Dynamics 365 for Operations Update 4

In the recent post from Redmond we can read that Dynamics 365 for Operations is going to get platform Update 4 and it packs a punch. Here is a quick overview:

An ENTIRELY new work space design with rich embedded Power BI reports.
power-bi-in-d365-workspaceopsblog3

 

Release of the Mobility solution
opsblog4

Release of the interactive Gantt chart control for doing visual scheduling.
opsblog5

New feedback solution (which I hope is optional)
opsblog6

They are also from now on going to launch updates every month for the platform.
All in all this is a pretty large update and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

D365 Operations is available on-premise! …again.

In the latest blog post of Sri Srinivasan the news about an on-premise solution for Dynamics 365 for Operations is making a comeback.

Microsoft has been a bit back and forth on the topic, because when AX7 was released it had a road map that said an on-prem solution was in the works and it was disclosed that it was going to run on Azure Stack.
After a while this was redacted and when Dynamics 365 for Operations was launched, the only alternative was a SaaS solution and it would only be available in the cloud. That did not sit well with a lot of customers and partners and Microsoft went back to the drawing board.
At Summit 2017 we were presented with the hybrid cloud solution where parts of the application workloads would be available as an partially offline solution to ensure better operational trustworthiness on sites, but it would sync up to the mothership in the cloud. It would have to be a hybrid solution as many of the services would only reside in the cloud. This is now referred to as “Cloud and Edge”.

NOW we are at the stage where the business data will be able to stay on-prem indefinitely with the selection of the “local business data” deployment scenario. LCS will still handle the application and the benefit of Automated deployments are still there, but data will not leave the premise. Even an on-prem license through SA/BREP will be available!

When? Q2 CY2017!

The distribution options for Dynamics 365 for Operations should now cater to any business needs through the model best suited for the customer. Thank you Microsoft for listening to your customers and partners.

Take your pick!
sri-blog-post-grid-graphic

More information will be disclosed at D365 Tech17!

Dynamics Podcast // Episode 11 // It takes a village…

Audio only:

We talk to the head of AXUG which is the AX focused user group that is a part of Dynamic Communities Inc.. We’ve seen a great focus from Microsoft on them lately, so we’ll get to know everything that there is to know about them.

We’re also going to talk to Pepijn Richter who is the Director of ERP Marketing at Microsoft to tell why they are creating close bonds with this user organization We also get to ask Pepijn some questions we’ve been wondering about Dynamics 365, AX and CRM.

Visit Dynamic Communities and join:
http://dynamiccommunities.com
http://axug.com
http://crmug.com

Join Tommy at Dynamics 365 for Operations Tech Conf. 2017
March 12-15 2017 in Seattle, WA, USA
http://d365tech.com

Join us both at Dynamic Communities Summit 2017 EMEA:
April 4-6 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
http://summitemea.com

Other places to go in 2017:
http://ugfocus.com
http://axugsummit.com
http://ignite.microsoft.com
http://build.microsoft.com (If you can get tickets)
http://inspire.microsoft.com (Formerly know as World Wide Partner Conference)

Also check out the Enterprise Software Podcasts event calendar for even more events:
http://enterprisesoftwarepodcast.com/calendar/

For everything Dynamics 365:
http://dynamics.com

Visit our official website: http://dynpodcast.com

Hosts:
Fredrik Sætre — @AxFredrik
http://www.dynaxtips.com

Tommy Skaue — @Skaue
http://yetanotherax.com

Guests:
Heather Williams – General manager AXUG at Dynamic Communities Inc.
@DCI_Heather

Pepijn Richter – Director of ERP Marketing at Microsoft Corp.

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Music courtesy of Cannavo&Nesse

Dynamics Podcast // Episode 9 // Appsource development

Ellipse Solutions was one of the initial partners with multiple solutions when Apsource was launched. Mikhail Roytman and Solution architect Denis Guryev from Ellipse Solutions joins us to talk about their experience with Appsource and development for Dynamics 365 for Operations in General.

