5 misconceptions about Dynamics AXRaghupathy Nagarajan
I happened to meet a friend of mine after almost five years, he remembered my family well and even inquired if my son was going to school without crying. We recalled and laughed about those earlier times when my son used to make a great fuss about going to school. But things really changed a lot in the meantime and my son had developed a great interest in school. This time gap in our friendship gave an opportunity for us to update about the turn of events in our lives.
Within a week’s time after my meeting with my old friend, I had to meet a client and our discussion revolved around Microsoft Dynamics AX. In the conversation to gauge his current understanding of ERP in general, and AX in particular, I figured out that although the client had some level of knowledge about AX, his knowledge was rusty. He was mentioning some features / limitations of earlier versions. I could strike the similarity between the client and my friend I met the previous week. While my friend recalled my son’s early behavior, the client recalled the earlier version of the product and its limitations.
So I thought I should highlight a few of the common misconceptions on AX I come across and why they are termed as misconceptions and not facts.
AX cannot handle workflow approvals or complex approval processes
This was the state of affair till version 4.0. The current version of AX is enriched with a lot of workflows which are available through default configuration, around 70 workflows spread across various modules. Now it is very easy to develop and maintain custom workflows in AX, that could be attached to almost any form pertaining to any business process. AX is well matured now in workflows and can handle complex approval processes including budgeting, reporting hierarchies, and approvals through the web, emails and mobile apps.
AX cannot handle complex business processes
Another misconception is that AX is very primitive ERP when compared with the market leaders and hence has no depth in manoeuvring complex business processes. I remember in version 3.0 we could see a short list of modules numbering less than ten. Now we could see a long list of modules, nearly two dozen, with enriched functionality to meet complex business processes. The enrichment happened during last couple version upgrades and can be termed as a quantum leap. ‘Spend Management’ in particular, stands above the rest, as AX now offers complete control on spending.
AX is meant for SMEs
Another myth which surrounds AX from its infancy is its positioning. Yes, probably yesteryear versions had certain limitations in handling transactions of large volumes, but not anymore. The current version can handle organizations of large sizes, with large number of transactions. Living examples showcase as large as ten thousand (10,000) user licenses can be handled smoothly with large volumes of transactions associated with it.
AX is weak in handling industry verticals
A decent departure from the dearth of ‘industry related functionalities’ is an important paradigm shift of the product over versions. Acquiring and merging industry verticals into the base version of the product has widened the spectrum of application of AX into various industries. Retail, process manufacturing and professional services are examples of industry verticals which were successfully acquired and merged into the core product. Supported by a perennial eco-system of ISVs, (Independent Solution Vendors), industry add-ons are constant and eternal source of solution in AX.
AX cannot handle global rollouts
Incompatible tax engines prevented earlier versions to handle group companies from different countries in a single instance. But the current version provides the luxury of enabling the tax engines based on country of incorporation and seamlessly handles multiple tax engines in a single installation. Deploying country-wise accounting standards would be the icing on the cake, with group consolidation being the cherry on top.
There is an array of misconceptions that revolves around AX, which we often come across during our discussion with the clients. This could be attributed probably to the limitations of the earlier version/s. Like my son, the product has grown and matured over the years, and is still growing tall in its stature, which is hardly noticed by clients. That is where we come into the picture, since we stand as a testimonial of witness of the growth of the product over the years and versions. Our capabilities can play significant role in understanding the critical and unique business processes of clients and propose the most ideal fitment of the product and the resulting gap. Our experience can demonstrate the leverage of AX by reducing the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and increased ROI (Return on Investment).