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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Microsoft Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office and SharePoint Server

Well it was talked about at convergence, and now it's on the price list. Microsoft Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office and SharePoint Server is here now, and ready for use. Check out the following links:

(*note: All require PartnerSource access)

Main Link: Main Post

PR: Press Release
PPT: Power Point Pres.
Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet

So in short the goal of this is to:

"Create Microsoft Office system-based business applications that are specific to the needs of your organization"

This means making use of the Dynamics Data Toolbar to query Dynamics AX data from word, excel, and infopath for usage in documents. To use Excel and SharePoint to interact with business logic and data. To make use of FRx drill down ability with Office documents. Take the Snap in program and extend it to the needs of your or your client. I am Really excited about all the possibilities that can be achieved with this. If you are interested in finding out what this means in more detail, and how this can help your company, well stop by Sunrise Technologies, Inc. web site and leave your contact information asking about this: Sunrise Technologies, Inc. Web Site. We are one of the top leaders in Dynamics AX, and also how we can turn office and your information worker task into streamlined business processes with Dynamcis AX and Office 2007 system! :-)

Check back soon!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Friday, August 24, 2007

MOSS 2007, EP and Dynamics AX

A fellow blogger over at: geekswithblogs.net/marcs found the following link to a recent white paper that Microsoft released talking about Microsoft Office SharePoint Services and the use of it with Dynamics AX and it's Enterprise Portal.

You can find the white paper here: Microsoft Whitepaper PDF format

What I like about this white paper is it approach to displaying the possibilities via possible real world examples. This goes through and talks about the following process examples:

- RFP Management
- Absense Request and Vacation SChedule Management
- Expense Reporting

This is all geared towards possible area's most businesses could use, especially the Absense Request. Mostly though for sure the Professional Services Vertical could really see such benefits from the supplied examples. What should be taken from this more is the fact that such possible workflows can be acheieved in such a way, and therefore should be considered in the design of solutions for clients information workers that purchase EP peice of Dynamics AX.

Thanks Marc S. for posting this White paper, good find, and well worth reading!

Check back soon!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

EP Monkey?

Well the Solutions Monkey over at: blogs.msdn.com/solutions as been playing around and done some good posts around Enterprise Portal and Dynamics AX. Check out the following:

- Master Pages in EP
- EP KB Articles
- EP Whitepapers

I think I am going to start calling him EP Monkey! :-) Anyway this is good information, and so I felt it was good to have a pointer to all of this. Thanks EP Monkey!

Check back soon as I continue to post!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Monday, August 20, 2007

AXUG Summit 2007!

Well the AXUG Summit in 2007 is to be held at the Disnet Contemporary Resort in Orlando Florida this year. I for one would love to go to this one, and not just because it will be in such a neat place. Check out some of the tracks highlights:

- AX 4.0 Upgrade Track
This virtual track will focus on all aspects of an AX 4.0 upgrade. It will be held as a concurrent session within each of the other primary tracks having focus sessions from an executive perspective, developer perspective, user perspective, etc.

- Executive
Lead: Art Johnston
CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, Project Managers and other executives who have an overall interest in the function of AX in their organization. This track will address high level topics such as strategic direction of AX with Microsoft, Partner relationships, Project Best Practices, strategic use of AX in enterprise, etc

- CRM, Sales, Cust Svc
Lead: Karen Polarolo
Users in the Sales, Customer Service, Order Entry functions. This track will address topics pertinent to those job roles and may address CRM system functionality.

- Manufacturing
Lead: Grant Wilson
Manufacturing Managers, Shop Floor Managers, Production Planners, etc.

- Supply Chain
Lead: Michael Campbel & Bill Andrews
Supply Chain Managers, Inventory Control personnel, Transportation and Distribution Managers

- Finance
Lead: Jeff Steelman
CFOs, Accounting directors, Accounting managers, A/P, A/R, Credit, etc

- Infrastructure
Lead: Paul Martin
Network Architects, Network Administrators, DBAs, etc.

- Development
Lead: Richard Whipp
Developers, Report developers

- Vendor Showcase Series
This track will offer Vendor specific presentations to the attendees. This track will include educational sessions offered by partners on specific topics or areas of AX. It will also be specfic solution or software demos. The topics will be largely up to the Partner to provide.

