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Looking to upgrade your Microsoft solution to a more unified, flexible, cloud-based solution? We have sourced five of the most commonly asked questions and their answers from the most popular Microsoft forums to help you navigate your upgrade path. 

If you are currently going through the consideration stage on whether to migrate from an older, on-premise version of Dynamics, such as Dynamics AX or Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365, this is a great place to start to understand scope, time-frames, and process.

1. Do I have to move to the cloud?

No. D365 is available on three different deployment models:

Cloud – Azure hosted by Microsoft

Cloud is the flagship deployment option for D365.  Subscription-based SAAS, allowing fully automated updates through Lifecycle Services (LCS) potentially reducing costs for hardware, infrastructure maintenance and implementation.

Cloud & Edge – Hybrid

Cloud & Edge allows data to be stored locally for those vital processes that need the fastest responses while taking advantage of the Cloud services like automatic updates.  Data synchronisation options are available to synchronise local data to the Cloud.

Local Business Data – On-premise

Local Business Data is particularly attractive to businesses who need to ensure, for geographical or political reasons that their data is stored entirely locally and within their control.


2. How much time will it take to upgrade to D365?

The time-frame will vary from customer to customer.  No one implementation will be the same.  That said, there are some general timescales you can apply based on evaluating your current solution as indicated below.  These ballpark timelines can be ratified by working with your implementation partner on an Analyse project.

Vanilla AX2012 to Vanilla D365 (a handful of cosmetic changes at most)

Following the Microsoft approved upgrade process, this should take between 8 and 12 weeks.

Medium modification AX2012 solution to D365 (like for like)

Depending on the true size and need for the modifications between 12 and 24 weeks.

Significant modification AX2012 solution to D365 (like for like)

You should evaluate the need for the quantity and type of modifications you have and should be pushing for standard solution wherever possible.  This project starts at 36 weeks.


3. What do I do if I am on an older version of Dynamics AX?

It should be noted that the upgrade routines, as standard, work from the latest versions of the software (with a couple of exceptions). There are upgrade paths available from both AX2009 & AX2012. The ability and completeness of these paths are directly related to which of the type of previous implementation you have gone through based on the options listed in the answer above.

The key here is to talk to your partner.

There is such a wealth of additional functionality between older solutions and D365 that you should take an Analyse phase to assess your true requirement.  Upgrade models will then become clearer, whether that be a code upgrade or a recommendation for a re-implementation.


4. How do I prepare for my D365 upgrade?

The more preparation you can do the smoother and simpler the upgrade will be.  Key considerations should be:

Understand and map your business processes

Using a business process modelling tool such as Columbus Rapid Value will give you a real head start on understanding your key business processes, how they link and areas where you will be able to take standard solution rather than modifications.

Know your data
  • How much data cleansing do you need to carry out?
  • What data do you want to carry forward to your new solution?
  • How many users do I really need and what type?

Your partner should work with you to help you see how your current licence will transition across versions.

Get buy-in from your key stakeholders

You will need their support throughout the process, ensure they are on board and supportive from the very beginning. Awareness workshops work wonders.


5. What could the upgrade process look like?

There are 4 phases to any upgrade plan; Analyse, Execute, Validate and Go Live, with key stages to each phase.

Every Columbus upgrade has its own project plan and team.  Each customer’s requirements will vary therefore the size of each phase will flex.


Want to know more?

The best way to do upgrade and implement a new solution is through the right partnership.

We know how to make your investment in Microsoft Dynamics 365 work for you, today and tomorrow, whichever version you choose.

Register here!

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