COLUMBUS IT magazine
Focus on Dynamics AX 2009
How does Dynamics AX
support the challenges
in a modern competitive
Globalisation > page 4
Compliance > page 6
Productivity > page 8
Growth > page 10
Dynamics AX modules
Financial Management Supply Chain Management Compliance Management
General ledger Demand forecasting Compliance Center
Accounts receivable and payable Intercompany trade Country-specific functionality
Bank management Inventory management Audit trails and acces control
Fixed assets Distribution planning Embedded workflow capacities
Shared services support Procurement management
Cost accounting Vendor self-service portal
Intercompany accounting and Business-to-business trading Business Intelligence
consolidation partner integration
management Standard ad-hoc and analytical
Order handling with trade
reports with Microsoft SQL Server
Finite and infinite capacity and Item and lot number reservation RoleTailored, predefined, multi-
materials planning and tracking dimensional data cubes
scheduling and sequencing
Job Order promising Dashboard views of key
Resource management RFID-enabled performance Indicators (KPIs)
Shop floor management
Work order management with
job costing Service Management Human Resource
Quality management Service orders and contracts
Lean manufacturing Service calls and dispatching
Organizational and workforce
Recruiting and selection
Project Accounting Employee development and
Project finances and invoicing Mobility Skills mapping
Project cost control Expense management
Revenue recognition and work Mobile Sales Assistant Employee self-service portal
in progress (WIP)
Integration with production
Consultant self-service portal Collaborative Workspace
Enterprise Portal based on
Sales and Marketing SharePoint technology
Sales force and marketing communications
Lead and opportunity
Telemarketing and telesales
Customer self-service portal
Dynamics AX 2009
In this theme magazine, we will focus on the ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics
AX 2009, which was released in 2008/2009.
In the four articles, we will look at how Dynamics AX 2009 supports companies in
the challenges they face in a modern competitive market:
Companies in a global market have geographically fragmented supply chains,
several distribution channels and production and stock locations. This also
creates new challenges with regard to global reporting, requirements for
compliance of local rules and willingness to adapt.
> page 4
There are more and more laws, regulations, standards and practices which
companies must comply with in order to manage in the competition. This places
demands on the procedures and is often a heavy expense.
> page 6
Improvement on productivity is about the users not having to spend unnecessary
time on searching for data or looking for functions; that new users can get going
quickly; that the system’s potential is utilised and that no one stops using it
because it is cumbersome.
> page 9
Growth and the ability to handle change go hand-in-hand. Modern IT systems
must be built for change with Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Web Services
and a high performance and scalability.
> page 10
If you would like to know more about Microsoft Dynamics AX, please visit our
New markets, political changes and tech-
nological progress drive and continue to Globalisation brings fragmented supply
change the world’s economy and create
opportunities and challenges for business chains, several distribution channels
The global challenge
and production and stock locations
The economic distances in the world are
reduced due to declining prices on trans- local time zones Accounting across sites
port and communication and new markets centrally managed payment function Organisations that comprise several
are becoming mature and are being in- across companies companies can now create and manage
cluded in the global economy. master data with central product payments via a central service in Dynamics
creation AX 2009. This eliminates duplicates of
Whilst the technological development in automation of inter-company trade supplier data and it streamlines the
recent decades has made many things automation of payments and processes regarding payment proposals,
easier, the complexity of doing business settlements between companies settlement, editing of open transactions
on a global scale has increased markedly. standardised file exchange model,
a and inter-company accounting is incor-
e.g. via BizTalk porated in a number of processes.
Companies in a global market have geogra-
phically fragmented supply chains, several International supply chains Local time zones
distribution channels and production and Dynamics AX 2009 has a new “multi-site” Organisations that work in several time
stock locations. This also creates new functionality, which is a new layer between zones need control of the time. For
challenges with regard to global reporting, the company and the production location. example, if times in production plans
requirements for compliance with local are stamped with a common time zone,
regulations and willingness to adapt. Dynamics AX can now manage a global regardless of which country you are in,
oriented supply chain: local and central confusion and misunderstandings can
One global solution stock control, site-dependent purchasing, easily arise.
One of the objectives with Dynamics AX prices and procedures, automatic transfer
2009 is to make it easier for companies to orders, replenishment between sites, pro- The new time zone functionality in
compete on a global market. duction across sites, etc. Dynamics AX 2009 means that each
location only sees data in its own time
For example, Dynamics AX 2009 supports: Expanded language functionality zone setting. Time information is saved
many physical sites for each company The language is often a barrier when a with information about the time zone
many languages and various legal company expands onto a new market. and all information in date and time
requirements Dynamics AX 2009 has expanded the lan- fields are shown in the user’s
Asian and Arabic characters as well as guage functionality and supports 10 new preferred time zone.
right/left reading direction countries. The solution’s user interface
now adapts to both left and right reading
direction and thus also supports Arabic.
