Microsoft AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Locus IT 8 months, 1 week ago.

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    Anne Smith

    How to Upgrade from Microsoft AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 Operations?


    Andrew Jenson

    Hello Anne,

    Before getting on to how you can upgrade from AX to Dynamics 365 we will here present some concrete factors as to why you should upgrade to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, since we do realize that it is an important decision for you to change your business software, albeit it’s just an upgrade.

    First, with the release of this new ERP system, the support for Dynamics AX version has been withdrawn. So, if you are currently using the same old versions of Dynamics AX, you may be able to purchase some additional licenses, which, however, will be subject to the new Dynamics 365 licensing model.

    Second, the main reason you should upgrade to this version, and which is why this version struck a chord with a lot of developers and users, is the fact that this version is entirely cloud-based. Compare this to the desktop-based AX versions with some add on web and mobile components; not what a majority of customers are looking for now.

    How do the two versions compare?

    There are a number of new features in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones.

    1. Replacement of Role Centres by Workplaces, which allow users to access different aspects of Finance and Operations through a customizable dashboard.
    2. Empowered user experience through the Global Search feature that has the ability to find information from wherever it is in the system.
    3. Inventory update every 24 hours automatically. This can also be done manually.
    4. Ability to create and embed business intelligence reports in the Finance and Operations interface.

    These are just a few of the many improvements that the Dynamics 365 version has to offer. Overall, Dynamics 365 offers all the previous functionalities of Dynamics AX, related to HR, procurement, production, supply chain management, retail etc. So you won’t be missing out on anything.

    So now on to the most critical part:

    Before buying this version, start with analyzing how much effort and resource will be required to carry out this upgrade. This will help you in mapping out a project plan.

    The process of upgrading from one version to another depends on how you have been using this platform for your business. This involves identifying, executing, and planning the upgrade path that will add meaning to your business’ growth.

    The good news is that Microsoft currently offers a direct upgrade path from Dynamics AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. You can input a model store file in the code upgrade service under Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services, which means that upgrading anything from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 will be possible.

    *Please Note- Microsoft doesn’t provide an upgrade from the older versions of Dynamics AX; AX 2009 and 4.0. If you are running any of these instances, you will have to reimplement the whole system.

    Upgrading from Dynamics AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 would involve two steps:

    Code upgrade as per the new version
    Data upgrade to the new data model

    Code upgrade requirements

    As mentioned above, you must have access to Microsoft Lifecycle Services and a model store file (no databases) in order to commence the code upgrade.

    Before beginning with the code upgrade make sure you have taken the necessary actions listed below.

    1. Getting rid of any unnecessary models present in your model store.
    2. Upload a fully compiled model store, free of any errors.
    3. Confirm with your ISV partner if they too have an AX compatible version for their ERP solution.
    4. It is recommended to make ISV a part of your upgrade process if you have customized it heavily as per your requirements.
    5. If you do involve ISV in the upgrading process and a platform or any of the foundation objects are modified during the process, you must remove the code in them and refactor it in the extensions.

    Requirements of data upgrade

    In Feb 2018 Microsoft released the first data upgrade service for upgrading from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365. Microsoft recommends running this first in the development environment rather than the Sandbox environment.

    The primary reason for this is that in the development environment, the developers have the provision of local data that they can write, as well as, test their custom data upgrade scripts against the data. It also is time efficient since it reduces the overall time spent on the iterations of the data upgrade process.

    The data upgrade involves the following steps:

    1. Backing up the AX 2012 database using the standard Microsoft SQL Server process. This will produce a BAK file.
    2. Based on how your developer environment is hosted, you need to upload your backup. For an Azure hosted VM, you must upload your backup to Azure storage; for a local VM you can transfer the file directly across the network.
    3. Download and restore the AX 2012 database next to the original databases. While restoring the backup to Dynamics 365 do not overwrite your current AXDB database.
    4. Download latest binary updates from the shared asset library of Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services to run the data upgrade deployable packages.

    In order to carry out a seamless upgrade, it is essential to keep note of all the extensions that your ERP currently works on. This will ensure proper functioning of your ERP and ensure the data visibility that your business requires.

    While an in-house IT team can come in handy to conduct this update, leveraging the expertise of a team that is adept at handling such upgrades will make the processing time and cost efficient, smoother, and ensure constant support throughout.


    Locus IT

    Hello Anne,

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations running Platform update 8 and the July 2017 Application release, and later provides an upgrade path that customers who currently run Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can use to move their data and code to Finance and Operations. Currently upgrade from AX 2012 R3 and AX 2012 R2 are supported. The upgrade process is built on the following elements:
    • Tools to help you bring forward existing custom application code from AX 2012.
    • A data upgrade process that you can use to bring your database forward. Therefore, you can upgrade your full transactional history.


