When you installed your traditional ERP software, well before the emergence of Microsoft Dynamics 365, it made a demonstrable difference to your business – simplifying processes, saving money and giving operations a shot in the arm. However, as with anything new, such as upgrading from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365, its adoption can create challenges if not properly managed. Success lies in the strategy, and being methodical in your approach.

Here’s our checklist of what to consider before you move over to Dynamics 365.

  • Envision a roadmap for your upgrade

The first step in the journey towards upgrading from AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations to evaluate where you currently are in your business and begin creating a vision of how your future ERP can help enable growth for your organization. Roadmapping a vision of what you want out of your dream system is an activity that you can start now. In fact, it’s recommended that you take this step before selecting an implementation partner and definitely before you purchase your new D365 system.

Start with a snapshot of the current state of your business and your system. Map out the processes and procedures in your finance and operations departments. Ask questions like:

  • What do your customizations look like, which ISVs are you running?
  • How’s your performance? Is your system performance slower that what your business needs?
  • Is your Business Processes in Alignment with the application?
  • What are the gaps in the system that you’d like to have filled?
  • What functions are on your wishlist?
  • Decide how quickly do you want to adop D365: in phases versus the big bang approach

Consider how you want to approach your upgrade. What makes more sense for your organization: a slower phased rollout approach or an all-at-once ‘big bang’ rollout?

In the big bang approach, the ERP system is implemented and goes live throughout the company in one day. Before the go-live date, the systems are checked and tested, staff is prepared, trial runs are performed and organizational adjustments are completed.

Conversely, a phased approach is a slower process, but allows your employees to slowly get to know the system and lets you iron out the kinks in one part of the system at a time by gradually rolling out your ERP system.

  • Lay out your timeline and planning activities

Once you have a fairly detailed idea of your organizational procedures and what you want out of D365, you can start formulate a timeline. How long an upgrade takes depends on your situation. The more add-ons that you’re going to use means it will take more time to upgrade versus using D365 straight out of the box.

When you set your upgrade go live, take your business cycles in consideration. You don’t want your go live date to run into your busy season, and all your employees are at full workload capacity while taking care of urgent, operational tasks. After setting your migration date, work backwards, factoring your upgrade and number of add-on modules.

  • Cleanup Activities

Aside from benefitting from the cutting edge technology in D365FO, upgrading to Dynamics 365 is a great opportunity to clean up the workarounds, data and customizations that has accumulated over the years. Fully inventory your current customizations and examine if your business processes really need those customizations. Sometimes, minor adjustments in your procedures and aligning it with the capabilities of D365 can save you time and effort in the long run.

  • Get your resources ready

First, make sure your staff has enough time to balance their everyday responsibilities with this new project. Second, ensure that your team are up to date with certain skills. For example, if you have developers in your team, make sure that they are well versed in overlay versus extension methodology. They need to be familiar with Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and Lifecycle Services (LCS) to help with the transition.

If you haven’t already, get executive sponsorship and get the conversation started on how much budget is allocated for an upgrade to D365. Now is a good time to get an idea of who will be on your steering committee for the project.

Work with an expert

The process of upgrading might mean that you might need to bring in a third party technology expert like HSO; someone who is well-versed in Microsoft Dynamics and focused on delivering the very best results at every point of your transition, as well as supporting you afterwards. In the longer term, it can be money very well spent.

HSO has spent more than 25 years’ implementing successful Microsoft Dynamics solutions – and have been a member of the Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics partners for over 11 consecutive years. All this means we’re ideally positioned to help you get where you need to be, affordably and hassle-free.

To learn more about how to prepare for an upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365, watch our on-demand webinar, Your D365 Readiness Checklist: What to Consider Before You Upgrade.