Dynamics AX Development – Where Do I Start?

Dynamics AX 2012 is a powerful product that sits on top of advanced products like SQL Server, SSRS, Sharepoint, and other Microsoft technologies.  Because of the overwhelming amount of possibilities available to customize Dynamics AX, and the complexity of each and every one of the technologies involved, sometimes simple questions like ‘Where do I start?’ are difficult to answer.  In my opinion, the best answer to this question is: it depends on what you want to accomplish.

Not the answer you were looking for? Well, nobody implements Dynamics AX because it is easy to implement or customize.  The selling feature of Dynamics AX is its flexibility, its capacity to adapt to any business, its reliability, etc.  Once you are immersed in the AX world, you’ll realize that you’ll need some technical training to accomplish basic tasks like writing reports, customizing forms, and even adding columns to a table.

Don’t get me wrong, the purpose of this article is not to scare you, but to let you all know that there is a learning curve that has to be followed before you reach that light at the end of the tunnel.

For starters, let’s look at the famous Dynamics AX object tree (AOT).  The AOT is the first place to go if you want to start modifying AX.  (Now you can answer the ‘Where do I start?’)

The AOT is the repository where all Dynamics AX objects are located.  Each component in Dynamics AX is a building block or object in AX.  Reports, forms, fields, data types, extended data types, queries, maps, menus are all good examples of AX objects.  Having all the objects arranged in a tree layout makes it simpler to find them.

Just hit CTRL-D to go to the development environment and the AOT window will be waiting for you.  Of course, you can hit the keyboard sequence many times if you want to open more AOT windows.  This is useful when you want to see two or more sections of the AOT side by side on your screen.

Dynamics AX Development - Where Do I Start?

I would recommend getting a big screen monitor (if you don’t have one by now) so that you can have multiple windows open at the same time.  You’ll find this convenient in the future because these windows pile up at breakneck speed.

The next big question to answer is:  ‘How do I know which object to edit or customize?’  And that will be the topic of future articles.  Stay tuned.

 

Written by Eduardo Sicouret, Dynamics AX Technical Consultant for Tridea Partners. Tridea Partners is a Southern California based Dynamics AX partner.

Dynamics AX, A Solution With Value

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is the ideal ERP solution for businesses in need of a powerful, fully integrated ERP that provides flexibility and agility at a low cost of ownership.  From implementation to maintenance, Dynamics AX, allows user the ability to perform much of the application configuration to create a system fitting their unique business needs with minimal code modifications and technical involvement.  The users are empowered to build role based security, create workflows to mitigate risk, generate alert notifications for desired conditions, and construct intelligent organizations and accounting structures to manage data and reporting.

Security in AX is managed based on roles and tasks which are aligned with the structure of the business.  There are over 30 predefined roles that can be altered to meet unique segregation of duties or internal control needs by removing or adding specific privileges.  These roles are then assigned to users based on their responsibilities in the company. Once security roles have been assigned rules can also be established to enable business managers to control day-to-day user access based on business data.

Creating workflows is another powerful tool critical to mitigating risk and managing the approval of day to day transactions. With Dynamics AX these workflows can be built, updated and deployed by the user through graphical editors which are simple and easy to use.  The visual diagrams used in designing a workflow can vary from the very basic to incorporating complex, sophisticated hierarchies based on the organization structure. Once again, all being created and managed by the users.

Alerts are helpful in notifying users of specific activity that has occurred in the system.  They can be based on changes made to master data or constructed to signal that a particular transaction has taken place.  By enabling each user to define and configure these alerts individually, users are able to identify and monitor particular operations and take quick action accordingly.

