Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Introduction To Dynamics AX
When you are first introduced to Dynamics AX, it may seem a little overwhelming because there is so much that it is able to do. It may seem like you've been dropped in a completely foreign land, unable to speak the language, and not knowing which direction to start walking in.

It may be even worse if you are in the middle of a software selection where you are looking at a number of different options (including Dynamics AX) because you need to understand what the differences are, and also remember which feature applies to which application. In that case, you are in multiple foreign lands, and no-one is speaking the same language.

You may have picked up a book or two on Dynamics AX to start your self-guided learning, but even then it may be too much because they usually assume that you have had some familiarity with the system, and you still don't have a basic foundation knowledge. Rather than wanting to read Lord of the Rings, you are at more of a See Spot Run level when it comes to Dynamics AX.

This is what this book is designed to achieve, and is aimed to give you a high level introduction to Dynamics AX. It is split into two parts as well, the first is an general overview of the system, showing you all of the usability features, and the second part is a functional overview that highlights all of the functional features within Dynamics AX.

In essence it teaches you the language of this new land, and also gives you a map of the land so that you can then start heading in the direction that is important to you.

Hopefully this will help you quickly get comfortable with Dynamics AX and get you on the right track.


DISCLAIMER: If you know what an Action Pane is, or know what is contained within Fast Tabs, then this book is not for you.  You are already too advanced with Dynamics AX.  If you have never seen Dynamics AX before then this book may be what you are looking for.

The Dynamics AX Clients

Everyone within the organization is special in their own way, and it makes sense that way to use Dynamics AX would never make everyone happy.  So as a result, there are a number of different ways that users are able to use Dynamics AX based on their role, and also their needs within the company.

Dynamics AX has the traditional Rich Client interface that you would expect, but also includes web based clients for internal and external users to take advantage of while they are on the go, reporting clients for both analytical and financial reporting, and also Office integration for the users that need to bridge the gap between the business system, and the functional needs.  Also there are modern Windows 8 applications that you can get directly from the Microsoft Store that give very focused task driven interfaces.

Introduction To Portals

The lightest way that users are able to access Dynamics AX is through the Portals that are delivered out of the box with the system.  These portals are web clients that allow the user to perform many of the key functions without having to install any additional software, and are also tailored to fit a number of profiles both within the organization, and also external users as well.

Although they do not have the full experience that is offered through the Windows Rich Client, they are an quick and simple way for users to access data, and perform transactions through their tablets and remote clients.  Also, because they are performing live transactions within Dynamics AX, then there is no synchronization or updates required, all of the data is always the most up to date.

Introduction To Role Centers

Another way that users are different, is in the information that they need on a daily basis in order to get their jobs done.  The CFO is interested in different information than the Production Manager, and they have different requirements than a Sales Manager as well.

To solve this problem, Dynamics AX comes pre-configured with about 45 or so Role Centers that are tailored to different roles and responsibilities within the organization that you can start using right away to deliver the right information to the right people.

The Role Centers are also the first view that the users will see when they log into Dynamics AX, making it a great place for the users to start their day and see what issues or events they may want to watch out for.

Additionally, with this feature, you get a template that you can use for the creation of your own Role Centers for the people within your organization that don’t quite fit into the default profiles that are delivered with Dynamics AX.  So if you have an Author role, or a Clinical Technician, don’t worry, they can easily have their own custom Role Centers that show whatever information they may need for their job.

In this section we will show some of the default Role Centers, and the information that is available as a starting point for the users.

The Role Center Parts

One of the things that makes the Role Centers so useful is that it contains a lot of useful tools, all within one place so that you don’t have to hunt through different screens in order to find everything that you are interested in.

In this section we will look at some of the typical things that you will find on your Role Centers, and also how you can use them to make your life just a little easier.

Navigation Menus

We have already shown how you can navigate the system a number of different ways just through the Role Center, but if you are a power user that need to access a little more of the system, then you may want to step it up a notch and take advantage of the other Navigation menus that are built into Dynamics AX.

As with everything else within Dynamics AX, there are a number of different options to match the different ways that people want to plan their trips to the different forms.

Navigating Forms

Once you click on a menu item, you will be taken into the Form view.  All of the forms will have pretty much the same structure, and there are a lot of different features that you can take advantage of within the forms so that you don’t have to jump around a lot in order to find the information that you want.

Personalizing Dynamics AX

There is a lot of information that is available within Dynamics AX, and that is a good thing and a bad thing, because you want to have all this information available to you, but maybe not all of it right now.

So the screens and forms within Dynamics AX have been designed to show what everyone probably wants to see.  The problem is that there it is more an exception than the rule that all the information that is shown is useful to you and that you have all the information you want.

With other ERP systems, this may be a problem because it may require a developer to make a change to the underlying code in order to show what you want, and then some-one else will be unhappy with what is being presented.

Luckily, as a user, you have the ability to hide any fields that you don’t like and also add fields that you may need without getting a developer involved, and this is done without writing a single line of code.

Self Service Reporting and Analysis

There are two main goals that everyone has in mind when they implement a system like Dynamics AX.  The first is to track all of the information about the business by entering in data, and the second is to see how the business is doing by getting the information out in reports.

Traditionally the first part is easy because you tell the people to do it, but the second part has been harder because you a developer has usually been required in order to create the reports, and reports take time to build.  Everyone puts in their requests for data, the importance of the report is generally directly related to the position of the requestor within the organization, and by the time you get the report, you probably have found other more time consuming ways to get the data out, or it’s not quite what you want, or both.

Dynamics AX solves this problem by giving the users a whole slew of different ways that they can get the information out themselves without having to bother a developer in most cases.
Using Office With Dynamics AX

Since Dynamics AX is a Microsoft product, then it just makes sense that it leverages a lot of the other Microsoft products to make the product even better.  And Office is no exception.  In the previous sections we have shown how you can use Excel as a reporting tool, but that is not the extent of what you can do.

You can also use Excel to import and update data, which makes it a great tool for maintenance of the data, and you can also use Word to create templates that are driven off the Dynamics AX data making it a simple reporting tool as well for all of your power users.

The Lifecycle Management Tools

One of the struggles that everyone has when they implement an ERP system is the management of the entire lifecycle of the project.  As you are implementing the system, you need to document how the system works, and also you need to build in a mechanism for passing along training information to the new users that will be introduced to the system.

This process becomes a lot easier with the Lifecycle Services tools that are delivered along with Dynamics AX, because they provide a way that you can easily document all of your business processes directly through Dynamics AX, and then you can access them through the Lifecycle Services portal so that everyone has access to them for retraining, and also business process documentation.

Get Your Own Copy Of The Books

If you are more of a would like to get your own copy of the book then don't worry - we have made it available for you through Blind Squirrel Publishing.  All you have to do is follow the link below:

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