Check out Appsource!
http://www.appsource.com

Hosts:
Fredrik Sætre — @AxFredrik
http://www.dynaxtips.com

Tommy Skaue — @Skaue
http://yetanotherax.com

Guests:
Denis Guryev (Solution Architect/Developer)
Mikhail Roytman (Partner) — @MikhailRoytman

Ellipse Solutions
http://www.ellipsesolutions.com

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http://community.dynamics.com/
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Music courtesy of Cannavo&Nesse

Quick Tip: New warehouse app and scaling

Supply chain and warehouse management guru, fellow countryman, fellow MVP and part time Pied piper Kurt Hatlevik just posted about the new warehouse app for Dynamics 365 for Operations. Read it here!

What a nice menu. Click for full image.

You can also check out the setup procedure from the AX Wiki here: https://ax.help.dynamics.com/en/wiki/install-and-configure-dynamics-365-for-operations-warehousing/

Now I played around with it a bit and I have to say I really like it and I’m so excited to see the nice interface and how intuitive and informative it is.

I did come across a neat little nicety while testing it, and that is the fact that you can adjust the font and layout size. This can be set so that you have all information on a single pane of glass and not be required to swap tabs to find info about the object you’re scanning.

Instead of this:

Notice the tabs on top?

You get this:

View all the data!

Doesn’t that look great on my Lumia 950?!

Just go to Display settings and adjust the Layout to 0,5 and flip your phone horizontal.

Change the settings here... Click for full image size.

Not rocket science, but still nice to know…

Subscribe to the Dynamics Podcast and look forward to us getting Markus Fogelberg from Microsoft on to talk to us about the new app in the beginning of February!

Quick tip: FastTab summaries

The FastTab is the grouping of fields that you can collapse and expand. They replaced the vertical tabs in the older versions (even though some forms still use tabs). It made the forms grow vertically and did take some time getting used to, but it did solve the problem that fields where not visible unless you had the tab open, even if your screen had room to spear. However there is another very large advantage on the FastTabs layout versus the tabular, and that is the FastTab summaries!

fasttabsummaries1

These are fields located to the left on the fast tab header. They contain elements within a fast tab grouping and are visible even if it is minimized/collapsed.

The form comes with a set of standard elements, but you can also select your own fields to be added.

Let’s say you want the Item group visible on the “Manage cost” fast tab… Just right click the field in the form and tick the “Personalize: Item group”.

FastTabSummaries2.png

In the “Personalize” dialogue, tick the “Include in FastTab summary”

fasttabsummaries3

Now refreshing this form will now show the Item group on the “Manage cost” FastTab.

FastTabSummaries4.png

You now no longer have to expand this to control that parameter. So in effect you could get a glance at most of the key parameters in a single screen. GREAT!

Oh… and you can also jump directly to a fast tab and expand it by clicking ALT + the number which the FastTab is located as from the top of the form. In the form in the image above, ALT + 9 would take you to the “Manage cost” FastTab.

Default order setting on items has changed

I was setting up for a demo and I noticed that there has been a minor change in the way that you setup your default order settings.

defaultorderchanges
Comparison from Dynamics AX 7 and Dynamics 365 for Operations

The site specific order settings are now gone and now are now merged with the default order settings and it has now got a “Rank” of the settings.

defaultorderchanges2.png

Rank 0 has the ability to add a default site. This is the record similar to the old “Default order settings”. “Site specific settings” in earlier versions are now the new records with different ranks in this list.

defaultorderchanges3.png

Not a major change, but it did put me off a bit… and it is nice to not have to go to multiple screens as well as I would imagine that the ranking can be used for supply chain management in some way shape of form.

Please comment if you have additional information.

Upcoming Power BI Content packs and reports

Taking a quick glance at the roadmap for Dynamics 365 you can see hat there are a lot of focus on improving BI. Currently there are 6 new content packages on the drawing board and an improved Power BI analysis of Cash flow. The current Power BI Content packages and reports on the drawing board are:

Asset management Power BI content
Giving a high level and detailed insight to enable CFO and operational workers to do key decisions on handling assets like choosing depreciation models, retirement, future investments and more.

