Adding LinkedIn Content Feeds into Dynamics AX Workspaces

Adding LinkedIn Content Feeds into Dynamics AX Workspaces

Social media today (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer and more) are probably the most important as well as primary source, for one to stay up to date on news , information, updates on what is happening the professional world. Viewing and managing these social media feeds and social media intelligence right in your ERP on which your users spend most of their time on a workday, can open up tremendous new ways of approaching to work for those users and will also help them in certain business decision makings sometimes. That is not the end of it !

In the post below, Murray Fife explains how to make sense of adding and managing these feeds in the Dynamics AX workspaces. A good read!! Thank you Murray.

With Update 1 of Microsoft Dynamics, a new feature was introduced which allowed us to inject social feeds into the Workspaces. Initially this was just for Yammer and Twitter, but with Update 2, LinkedIn was also added as additional feed options, allowing us to add tiles for User Profiles, Company Profiles, Company Insider information and […]

via Adding LinkedIn Content Feeds into Dynamics Workspaces — A Tinkerers Notebook

Check out what is New in Update 2(August 2016 release) for the New Dynamics AX

Check out what is New in Update 2(August 2016 release) for the New Dynamics AX

The Update 2 (August 2016) release for the New Dynamics AX (AX 7) is now available for download in LCS.  Checkout what is new in this release at the URL below and learn how you can benefit from these enhancements.

https://ax.help.dynamics.com/en/wiki/whats-new-or-changed-in-dynamics-ax-platform-version-7-2-august-2016/

How to create a new Workspace with no coding needed in New Dynamics AX(AX 7)

How to create a new Workspace with no coding needed in New Dynamics AX(AX 7)

If you have worked enough on the New Dynamics AX , you must be well aware of the new Workspaces feature by now. The workspaces are basically an aggregation of several business tasks, insights, reporting and dashboards that a business user deals with on a typical work day. These workspaces comes in really handy for end users by providing everything they need to execute their daily tasks, all at one central location, so that they can become more productive and save time to focus on important things.

Workspaces probably are one of the most liked and talked about features of the New Dynamics AX among users, customers and prospects. Some of the examples of the workspaces are ” Financial Period Close”, “Employee Self Service“, “Manager Self Service“, “Project Management“, “Cost Administration” and more.

Standard Dynamics AX already provides several workspaces out-of-the-box for most of the operational areas and departments of your business(Shown in screenshot below), but there might be specific cases where you might want to create customized workspace of your own to meet your requirements. With the release of Update 1 for Dynamics AX in May 2016, you can now create and build your own workspaces without requiring a developer or any sort of coding. Let us see the steps involved in doing this.

 All Workspaces Dynamics AX

Create a new Workspace in Dynamics AX:

  • On the main landing page of workspaces, right click anywhere on the blank area and click Personalize > Tile page container.

TilePageContainer

  • You will notice a new pop-up menu wit several options.
  • Click Add a workspace button.

Add A workspace

  • Come back to the main landing page and notice that a new workspace with a default name “My workspace 1″ will be added. Right click on this new workspace and click Personalize > My workspace 1.

My workspace 1 Personalize

  • Let us now rename this workspace. Let’s say we are creating a new workspace for Fixed Assets Management, which is not available in standard AX yet.

Rename a workspace

  • The next step is to add the different components of this workspace to make it look complete. Let us first add a few live tiles. Navigate to the Fixes Assets Module and go the list pages which you want to add to the workspace. In this case I will add a few of the list pages. On the list page, click OPTIONS > Add to workspace and select the newly created workspace, and click Configure.

Add to workspace

  • Continue the same for the remaining live tiles you want to add. At the end of adding all the tiles, your new workspace will look something like below.

Workspace Tiles

  • Let us now add a few List items on this workspace. Navigate to the “Fixed Assets Transactions” form and click OPTIONS > Add to workspace button. Select the Presentation as List this time.

Add list items

Field List

  • Repeat the same process to add all the lists you want on the workspace. At the end of it, your workspace will look something like below.

Workspace List Tile

  • Next step would be to add the option of adding/removing Power BI tiles for dashboards and reports. Navigate into the new workspace and click Options > Personalize this form. On the Personalization pane, click the Add button and mark “Allow Power BI Control”.