- Partner Roundtable
This track is designed for Partner Attendees. Since Partners are not permitted to attend the user tracks without accompanying their customer user, this track will offer partner pertinent topics to benefit them directly. This track will address topics such as customer service best practices, ISV solution design, Intellectual Property Law for software solutions, etc.

So as you can see there is plenty for every form of user or person involved with Dynamics AX. For sure this is an exciting year with so many DAX 4.0 implementations, and 5.0 coming out next year. A lot to learn, grow, talk about and so forth. If you have not signed up the registration is still open. This is the one event that you should, as a Dynamics AX user or even professional go to! Of course you may be like me and in the middle of project to where you can go. :-( Maybe next year!

Check back soon!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Hybrid Cloud - Enterprise 2.1?

Right now a lot of companies and services are popping up around the effort to offer what is called Enterprise 2.0 services for companies. One thing to realize is a lot of these companies and their services are subscription based models for software, and are hosted away from the user's office. What's upsetting to see is services like Zing which was out on Aug. 11th. Now for sure services will go down, and so that is why for most medium to large sized businesses the best model for Enterprise 2.0 services and technologies is a Hybrid mesh or cloud approach.

Basically, the subscription model can work, and can be hosted via a Web 2.0 interface. What most companies would rather go for in this subscription based would be a hybrid in that though it is subscription based, the hosting is done still on site at the customer level. This means that when a package update happens, the customer's site is setup to get that latest package deployment in a pull down to update their subscription. This serves the better model, and so the customer maintains and controls their own destiny for owning and maintaining their own data, and hardware, but has a subscription to the software. This is how I see Microsoft's Software + Services working in the Dynamics AX future. This is the Hybrid cloud in that the software + Services is hosted on the customers hardware, would links possibly to outside web services for non-critical applications. The software becomes subscription modeled, and the underlying core is updated when pushed out, and the customer still has the ability to adapt and change that software at a higher level. This serves the purpose of the subsciption modeled software, and also serves the customer's interest in that they host it and therefore can be up when Microsoft possibly goes down. [Or the VAR that is hosting it for them]

This will feel even more comfortable with the latest release of Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007. And then in the next releases of Dynamics AX and Office, when they release in sync, and office becomes the front end for Dynamics AX, via SharePoint the Hybrid cloud will be extended to the customers desktop / information workers, but still hosted in a hybrid way with the customer itself. Again this would solve the current problems that plague SalesForce.com's, Zing.com's, and Google.com's Enterprise 2.0 offerings. This is why it is Called: Software+Services vs. Software as a Service. The big difference, will make all the difference, and that's why the future of Dynamics AX keep getting brighter and brighter as well look forward to the full offerings of what software+services will be bringing to Dynamics AX customers!

Let me end in saying maybe Microsoft is offering Enterprise 2.1, as they see the issues with the current Enterprise 2.0 offerings from SalesForce.com, Google.com, and so forth? So I should start calling Microsoft's Software+Services, Enterprise 2.1! :-)

Check back soon as I continue to post!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunrise & Microsoft release Fact Sheet for Apparel and Advanced Warehouse Management

Recently the wonderful VAR I am apart of released in conjuection with Microsoft a fact sheet highlighting Sunrise Technologies, Inc. Apparel vertical solution, along with Sunrise Technologies, Inc. recently released Advanced Warehouse Solution. Both are targeted at Dynamics AX 4.0.

Here is the link the to PDF fact sheet: Link to Fact Sheet

Some of the highlights are:

"Sunrise Technologies has developed two add-on solutions that integrate with Microsoft Dynamics™ AX, building on the solution’s functionality aimed at the textile and apparel industry.

