Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Upgrade

Dynamics AX customers are moving to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, gaining the advantages of a secure cloud ERP with advanced tools alongside familiar Microsoft functionality.

To help you make informed decisions, avoid business disruption, and manage the change for your staff to your upgraded ERP, this page offers an overview of what you need to know. It introduces the basic steps, timeline, options, and benefits of an AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations upgrade or migration.

Your Choice. Your Terms. Your Future.
Navigate your growth with us.

If you’re ready to make the shift to Dynamics 365, Encore can assist you every step of the way. From performing the initial analysis to architecting your new solution, change management, user training, and adoption, we’ve got you covered.

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Note: Even though most customers, commentators, and consultants still call it Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations or Dynamics 365 F&O, Microsoft now technically licenses it as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

Reasons to Move to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

  • Scalable: Dynamics 365 F&O is a scalable platform that enables growth in your business.
  • Better Integration: Dynamics 365 F&O provides better integration capabilities with other Microsoft products such as Dynamics 365 CRM solutions, Power BI, and Microsoft 365 (Office 365).
  • Improved Security and Support: All Dynamics AX versions, as well as the Windows Server and SQL versions they depend on, have now reached the end of Microsoft support. Moving to Dynamics 365 gives you full and ongoing support from Microsoft, as well as regular security updates.
  • No More Server Costs: Dynamics 365 is hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud. You do not need to pay for servers or the infrastructure to maintain them. Cloud hosting is included in your user licenses.

Build Out Your Technology Roadmap

Through the decision-making process, it’s important to consider the full technology roadmap for your business. As your Dynamics Partner, Encore takes the time to understand your business needs, goals, and strategy, in order to create a technology plan going forward. We can identify how you can bring existing solutions together and leverage the current and future capabilities of the full Microsoft business stack: Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 (Office 365), Power BI, and more.

Encore can help you plan out the timeline, technology choices, and cloud strategy that will unlock growth for your business. Contact us or reach out to your Encore account manager to start the conversation.

Two Approaches for Moving From AX to D365 F&O: Upgrade vs. Migration

There are two different paths to move from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations: upgrade and migration.

During an upgrade, the complete database gets converted to the latest version, whereas in migration, much of the historical data remains in the old system.

The video below explains in detail a comparison of the two approaches:

For more information, please see this article: Dynamics AX to Finance & Operations Upgrade vs Migration.

Process for Moving From Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

There are 5 important parts to the process of moving your company from AX to Dynamics 365 F&O.

1. Assessment

To find your best process and timeline for moving from AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, we start by assessing your technical and business situation, which shapes the best options for your project.

We provide this service on a small contract, after which you’ll be better positioned to understand the costs, benefits, consequences, and options for upgrading your ERP.

In our experience, your best path to Dynamics 365 will depend mainly on 3 factors:

  • AX Version: As with any ERP, earlier versions will take more work to move to the newest version. Learn about moving to D365 from AX 2009 or moving to D365 from AX 2012.
  • Customizations & Integrations: We’ll advise you on the best ways to handle your existing customizations and integrations. There are several options here, including Power Platform and custom development work. See below.
  • Your Business Needs: We will focus your project on the functionality crucial to your business. That could be international accounting and compliance, process manufacturing, multi-site warehousing, or something else.

Also, we’ll help you develop a solution roadmap for your broader technology needs. Microsoft’s D365 business application stack includes more than ERP: it can also include Power BI, sales and field service functionality, and more. You can leverage these other parts of the Microsoft stack over time.

2. Solution Architecting

For large projects of this nature to be successful, it’s essential for you and your partner to develop a shared “10,000-foot view” of how your business needs match up to the solution and the process of moving to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.

Our solution architects provide that view, assessing your top-level business flow and requirements, determining how your current AX configuration can be translated into Dynamics 365, and advising on how long the project will take.

Furthermore, having the architecting completed at the beginning gives us the wherewithal to know when corrections or tweaks may need to be made to the plan.

Learn more about solution architecture for Dynamics 365 implementations.

3. Technical Work and Testing

During the project, we configure the system to support your business processes, create your users and assign security roles, and more.

Note that your team needs to dedicate time to testing and business process explanations, to ensure a successful move to D365. We’ll guide you through best practices and testing scripts.

For data migration, depending on your AX version, you may need our assistance to match up your current data to the correct fields in D365. We’ll create an import template for you.

