With the right ERP implementation, you can manage your business more efficiently – by unifying processes, gaining better visibility of your processes, and delivering more value to your clients.
Over the years Microsoft Dynamics AX has helped businesses streamline processes and gain better control of operations. Now, the time has come to move to the cloud and choose advanced solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365, but it will be worthwhile to revisit the components of an AX implementation before upgrading to the cloud.
If you have already implemented AX, it is important to examine how it was done, identify what could have been better, and use that knowledge for the planned upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Microsoft prescribed “Sure Step” as the implementation methodology to deploy Dynamics AX.
What is Microsoft’s Sure Step methodology?
Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step is an online tool that assists you in Dynamics AX implementation. It consists of templates, process maps, workflows, and more to guide you through the dynamics AX implementation process. The tool can be downloaded from the Partner Source website.
The sure step implementation methodology can be divided into six phases:
- Diagnostic phase: The implementation partner evaluates your current infrastructure and processes, determines the requirements, and creates the project plan.
- Analysis phase: This is the phase where the team will work on the functional requirements, perform the fit-gap analysis, and create the documents for each environment needed for your business.
- Design phase: The actual work of the implementation begins with the documents for functional, technical, and solution design. The team will work on the data migration plan and determine the test criteria.
- Development phase: Developers setup the standard solution with the agreed upon configurations, create the custom code, test the functionality and features, and create the training documentation.
- Deployment phase: The production environment is setup and the data is migrated to the production environment in this phase. Users are trained and system go-live checks are performed.
- Operation phase: Post go-live checks are performed and if there are any issues to be fixed, they are completed in this phase.The sure step implementation methodology can be divided into six phases:
How is Microsoft Dynamics AX implemented?
The success of an implementation project begins with the right plan. Without a clear structure, metrics, and team in place, you run the risk of faulty implementation that can lead to suboptimal use of the ERP. It may also lead to a situation where you will need a Dynamics reimplementation.
4 Challenges you may face during Microsoft Dynamics AX Implementation
Change management One of the biggest challenges that any business will face is change management. An ERP implementation is a huge endeavor that will affect people across the business, and it is natural to face some resistance to change.
Project progress visibility One of the biggest challenges that any business will face is change management. An ERP implementation is a huge endeavor that will affect people across the business, and it is natural to face some resistance to change.
In order to ensure project success, you need to encourage everyone involved to communicate effectively and keep everyone in the know of the progress and challenges.
Inexperienced implementation partner It is not enough for the Microsoft Partner to have sufficient experience in the ERP solution. What is equally, if not more important is the experience in your industry vertical.
Every implementation project offers its own set of unique challenges, depending on the level of customizations and unique business needs. If you work with a partner who has sufficient experience in your industry, the implementation team will be in a better position to deliver on expected outcomes and may also be able to anticipate issues and resolve them proactively.
Overdependence on implementation partner Overdependence on the partner happens when you don’t have someone in your business with sufficient experience in Microsoft Dynamics to lead the project. This can lead to challenges and risks.
Left to their own devices, the implementation partner may add in too many customizations and build a complex software infrastructure that will be difficult to manage, track the right metrics, and upgrade to new versions of the different integrated solutions and third-party applications whenever they come up with a new release. The end result: Frustration with the system and high cost of ownership.
Microsoft Dynamics AX vs. Dynamics 365
Since Microsoft Dynamics AX has reached the end of its lifecycle, businesses are implementing Dynamics 365. While there are similarities between the two solutions, there are key differences that make the cloud solution the preferred choice if you want your business to be future-ready.
If you are using AX in an on-premise environment, there is the yearly infrastructure, maintenance cost, and overheads that make it less cost effective when compared to Dynamics 365 in the cloud. Being on the cloud also makes Dynamics 365 more flexible in terms of cost, as you can scale up and down based on business needs.
These are just some of the many benefits of Dynamics 365. If you are currently using AX and are considering an upgrade, click here to find out why you should move to the cloud.