Apparel solution:
- Color, Size, Configuration Scales
- Sales Order Matrix
- Purchase Order Matrix
- Intelligent Bill of Materials Management
- Intelligent Route Management
- Master Production Order
- Season Codes
- Automated UPC Code Generation
- Item Life Cycle Management Codes

Warehouse Management Solution:
- Carton Management
- Inbound (Receiving, Palletizing, Put Away)
- Inventory Management Value Added Services
- Wave Planning
- Outbound (Picking, Packing, Shipping)
- Bar-Code Support [Focused on BarTender Support]
- Parcel Shipping Support [Focused, but not limited to, StarShip Parcel Shipping software]

This is great news for all possible and current customers that are in some form of Apparel vertical, as well as any customer in Dynamics AX that needs advanced warehouse management and integration for Bar Coding support, along with Parcel Shipping System integration.

Check back soon!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mobile Solutions for Dynamics AX - A deeper look

link: PartnerSource Link to Download Dynamics Mobile Platform

One of the most interesting things that has been released around the Dynamics AX platform lately was the Mobile Solutions stack. This offering has an example Sales application as well as the development platform tools for creating your own solutions. So in order to start working with this we need to better understand it. With that said I started looking closely at exactly what makes up this platform.

Basically there are a few parts, for the most the part this platform is:

- Visual Studio 2005, .Net 2.0 Compact Framework add on project type
- Exmaple projects that show how these types of projects can be used
- Server side platform components that make use of Web Services and .Net 2.0, as well as the .Net BC
- Example web service extensions for your use
- A Dynamics AX instance

So with this you are actually developing a windows mobile 5.0 application, that makes use of the .Net compact framework. There is a new set of Assemblies that is made use of within the client peice. You also have, as part of your solution, calls to the web services from the server side of this platform that enable and expose X++ business logic.

So you could create connected and disconnected state mobile windows applications with this paltform, and make use of the platforms exposed X++ objects via the server side web services that are deployed. This is Targeted for the .Net 2.0 Compact framework, which in turn targets Windows Mobile 5.0 devices.

From here I plan on diving deeper into this platform and creating an example solution. The one given though really gives you a good idea, and the samples provided.

Check back soon as I continue to post!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dynamics AX project success - Business Processes Streamlined

When entering into a new implementation, one of the key things that needs to happen for a project to be a success is the discovery phase. This phase is very much customer intensive as they must provide the consultants with business process documentation and review of such documentation. The point of this phase is to really define the full scope of the project. In doing so you create the real project plan, and can start to talk about educated timelines, vs. wild guessing of such. So the discovery phase is very important, and has a lot of key aspects to it. One of which is making sure the customer takes advantage of the time to review their business processes and use of software to see if they can steamline their BPs. This is one of the Points in implementing a new ERP, or parts there of, for taking advantage of what the ERP offers out of the box, and also what needs to be modified to achieve the business needs.

To often I have been involved with projects, or heard of projects, where the customer wanted the new system to do exactly the same as the old system. This is understandable, but the real benefit and actual point of this is missed. See what the goal should be is to achieve the business need, but possibly with totally new ways and new business processes. Now it does not make sense to add work to achieve the same ends, but the goal would be for the customer to look at their business processes in an entire new way, the Dynamics AX way.

So while the overall Discovery phase is most very important, an outlet or faucet of the phase is taking the time and having the customer see and take advantage of reviewing the business processes at hand and streamline them with the new solution. Proper planning for this can make sure such streamlining is considered in the project plan, and therefore timelines can be meant at a better percentage rate.

Well check back as I continue to post. I will be switching back to more technical postings, as well as some surprise post that might interest a few of you!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dynamics AX project success - Performance Tuning the system

Now that I talked about some key project management level area's of success I wanted to jump to something that I don't think a lot Dynamics AX projects think about, until it's a problem. That is Performance Tuning!

What this means, for me, is starting at the SQL Server level and working your way out. Use the tools at hand for analysis of SQL Query plans, adjust clustered indexes that may not be correct for even out of the box tables, and make sure for your custom add-on's correct index creation exist for reducing table scans, and making more use of Index seeks.

So performance tuning is a big part, and should be a part of the project plan. If your a customer and do not see this, demand it happen. It will be an added action item for a technical level person, but it's Well worth the time and money it takes to do this for a customer. The reason why, in doing so, the tuning might really speed up a lot of processes. If that is the case, well just think about it and add up the time saved to do a task, several thousand times over, and the equates to performance gains for every other thing done, because SQL Server can complete job X faster, jobs Y, Z will be faster as well!

