Microsoft customers using Dynamics AX 2012 will need to consider the implications of the end of support for those applications, as support for several iterations of that product line will end later this year. As with anything, there are a number of nuances that may keep current AX2012 applications in good standing for years to come, but those who are looking to have regular non-security hotfixes, localization/regulatory updates and future enhancements may need to explore options that include upgrading to the latest D365 Finance and Supply Chain. Let’s discuss what is coming and the associated implications.
Both Dynamics AX 2012 R2 extended support and Dynamics AX 2012 R3 mainstream support periods end on October 12, 2021. While Dynamics AX 2012 R3 will continue to have extended support through January 10, 2023, all non-security issues, all regulatory and tax updates and any future functionality updates will be halted. Additionally, self-service support will end and any warranty claims are expired. Extended support options can be purchased through Microsoft, but they do not have all the benefits of premium support. When purchasing an extended support contract, the organization retains support for security updates, access to the Microsoft knowledge base and support site (self-service support), and can purchase an additional support agreement through Microsoft to help with customizations or installation of hotfixes that come with the extended support agreement.
For organizations on AX2012 R2
With extended support ending, organizations have limited options:
- Hire sufficient IT staff to support the environment going forward
- Hire third-party managed services to support the environment going forward
- Upgrade to R3 knowing that premium support will end and it will be necessary to purchase another extended support contract through Microsoft
- Upgrade to D365 Finance and Supply Chain
- Migrate to another ERP application
- Do nothing.
While we all know number six is not a viable option, organizations can combine some of the options to meet their budget, timeline and appetite for organizational change. For example, a company could hire a third-party managed service partner for the interim while planning for their upgrade to D365 Finance and Supply Chain. For organizations committed to the Microsoft platform, the final destination is ultimately D365 Finance and Supply Chain and it would make sense to build a plan with that end goal in mind.
For organizations on AX2012 R3
As an R3 customer, organizations have all the same options as R2 customers, with the addition of the ability to purchase extended support contracts with Microsoft. Extended support for the application ends in less than two years and if an organization is slow to make decisions, it is probably smart to start thinking about how to manage the future of the business. Companies on R3 should start looking to the future to determine what their migration path will be and plan for upgrading to D365 Finance and Supply Chain. This doesn’t have to be an immediate change. Companies can purchase extended support and build their future plans. For large organizations with multiple sites that will have to be transitioned, this can be a timely undertaking, so it is important to start now. The good news is that Microsoft is doing what it can to help make it easier for organizations to start the transition.
Microsoft resources to prepare for the transition
Microsoft provides support in the Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) to help prepare for a transition from AX 2012 environments to upgraded platforms like D365 Finance, supply chain management, retail and human resources. In addition to a migration checklist and supporting documentation, Microsoft offers several helpful tools like the upgrade analyzer and code upgrade estimator.
- Using the upgrade analyzer – This tool is run on the existing AX 2012 environment to identify what action should be taken to make the upgrade process as smooth as possible. The tool assists with analysis of data, SQL configuration optimization and feature gaps between the existing environment and D365 environments. The data analysis process will identify types of data that can be removed prior to migrating and allow the organization to determine if a clean-up process should be leveraged.
- Using the code upgrade estimator – This tool reviews the existing code in the AX 2012 environment then converts the code to the new format. A report is generated to highlight conflicts that should be addressed by a development team during the upgrade process. The benefit of this tool is to provide developers with an idea of the level of effort required to complete an upgrade.
The Microsoft resources can be a helpful start but may not provide all the support necessary for a successful upgrade to newer Microsoft products.
With support for Dynamics AX 2012 coming to an end in October 2021, organizations need to begin considering options and planning for next steps. If you are looking to transition, find yourself a Sherpa that can help you up the mountain. The team at Protiviti has been supporting customers with these transitions for many years and have methodologies and tools to support successful transformations.