With Microsoft Dynamics AX, defining the framework for the company and related organizational and financial structures are all under user’s control.  AX offers a multitude of dimensions and groupings that can be defined and utilized to aggregate, manage and report on key metrics and financial data.  For example,  users can configure posting profiles for customer and vendor groups to manage sets of data based on common traits. These can be easily updated and altered as the business grows or changes. The account structure in AX can accommodate an unlimited number of financial dimensions which can be linked to any number of organizational designations. For example, the “business unit” configured for use in a purchasing workflow can also be designated as a financial dimension for purposes of capturing financial data for that “business unit”.  Users are able to create rules and relationships between these financial dimensions in order to control the posting of financial data and eliminate entry errors.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is an excellent choice for companies looking for a robust ERP at a significantly lower cost of implementation and ongoing maintenance. It delivers value by empowering users to configure and administer vast portions of the application themselves.

This post was written by Susie Hadley,  AX Practice Manager at Tridea Partners. Tridea Partners is a Southern California based Dynamics AX partner.

Electronic Payment Solutions for Dynamics GP

Remember when checks and cash used to be the only preferred methods of payment for the typical consumer?  In this day and age, electronic payments in the form of credit cards, debit cards and electronic checks (ACH) are so commonplace that traditional methods of cash or paper check payments are rare occurrences in a retail or merchant environment.

Consumers and merchants in developed countries all over the globe have very quickly adapted to the way by which electronic cards and ACH payments are used to conduct business.  The benefits are clearly advantageous for both sides as consumers and merchants are provided with easy and secure access to their funds. Credit cards, especially, are simply more convenient and offer lower consumer transaction costs, while cash or checks involve paperwork, hassle, and a potential waiting period.  Similarly for merchants, cash and check handling is significantly reduced, thereby also reducing human error.  Moreover, merchants expand their pool of customers who are guaranteed to pay.  These days, having an electronic payment option is the norm and very much expected by both B2B and B2C customers – not having it is perceived as highly inconvenient.

According to the recent study by Moody’s Analytics, “Payment cards are not just convenient – they help stimulate growth for economies as well.”  The study covered 56 countries that make up 93% of world gross domestic product, and over a five-year span–2008 to 2012—it found that “greater usage of electronic payment products added $983 billion in real (U.S.) dollars to GDP in the countries studied,” and “card usage raised consumption by an average of 0.7% across the 56 countries.”

The continued proliferation and acceptance of electronic payment solutions will only grow and become more diversified going forward, with the advent of many different ways for processing transactions electronically to cater to consumers’ and merchants’ needs for convenience and security.  These ePayment solutions:

  • Lower the average administrative cost of a purchase made, from $93 for traditional purchase orders to only $22 for purchasing card buys (RPMG Research)
  • Reduce the need for staff that is devoted to accounts payable
  • Create greater transparency into cash flow
  • Provide encryption methods, tokenization and PCI compliance
  • Allow for scheduled payments based on date or invoice
  • Typically include an eWallet that allows customers to manage their payment methods

For merchants, it’s important to choose a VAR/ISV that has expertise in the ePayment industry and can offer you a solution designed to leverage your Dynamics GP solution, while having the capabilities to grow with your business.

This post was written by Nodus Technologies. Contact Nodus or Tridea Partners to learn more.

Dynamics CRM 2013 Hardware and Software Requirements

With the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, we have had several questions regarding the software and hardware requirements of the new version. So, here they are:

The server must be running Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter or Web Server, their 2008 R2 equivalents or Windows Server 2012 Datacenter or Standard. Please note the newly released Server 2012 R2 is not currently supported. The server may also be virtualized using Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 or 2012 Hyper-V

IIS requirements remain the same. One issue we have seen with clients is having multiple http or https bindings for the CRM website. This was not supported in CRM 2011 and is still unsupported in CRM 2013.

SQL requirements remain the same with CRM 2013 supporting SQL Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter or Developer editions as well as SQL Server 2012 Standard, Business Intelligence or Enterprise.

This post was written by Derek Finlinson, Technical Consultant at Tridea Partners. Tridea is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner serving CA, UT, CO and surrounding regions. More information on Dynamics CRM 2013.