As the Dynamics 365 now is released it was inevitable that we would see some changes in the community layout as well.
From now there are two new sections on the Dynamics Community: Dynamics 365 Business and Enterprise.
I do have one concern. The forum topics are now VERY generic. There is now only one topic for the entire operations application. Maybe there should be another more granular level for the forum to be efficient. Like today I monitor the sections in the AX forum that I’m efficient in, but also look through the general stream from time to time.
In any case it is time to join in and participate in the community. It is both educational and rewarding.
We have been waiting for a while to see the on-prem story. It was actually taken off the road map for a while and today it was finally disclosed. It was by no means what we expected an on-prem solution would look like… There will not be an “offline” stand alone on-prem installation running in a local data center by it self. It was so much better!
The new on-premise solution will focus on having individual business processes (Workcenters) available that can live on their own in offline situations, but moving data back up to the Azure hosted solution when available. Giving the solution architecture the possibility of having multiple on-prem installations of different processes on the same solution in many locations.
The offline Retail solution that was disclosed at Ignite 2016 will be available with the launch of Dynamics 365 in November, while the other processes are rolled out during 2017, starting with Shop Floor Control and warehouse management.
So you can have an on-prem warehouse solution in LA, Washington and Tampa on site at the warehouses, An on-site project management solution on the off shore platform in the Mexico Gulf, 25 retail store locations across the nation and an on-prem manufacturing solution for your factories in USA, China and Germany … Choose and pick what you need!
On-prem solutions will be self contained offline applications running AX with databases and all the required business logic, but require a pipe to the Azure environment for other data and off cause all the Power BI, Analytics, Management reporter and cloud other stuff. The user experience will be indistinguishable and smooth no matter the status of the locations current internett access.
So today the new and disruptive Dynamics 365 was launched at the AXUG Summit 2016. It brings together the Dynamics programs like never before and the CRM and AX story will now take a new path together… and NAV as well.
Dynamics AX is now rebranded as “Dynamics 365 Operations” (I’ll hang on to the AX name a while longer), NAV is now “Dynamics 365 Finance” and will continue its journey together with the Dynamics CRM that has already been split into its different parts with their respective new names as well. Customer Service, Project Service Automation, Marketing + Adobe, Sales and Field services.
We will shortly see similar thing happen to the AX (Operations) application, where each part/module of the solution should be able to work on its own merit and be coupled together with the rest of the Dynamics 365 or other external applications through the Common Data Model.
“Common data model is at the heart of Dynamics 365” – Keynote quote
The CDM is mainly the grown up version of the entity store, a story that actually started in the DIEF (Data Import Export Framework) in AX 2012 R2. There are currently about 1800 entities in Dynamics AX that mainly involve parameters, main tables and master data.
CRM will also have its own entities that are common with AX where it is covering a similar data type. The AX part of Dynamics 365 is just further ahead since it is the AX team that is also creating the CDM.
What this means for customers?
There has been a big interest the Dynamics CRM application by AX customers before, but it has exponentially increased as both platforms has progressively started to become market leaders within their respective fields. CRM and AX was tried coupled together through a data connector with varying results. However this new approach is much more in tune with each application and being a part of a single larger ERP solution we will see a lot more synergy between the individual components as a whole.
Resulting in a solution where customers will have a more or less seamless experience between all the individual Dynamics 365 applications.
Also the customer will be much more empowered to create great business line applications on their own. Scott Guthrie said: “If you know PowerPoint and Excel, you can create a business line application that would work on almost any platform”.
This is essentially a merging between the VAR and the ISV. Most VAR partners will strive to create their applications as Apps for AppSource and we will during 2017 see an explosion in business verticals that will be able to be purchased by anyone.
This opens up for a more customer governes approach to the application ownership. The customer can now pick and choose from any of the available solutions world wide to cover their business needs. They will also be able to do trials and pick the best solution for their processes, regardless of the competency or agenda of their partner.
This is the future!
If you have time, please go and listen to Ray Wang talk about Digital Disruption! Blew me away!
This is belated, but I had to reflect on the many points of information shared at Ignite this year. So much that Microsoft had to delay the launch of Dynamics 365? Well maybe… I think it is awesome that AXUG Summit is used as a platform for releasing Dynamics 365.
The keynote from Satya Nadella didn’t mention AX, but it is clear that AI is a major focus area and will be more and more introduced as a part of the Dynamics processes and work as decision accelerators. AX will use Cortana analytics for Product suggestions in Retail and Product forecasting at first, but I think we’ll soon see a lot more areas supported by this.
And talking about the analytics part… Did you know that with the new hardware Microsoft would be able to translate the ENTIRE English Wikipedia library to another language in half the time it takes a human to blink?! Around 100 milliseconds. Try putting that power behind your forecasting and decision making.
