What is new in Project Planning and Resource management in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

What is new in Project Planning and Resource management in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Hope everyone is getting their grips tight on exploring the various possibilities in the new Microsoft Dynamics AX and also hope you all are having a great experience at the Technical Conference in Seattle. The journey of AX 7 from Preview, CTP 7, CTP 8 all the way through RTW has been phenomenal. The Dynamics AX team at Microsoft team has done a commendable job in getting the New Microsoft Dynamics AX out to the market !!

In today’s post, I will explain some of the key enhancements and changes that I think are important and will be beneficial for customers.The enhancements are primarily around 3 key areas of the Project Management module as described below.

Project Work Breakdown Structures:

Starting with the CU7 release of AX 2012, the work breakdown structure functionality for the projects introduced several key enhancements that made it more usable for industries who’s projects are driven by stringent cost controls , such as Construction and Engineering. In the new Dynamics AX (i.e AX 7), there has been certain changes/enhancements introduced in the WBS area. Let us take a look what are those changes.

  • Ability to create and review WBS changes before publishing them.
  • After you have created the WBS, it will not come into effect until you Publish it.
  • If you make changes to a Draft version of the WBS, you can discard the Draft changes to get it back to the earlier version.

Project WBS

  • You can now create and view the Cost and Revenue estimates on one screen which makes it easier to view the estimates without having to toggle a lot between the WBS node and the Estimate lines (as it used to be in AX 2012).

Project WBS 1

  • Cost and Revenue estimates can be established for Project Roles, instead of actual workers.

Project WBS 2

Project Roles and Pricing setups with roles:

Project roles concept was introduced in CU7 release of AX 2012, which basically allowed the project managers to generate and configure project team based on the roles and not actual workers. In the New Dynamics AX, this functionality is extended further which will open up new possibilities on how this functionality can be used.

  • You can now setup Project Hourly Cost and Sales prices for project roles, along with the other criteria such as Customer, contract, project, employee, category etc.
  • The system will then use this price data automatically when you create and setup Cost/Revenue estimates for the WBS tasks using project roles, in scenarios where you setup the project team using project roles instead of actual workers.

Project Roles Prices

Project Resources Management:

  • AX 2012 allowed to designate only workers (Employees & Contractors) as project resources. Other Operations resources of the organization which are created and managed under the Organization Administration Module were never allowed to be designated as project resources and could not be scheduled and used for projects. The New Dynamics AX will allow to designate the organization’s Operations resources as project resources and schedule them on the project and tasks under the project.
  • This new functionality also lays the foundation to be able to schedule non-human resources of the organization in the projects, such as location, Tool, Machines etc. which will be available in future releases.

Project Resources

Project Resources 1

  • We now have the ability to view and manage the Planned resources on a project and compare planned Vs. actual resources. The new Dynamics AX allows to auto-generate project team based on the resource requirements. Dummy resources are created and assigned to the project tasks and you can replace those with actual resources when you are ready.

Auto Generate Team

  • The new Dynamics AX has introduced the concept of Booked Vs Assigned Hours. You can think of Booked hours as a high level booking of a resource on a project, where as the assigned hours are the number of hours which the resource is booked on actual tasks of the project in the work breakdown structure of the project.

Booked Vs Assigned

  • The new dedicated Resource Fulfillment page allows to view the the resource requirements for all the projects and view available resources and their assignments all in one central location.

Resource Fullfillment

Till Next Time…!!!

Regards,

Sandeep

Introducing the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7) – Public Preview

Introducing the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7) – Public Preview

Hello All,

With the Public Preview of the “New Microsoft Dynamics AX” now out, I am sure all of us are excited to learn more about it and start exploring all possibilities with the new version.

Read  more about the new Dynamics AX on the Blog Post on SBS Group’s Blog spot.

Regards,

Sandeep

Straight Line Revenue Recognition for Projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Straight Line Revenue Recognition for Projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

The Project Management and Accounting module of Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP has been supporting revenue recognition mechanism for fixed price projects (Both Long term and Short term) using the functionality called “Estimates for Fixed Price Projects”. This functionality supports both ‘Completed Contract” as well as “Completed Percentage” based revenue recognition for Projects.