Some AX to D365 Finance & Operations projects also include the following:

Customizations and Integrations

Custom Development: Some custom development work is necessary in many Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations projects.

But we won’t simply do every customization you request, then send you the bill. First, we’ll explain the possible alternatives and costs associated with those customizations.

We’ll also help you decide whether each of your existing customizations is best replaced by:

  • New out-of-the-box functionality in D365
  • Next-generation add-ons
  • Power Platform apps or automations
  • Business process changes


Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate

Power BI: Many, though not all, customers choose to enhance the reporting native to D365 F&O with Power BI, which lets you get insights from your data more easily and quickly. Learn more about reporting in D365 F&O.

Power BI reports can also be helpful during the process of moving to D365, because you can use them to monitor if data in the new system matches up properly to the old.

Power Apps and Power Automate: We can help you speed up repetitive processes and sometimes replace the need for customizations to fill gaps between the ERP and your business needs, using Power Apps and Power Automate. Learn more about the Power Platform with D365 F&O.


4. User Training

Your people will need training to ensure full adoption of the solution. Although most of the underlying functionality is the same, the D365 F&O interface has some significant differences from Dynamics AX. And you may have streamlined some of your business processes during the upgrade.

We often use a “train the trainer” methodology, because building up your power users and early adopters is a great investment for the future of your business. Those internal experts can then go on to help the rest of your company make the most of the upgraded system.

For introductions to many of the kinds of configuration and functionality you may want training in, see Encore’s D365 F&O Tips & Tricks articles.

5. Ongoing Guidance After Go-Live

Whether it’s for further training, technical support, product roadmapping, or future implementations (like Power BI), you need continued support from an experienced partner. That partner should understand your business and the technology you are using.

How Long Does It Take to Move From Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 F&O?

It usually takes 6-12 months to move from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations. This includes the architecting, configurations of each module, customizations, integrations, testing, and deployment. It’s important to plan ahead and speak with a partner who can provide guidance on the timeline for your business.

AX 2009 to Dynamics 365 Upgrade: Special Considerations

Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations offers considerably more functions and flexibility than AX 2009 in the areas of production, inventory, warehouse management, and financial dimensions. That means you’ll have more functionality once you move to D365. To ensure you leverage that new functionality effectively and achieve full user adoption, discuss these changes with your Dynamics Partner at the start of the implementation process.

For the same reason, user adoption for people accustomed to AX 2009 will take slightly more effort.

AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 Upgrade: Special Considerations

Businesses on AX 2012, 2012 R2, or 2012 R3 will find the move to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations somewhat easier. The vast majority of the functionality in D365 F&O already exists in AX 2012, especially in R2 and R3. So, if your business processes and needs are largely unchanged from when you configured AX, your partner can mostly take your existing business configurations and migrate them to the cloud.

Admittedly, the D365 F&O interface is different than the AX interface, but after a day or so of adjustment to the UI, your finance and operations staff will be able to find all the functions they are used to.

How to Prepare?

Projects for going from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations come in different sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Supersized. We can give you high-level guidance on the size of your upgrade or migration project if you provide us with information about your current Dynamics AX environment. See our Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Questionnaire.

Licensing in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations has named-user licenses. In most cases, each license costs $210 USD/user/month ($268.80 CAD/user/month). For details on how that licensing cost breaks down, and which licenses may cost more or less than that, read our explainer on Finance & Operations license pricing.

Please note that all pricing is subject to change without notice. Always contact Encore for the most current product pricing

How Encore Can Help

At Encore, we are experts in both Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations. When we implement your new Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations solution, we also draw on our deep history and experience with AX deployments like your current solution.

Beyond AX and D365 Finance & Operations, we have teams with knowledge and experience in all Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM solutions, Microsoft 365 (Office 365), Power BI and the Power Platform, the Microsoft Azure cloud, and more. These tools can extend the capabilities of Finance & Operations to meet your changing business needs as you grow.

We combine this comprehensive technical skill in Microsoft products with experience in the essential change management and training aspects of an ERP transition. This means we can guide you through testing, training, and user adoption – which are as important to your success as the technical implementation itself.

We advise each of our clients on the best tools and processes for them. We’d be happy to help you design the technology roadmap for the future of your business. AX to Dynamics 365 F&O projects are complex, and often have surprises. We won’t always be able to tell you what you want to hear, but we will always tell you what you need to hear.

If you’d like to discuss your options, or get started on a move to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, please reach out to your Account Manager or contact us with the form below.


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