    The activities in the Analyze phase help you estimate the effort that is required for the upgrade. They also help you prepare a project plan. These activities can be done before you buy Finance and Operations. They will help you make an informed purchase decision by providing a data point about the effort and resources that you will require.

    Sign up for a Finance and Operations LCS trial or partner project
    To perform Analyze activities before you purchase Finance and Operations, you need to sign up for an LCS trial or partner project. This lets you deploy your own Finance and Operations environments. It also gives you access to the tools in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) that are used to evaluate your AX 2012 environment and your existing custom code.

    Select the upgrade methodology
    In your new LCS project, set the project methodology to Upgrade AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. This methodology is made specially for AX 2012 customers who are upgrading. It describes the three phases in detail and provides links to all the supporting documentation about the process.

    Run the upgrade analyzer
    The upgrade analyzer tool runs against your AX 2012 environment and identifies tasks that you should do to prepare the AX 2012 environment, to help make the upgrade experience smoother and less expensive:
    • Data cleanup
    • SQL configuration
    • Deprecated features

    Additionally, as part of this step, you must install a pre-upgrade checklist in your AX 2012 environment. You can use this checklist to enter data that will be required for the upgrade procedure.
    For example, in one pre-upgrade checklist task, you provide the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) sign-in information for each current AX 2012 user, so that each user will be able to sign in to Finance and Operations.

    Run the Code upgrade estimation tools
    This step takes your code from AX 2012, converts it to the new format, and provides feedback about conflicts that a developer must resolve later. This step forms the basis for the estimate of the cost of your code upgrade.
    To complete this step, you must export your code from AX 2012 as a model store export and upload it to the LCS Code upgrade tool. The Code upgrade tool will produce an upgraded version of your code and a report about the remaining conflicts that must be resolved. Your developer can then review both the upgraded code and the report to determine the effort that will be required in order to upgrade your code base.
    The output of this step represents the workstream in the upgrade project plan for your Microsoft Dynamics AX developers.

    Deploy a demo environment
    Demo environments are default environments that contain demonstration data (not your own data) and standard code (no customizations). We recommend that you deploy a demo environment to evaluate new features, and to perform a basic fit gap analysis of standard processes that are used in AX 2012 but that might have changed in Finance and Operations.

    Create a project plan
    A template for a project plan is provided in the upgrade methodology. In this step, the output from the previous steps of the Analyze phase is used to fill the project plan for the upgrade project.

    During the Execute phase, you work through the tasks that you planned during the Analyze phase. To move to the Execute phase, you must purchase Finance and Operations, and you must have available resources that can work on the upgrade.

    Switch to the LCS implementation project
    The public preview project that you used for the Analyze phase has served its purpose. You can now discard it. For the remaining steps, you require only the project plan that you created in the final step of the Analyze phase.

    Perform the AX 2012 preparation tasks
    Complete the tasks that the upgrade analyzer tool discovered, and that are documented in your upgrade project plan. Your Microsoft Dynamics AX system administrator and database administrator (DBA) must complete these tasks.

    Perform code upgrade
    Complete the tasks that were planned during the code upgrade estimation step of the Analyze phase. Your developers must run these tasks.

    Develop new code
    Complete the tasks from the fit gap analysis that was performed during the “Deploy a demo environment” step of the Analyze phase.

    Data upgrade (development environment)
    After your code upgrade tasks are completed, you can upgrade your AX 2012 database to Finance and Operations for the first time.

    Data upgrade (sandbox environments)
    When data upgrade in a development environment is completed, the same process can be run in a sandbox environment.

    When you enter the Validate phase, you will have available environments that include your upgraded custom code and your upgraded data. This phase describes the process of validating and testing that the upgraded environment works as desired. It also describes the process of preparing for go-live.

    Perform cutover testing and create a cutover plan
    The term cutover is used here to describe the final process of putting the new system live. This process consists of the tasks that occur after AX 2012 is turned off and before Finance and Operations is turned on.

    There are two main workstreams:
    • Technical workstream
    • Functional workstream

    Functional test pass
    Complete a full functional test pass of all business processes. This test pass will be an extensive retest of all business processes that involve Finance and Operations.

    Pre-go-live checklist
    The pre-go-live checklist is a recommended procedure that can help reduce the chance of errors during the final cutover to go-live.

    Go live
    After you have successfully completed upgrade testing in a Standard or Premier Acceptance Test environment (Sandbox Tier 2 or higher), and you have also completed a successful test cutover, the moment has arrived to upgrade your production environment and go live.

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