One other common revenue recognition that is widely used primarily for short term duration contracts is the “Straight Line” Revenue recognition. This happens primarily for contracts with subscription services, short term Insurance contracts etc. For such short term subscription service contracts, the contract amounts are normally recognized on a proportionate basis., i.e over the period of the contract for the subscriptions.

With the release of Cumulative Update 8 (CU8) for AX 2012 R3, this functionality is now supported under the Project Management and Accounting module.

In today’s post, I will explain this functionality from how to set this up in AX and then how the revenue recognition will happen for the project.

Scenario: Let us say you are a online software service provider and you have customers that have subscribed to one of your software services for 6 Months duration. i.e. from 03/01/2015 to 08/31/2015. The total amount for the subscription contract is USD 3000.00 and you have agreed upon to bill them upfront, on the start date of the contract, i.e on 03/01/2015. Even though you billed them on the beginning of the contract, due to the nature of the contract you will need to recognize revenue proportionately over the period of the contract.

Setup Estimate/Revenue Recognition Template:

The first step on this process will be to setup the Cost Template for the Straight Line Revenue recognition functionality.

  1. Navigate to Project Management And Accounting > Setup > Estimates > Cost templates.
  2. Create new record.
  3. Select Completion based on = Straight Line.
  4. Save the record. Refer to screenshot below.

Cost Template

Setup Contract, Project:

Let us now create and setup the Project Contract and Fixed Price Project for our scenario.

  1. Navigate to Project Management and Accounting > Common > Projects > Project Contracts.
  2. Create the new project contract.
  3. Create the New fixed price project and link to a project group that is associated with the newly created Cost Template.
  4. At this point, note that the Actual Start Date and Actual End Date fields on the Project details form becomes Mandatory. This is because, system will depend on the Actual start date and Actual end dates, to determine the percentage completion automatically when you run the Periodic Revenue Recognition function(Estimates) for this project.
  5. Refer to screenshots below.

Project Group Setup

Project Details Setup

In this scenario, I will setup Actual start date = 03/01/2015 and Actual End date = 08/31/2015.

Project Details Setup Dates

Bill the Customer Upfront:

The next step is to the create and setup the On-account transaction for this project, which we can bill to the Customer Up-front on 03/01/2015.

  1. Select the project created above and click Manage > Bill > On-account transactions.
  2. Create a new record.
  3. Setup the on-account transaction for USD 3000.00

On Account Invoice

  1. To bill the customer, click Manage > Bill > Project Invoice Proposal.
  2. Create and complete the invoice processing and post the invoice.
  3. At this point, note that the Invoiced revenue is actually posted to a Balance sheet account based on the configuration we did in the project group setup and no revenue is recognized for the project at this point.

Invoice Posting Voucher

Recording Expenses/Costs on the Project:

Note that during the tenure of the project, you can also record all the expenses such as Labor (Time) and expenses such if any for accurate probability of the project. The source of the costs can be Timesheets, Expense reports or any cost journals for the project.

For the demonstration, I have already posted some hours and expenses on this project and we will see in the next step how this information shows up on the Revenue Recognition summary screen with profitability details such as Gross Margin.

Recognize revenue for the project periodically(Monthly in this case):

Now, let us evaluate the process of periodic revenue recognition for this project every month and see how system automatically calculates the % complete and the accrued revenues.

  1. Since the contract started on 03/01/2015 and we will recognize the revenues on a Monthly basis, let us run the first revenue recognition on 03/31/2015, end of March 2015.
  2. To do this, navigate to the Project and click Manage > Process > Estimates.
  3. Create new Estimate and select Estimate date = 03/31/2015
  4. Note: For this demo scenario we are running the revenue recognition manually. Ideally you can setup the estimates to run for all your fixed price projects to run and post automatically in a Batch.
  5. See that Estimates(Revenue Recognition) form has got some improvements in CU8 release. It has several additional data fields to present clear details of the revenue recognition history for the project such as Invoiced Revenue(WIP), Contract value, Percent complete etc.
  6. After we have run the first Revenue Recognition process on 03/31/2015, notice that System automatically calculated the Percentage Completion based on a Straight Line basis. The total number of days in the tenure of the subscription is 184 Days(March to August) and we ran the first revenue recognition at the end of 31 days for the project. So system automatically calculated the Percentage complete as 16.85 %.
  7. Notice that system shows Contract Value = 3000.00, Invoiced Revenue = 3000.00, Percentage Completion = 16.85 %, Revenue recognized now (Accrued revenue for March) = 16.85% of Total contract value.
  8. Now, let us review and post the Estimate to recognize revenue. Once the estimate is posted, revenue is recognized and the amount is posted to GL (P&L Account setup in project posting profile).

