Big Changes Coming to Microsoft Dynamics

October 14th, 2016 by inflectra

I have had the pleasure this week of attending the Microsoft Dynamics 2016 Summit in sunny Tampa, Florida. We have several customers of ours beta testing the new functionality in Rapise 5.0 that makes testing Dynamics AX and CRM rapid and easy. Microsoft has some big changes planned for Dynamics and we're looking forward to helping you test your systems as you make the transition.

Where We Are Today

We have several customers using Microsoft AX as their ERP system for financials, operations and logistics. We also have several customers using Microsoft CRM as their sales force automation software. The next version of Rapise 5.0 is currently being beta tested by several of our customers to make sure that the new support for Dynamics CRM and AX is up to snuff.

The new version of Rapise contains enhancements to the web testing libraries to handle some of the unique screens and controls inside Dynamics CRM. For Dynamics AX we made major improvements to our Windows testing libraries to handle specific challenges faced when testing AX (windows with changing names, controls with changing IDs to name a few) and the AX reporting module (uses a different technology to the core product for added fun).

We are confident that the new version of Rapise will be the most productive way to test Dynamics AX 2012 and Dynamics CRM. So we came to the Dynamics Summit to learn more about the future.

What is Planned?

It seems that after somewhat ignoring the Dynamics range of products (AX, CRM, SL, NAV and GP) for the past few years,  Microsoft has finally woken up. For those who follow Dynamics, you will remember that they acquired the products from Axapta, Solomon, Navision, and Great Plains) many years ago, and basically just renamed them as Dynamics XX. At the summit keynote however, they announced radical changes to the product lineup.

The entire suite on separate ERP and CRM systems will be replaced by a new SaaS/cloud offering called Dynamics 365, based on Microsoft Azure that is entirely web based and provides a holistic, integrated ERP and CRM platform:

  • Dynamics AX  > Dynamics 365 for Operations
  • Dynamics CRM > Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • Code from "Dynamics NAV" > Dynamics 365 Financials
With the smaller products Dynamics NAV, SL and GP being larger consigned to a support and maintenance track. They will also be creating a small/medium sized business version that replaces NAV/GP called Dynamics 365 Business Edition (vs. the full Enterprise Edition)

From a testing standpoint, the old Dynamics AX windows GUI is completely gone, replaced by a new HTML5 based UI (same as CRM) and there will be companion Dynamics mobile applications for iOS and Android.

The Testing Challenge

For our customers, this means that at some point between now and 2021 (or 2023 if you pay for extended support) they will need to upgrade to the new Dynamics 365 Operations & CRM. That means they will need to test that their new installation and configuration matches what they had before.

So that is a huge regression testing challenge. Customers will need to be able to:

  • Run test scripts against the old Dynamics AX 2012 desktop interface
  • Run test scripts against the new Dynamics 365 web interfaces (Sales & Operations modules)
  • Run test scripts against the new mobile field-service apps (iOS and Android)
  • Make sure that the tests produce the same results (!)

Now Rapise can already test all three of these types of application (Windows, web and mobile), but to really make testing efficient, you need to have application specific support for the UI controls found in the application as well as generic support for the technology platform it's built on. In Rapise 5.0 we have added support for the unique controls found in the existing desktop versions of Dynamics AX as well as the web Dynamics CRM product.

In the future we will be adding similar support for Dynamics 365 web and mobile applications. You can expect us to provide you with samples and libraries that specifically address the testing challenges of Dynamics 365 web applications and the new Dynamics 364 iOS and Android apps.

dynamics ax dynamics crm dynamics 365 automated testing erp

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