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Why you need to upgrade to Dynamics 365 F&O now

Lies Van der Goten Project manager ERP implementations MI&S Connect on Linkedin

If your company is still running its business on an older AX version, you are probably aware that it is approaching the end of its extended life cycle. This article explains why now is the time to upgrade your installation to Dynamics 365 F&O (Finance & Operations).

If we learned one thing during the latest pandemic, it’s that a good digitalization plan and up-to-date software products enable organizations and their users to remain competitive while giving their customers the best support they deserve.

Why upgrade?

With the support lifecycles of AX 2009, AX 2012, and AX 2012 R2 ending in April 2022 and AX 2012 R3 ending in January 2023, there will be no more support from Microsoft from that day on. Still, you might think: why should I upgrade if my current system offers me all the functionality I need and at a performance standard that I like?

While it is always a good idea to upgrade a system that has been operating your business for a decade, here are the main benefits of upgrading towards (or implementing) Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.

1. Improved software functionality

Needless to say, the latest version of Dynamics D365 F&O has improved functionality in comparison with the older AX 2009 or 2012 versions. Current customizations can be replaced with standard capabilities. You can also use Microsoft AppSource to plug in and plug out any apps you wish to use.

2. A cloud-based solution

Dynamics 365 F&O is cloud-based and hosted on Microsoft Azure. This means you can rely on all the benefits that Azure has to offer such as limitless storage, data protection rules, and disaster recovery measurements. 

There is no longer a need for on-premises servers and systems or to build a network access plan – which means lower maintenance for internal IT. It also improves the accessibility of the application for your users: they can access F&O through a web browser without the need for a VPN.

3. Automatic, periodic upgrades of the system

With the cloud-based platform, Microsoft will deliver two major updates each year – in April and October, as well as ongoing, regular minor updates for bug fixes and performance and security improvements.

The two major updates can be performed automatically by Microsoft, or your company can choose to schedule the date and time of this upgrade when ready.

4. Easy integration with the Microsoft Power platform

When talking about the Power platform, the first thing that comes to mind is of course Power BI. This reporting tool is built-in and gives you access to real-time business insights. With the integration of the entire Power platform, processes can be streamlined and business productivity is improved.

Besides the power platform, it is also possible to easily integrate with CRM or Office 365.

Only a well-managed project leads to successful implementations

Upgrading your ERP system is not always a project that you are looking forward to. Implementing a new ERP system can be stressful for any organization, it is time-consuming and requires a major commitment of your key users. 

'All vendors are currently offering new products in the cloud, but be aware,' MI&S bcb leader Serge Vigoureux says,  'the most important is still your internal preparation. The software integrator who implements the system will not challenge your abilities, neither the quality of the processes or master data.'

Companies need to upgrade their processes themselves, as close as possible aligned to standard processes and deploy them in their organization. 'But don't forget to plan enough time to train your staff so they get prepared for decent testing of the new environment and for a proper use afterward,' Serge adds. 'Only a well-managed project will lead to successful implementations making use of the above-mentioned functionalities.'