Create Estimate

Post Estimate

If you see the above Voucher, notice that system posted the accrued revenues as well as moved the Costs to P&L accounts from WIP. Since I had setup the Costs to be posted to Balance sheet accounts in my configuration. It depends on what you configure the cost to be posted to.

You can follow the same process and post the estimates/revenues for each of the periods until the end date.

Below screenshot shows a summary that I have created and posted the revenues for each period till the 100% completion on 08/31/2015.

All Estimates

Finally, once the subscription contract is over, you can follow the standard AX elimination of the estimates to reverse the WIP sales values.

Estimate Elimination

Hope this quick demonstration was helpful !! Till Next time….

Best, Sandeep

Connect with me on: Twitter | Linked-In | Facebook

Manage Projects With Integration of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2/R3 with Microsoft Project Sever 2013

Manage Projects With Integration of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2/R3 with Microsoft Project Sever 2013

Hello Readers, Bloggers

Hope you all are on a tremendous learning curve for all the exiting changes and features upcoming in AX 7, and So do I. Last few months have been busy with several of these initiatives and usual tasks.

Today, I will explain a familiar functionality that you might already know and might have used too in AX 2012 R3. It is the Integration of Microsoft Project Server Professional 2013 with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

If you are a customer of AX using or wish use the Microsoft Project extensively for managing the planning aspect of your projects and use AX for both managing and project accounting, the functionality just got easier in AX 2012 R3.

Until the AX 2012 R2 CU6 release, you always needed to specifically setup the integration between Microsoft Project Server and Dynamics AX under the System Administration module with all required parameters.

Starting AX 2012 R2 CU 7 and beyond and in the R3 release, this functionality is now made much simpler with the introduction of a new “Add-in” for Dynamics AX in Microsoft Project Server. This Add-in works pretty much like the MS Office(Excel and Word) add-in for Dynamics AX .

Note: Even though the specific integration setup functionality exists in versions CU 7 and more and also in R3, it will be ultimately deprecated.

First thing first, Some Prerequisites:

You need to make sure you have done the following.

  • Use Dynamics AX 2012 R2 CU7(Or above) Or Dynamics AX 2012 R3.
  • Install Microsoft Project Add-in when installing AX.
  • You must have Microsoft Project Professional 2013 or Microsoft Project standard 2010.
  • Share point foundation and server if you wish to take advantage of advanced integration functionalities.

Some Simple Setups:

  • In AX, navigate to Project Management and Accounting > Setup > Project Management and Accounting Parameters.
  • Under General tab, select the options and parameters to save Microsoft Project files. Refer to screenshot below.

image

All Set, Get going:

With this, you can start using the integration between Microsoft Project Server and Dynamics AX and sync data between the two systems. If you have the Project servr add-in properly installed and configured, you will see the Dynamics AX tab when you  open  a new project in Microsoft Project as shown in screenshot below.

image

Let us see some integration points between the systems and see how the 2 systems exchange project related data.

Integrate an existing and new projects between Project Server and Dynamics AX:

  • In the standard AX Demo data, let us test this with an existing project 00000094 – Recreation Systems under the USSI legal entity.
  • The screenshot below shows how the project and the WBS setup for this looks in AX.

image

  • You can now open the project of AX directly in Microsoft Project by clicking Open in Microsoft project button.

image

  • Alternately, you can Launch Microsoft Project application and click Dynamics AX > Open button to open a project from AX.
  • Select the Legal entity from the drop down in Microsoft Project.
  • This will automatically load the projects that are linked between the two systems.
  • You can select one from the drop down to load the project and associated details such as WBS, efforts etc onto Microsoft Project.
  • In this demo, I have selected the Recreation Systems project in Microsoft Project. Notice that system loads the project WBS automatically and the tasks are exactly same as shown in screenshot above.