Add Power BI Tile

Add Power BI Tile 1

  • At the end of adding the Power BI tiles option, your workspace should look something like below.

Add Power BI Tile 3

Add PBI Tile

  • The last type of element that you typically add on a workspace is quick links to different menus and reports etc. You can do this by Personalizing the workspace and add the menu Presentation as Link this time.

Add Links

Links

That was all I had for this blog post. The workspaces framework in the New Dynamics AX will evolve for sure with lot of new exciting new possibilities in the upcoming releases. Stay tuned for more..

Regards,
Sandeep

 

MasterCard partners with Microsoft to streamline secured online payments in Dynamics AX ERP

MasterCard partners with Microsoft to streamline secured online payments in Dynamics AX ERP

Today MasterCard announced the integration of it’s “Simplify Commerce” solution, a cloud based payments platform, with Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution.

Existing and future customers of Dynamics AX can now take advantage of this to streamline their online and call center payments and will get access to one system that connects their end to end planning with online commercial sales.

Read more on the news HERE.

Regards,

Sandeep

Financial Period Closing in the New Dynamics AX(AX 7) – Get real time status, Be more productive, Close faster

Financial Period Closing in the New Dynamics AX(AX 7) – Get real time status, Be more productive, Close faster

Financial Period Close is probably one of the most important task that the Corporate Accounting team of your organization spends most time accomplishing. Accounting Managers of your organization spend tons of time in creating and assigning various tasks needed to close financial periods and always end up tracking status manually in MS Project, MS Excel or by other means. Today your Financial Period Close and status tracking probably looks something like below.

Fiscal Period Closing Status - Excel

With this, you are not able to,

  • Know who is working on what task and when are going to complete it.
  • How much percentage the closing tasks are complete by operational area.
  • Who is having how much tasks remaining to be completed.
  • Know real time status of closing across all legal entities of the organization.

In today’s post, we will discuss the details of one of the workspaces of the New Dynamics AX, which is the Financial Period Close workspace and see how it can help you be more productive, track status in real time and close periods faster.

Workspaces in the New Dynamics AX are a new way of helping your users gain and do more in the ERP, all at one central location. The dedicated workspace for Financial Period Closing also intends to do the same and help your accounting team stay on top of their tasks for period close and get real time status updates at any time, so that they can act and escalate on delayed tasks.

Let us first see some of the insights into the some of the underlying setups before we discuss the workspace.

Configure Financial Period Closing:

  • Under General Ledger Module > Period Close , navigate to Financial Period Close configuration form.
  • Under the Closing roles tab, create period closing roles as per requirement of you organization. Note that these roles are specific to financial period closing and does not relate in anyways to AX Security roles. These are only required from the Financial Period Closing perspective.

Closing Roles

  • Under the Resources tab, define/select the employees from your employee master, who needs to be involved in the Financial Period closing process. Also you can set “What they will see when they go to the Financial Period Close workspace”. Additionally you can assign one or more closing roles of each of these resources.

Resources

  • Under the Task areas, define the different areas of the tasks for financial period closing. These task areas will be ideally your different areas such as AR, AP, Bank, Fixed Assets, GL, Inventory etc.

Task Areas

  • Under the Calendars tab, configure and set the calendar for scheduling the tasks of Financial Period Closing. Note that these calendars are different than the organization and resource calendars.

Calendars

  • Under Templates tab, create the List of tasks from scratch or from an exiting template. This is your master list of tasks that needs to be executed to complete the Financial Period Closing process. You can set up the Task description, which area it belongs to, when is it due (before the end date of the closing schedule).
  • Then assign each task to a Closing role (Which is linked to employees or resources) and select the Legal entities you want the tasks to be applicable for. Additionally, you can also setup dependencies between tasks and also set direct links to different forms of AX to complete the tasks.

Task List

  • Finally, create your financial period close schedule, select the start and end dates, the calendar applicable for it.

Closing Schedule

Now that we have gone though the setups and configurations, let us see how the Financial Period Closing workspace looks for an employee who is with certain closing roles and see how they can interact with the workspace in completing their daily tasks for period closing.

