for your business with features such as unified CRM and ERP capabilities, Power BI, Advanced analytics, IoT, Intelligent mails, and a flexible licensing model.
Dynamics 365 comes with various purpose-built apps that can either be licensed separately or as a connected platform. The fact that it can work across various functions – sales, marketing, manufacturing, finance etc. and comes with built-in intelligence makes it even more valuable for businesses. It is also easy to scale as and when your business grows.
Given these various features, upgrading to Dynamics 365 from earlier versions of Dynamics can be fairly complex. Take a look at this video on how Sonata provides Accelerated Direct Upgrades to Dynamics 365: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Alik-H_Oxk&feature=youtu.be
There are various considerations to keep in mind while moving to Dynamics 365 from earlier versions:
- New features and capabilities: Given that Dynamics 365 comes with certain new features, some of the customizations that you may have in earlier versions may be available as standard out of the box features in Dynamics 365. So, it is possible to replicate your customizations.
- New User Interface: Earlier versions of Dynamics had a rich client UI, while Dynamics 365 has a modern browser client, with new workspaces for various roles. As a result, there are some navigation changes that need to be made to accommodate various form factors.
- Platform level changes: In Dynamics 365, the developer tool used is Visual Studio, unlike in earlier versions. Architecture has also changed significantly to run smoothly on the cloud. Apart from this, there are framework level changes – for example in reporting and integration frameworks. There are also substantial changes in Metadata, API, and Schemas.
- Various deployment options: Most earlier versions of Dynamics were hosted on the customer Datacentre. In Dynamics 365, there are three deployment options.
- A completely Cloud-based model where all workloads are on the cloud
- A Cloud +edge model where some of core and core functions will run on the cloud, while some others run on the edge.
- Local Business data, where all your instances run locally on premise. This option makes sense in cases where there are already significant investments in a Datacenter.
- Security framework changes: Because we are moving from on-premise instances to cloud, there are certain security considerations to keep in mind.
- Data sanity and volumes, Data Scope: While the licenses come with some amount of storage, data storage in the cloud is chargeable. Therefore, it makes sense to clean up your data and purge unwanted data before you move to the cloud. You can define the data scope to include set up and configuration or master data or transactions.
- Integration framework: There are considerable changes in the integration framework given the introduction of new concepts such as data entity etc. For direct integration with 365, for example, you need to extract data from Sequel database or their data warehouse. Some of these are not possible in D365, because there is no full access to the production instance.
- Testing: Because the UI and business process has changed, you need to realign test scenarios in order for them to be relevant.
- Change management and rollouts: A well-planned change management campaign can help smooth the process.
- Skillsets – Because Dynamics 365 comes with certain new concepts such as projects and packages, skill-sets will need to be upgraded.
Given the many new benefits that Dynamics 365 brings, upgrading definitely makes huge business sense. To help minimize the negative operational impact, Sonata has set up a Dynamics Upgrade Factory to enable Ax 2009, Ax 2012 RTM, R1 and R2 directly upgrade to Dynamics 365 with a significant impact of Cost and Effort reduction in the range of 30-60%.
To know more about the Dynamics 365 Accelerated Upgrade and various factors that impact it, watch this webinar recording below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Alik-H_Oxk&feature=youtu.be