If you’re a Dynamics AX user, chances are you’ve heard of Microsoft’s latest ERP and CRM offering, Dynamics 365.

You may know that Dynamics 365 launched in November 2016 and that it’s the next step in the evolution of an all-in-one ERP and CRM product, combining functionality from Microsoft products like Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM.

You might even be aware that Dynamics AX has rebranded as Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Like many of our Dynamics AX clients, however, you probably also have a few questions. How will Dynamics 365 for Operations affect your Dynamics AX investment? Do you need to upgrade, and how? Where does Dynamics 365 for Operations fit in the broader Dynamics 365 Enterprise experience?

In this post, we’ll answer all these questions and more.

Dynamics 365 at a glance
Before we dive into Dynamics 365 for Operations, let’s cover the Dynamics 365 basics. In short, Dynamics 365 is the next generation in intelligent business applications. According to Microsoft, the system helps organisations grow, evolve and transform in today’s fast-changing digital business environment.

Dynamics 365 unifies enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management. So instead of needing a standalone product for accounting and another for sales, for example, Dynamics 365 rolls both into one. Its applications work seamlessly across sales, customer service, field service, project service automation, operations, and financials.

This short Microsoft video explains Dynamics 365 in more depth:

There are two Dynamics 365 editions: business and enterprise. The business edition caters to organisations with between 10 and 250 employees. As tech journalist Mary Jo Foley observed in ZDNet, the business edition is “basically a slimmed-down ERP product with a focus on Financials”.

The enterprise edition, on the other hand, is the reincarnation of Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM. It packs more punch, and is recommended for organisations with more than 250 employees.

Dynamics 365 for Operations is available as an app in the Enterprise edition only. It is one of six apps, which can be added to a Dynamics 365 instance as required:
• Sales
• Customer service
• Field service
• Project service automation
• Marketing
• Operations

We’ll break down modules, licensing and plans in detail in an upcoming post. For now, just know that Dynamics 365 for Operations is a Dynamics 365 Enterprise App.

Hello Dynamics 365 for Operations
Dynamics AX remains one of the most robust, feature-packed enterprise resource planning systems on the market. Now that it has rebranded to Dynamics 365 for Operations, you might be wondering if this has changed.

The short answer is no. Dynamics 365 for Operations has the same powerful functionality as its predecessor. In addition to core financials, Dynamics 365 for Operations includes advanced financial functionality as well as managing manufacturing, ecommerce and supply chains.

From gaining real-time insights into financial performance through to reducing debt through smarter collection management, Dynamics 365 for Operations has you covered.

What’s more, Dynamics 365 offers seamless integration between other apps. As a result, users don’t waste time navigating between Dynamics 365 for Operations and other applications.

If a sales representative creates a sales order from a confirmed quote in Dynamics 365 for Sales, for example, the sales order can be automatically created in Dynamics 365 for Operations by using Flow. This saves time, reduces double handling and delivers a more streamlined user experience.

How to transition from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 for Operations
Now that Microsoft has combined Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX to create Dynamics 365, some users are worried about getting left behind.

Let me assure you that this is not the case. Microsoft will continue to support existing versions according to its support lifecycle policy. So if you run Dynamics AX on-premise and don’t want to upgrade, you don’t have to.

Dynamics AX on-premise customers that would like to upgrade can either:
• Transition to the cloud – this is a great opportunity to start moving business applications to the cloud
• Deploy Dynamics 365 for Operations in their own data centres

With the latter, you retain your Dynamics AX on-premise instance, while accessing extra functionality through the Dynamics 365 for Operations cloud add-on. This hybrid option provides the flexibility of the cloud while meeting data sovereignty and compliance requirements.

Dynamics AX online customers will seamlessly transition to Dynamics 365 for Operations in the next update. Those on older releases will have upgrade and migration paths made available when they are ready to make the switch. Unsure which applies to you? Contact us for advice.

How Professional Advantage can help
No matter which Dynamics 365 option you choose, make sure you engage an experienced, Gold-certified Microsoft partner. Upgrades and migrations can take hundreds of hours even when everything goes to plan. The last thing you want is to dedicate months to an upgrade that fails to meet expectations.

As Australia’s largest Microsoft Dynamics partner, Professional Advantage’s consultants have the expertise and experience to keep costs low and ensure maximum ROI.

Whether you’re in the market for a new ERP and CRM solution, or you’re an existing Dynamics AX client ready to upgrade, get in touch. We’re here to guide you through the entire Dynamics 365 experience.

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