Arnie who plays the role of AR and AP clerk in the closing process, navigates to the Financial Period Closing workspace.

  • On this workspace, she gets to see filtered and actionable data for her task list in live tiles. She can she how many of her tasks are past due, how many tasks pending to be completed today, how many tasks of her blocked due to incomplete dependent tasks by others and all remaining tasks.

Task List Arnie Live Tiles

  • She also see the Task list that are assigned to her. For each of the tasks, she sees the due date, dependency and most importantly she can navigate to the destination form directly if needed by simply clicking on the task and take required action. For example she can click the Post Free text invoices task to directly launch the Free text invoices form.
  • Once she completes the task, she marks the task as Complete by marking the Completed checkbox.

Task List Details

Let us now see how the workspace looks like for an Accounting Manager, who is managing the status of the Financial Period Close process for multiple entities.

When Phyllis Harris, the Accounting Manager navigates to the workspace, she gets to see real time status updates in terms of % completion of the tasks by entity, task area, by person and more.

Workspace for Manager

  • So clearly, the manager gets clean, real time updates on the status of the tasks for period close. They can see the status by entity or by area and person in terms of how much percentage is completed.

Status by Area

Status by Person

  • She can even drill down to each tasks under each area, person or entity to get more status updates or modify anything as needed.

Task List Details

That’s it for today’s post. Stay tuned !!!

Best,

Sandeep

 

 

Revamped Help System(Task Guides and Wiki) in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Revamped Help System(Task Guides and Wiki) in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

One of the most talked about features when the new Dynamics AX was released, is the new Task Guides and Wiki (New Help system for AX). We all know the architecture for the Help system is completely revamped and I am sure there must be several videos, blog posts already out in the community talking about these.

In today’s post, I would like to provide my perspective of how these work together in the new Dynamics AX and how customers and partners can benefit from these.

Before we deep dive, let us understand the basic terms and what they really mean.

Help Wiki: In earlier version of AX, all the help content for Dynamics AX were primarily delivered via the Help Server and the TechNet. In the new Dynamics AX brings in a True Cloud based Help Wiki system. This not only brings a whole new approach for discovering and consuming help content for AX, but also it has now become more business process and task focused. The earlier Help system always told us “How to do a specific task under various functional modules”, but there was no real content telling how these tasks tie together. The new help system focuses primarily in delivering Help content for the tasks in a business process oriented manner , which makes it easy to understand for the consumers (Consultants, End Users etc.). We will learn additional details about Wiki further in this post below.

Task guides: A task guide represents step by step guidelines to execute a specific task under a business process. Task guides are beyond just steps to execute a task actually. You can configure task guides to have as much as detailed information at each step of the task and you can keep track of your steps execution with visual indicators right in front of you, telling up to what step you have executed the task so far and how many steps are to be executed. You will also be prompted with visual navigator(Something like WalkMe), that will exactly point you where to navigate and what to click in order to complete each step of a task. So no more hassle to toggle between training documents/user manuals and AX to execute a task. We will discuss more on Task guides further in the post below.

BPM Library in LCS: Business process library is a library of business processes broken down to sub-business processes of a solution. This basically contains the breakdown of all the business processes down to the specific task levels under each business process and each task has a pre-reordered task guide for it.

Task Recorder: This is a tool built inside Dynamics AX (as was with earlier versions of AX, but improved/revamped now), which you can use to record the task guide for a task and then upload the same to LCS library. In this blog post, I will not talk on specifics of “how to create a BPM library”, How to use task recorder etc.

Before we go and see these in action in Dynamics AX, let us understand the overall Help System Architecture in the New Dynamics AX a little bit.

As I mentioned above, the help content in the New Dynamics AX is primarily delivered via two sources. 1. Help from Task guides. 2. Help from Wiki.

