With the newest release of AX 2012 R3, users will notice the addition of significant functionality around the warehousing (WHS) and transportation (TMS) capabilities. The features are so large they now have their own modules within Dynamics AX. Its exciting to see these make it into an ERP out of the box as historically, they are reserved for software which does them exclusively dubbed ‘best in breed’. Because Microsoft has declared these as the way of the future for AX, the functionality and concepts will become key to future implementations of AX.
I wanted to write a brief post highlighting a few things in regards to WM2 being deprecated. We think these points are important so we want to do all we can to make sure the information gets out there in the AX community.
The big point: While AX 2012 R3 will support WM2 and WHS, they are not going to be supported in conjunction with each other. Make sure that only either WM2 or the WHS modules are checked, NOT BOTH. Microsoft is not supporting both enabled in a single environment. They were designed in R3 to be mutually exclusive.
Why was the Warehouse Management II (WM2) functionality deprecated in AX 2012 R3?
Making reference to Microsoft’s official document for deprecated and new features “New, changed, and Deprecated Features for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012” document, on page 750, the functionality duplicates what is in the new WHS functionality. The capabilities will not be 1:1 to features in WM2 as the concepts and ideas behind accomplishing certain tasks have changed. You should be able to accomplish everything you were able to do and more in WM2. It may take some time to learn the new functionality but, when executed correctly, will take implementations so much further with fewer customizations.
Why didn’t Microsoft just add advanced features to the existing functionality?
It’s not so much a question of “What features can be added to a module” as it is “If the module was designed for the features to be added to it”. Any system can technically have any feature added to it; it’s only a question of time and money (and sanity!). Adding new features to existing functionality on a framework that wasn’t designed for them is what can lead to ‘spaghetti code’ and a large bug sheet.
When Blue Horseshoe wrote the Warehousing for AX (WAX) and Transportation for AX (TRAX) modules, the functionality was designed with best in breed features in mind. We designed for the future but implemented for today. People now have a significantly more robust framework for adding advanced concepts of warehousing than were previously able to do on WM2. Some say “The functionality is too much for what we do”, but the reality is, when implemented correctly, there isn’t an organization small enough for this to not be the path to take.
What does this mean for upgrading?
According to Microsoft, no upgrade impact has been announced. Additionally, neither migration tools nor documentation have not been announced as of the date of posting. In my opinion, this is not a big deal. A very large majority of AX implementations are either integrating to a best of breed or have a heavily modified environment to accommodate for the functionality now included in the R3 code. This makes the upgrade path a topic that will require analysis on a case by case basis to find the best path forward. Purely ‘technical’ upgrades aren’t really possible. Also, remember that WM2 is just deprecated, not eliminated in R3. The functionality can still be used. There is still time here. Deprecation means intention to discontinue, not pull the table cloth out as fast as possible and hope the dishes don’t move.
Blue Horseshoe has had the distinct advantage of having written the original code as well as working very closely with the Microsoft development team to write the code for R3. With this, we’ve been able to analyze and plan for upgrade paths successfully. We’ve also been able to see what various levels of upgrading will take in some of the most complex AX instances out there. When Switching to the new WHS/TMS functionality in R3, it becomes vitally important to ask the right questions in planning the upgrade in order to take your organization to the next level of success.
Innovations in technology and systems are inevitable. How you design and implement you system today will determine a company’s ability to adapt to the innovations of tomorrow.
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