So please as part of projects, to make them a success, have performance tuning as part of it. This does not just apply to custom modules, code, and tables, this applies to all functional area's that wil be used for the customer.

Well check back soon as I continue to post!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dynamics AX project success - Customer Ownership & Expectations

I would like to take some time and talk about some success factors for a Dynamics AX project. Of course some of this can apply to other projects as well, but I believe it's important to understand what makes a complex, or simple implementation of Dynamics AX a success.

So with that said, two of the area's I want to start off with for having a successful Dynamics AX project is Customer Ownership, and customer expectations. These two are for sure key elements in having a successful Dynamics AX project. First let's take a look at customer expectations, since really this is set during the sales cycle of a project.
You see customer expectations are based on what we tell them, and their assumptions from what we tell them. Making sure you do a great walk through, and functionality worksheet with them can really make or break the implementation teams life on the project. Make sure the customer understands what parts are estimated to be mods to fulfill their business needs, what is offered out of the box, and even setting the customers expectations that the real scope of the project can only be done during the discovery phase of the given project. Doing this, the customer expects to have their business processes heavily analyzed, and will expect they have a lot to do in the start of project. Having a customer not understand this, and thinking DAX can do everything they need in 3 months, with hardly no coding means you have an ignorant timeline, wrong expectations, and a very un-happy customer in the end when discovery is actually done and it really took 6 months instead of 3. Now let me break here and say, working out a project budget from past experience with a customer is something very acceptable. Just setting that as a budget awarness, help puts constraints on what the customer might request for the given project, and what the customer will decide as a possible later phase. Also I would like to point out that customer expectations are continued to be developed well into the project. It's not just on the sales & marketing team, but also on the implementation team to keep setting and meeting customer expectations. The proper management of such expectations lead to better understood deliverables for the project, and a happier customer, which translates into a happier project team.

The next part is customer ownership, and just as important as the expectations, can be something that will make or break a project for being considered a success. If a customer takes ownership of the project, then they are involved, understand throughout the process, and when you go live a more prepared solution. This means the solution has had it's new owners hands on it more, understood by the new owner, and again translate to a more successful project. If a customer does not take ownership, then the project suffers from lack of input, and the end result is a solution the customer does not fully understand, and possibly does not even like when going live. Of all the important elements for a successful project, this is sometimes the hardest to work on. The customers attitude towards the change, the user base, the management, all are part of this element. It's up to the project management and entire project team to get and keep the customer engaged enough in the project to where they are taking ownership, and therefore having input.

So there is the first two topics that I wanted to talk a bit about. Of course you can go on and on, show examples, etc. but I believe the point is made. Customer expectations and taking ownership are keys to a successful project.

Well check back soon as I continue to post!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Hidden ARP Jewel for Dynamics AX?

I came across a press release with To-Increase and SoftEnigma, Inc. [Softenigma's Homepage] parterning to where To-Increase will offer SoftEnigma's ARP module through their IEM offerings. At first I wonder what this means, and so I dug a little deeper, and this ARP module from SoftEnigma really takes the project management moduel to a higher level, one where a lot of people expect, similar to what Microsoft Project offers.

For project based manufacturing clients that make use of the IEM solution from To-Increase this is really a great new offering. Here is a link to the top ten reason's for using SoftEnigma's ARP module: 10 Reasons link

And here is the link to the Press release from To-Increase:
Press release from To-Increase

Sunirse Technologies, [Sunrise Website] is a Gold level partner with both Microsoft and To-Increase. I would love to see how this new ARP module can help our current IEM customers, and future one's, and hope to work with it very soon!

SoftEnigma was founded by Daniel Bevort, a former Damgaurd employee and also fellow assoicate of mine through Sunrise.

Well Check back soon!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 has been released


Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 has been released. You can find the download here [PartnerSource link]: Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2

If you are a customer and need this, I recommend going through your partner or CustomerSource.

Here is a little bit of interesting information for the focus of this release:
"Several fixes focused on stabilizing the Client and Application Object Server. This was a main focus for SP2." Among others!

Check back soon!

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

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