2018 is approaching quickly, and with the new year comes a decisive moment for companies using Adxstudio Portals to engage with customers over the web. Starting August 1, 2018, Microsoft will no longer support or provide updates to legacy Adxstudio Portals; a move that is probably not a surprise to its users. Since acquiring Adxstudio Portals in 2015, Microsoft has been integrating the portal tools into their own solution; starting with the launch of their own hosted solution and transfer of legacy ADX shared-portal hosting over to customer-owned Azure account. Adxstudio Portals was originally advertised as a powerful customer engagement add-on to Dynamics CRM, but as of 2016, Microsoft stopped selling new licenses. Going forward, the portal tool, now known as Dynamics 365 – Portals, will be a fully integrated feature of the new Dynamics 365 solution, which combines CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities.
For organizations using legacy Adxstudio Portals, Microsoft has laid out three transition options:
1. Migrate to Dynamics 365 – Portals, which includes ongoing support and updates from Microsoft.
2. Use the Dynamics 365 – Portals v8.3 one-time, free source code that was released on September 18, 2017. There will be no updates or support from Microsoft.
3. Those with perpetual licenses can continue using legacy Adxstudio Portals v7 with no updates or support from Microsoft.
For most small to mid-size companies, Option #1 will likely be the most cost-effective approach and most efficient use of resources over time. For enterprise-sized companies with a large development team that may require a highly customized solution, Options #2 or #3 may be viable. If there is uncertainty about the most effective solution, a knowledgeable Microsoft Partner can assist organizations in discovering the best transition option.
For organizations leaning toward migration (Option #1), there are still questions about the level of complexity of the Adxstudio Protals V7 to Dynamics 365-portals migration; specifically regarding how custom configurations and user interface changes (UI) will transition. Microsoft is expected to release documentation on specific migration instructions soon; in the meantime, there are a few steps businesses can take to ensure they are prepared for the change.
1. Document current implementation
If system documentation doesn’t exist, take the time to create an inventory of the requirements, features, and configurations of your current portals. This provides an outline of the complexity of current systems and allows for flagging of certain features that may be tricky or time-consuming to transition.
2. Plan for impact of migration
How will the migration affect portals, and in turn, customers and internal business operations? There is still a question as to how user interface will transfer into Dynamics 365 – Portals. The transition may be easy or organizations may need to be rebuild their UIs, requiring additional resources and time for portal set up. It would also be useful to consider the current maintenance and enhancement schedule. It might be prudent to put some of these actions on hold, as the new system may require a rebuild of certain features and duplication of work. Once a migration roadmap is available from Microsoft, the logistics of transferring your current implementation should become evident. In the meantime, think about those features you have implemented that are nice to have versus have to have. Are there opportunities in the transition to streamline existing workflows and reduce complexity?
3. Develop a timeline and plan
We know that Microsoft will end support for legacy Adxstudio Portals starting on August 1, so work back from that date and develop a timeline for migration. As with all IT changes, it’s important to allocate plenty of time for testing and validating portals after migration. If businesses want to ensure that the transition is seamless for customers, and least disruptive to their operations, building in enough time for testing is essential.
4. Engage a Microsoft Partner
Microsoft recommends working with a Microsoft Partner as a formal support channel to guide the transition process. This is a good time to start engaging with experts in digital transformation who can help assess organizational impacts, develop internal transition plans, and manage the technical aspects of the migration.
Need more details on the Adxstudio to Dynamics 365-Portals migration? We’ll send you a quick note with further recommendations once Microsoft releases further documentation.
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