image

  • Notice that Microsoft Project Server also loads the resources the workers that are scheduled for the tasks on the project in Dynamics AX and also shows the default project categories that are associated with each task of the WBS in AX.

image

  • Notice that in Dynamics AX, there is also an indicator on the Projects list page that shows a quick indicator to tell if the project of AX is liked with a project in the Project Server.

image

  • Let us just create a new project directly in Microsoft Project Server and Publish the changes back to Dynamics AX from within Project Server by creating a new project. Prepare the Project and the task breakdown in Microsoft Project and click Dynamics AX > Publish > Publish New Project.

image

  • Notice that the next screen will prompt you with the data fields to create a new project and this screen looks exactly similar to what we have in Dynamics AX.

image

  • Enter the details for the new project and Click OK button. This will publish the new project data from MS project into Dynamics AX.
  • Go back to AX and notice that the project is now created.
  • Similarly, you can also update existing projects.

image

Assign workers from Dynamics AX to projects in Project Server:

Another task that you can do with the integration of Project Server and Dynamics AX is view and assign workers from Dynamics AX in Microsoft Project. To do this, follow the steps below.

  • Open the Dynamics AX project in Microsoft Project.
  • Navigate to Dynamics AX Tab and click Add resources button.
  • You will notice that system will load the workers that are designated as project resources in Dynamics AX.

image

  • Select the workers you wish to add to the project as project resources in MS Project and click Add workers button. Note that, at this point this adds the workers as resources that can be assigned to tasks in MS Project, but it does not do any assignments yet.

image

  • On the MS Project, select the Task that you want to assign a resource and Open the Resource Name drop down. You will see all the resources that were added and are available.

image

Some of the other integration tasks that you can do with this functionality are,

  • Save and use WBS templates in Project Server and Dynamics AX
  • Integrate WBS on a project in Project Server and Dynamics AX
  • Assign Categories from Dynamics AX to tasks in Project Server

This was a high level overview of the integration functionality of Microsoft Project Server and Dynamics AX 2012 and various possibilities with it. I will leave you all to explore more and ask questions or share thoughts !!!

Till next time….Have a great Holidays all of you….

Sandeep Chaudhury 

Twitter | Linked-In | Facebook

SBS Group’s AXIO Global Core Financial Solution Among First Microsoft Dynamics Solutions Available on Azure Marketplace

SBS Group’s AXIO Global Core Financial Solution Among First Microsoft Dynamics Solutions Available on Azure Marketplace

To learn more about this, click Here.

To learn more about AXIO Core and it’s offerings, click Here.

Best,

Sandeep

Automated Workflows in Human Resources Management in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Automated Workflows in Human Resources Management in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

If you are a customer looking to implement or using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and use major aspects of Workforce management under the Human Resources Management, there are some Out-Of-The-Box workflows under HRM module that you can leverage to complete/automate several key processes such as Hire a worker, Transfer a Worker, Terminate a worker etc. You could use these new workflows build the complete on-boarding process for the new hires into the workflow.

In this post, I will explain a little bit about these workflows and how you can use them in AX 2012 R3.

Note: You will need to activate the Personnel Actions Configuration Key for HRM, to enable these new functionalities in the system.

Workflow For Actions on Hiring a New Worker:

For this demonstration, Let us say there are 3 steps in completing the on-boarding process for a worker before their hiring process can be completed in AX and a worker record can be created.

Step1 : Complete background checks and fill Form A and attach filled in Form.

Step2:  Complete online test for on-boarding for the new hire and attach test results.

Step3:  Final Approval and worker creation in AX.

  • The screenshot below shows the workflow setup which has 3 distinct steps for performing several tasks related to new hire’s onboarding before the worker record can be created in AX.  The final step of the workflow is the approval of the worker record after all the prior tasks are completed by respective team members.

Workfow

  • The workflow is setup and is activates now in the system. The next step is to configure the Personnel Action type. You can configure as many personnel action as you want/need and associate each action type with a personnel action and then link it to the workflow it should follow. In our example, I have created a simple action called Hire New Worker and linked it to the workflow we created above. Screenshot below shows the Personnel Action Type.