Cost Accounting Power BI reports
cost-accounting-power-bi-reportsThe roadmap shows us a detailed view of some gauges and the data structure already created. The new Cost accounting features will be accompanied with great insights.

The roadmap sais this is tailored for C-level managers to be able to build rich visualizations to highlight performance from multiple companies in a common currency.

Credit management Power BI content
As a key part of the business, collecting money and keeping track of customer payments is undoubtably one of the most important aspect to have a healthy business and lower risk. The content pack will give you insights to pick up on customer patterns, discover hidden sources of cash, point out what direction to go in when it comes to customer focus and much more. A great detailed description is available on the roadmap website.

Expense management Power BI content
Get insights into the vast amount of data collected through the expense management features to be able to better budget and predict trends. Also keep up to date on statuses, discover bottlenecks and more.

Purchasing analysis Power BI content
Get the power to better engage with vendors with this important set of data at your finger tips. Track vendor performance and future purchasing requirements to get better deals and find large payments to decide on negotiating for early settlement bonuses +++. Read the full description on the roadmap website.

Warehousing Power BI reports
Doesn’t say much on the roadmap website, so I would assume that this is in the early stages. Warehouse operations produce a vast amount of data that can be eligible for interpretation and give you great insights in to making good decisions to improve efficiency and lower cost.


All in all the content packages are of extremely high value as they virtually require no effort to implement and gains entirely new insights in just minutes. Looking forward to see the results of the content packages currently in development and what areas they will decide to tackle next.

 

 

 

Dynamics podcast // Episode 7 // BrandingNoise

Jon Rivers and Jeff Shuey join us to talk about Marketing and branding, the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn, the different Dynamics conferences, how to reach out to Millenials, IAMPC and much more.

Hosts:
Fredrik Sætre — @AxFredrik
https://www.dynaxtips.com

Tommy Skaue — @Skaue
https://yetanotherax.com

Guests:
Jon Rivers — @jon_rivers and @brandingnoise
https://linkedin.com/in/jonrivers
https://marketingmonarchs.com

Jeff Shuey — @jshuey
https://linkedin.com/in/jeffshuey
https://www.iamcp.org

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Music courtesy of Cannavo&Nesse

Happy New Year 2016/2017

With the release of AX 7, the increased industry focus on IoT, AI and automation, release of Power Apps and Flow and the launch of Dynamics 365 it is probably safe to say that this is one of the most eventful years in Dynamics AXs history. Let us take a closer look at the events.

Launch of Dynamics AX

AX7_DD

On March 9th we had the official launch of Dynamics AX. Branding wise we should only refer to it as AX and drop any type of version reference like iPad once did with. It is to be a service that will be updated continuously with both platform and functional updates.

The solution was redesigned from the ground up to work as a web first application based on the proven AX business logic. A big leap in the application concept and put AX on the bleeding edge of technology. Exciting times for those of us loving technology, but daunting for those with a more traditional viewpoint on business applications.

It was launced as a SSaS only solution, hosted and managed by Microsoft and had a 50 Enterprise users minimum. The on-prem story was in development awaiting the general availability of Azure stack. It was on the roadmap to be available in Q3 of 2016.

Rapid updates

After the launch in March we had multiple platform updates. Update 1 released in May, Update 2 released in August and Update 3 released in November. The most profound change was probably the separation of the platform and application making it possible to  do updates to the one without the other. This also hints to the separation of multiple applications running on a unified AX7 platform.

We also saw a lot of features and general application upgrades being added and also implemented on AX 2012. Two Cumulative updates where released for AX2012; CU11 in June and CU12 in November.

Time Event
2016 March AX7 – Launch
2016 May AX7 – Application update 7.01
AX7 – Platform update 1
2016 June AX 2012 – Cumulative Update 11
2016 August AX7 – Platform update 2
2016 November AX7 – Application version 1611
AX7 – Platform update 3
AX 2012 – Cumulative Update 12

Dynamics 365 for Operations

dynamics365logo

The next chapter in Microsoft Business Solutions saw a unification of ERP and CRM solutions. Merging them together in a “marketing package” called Dynamics 365. Mostly being a rebranding and refocusing of their business application suite to focus on business processes rather then the different platforms. The idea is to integrate the different applications into a common navigation and let the data flow between the solutions through the master data managment service named “Common data service”.

