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How to prepare for your Microsoft Dynamics 365 or AX Upgrade?

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If you are planning a Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Dynamics AX upgrade, here are the things you should prepare in advance to be successful:

  1. Documentation of your business processes. Use this documentation to create regression test scripts.  Review the release documentation to see if any processes should change given new functionality, enhancements, and bug fixes.
  2. Functional release documentation from Microsoft. There are cumulative documents, as well as version specific documents and documents on specific features.  Initial releases of Dynamics 365 have not added anything significant in functionality, so the 2012 documents should suffice, but check none the less.  Here are a few of the 2012 for reference:

New, Changed, and Deprecated Features for AX2012

New Feature List for R2

New in Microsoft Dynamics 2012 R3

Deprecated Features AX 2012

  1. Obtain compatible versions of code from each of your ISVs and partners. Contact vendors well ahead of beginning your project.  It could impact your timing or your target version.  FYI, R3 needs a license key which you will need to get from your implementation partner.  Your implementation partner may also share insights of changes that may affect your business processes.
  2. A list of all customizations. This include items from your partner, ISVs, and those done internally.  Review the release documentation to see if there are any customizations that can be removed or modified.
  3. Project team. Internally, these should be your subject matter experts and those who support AX functionally.  If you are going to supplement with outside resources, then seek these out for cost and availability.
  4. On the technical side, gather up documentation on how to perform the upgrade. This likely will include upgrades to the technical infrastructure, Windows server and SQL server.  Here is a comprehensive document from Microsoft for upgrading to 2012.  If you are upgrading from a version of 2012 to Dynamics 365, you need to first upgrade to R3.  If you are upgrading from 2009 to Dynamics 365, Microsoft has developed a migration path for you.
  5. Develop a rough project plan with general timeline or time spans. Include a minimum of 2 testing rounds, additional rounds depending on issues encountered.  Don’t forget any integrations to other systems, these will need to be reviewed and tested as well.  Include tests related to any infrastructure (aka servers are being newly built) changes.  These tests would be anything that leaves the AX integration to complete a process.  For example, (1) Excel import and export should be testing, (2) file attachments if a new file server is being configured, and (3) reports of you are building a new report server.

Then gather your team, discuss the project, refine as needed per input, and get to work!  Start with a demo Contoso database so that you can review standard functionality.  The project will start early with the technical team because you will want to build an environment that includes your company’s data and code base.

 

Thinking any more about the Dynamics 365 & AX Integration and Implementation process? Check out this great content offer, 7 Tips for Successful Integration! 

 

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