How to map your career as a Dynamics AX Consultant

As a Dynamics AX Consultant there are a number of routes you can take in your career. You can work for a Gold Partner, an end user, or a Tier 1 Consultancy. So how do you decide which path to take? What are the principal advantages of working for an end user over a consultancy? This blog will look to tackle those issues and help you to map out a career in the AX channel.

Partners – the upside

There are a number of benefits in working for an AX partner. Certainly, the most fundamental being the experience you can gain through the variety of projects you will work on. As a consultant you will have the opportunity to work on multiple projects, and therefore learn how to match AX designs to different business processes. Being exposed to a variety of different projects, people, and processes therefore helps you to identify what experience you are lacking, and gives you the opportunity to close the skills gap. Furthermore when working for a partner, you will be afforded comprehensive training in project methodology and structure, as well as access to updates in Dynamics AX accrued through the partner’s relationship with Microsoft. These are a fundamental backbone to a successful career in AX and part of the reason why it is seen as beneficial to work for a partner in the early stages of your career.

Partners – the downside

On the other hand working for a partner can cause a number of complications, and particular in one’s personal life. The life of a consultant involves travelling to client sites and inevitably spending time away from home in lonely hotel rooms. While this may be seen as an advantage for those young enough to enjoy the benefits of room service and regular housekeeping, it can certainly put a strain on family life.

End users which brings us on to the benefits of working for an end user. Obviously, one principal advantage of working for an end user is the stability they can provide. You will often work in the same office, have a permanent base, and cackle at those external consultants staying in the Holiday Inn down the road. However does it give you the requisite experience to advance your career? The answer to this question can be seen in two different lights. One could argue that inevitably, your experience will be narrow and limited to the industry sector that you work in. However is this necessarily a bad thing? More and more, Dynamics AX is being tailored to specific industries and as such there is a real advantage to work with an end user. We have seen with the recent add ons for the rental, retail and manufacturing sector that industry experience is now almost as vital as product knowledge. Working for an end user will therefore give you experience with industry specific business processes which will allow you to develop bespoke implementation methodologies for that specific industry sector.

Obviously mapping out your career depends where you want to end up, and this will differ for each candidate. But what do clients’ value when recruiting? They value experience, adaptability, and industry specific knowledge. There is no set path to a successful career but a route planned is better than a route improvised – as I am constantly reminded by my wife in the car! Think about where you want to be, how to develop the skills to be there, and make sure your working environment supports your continued growth…. the rest will take care of itself!

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