  • The Task guide contents are provisioned using the LCS (Life Cycle Services). These  are prepared using the task recorder tool and are published into LCS BPM Library of a specific LCS project, which can then ultimately be referenced and consumed within AX.
  • Source 1 of these task guides are the ones created by the product experts within the Dynamics AX team of Microsoft, to be used publicly by everyone. These would go into the Microsoft BMP library in LCS. Source 2 of the task guides would be the ones created and published by Partners and Customers. These would go into the Customer/Partner BPM library.
  • Once you have these BPM libraries within your LCS project, you can reference the same in AX help system configuration and contents from those specific libraries will be delivered when you search them on the Dynamics AX Help Pane.
  • The Wiki contents are directly provisioned from the AX wiki help site . The Wiki that is currently available is the Microsoft public wiki. This primarily  contains text/links to videos/embedded office mix presentations (Manually authored by Microsoft experts), wiki contribution topics from the Microsoft community(with approval/audit from Microsoft)  and finally Microsoft BPM topics from the public Microsoft BPM library in LCS.
  • Partner/Customer specific private Wiki not currently supported, but there is news that it is in the road map. This wiki content will be authored by partners and customers and those will be private for use.

Let us deep dive now and see some of these in action.

How to setup the Help system in your Dynamics AX environment: At this point, I assume that most of us are already familiar with what is LCS, LCS project and the BPM libraries(My library, Corporate library and Global library) under the LCS project. Once you have this setup, follow the steps below to setup your help system within AX.

  • In AX, navigate to System Administration > System Parameters > Help tab.
  • Select the LCS Project in which you would have your Business Process Library containing the task guides.
  • As soon as you select this, system will show all the libraries that are available in this LCS project.

Help Setup in AX Env

  • The next step is to select the specific libraries that you want to use for this AX environment. This means that business processes from this library will be shown when you search from help in AX. In this case I will select the Microsoft APQC library.

Help Setup in AX Select

  • Save and close the form.

Dynamics AX Help Pane and the Consumption Experience: Now that we have everything setup, let us see these in action. In this case, I will demonstrate how a user from the Customer Service team of an organization will consume the help topics for creating a Sales order in AX. (Both Wiki and Business process task guides).

  • The user navigates to the Accounts Receivable > All Sales Orders.
  •  Now, as soon as the user is on this form, let us say they are new to the system and are not fully aware of the steps and best practices they need to follow in order to create the order. The immediate thing that comes to mind is “I NEED HELP“. So they click the Help icon on the top right of the page.

Help Button

  • As soon as they click Help, system will automatically render the help information (Both Task Guides and Wiki) that are related to Sales orders and list them as per relevance.

Help Topics Listing

  • The Content under the Task Guides bucket/tab lists all the task guides that are present in the business process library related to sales order. The content under the Wiki bucket lists all topics related to Sales orders from the Microsoft public Wiki.
  • User can find or even search for more specific topics with appropriate key words under the Help Search box.

Wiki Bucket Help Search

  • Once the topics are listed, it is up to the user on how to consume these. If they are a new user dealing with the Sales order process for the first time and they really need step by step guidelines to make sure they do not go wrong, they can Start the Task guide in play mode. This will help them navigate to each click with visual pointers which makes it super easy to follow the steps and execute them.
  • So user selects the required Task guide and clicks Start Task guide button.

Start Task Guide button

  • With this, notice that system will start visual pointed navigational instructions with additional information for the user to execute the steps. System will also show visual indicators on which steps are completed, current step and which are pending, all of these without having to leave the form.

Visual pointers

Visual pointers 2

  • Once the user start a task guide, system will force them to follow the task guide recommended steps. But if they do any actions to deviate from the recommended steps, then  system will automatically prompt the user if they want to Unlock the task guide for them not to follow a particular step for any reason.

Unlock Task Guide

  • User can skip a non-mandatory step if they wish to. The user can also stop the task guide at any point they want.
  • Now, as users uses the business processes on a daily basis and gets familiar with the tasks, they might not need pointed guidelines always. So they can simply consume the task guides in Read only Mode, just to refer to any specific step or additional information on a specific step that they are not sure about.

Read Only mode

  • Finally, if the user wishes to explore more on the specific topic in the Public Wiki, they can chose the link under Wiki tab and it will take them to the Wiki link.

Wiki Link

So that was it from my side on this post. Hope this information will  be helpful. There are a host of new features in this area as well which are slated for future updates in coming months. Stay tuned!!

