Users of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, 2012 and 2012 R2 will be all too aware that Extended Support ends in 2021. So the question is, what are you doing about it? Where to next?

First of all let’s clarify what Mainstream and Extended Support entail so you know what you’re dealing with:

Mainstream Support includes:

  • Ability to purchase a paid support agreement
  • Security update support
  • Non-security hotfix support
  • No charge Incident Support
  • Warranty Claims
  • Design Changes and Feature Requests
  • Self Service Support (Microsoft Knowledge Base and Microsoft Help and Support Site)

So the end of mainstream support means that Microsoft will no longer enhance the product.  Security updates and non-security hotfixes will no longer be supplied, and the warranty claims will end.

Extended Support includes:

There are extended support options available for $100,000-150,000 a year which would extend your coverage.  Once a product transitions from Mainstream to Extended support, the support is limited to self-service and paid options.  Extended Support (again available for a fee) includes the following:

  • Ability to purchase a paid support agreement
  • Security update support
  • Non-security hotfix support (If extended hotfix agreement is purchased within 90 days of ending Mainstream support)
  • Self Service Support (Microsoft Knowledge Base and Microsoft Help and Support Site)

So what now? Your options.

As a Dynamics AX 2009/2012/2012 R2 user facing an end to Mainstream Support this year, you broadly have the following options:

  1. Purchase an extended support agreement

    As we pointed out above, you can purchase an Extended Support Agreement, but it comes at a cost. With this option you’ll be able to keep your systems up and running but keep in mind that there won’t be any updates or fixes released. You may also find it difficult to integrate new software and hardware as technically your system will be out of date and therefore potentially incompatible.

  2. Pay for a custom support contract

    The only real alternative to purchasing Extended Support are paid custom support contracts or a managed service.  Updates to the product, including security updates, should not be expected outside of the terms defined within paid custom support contracts.

  3. Upgrade

    Upgrading to Dynamics 365 comes with a whole host of benefits and features, but that comes at a price and businesses can be daunted at the financial implications of consultancy fees. There are ways to achieve implementation without the crippling cost. AgileCadence has implemented a Collaborative Implementation Project that keeps the learning in-house but provides support and guidance throughout the process. It can help to keep the cost down, while investing in your own team.  It’s certainly an alternative the costly traditional implementation route, although it’s not right for everyone.

  4. Extend the life of your current platform

    You might have plans in place to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 but you still have a year or two or working with Dynamics AX. There’s no need to discount the platform and there’s plenty you can do to extend the life of your current platform. Working with a partner or your in-house team, you can optimise and stabilise the platform. We posted a series of blogs last Christmas specifically aimed at retailers, but the principle is the same whatever your industry. Take a look at the posts for some quick wins or give AgileCadence a call to discuss performance optimisation.

  5. Do nothing and hope for the best

    We hesitate to put this in as a real option, but we have because we know a lot of businesses might well sit back and keep their fingers crossed that it all works out. But that’s not a plan and in order to achieve growth you have to have confidence in your systems. The financial implications of your operational facility grinding to a halt because of a software glitch are enormous.  So whether you engage with a partner to extend the lifecycle of Dynamics AX or you commit to a Dynamics 365 implementation, make sure you have a plan that’s right for you.

If  you’re unsure what to do next or what the best option is, just give us a call or drop us an email. We’ve got a lot of experience in this area and we’re happy to lend a hand by talking things through. Don’t forget to Follow Us on LinkedIn for industry updates, hints, tips and blog posts.