Key Steps to Take Before You Upgrade from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

By Catherine Thole | November 20, 2018

Preparing for your upgrade from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is an integral part of the success of your upgrade project. Completing a detailed project plan is the first step toward moving to the cloud. The plan should be extremely detailed and include numerous steps to ensure that all functionality and data is accurately brought forward to the new system.

In your upgrade plan, outline all ISVs that you have integrated into AX and make sure you have their updated code ready for your new Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations system.

Additionally, record and evaluate all current customizations. Frequently we find that business processes have changed since a customization was put into place. Typically, most customizations can be eliminated when moving to Dynamics 365 due to one of two reasons. First, custom coding is much more difficult in Dynamics 365 compared to AX, so we need to be cognizant of the features that are being added. Dynamics 365 includes automatic updates from Microsoft, so the more customizations that are implemented, the more issues that could arise when updates are pushed out.

There are some features that can’t be coded in Dynamics 365. For example, any written code that has direct dependency on the code above or below it will not work in Dynamics 365. Code can only be added to the beginning or end of a piece in the software. That means that some features you built into Dynamics AX will not work when you upgrade.

The second reason that customizations may not be necessary is a large number of apps built specifically for Dynamics 365. Microsoft AppSource has thousands of apps built for Dynamics 365 that will automatically update with any new version release.

After your project plan is laid out, determine your upgrade date. It’s smart to be conservative with your go-live date, which should be determined based on your initial project plan and how many steps and tasks need to be completed. We recommend including at least a one-week buffer from when you think you’ll be ready for any issues that may arise.

Once your plan is in place, implement a code freeze on your current version – meaning you no longer will push any new code into your current instance of AX 2012.

Next, create a new project in Lifecycle Services (LCS), which is available to everyone on AX 2012. Additionally, you’ll have to create a project in Azure Dev Ops (previously Visual Studio) to link to your LCS project. If you aren’t familiar with Azure Dev Ops, many of the features are used in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Getting familiar with the features available will help with your transition to Dynamics 365.

Microsoft has put together a pre-upgrade checklist that has to be installed in Dynamics AX 2012. The checklist ensures you have updated information in your database for the AX 2012 to D365 upgrade.

The checklists can be downloaded here:

  • If upgrading from AX 2012 R3, install KB 4035163
  • If upgrading from AX 2012 R2, install KB 4048614

Upgrading to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is well worth the effort thanks to the updated features, continuous improvements, and advanced AI. If you need guidance or support in your transition to the cloud, please reach out to the team at Stoneridge Software.

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