Of course there are several minor details behind the scenes,such as How to create task guides, what are the best practices, how to publish them to LCS etc. Feel free to drop you questions.

Regards,

Sandeep

What is new in General Ledger Module – Top 5 enhancements in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

What is new in General Ledger Module – Top 5 enhancements in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Hello Everyone,

Hope everyone participated in the virtual launch of the New Dynamics AX on 9th March and got to learn more about the new fully cloud based ERP.

In today’s post, I will explain the top 5 enhancements that I witnessed and tested under the General Ledger area in the New Dynamics AX.

  1. Financial Dimension Activation
  2. Global General Journals
  3. Global Fiscal calendar management
  4. Dedicated Process driven Workspace for Financial Period Close
  5. Account structure related enhancements

Let’s get straight into it and see some additional details.

1. Financial Dimension Activation: Starting with the new Dynamics AX, new financials dimensions will now need to be activated by a specific role, which has the privilege assigned for dimension activation or by System administrators. The intention here is to simplify the database schema for financial dimensions so that the reporting and data extraction becomes easier.

  • When a new Dimension is created under GL > Dimensions > Financial Dimensions is created, it will be in “Inactive” status by default.
  • Before users can start using this new dimension, it needs to be activated, which can be only done by either a System Administrator or by a role which has the privilege for dimension activation.
  • When the activation is run, system will add the new dimension across all applicable tables in the database and the database schema will change. See screenshot below for reference.

Finnancial Dimension Activation

2. Global General Journals: This new feature will allow accounting team members to create and manage general journals in multiple legal entities staying in one entity, without having to change the legal entity each time when they create or edit the journals.

  • The new global general journal is located under General Ledger > Journal Entries > Global general journals.
  • When you create a new New journal, you can select the Legal entity and the journal name of that entity for which you want to create the journal entry.

Global General Journals

  • You can then continue to create the journal lines inside the current entity and you can directly Open the journal in the other entity if you wish to, or you can complete the entire journal entity, validate and post in the current entity and the unmoral entry will be created and posted in the destination entity.

Global General Journals 1.jpg

3. Global Fiscal Calendar Management: This feature will enable finance controllers and other related users of the accounting team to manage the the fiscal period status and Module level accesses for multiple entities which share the same Fiscal Calendar.

  • Navigate to General Ledger > Ledger Setup > Ledger Calendars.
  • Select the Fiscal calendar and the Fiscal year to see all the Periods under them.
  • Notice that you will now see all the Legal entities listed in separate rows , which share the same fiscal calendar.
  • You can change the Period status and Module level access for the required modules for one or more or all legal entities at once.

Ledger Calendar

Ledger Calendar1

4. Dedicated Workspace for Financial Period Close: The new Dynamics AX brings in a a new dedicated workspace for the financial period close tasks. You all must be very familiar with what workspaces in the new AX are. The purpose of this workspace is primarily to help the corporate accounting team and Controllers to manage their fiscal period closing more effectively and make the process more transparent, get real time insights with the status of closing and get more timely insight into your business.

  • Controllers can create Period Closing schedules and templates.
  • Under each template and schedule, they can create breakdown of the tasks for the period close.
  • Tasks can be assigned to to different team members with required due date and times.
  • Can be done for multiple legal entities.
  • This workspace helps the corporate accounting team to collaborate and update the status of tasks assigned to them and enables controllers to view the status of closing is real time and take required actions.
  • Explaining this topic will become a separate blog in itself. I will try to explain sometimes later in future with a new post on this. Screenshots below shows a quick snapshot of how this workspace looks like.

Closing schedule

Closing schedule 2.jpg

5. Account Structures related enhancements: In the new Dynamics AX, the over all view and arrangement of data fields and tabs on the account structure form makes it more intuitive and easy to use. You can see which entities are using the selected account structure staying in the same form. Most importantly you can now export Account structures to Excel. This allows you to make edits easily in bulk and push it back to AX from Excel.Export to ex cel

Export to ex cel 1

There are a few other minor enhancements under the GL area too, which I will leave up to you all to explore🙂

That is it for this post !! Keep DAXing..

Regards,

Sandeep