With over 20 years of enterprise application implementation experience, Scott has seen firsthand the evolution of cloud-based ERP.
Scott sat down with us to discuss the new version of Microsoft’s top-tier ERP, Dynamics AX, and what its new features could mean for businesses thinking of adopting the newest version.
We all know that the current available version of the new AX is a Public Cloud version, using shared infrastructure on Microsoft Azure. What are the enhancements/limitations within this deployment model?
The enhancement is that it is truly a SaaS offering. Azure, monitored by Microsoft, manages all of the underlying resources to ensure a good customer experience. Of course some would say this is a limitation as well because of the loss of control, but for the maturity of the product, Microsoft is really the better custodian for right now. The biggest limitation I see is in data migration. There is no simple migration story, and so anyone moving to AX is really doing a new implementation, whether they are currently using AX or not.
When can we expect a private cloud deployment option? How about an all-flavors option?
The private cloud option will really be the all-flavor option, as it will need to run on Azure Stack. Azure Stack is Microsoft’s private cloud platform offering that will look and feel just like Azure; however it will run on local hardware instead of in Microsoft Hyperscale data centers. When this becomes available, early next year is the current target date, then AX will be able to be deployed there the same way it will in Azure.
How will the Hybrid Cloud affect AX deployment and adoption strategies, whether it be with the new AX or in older versions?
Anyone who is looking to deploy AX – new or old - in Azure will need to look at Hybrid Cloud. Most AX environments are not isolated, linking to multiple other systems, even things as mundane as printers. With communications happening across a WAN or even the Internet, latency comes in to play. So a hybrid strategy is critical to maintaining a positive user experience.
How should businesses approach developing a hybrid cloud strategy for their AX application?
Starting with an up-to-date application portfolio is key. Every system that interacts with AX needs to be looked at to determine if it can or should be moved to the cloud at the same time. Sometimes the answer will be no because of timing requirements or offline survivability, and that is where a hybrid strategy comes in to help understand connectivity options.
A great example is Excel. Most companies forget about exporting data to Excel, but when AX lives in the cloud it is not as simple as it used to be. Having a partner who has experience with cloud transitions who can help evaluate and recommend a roadmap is a huge help.
Thank you for your time today. We’re currently experiencing an explosion in technologies that use cloud capabilities, and the new Dynamics AX is a glimpse into the future of cloud-based ERP software. It must be an exciting time to be an application architect.
It certainly is! The speed at which new options are becoming available is almost dizzying. The old adage that if you are not moving forward you are falling behind has rarely been more applicable than now.