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.

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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.

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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.

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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 

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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.

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  • 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.

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

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  • 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…..

Dynamics AX Tip: Securing Private Addresses and Contact Information for Parties by using security roles in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Dynamics AX Tip: Securing Private Addresses and Contact Information for Parties by using security roles in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Hello Everyone,

Well, this is the last post of year 2014. What a magnificent year this has been. Lots of excitement, fun and joy.

Hope you all are having a wonderful time with your families this holidays and gearing up for the new year.

It’s been long getting to here to write. Here I am today with a quick AX tip about a security setup in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.  I will not go deep into topics and discussions in this post.

Securing the Private contact information and Private address information for parties such as Customers, Vendors, Employees, Contractors, Contacts etc. in the ERP system is a big deal and is a very crucial requirement for most organizations. Organizations often needs store these private address details and contact information about the parities and wants only a certain roles in the organization to view and manage those information in the ERP system.

You can do this in Microsoft Dynamics AX by configuring the Global Address Book Parameters and by assigning which roles can view the the private information.

When you create an address for a global address book party such as a Customer/Vendor/Worker etc., you can mark the address as Private. Similarly you can do the same for their contact information. See screenshot below.

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Now under Organization Administration > Setup > Global Address Book > GAB Parameters form, you can specify/select which security roles within the organization can view this private location and contact information.

Only users assigned with these roles will be able to access Private address and contact information.

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Watch out for some exciting posts in 2015 ..Hopefully time will permit writing here soon…Keep Daxing…Again wishing all you a very happy new year!!!

Regards,

Sandeep

Understanding Basics of Payroll Management and Processing in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 – Part I

Understanding Basics of Payroll Management and Processing in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 – Part I

With the release of AX 2012 R2 CU6 and R3, The Payroll Management and Processing functionality has been introduced in AX supporting the payroll for United States.

In one of my earlier posts I mentioned to come up with a post to explain how the Time & Attendance Module integrates with the Payroll module. We will initiate that discussion starting with this post and I will break the overall payroll management and process into multiple posts and try to have the full functionality covered in a few posts.

In today’s post, let us start with understanding the basic building blocks of payroll processing and go through the high level process from setups through generating a pay statement. In the few subsequent posts we will discuss the individual components of the configurations and processes in greater details.

The following are the key components of a typical Paycheck of a regular salaried employee.

  • Pay cycle /Pay period – How frequently the employee is paid
  • Earning Codes – Components of the pay such as Regular salary, double time, overtime etc.
  • Benefits and Tax Deductions – Such as 401k plan, Medical Insurance, Vision insurance etc.
  • Employer’s contribution for the benefits – How much employer contributes on the benefit deductions
  • Benefit Accruals – Paid Time Off, Sick Time Off etc..

For this demonstration, I have configured a worker “Sandeep Chaudhury” in the CONTOSO demo company USMF.

The Job and Position to which the worker will be assigned:

The Position to which the employee is assigned holds key component of the payroll, which is the Earning code, worker’s work schedule, pay cycle, the entity which pays etc. The screenshot below shows a position which the “Dynamics AX Solutions Architect”. This position is ultimately linked to a Job which holds the data such as the grade and ranges for classifying the compensation range for this position.

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The worker, worker’s benefits and deductions, benefit accruals and the fixed and variable compensation components:

Payroll information such as worker’s fixed and variable compensations, benefit deductions, worker’s tax region(where the worker resides) and hence the corresponding tax codes for deductions, benefit accruals etc..

Worker’s Fixed Compensation Setup:

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Worker’s Payroll TAX region and code setup:

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Worker’s benefits and benefit deduction setup:

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Worker’s Benefit Accruals Setup:

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Generate earning statement and validate:

Once you have setup all the configurations and ready to pay the worker, the payroll is run in two processes. The first step is to generate the earnings for the worker. The earning statement lines can be automatically generated by the system based on the schedule and earning code associated with the worker or it can also be added manually on the earning statement while generating the earnings. Once the earnings are generated and reviewed, it is released for generating the pay statements and calculating benefits, deductions and net payments. The earning statement for the worker can be generated from both Payroll module and Human Resources Module.

