There are several things to consider when thinking about upgrading from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Initially, you may wonder why you need to upgrade at all. In order to answer that question, it’s important to recognize the key differences between solutions like Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations compared to Dynamics AX.
Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations takes the functionality and features of Dynamics AX and builds upon them to truly make Finance and Operations the enterprise system of the 21st century.
While Dynamics AX is primarily a desktop application with a large infrastructure footprint, Finance and Operations is a complete web and cloud-based solution that can be accessed anywhere, on any device. D365 Finance and Operations offers:
- Web-based log-in
- New, user-friendly interface
- More integrations
- Automated no-fee updates
- Additional flexibility
- Improved searches
- Increased Excel integration
- LinkedIn integration
Finance and Operations also has very tight integrations to all the D365 family products such as Sales, Marketing, Service, Office, Excel and more. These integrations allow you to access end-to-end information in one single enterprise system. This allows users to unlock data from a number of different sources. Many of these tools were not available in AX and will give users a better understanding of their current business situation and projections into the future.
Because Finance and Operations is cloud-based, updates are scheduled frequently, with major updates happening twice a year. This means there’s no need to wait for new versions to be released to get the latest features and updates. New development and fixes are rolled out frequently for D365 and all you need to do is accept them and you’re off.
There is a lot more flexibility as well. The D365 new licensing model now means users can save money on user and device licenses that will improve flexibility. Role Centers has been replaced now with Workspaces and this allows multiple aspects and features of D365 to be used simultaneously via a customized dashboard. The workspace simplifies the user experience and it helps to make new and inexperienced users much more productive.
Additionally, the search capabilities within the system have been improved, making it much easier to find information no matter where it is in the system. The robust integration to Excel, enables bi-directional data exporting and importing from Finance and Operations to Excel.
Perhaps one of the most valuable additions to Finance and Operations is PowerBI. With PowerBI, it’s possible to create and embed highly intuitive business reports and visualizations into the D365 interface. This allows users to unlock, and leverage, important data and generate reports instantly.
Additionally, there are numerous apps available that integrate with Finance and Operations offering features like machine learning and artificial intelligence. These apps allow you to make better decisions when it matters.
One of our favorite new features in Finance and Operations is the task recorder. This has changed the user experience very dramatically and allows people to really appreciate what the product can do. The task recorder captures fields and walks the user through role-specific processes step-by-step. This is a great way to train users and complete repeatable tasks the same way each time.
Another new tool is custom extensions. This allows you to extend the product by developing solutions on top of D365 without impacting the core code of the application. This means adding functionality is much easier and won’t hamper any future upgrades to the core code. Your internal developers can develop these extensions, or you can talk to the Stoneridge Software team for assistance.
The common data service is also new to the application and one that we were excited to see because historically we’ve had to use additional software to integrate across different platforms. Common Data Service allows you to manage and store data in the apps that you’ve developed and moves this data back and forth in a seamless manner.
I hope this blog has helped you understand why upgrading is beneficial and appreciate some of the capabilities available with an upgrade. Please feel free reach out if you have any questions about why an upgrade from Dynamics AX to D365 for Finance and Operations might be useful for your business.