Though it is a mouthful, the new designation for the ERP system formerly know as Dynamics AX formerly known as Axapta, is a pretty understandable direction if you look at the success that they had with Office 365 and that Microsofts “365-brand” is a synonym with cloud. Off cause the issue of calling the SMB suite “Financials” and the Enterprise suite “Operations” is kind of confusing. I would hope they would call it “Business” and “Enterprise” instead.

It is early days, but I thing that it is a change of mindset that Microsoft is looking to achieve with this rebranding. I’m looking forward to see what they have in store for 2017.

On-prem story changed

AXRoadmap.pngDuring the summer months the on-prem solution was silently removed from the roadmap and we were waiting for an explanation to what the alternative was to be. We had to wait until November and the launch of Dynamics 365.

The second day of AXUG Summit 2016, Christian Pettersen and Sri Srinivasan showed us the hybrid solution for Dynamics 365 for Operations. It would be adding new possibilities with multiple on-prem installations for specific workloads and a synchronization to a cloud hosted main application. Some partners and customers expected a 100% on-prem solution and understandably was disappointed, but in my opinion this does bring the best of both worlds and is a much more versatile solution.

Dynamics 365 was released with support for retail workload on-prem, but other features will be available during 2017.

Flow and Power Apps

A multitude of business power applications was released and made GA in November along side the Dynamics 365 launch. They are still early applications, but introduce the same conceptual user story that Power BI did for reporting.

This empowers the power- and end users to create solutions based on published data sources. Flow is an “if-this-then-that” solutions for automating processes while Power Apps is a solution to create applications and user interfaces in a very simplified way that should be available to end users.

AppSource

Along side the Dynamics 365 release, Microsoft also introduced the AppSource. This is a market place that contains custom applications developed by third party vendors on the individual platforms; Azure, Office 365, Power BI, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365.

This gives the customers the possibility to find and try out third party applications available to them without going through their partners. This will empower users, but also could give some partners headache. It is also important to note that this is a combination of VAR and ISV solutions. All partners should make sure to have their standard solutions available in this store as soon as possible.

LinkedIn and Microsoft

microsoft-linkedin.jpg

In the last months of 2016 the EU finally approved the LinkedIn purchase and this will be a great asset to many different applications in the Microsoft Suite as this network contains most of peoples business relations and professional resumes.

I’m looking forward to see what Microsoft will do with the LinkedIn data and how they will differentiate, insight and automation of the CRM and HRM processes.

IoT and AI

internet-of-things

In 2016 there was a great deal of leaps done within the IoT and AI scene. Most of the big conferences had large focus on the area and they introduced some very nice solutions on the CRM platform at the end of the year.

A lot of IoT stories are coming to life at the end of 2016 and I think that this will be the number 1 focus area in 2017.

On a personal note…

2017worldmap

This has been a very hectic year with the MVP title received in the very beginning, a newborn girl in February and A LOT of things happening on the Dynamics AX scene.

I achieved my goal to get a larger series of blog posts in March with one post each day. I also got a lot of things to write about with the new AX solution being released. Between my activity and probably most because of the MVP title I saw a 10x increase of hits on my blog.

I started a podcast together with co-worker and fellow MVP Tommy Skaue in November. Only a couple of hundred views for each episode at the time, but I hope that this will increase and grow over time. We have a great deal lined up for the next year.

I start my year with 10 weeks of paternity leave which I’m really looking forward to. I’m hoping my MVP status to be renewed in 2017, but it is a tough competition and a lot of VERY competent people contributing… Mostly because it is a great honor, but also because I want to go to the MVP summit which was not easy to do this year with a newborn in the family. Fingers crossed! Have a great new year.