Arif Kureshy and Arjit Basu had a fantastic session on the road map. This really was in the spirit of the new Microsoft where current and near-future feature development was disclosed. If you have one hour, I suggest using it on this video…
Mike Ehrenberg talked about the localizations approach. GER (General Electronic Reporting) is a new tool that solves the export of files and documents and will cover both reporting and electronic integration scenarios. You can through LCS now subscribe to updates to localizations and the install process is being improved and automated.
The retail app is launched for iOS and Android and a hardware solution (“Scale”) has a POS and an offline on-prem server functionality. In addition to the advanced warehouse solution that is meant to cover the processes for warehouse wholesale stores like building material and equipment stores/warehouses.
Data centers are to open in Canada and Germany. The German will even be governed by Deutsche Telecom and the be subject to German law. I’ve heard rumors of a similar case for China. Data will also be able to encrypt at rest by customer owned keys.
Integrating, Reporting and Entities
The AX operational database is getting more and more unreachable (which is mainly a good thing) and interaction with data is now to be done through two replicated databases. One almost real time (seconds delayed) and one Entity store (minuted delayed). The entity store is currently around 1800 entities, mostly master data and parameters. There is a focus on creating more transactional ones in the near future. A Data entity wizard and script (for automated creation) will be available soon.
Upgrade and on-boarding story
Migration tool for AX 2009 is in preview now and will be public this year. Upgrade path for AX 2012 is to be released early next year. The on-boarding process will be continually updated and they showed quite a lot of large companies world wide running AX7 with an on-boarding of ONLY 60-90 DAYS!
A new trial-as-a-service was shown where potential customers get a company of their own in seconds with a restricted application feature set available. Partner recommendations will be there and a potential customer can HIRE partners to do demos. This will also be available for third party applications and the Dynamics App source will have partner recommendations, so customers can find an integration partner with knowledge of the solution quickly.
Other cool stuff
Customer self service is put on the road map!
AX – CRM connector is coming at the end of the year!
New Power BI content packs in the making:
□ Project & Practice
□ Cost Accounting
□ HR Manager (Coming very soon)
□ Hiring Manager
□ Purchase Management
□ Credit Management
And there is more…
All in all a lot of information… But the also continuously referred to the Launch on 11.October. This will be the launch of Dynamics 365 and also the hybrid cloud story will be unveiled. Check it out by going here: http://www.axugsummit.com/
There are some cool stuff you can do with the Dynamics AX URL that you should be aware of. Knowing these tricks will be beneficial during sales work, configuration and even in your daily work routine.
A URL is built up of a domain, folder, webpage and attributes.
Like: www .domain.com/folder/folder/webpage.aspx?attr1=value1&attr2=value2
The Dynamics AX URL doesn’t need folders or webpage (underlined), but it does contain some attributes that are worth getting to know a bit better. Here are my favorite ones…
Calling the domain without any attributes gives you the DefaultDashboard and the company selected in your user options.
Select a form (“mi=[menuitem]”)
This is one of two attributes is always present. Decoding this can make you swiftly go directly to a desired form. Storing URLs in favorites on your browser will give you direct access to a form.
Select a company (“cmp=[legal entity ID]”)
This is the other attribute always present. This shows the legal entity that you want to access. No information and the system calls the one that is selected in your users options. However it is great if you’re working with multiple companies to store different menu items that starts you off in one company or the other.
Example = “cmp=DAT”
Select a language (“lng=[lang]”)
The default language is the one that is selected in your user options. To work in an environment with another language you would normally make you go change parameters and reload the application. This is a REALLY fast way to just look at another language quickly. Great if you work in your local language and want to run through a tutorial or guide in another language… Like this one: dynaxtips.com/ax2012ta/
Example = “lng=nb-no”
Restrict navigation (“limitednav=true”)
In some cases you might want to restrict access to a navigation. This is really nice for the manufacturing execution terminals or a simple dashboard, customer information etc.
Another great way to use this is if you want to limit your navigation in cases where you do cross company lookups. So if you want to go in to another company and don’t want to run around doing other stuff once in that company. That could be a good damage control functionality.
Get to your data!
To get to your oData feed from the entity store… Simply write the folder: data after the domain. This will list all your entities. Adding the URL in the listing will give you the result. Try adding this to your Excel oData query to REALLY simply get to your data.
There where a lot of new information revealed at Ignite 2016 about Dynamics AX. This is my favorite way of consuming new information about the application.
Most of the content is released on Youtube and you’ll find it all here. Hours of fun!
There are even videos not tagged with AX on the Ignite website.
I’ll kick if off with a very exciting Keynote by Mike Ehrenberg. Enjoy!