Personnel Action Types

  • Let us begin the hiring process from All Worker Actions list page. Navigate to HRM > Common > Actions > All Worker Actions.
  • Click New Action button and select Hire New Worker as the Personnel Action Type and click Create Action.

Create Worker Hire Action

  • On the next screen, you will notice all the required fields you will need to enter to submit the Hire New Worker action request to the workflow. Select various data fields such as Action Requested by, Worker’s name details, entity in which he is employed, Worker type, employment start date, Position assignment details etc. under the corresponding fast tabs.

Worker Action Details

  • You can also enter additional comments for the reviewers in the workflow about the new hire under the Comments fast tab.

Comments

NOTE: You can customize this form to automate the setup of several other data attributes for the workers such as financial dimensions, addresses, contact information and any other key data fields on the worker record, so that those can be embedded into the workflow of onboarding and upon completion, the values will be setup already on the worker record.

  • When you are ready to submit, click Submit button. This will get the worker action into the Hiring Workflow and will be routed to required teams for processing. The standard AX workflow engine can also be used to send the email notification within required instructions for completing the steps of on-boarding.
  • When it is submitted, it will get assigned to the person responsible for Step 1 of on-boarding. They can then review the checklist for the Step 1 and take required actions and mark the Step 1 as complete. If they wish to request a change of data information from the submitter, then can chose that option as well in the workflow. Screenshot below shows the workflow is now assigned to the person responsible for  Step 1.

Step1 Review

  • They can review the checklist for the step 1 under the workflow step instruction section. Once the person complete the Step1, they will click Actions > Complete.

Step 2 Review

  • As soon as Step1 is marked as Completed, the workflow is now assigned to person responsible for Step 2. The Review process details fact box on the right shows the current step the process is in. Person responsible for Step 2 will then complete the online test and then will attach test results to the action record and mark the step as Complete.

Step 2 Review1

  • At this point, the workflow gets assigned to the final reviewer of information, who is the HR Manager. He can review all the details on the worker hire action and Approve the New hire action. Upon successful approval, a Worker record will be created automatically in the Worker master under HRM > All Workers.

Final Review

  • Once the Action is completed, you can see an overview of all the worker actions on All workers list page.

Worker Actions listpage

  • Now navigate to the All Workers form under HRM and Verify that the Worker record for John Doe will be created with all the details that were entered on the hire action.

Worker Details Created

Workflow For Actions on Transferring a Worker & Terminating a Worker: Just like we created the workflow for the Worker Hire action, you can also leverage the transfer and termination workflows and configure all your required steps and continue to use the Transfer and Terminate worker actions.

Hope this quick information was helpful !! Till next time…..

– Sandeep

Case Management Tip: Case Category Security Setup in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Case Management Tip: Case Category Security Setup in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Hello Readers,

It has been really long writing here due to a pretty packed last year and initial months of this year, and now the wonderful vacation with family and friends. Smile Hope you all are continuing to grow your learning curve of AX.

Here is a quick tip about one of the security related features of the Case Management functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2/R3.

If you are a customer of AX and using the Case Management functionality of AX 2012 and have the AX security roles (Standard or Customized) implemented, then you might find this post useful.

The building blocks of Cases in AX 2012 is the Case Category Types, which identifies which area of AX (Module/Entity) the case belongs to. You will notice that unless a user has the System Administrator role of AX, they will NOT be able to see the case categories in the drop downs when creating new cases in AX.

You will need to specifically define which role of AX needs to have access to which Case category types. Users will be able to see the categories after you have done this setup. Follow the steps below to assign permissions to roles for different case category types.

  • Navigate to Organization Administration > Setup > Case Category Type Security.

image

  • Select the Case Category type from the drop down and select the Role (s) you want to have access to this case type. Then click Add >> button.

image

  • As an example, you can setup that only Project Manager and Project Assistant roles can create cases belonging to category type Project.

image

  • With this setup, only users who has System Administrator/Project Manager/Project Assistant roles, will have access to the cases of type Project.

Hope you find this tip helpful. Till next time…..