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Once you have reviewed the earning statement, you can Release the earning statement for payment or you can also hold earning statements for further review and actions. You can also see the Accounting distributions and verify the details of the ledger posting prior to releasing the statement for payment.

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Notice that the Payment status changes to Processed after releasing the earning statement.

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The next step is to generate the Pay statement and and Pay the worker.

Release Earning statement for generating Pay statements and Process the Payment:

Navigate to Payroll Module > Common > Pay Statements > Calculated Pay Statements and notice that the calculated pay statement appears automatically from the earning statement that we released in the previous step.

The benefits and deductions and contributions are automatically calculated as soon as system creates the Pay Statement.

Pay Statement Overview:

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Pay Statement Details page:

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Review Benefit calculations:

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Tax Calculation Details:

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After you have reviewed the Pay statement, you can Submit it for Payment. At this point , system checks the GL budgets and then automatically creates the financial journal(Payroll Disbursement Journal/Payment Journal). I will discuss the technical details of the financial journal (Payment Journal) creation such as ledger accounts, journal names, financial dimensions, accounting of the benefits and tax deductions, payment invoice etc., in the next posts on this topic. This post will get pretty long if explained here.

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Payment journal auto-created by system:

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The next step is to generate the Payment by clicking Functions > Generate Payment and, print and send the check and then post the payment journal.

Check Printed from Payment Journal:

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After the Payment is processed and posted, you can navigate to Payroll > Common > Issued Pay Statements and see the details of it.

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Post Payroll to General Ledger and create vendor invoices for Benefits and Taxes:

The last step in the payroll process is to post the payroll to GL and then generate the required vendor invoices for the payables which were created from the pay statement to pay the benefits vendors and tax authorities.

We will discuss the mechanism and the technical details of this in the subsequent posts on this topic, in greater details.

Employees can View and download their pay statements on the Employee Self-Services portal:

Navigate to Enterprise Portal > Employee Self Services to see all your Pay Statements. You can then print the Pay statement and export it to PDF.

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Pay Statements Overview:

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Print Pay Statement:

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Well, long enough post. That’s it for today.

In the next couple of posts on this topic(Part II and Part III, Hopefully I will find some time soon Smile), we will discuss the individual setups and components in greater details and also explore additional functionalities in this area. Stay tuned !!

AX Tip: Independent Budgeting for Sub-Projects in the Project Hierarchy in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

AX Tip: Independent Budgeting for Sub-Projects in the Project Hierarchy in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Here is small enhancement to the project budgeting feature in AX 2012 R3 release, which most of us are probably aware by now. I still wanted to publish it here for awareness in case you have not explored this yet.

Till the AX 2012 CU7 release, it was not possible to have an original budget to be tracked for sub-projects which is created after the original budget for a parent project is committed. The only way to enable budgeting for the newly added sub-project, was to create a revision for the original budget of the parent project which was committed earlier which allowed to track the budget as a revised budget on the new sub-project.

In the R3 release of Dynamics AX 2012, it is now possible to create and manage budgets for sub-projects independently.

Let us try to understand how this functionality works in AX 2012 R3. For this demonstration, let us create a Parent project and create two sub-projects under it and call them as Phase I and Phase II.

  • Create the parent project and create two sub-projects under it and enable the  “Independent budgeting for sub-projects” check box on the parent project.

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  • Select the parent project, click Plan Tab > Budget > Project Budget action button.
  • Under the Costs fast tab, create a new budget line and open the dropdown for the project field. Notice that, system shows only the Parent project as a selectable option and you will not see the project hierarchy tree on the left hand side of the project budget screen.

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  • This allows to create and manage Original budgets for each project in the hierarchy. So, whenever new projects are added to the hierarchy in the future, original budgets can be created for those without the need of revising the original budget for the whole hierarchy.
  • This new functionality will also let you allocate the budgets across periods as you want for each sub-projects in the project hierarchy. Before this functionality, you will always need to allocate the budgets of a new sub-project using the same period which you would have done for the original budget.

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  • You can still view the project budget balances and system still rolls up the values in the hierarchy and shows the remaining budget balances and you can also view the breakdown by each category.

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Till next time !!

-Sandeep