News that the extended support period for Microsoft AX 2009 SP1, 2012 and 2012 R2 is now continuing until April 2022 will give customers the additional time they might need to consider their options. The pandemic may have slowed down some IT departments or operations and plans to migrate to new solutions, or find ways to keep existing ones functional, may have taken a backseat in these tumultuous times.
But while April 2022 may seem a long way off, it’s worth thinking about a plan beyond Microsoft Extended Support – and what the options could be. As we all know, time can fly by very quickly, and the extended period should not be seen as an opportunity to keep your head in the sand for a little longer!
Some firms may have concerns or reservations around integrating existing systems into new ones, or completely migrating, and what this means for them in terms of cost and user training. So whether you’re completely confused about what to do next, are open to migrating to a new system or want to find out more about how to keep AX solutions running, we’ve outlined the options available.
Maximising support options
So with Extended Support from Microsoft continuing until April 2022, there is of course the opportunity to pay for this service while it is still offered. As the mainstream support period ended in 2018, there will be no security or non-security hotfixes, or regulatory updates – but Microsoft’s Extended Support Package will enable you to keep your systems running.
Beyond this, you may choose to work with a solutions provider to have a custom support package in place that will enable you to continue to use AX. At BrightBridge, we can offer this, which will keep your system functional. Again, there will be no security updates and no functionality updates – which means any business looking to grow or add new solutions in line with business evolution will find them incompatible and experience issues. Not only this, but if a software problem occurred that could not be solved because no fix is available from Microsoft, this could bring operations to a standstill. Being forced into system migration or implementing new solutions as a result of the existing one ‘breaking’ isn’t a great place to be in a rapidly evolving business technology landscape.
Don’t wait to be pushed
It may seem daunting to consider migration to a whole new solution, and while many may be sitting back and waiting to be pushed, it’s advisable to start getting your head around it as soon as possible. You may think you want an upgrade: a simple move to an upgraded system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 that offers the opportunity to carry on as you were. But this will bring a whole host of functionality that you didn’t know existed – and will soon wonder how you did without!
We all know that digital transformation is a bona fide ‘thing’ and that we need to embrace change – particularly when facing challenges such as a rapidly evolving economic climate, new practices such as remote working, growing regulation and compliance and the mission that is achieving optimum efficiencies. Cyber security is also a big consideration that affects all businesses. It still probably won’t come as a surprise to you that despite all of that knowledge, many businesses can still be resistant to change.
Embrace migration to achieve functionality like never before
Bringing all the disparate operational elements of a business into one, unified platform provides a 360 view degree of the business covering aspects such as finance, accounting and resource management. There’s only ever one version of the truth for everyone to work to – and that is something that can’t be achieved without migrating to a system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365. And because it’s cloud-based, files, folders and systems can be accessed from anywhere and on any device – a must in a world where the remote working scenario induced by the pandemic looks set to remain a permanent feature.
Upgrades will be a thing of the past if you move to a cloud-based solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365, as updates are automatic. You may feel this decision is a big one, presenting a headache right now, but if you choose migration, it will be the last upgrade headache!
Beyond business operations such as finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers solutions such as Service, Sales, Marketing and Supply Chain Management – so you can add whichever are relevant to your business and sign up only for the elements you need. Being able to seamlessly integrate functions such as this, with Finance and other business areas, means real insights can be easily gleaned and used to inform business decisions. Enhanced customer experiences, more effective marketing or a smooth-running manufacturing or distribution operation are just some of the wide-ranging benefits a switch to an intuitive, future-proof solution can facilitate.
Whatever you choose to do, taking the decision to explore options and make decisions sooner rather than later is a wise move. Reviewing the latest Microsoft Dynamics 365 functionality and working with a partner now, even if not intending to upgrade straight away, will negate a last minute panic. With the end of product life for Microsoft AX 2009 SP1, 2012 and 2012 R2 in sight, partners are now getting very busy with upgrades and implementations and will likely face a backlog. Without due planning, users could find themselves without the right support when they need it most.
For more information about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 could help your business, or advice on support to keep your systems running, get in touch with BrightBridge now.