Dynamics SL to Dynamics 365: What does a migration look like?

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So far in our SL-to-Dynamics 365 blog series, we have discussed the impending end-of-life for Microsoft Dynamics SL and the advantages of adopting Dynamics 365. Now it’s time to discuss what it takes to successfully migrate to Microsoft’s latest ERP Platform. While the best way to get an in-depth, custom-tailored description of what a migration entails is to sign up for our assessment, here you can gain a high-level overview of the steps you and your Dynamics partner would take.

Upgrade versus implementation

The two primary paths to Dynamics 365 are the upgrade path, which is similar to upgrading to a new version of SL, and the implementation path, which is essentially a full-scale software implementation.

In an upgrade scenario, all of your existing data would be directly converted from Dynamics SL to Dynamics 365 in a process similar to upgrading from, for example SL 2015 to SL 2018. Any reports and customizations that are compatible with Dynamics 365 would roll over as well. In order to upgrade, however, you must be on the latest version of SL, which is SL 2018. So, if you’re running on 2015 or earlier, you’ll need to move through successive versions of the software before you can upgrade to Dynamics 365.

Because the process of upgrading from older versions of SL seems cumbersome, most organizations in this situation will opt for a full-scale implementation of Dynamics 365. In this process, your data would be extracted from SL and entered into your new solution. Unlike in an upgrade, where all of your data moves to Dynamics 365, only the data you specifically choose is moved in an implementation. In addition, while some of your reports and customizations might carry over, most of them will likely have to be redeveloped from scratch. For this reason, a re-implementation approach is best for businesses that want to make extensive changes to processes and tools, regardless of what SL version they are on.

Licensing options

When you make the jump to Dynamics 365, you have a couple of options with regard to licensing. One option is to buy cloud add-on SKUs you can attach to your on-premise perpetual license plan. This allows you to move to Dynamics 365 on a user-by-user basis while remaining on your current plan. Then, once your renewal date arrives, you can drop your perpetual license in favor of a subscription-based cloud SKU. This option is available at any time, whether before or after your renewal date.

The second option is to switch to a subscription-only SKU that replaces your perpetual license plan and allows you to move all of your users to Dynamics 365 at one time. This can only be done once you have paid for your current license plan in full and your renewal date has arrived; you won’t be able to access Dynamics 365 until these conditions are met. Those who have been on a subscription plan (i.e. hosted SL in the cloud) for at least three years can also utilize this option.

Migration timeframe

Because each client and Dynamics SL environment is unique, it’s difficult to say how long a migration might take. If your solution has few customizations and will be primarily used out-of-the-box, the process will likely take as few as two to three months. On the other hand, if you require a moderate to significant amount of customization, it could last anywhere from three to six months. If you are planning a complete revamp of your business processes alongside your upgrade or implementation, the process might take closer to a year. These are by no means hard and fast timelines; as we said, every case is unique. A more accurate estimate can be gleaned during an official SL-to-D365 assessment.

Signing up for your assessment

Now that you have a bird’s-eye view of what a migration would look like, you’re probably curious for insights specific to your individual business. By signing up for our SL-to-Dynamics 365 assessment, you’ll gain a free hour with our Dynamics solution experts and have the opportunity to take a deeper dive into your requirements and goals. Regardless of whether or not you choose to work with us on your migration, you’ll walk away with an informed perspective on your readiness and what is required for success!

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