Compliance with local regulations contribute to planning and analyse
Requirements for the compliance of re- information.
gulations can vary from area to area and
it can be difficult to keep track of require- More information
ments that must be complied with. Visit www.columbusit.com/axmag
and read more about globalisation
Dynamics AX 2009 contains a new Compli- in Microsoft’s white paper:
ance Centre where you can manage com- Connectivity in Microsoft
pliance of local regulations and standards. Dynamics AX 2009.
Global planning and reporting
Organisations that work globally need
transparency in planning processes and
performance indicators across depart-
ments, sites and countries in order to be
able to make qualified decisions.
The integration between Dynamics AX
2009 and Business Intelligence tools pro-
vides a complete tool for Performance
Management. All processes for budget
and forecast are managed as an inte-
grated part of the solution and the
individual user can monitor
Today, companies focus more on the The costs for complying
compliance with standards. with standards are often a Compliance with standards
big challenge for small and
New laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as medium-sized companies. is not just a necessary
well as greater focus on compliance with
existing legislation have created new Compliance is not just a evil; it is also a business
challenges for business leaders. necessary evil; it is also a
Compliance is about observing laws,
business opportunity. It
requires the gathering of
regulations and standards or following a information with preci-
practice. The standards can originate from sion, and fast, effective The cost for compliance can be reduced
external and internal sources and can be analysis and presentation. with Dynamics AX 2009’s architecture
mandatory or voluntary. because the solution is closely integrated
It requires procedures, which are with Active Directory, SharePoint, SQL
Compliance is not just an accounting integrated in the company’s way of Server, Office and Windows Workflow
question. Today it includes all aspects operating the business and it gives the Foundation. Functions such as Single
of the business: finance, requirements company better control of business Sign-on and Windows Authentication
from trade partners, environmental processes and streamlines the mana- improve security and the processing of
requirements, etc. gement of customers. sensitive data.
Challenge or business opportunity New tools Compliance Centre
The challenge is to balance between the Dynamics AX 2009 provides cost-effective The new Compliance Centre in Dynamics
contradictory goals of observing certain tools to manage compliance. The new AX 2009 simplifies compliance and
standards while at the same time functions include: Workflow, Compliance keeps business information safe via
retaining the company’s flexibility and Centre, configurable notifications as well tools to manage and control electronic
adaptability and also to keep expenses at as role centres. content. The internal tools support
a minimum. company management based on
On the job Sara starts
with Sara, CFO Sara prepares for a meeting with the Sara responds to a European regulator who
CEO about last month’s sales figures wants transactional audit histories for
at a subsidiary. She opens a sales form four subsidiaries. She quickly locates the
from her Role Center, drills down into the Audit Trail report in the Compliance Center
details, and quickly exports the data into and sends out her response.
an Excel spreadsheet.
Compliance Centre in Dynamics AX 2009
data from business processes, internal workflows with visible processes so information and make it possible to react
documentation, auditing information managers can track the status and faster to tasks regarding compliance.
and reporting, which provides a graphic history of a specific event. Who did what
overview of the verification effectiveness and when? The solution also contains The notifications in Dynamics AX 2009 can
and document status. delegation of tasks, so tasks in the be configured for the individual company
workflow processes can be assigned if and thus ensures that the correct user is
Workflow automation there is absence, etc. notified of deviations and the necessary
Workflow automation is essential for actions.
compliance. With audits and enquiries, For example, Dynamics AX 2009 uses the
documentation of a chain of events is a workflow functionality in a completely More information
heavy workload and workflow automation new module for the handling of purchase Visit www.columbusit.com/axmag
can assist by ensuring consistent and requisitions as well as in new functionality and read more about compliance in
documented processes in the entire for the management of expense vouchers. Microsofts white paper: Transform the
organisation. Challenge of Compliance into Bottom Line
Overview and notification Benefits.
Workflow is a new function in Dynamics The new role centres in Dynamics AX
AX 2009. You can set up individual 2009 provide the user with specific role
Monitoring One last
performance important issue
Between meetings, Sara checks her Role Sara sees an alert to approve a purchase
Center and sees one of her KPIs—“days order (PO) over the authorized limit.
outstanding invoices”—is red and exceeds From her Role Center, she reviews and
the norm. She sets up a meeting with approves the PO.
Phyllis, her accounting manager, to
discuss the matter.
On the job Vince
with Vince, Operations Manager Vince opens his Role Center and views a Kevin from sales calls about an
graph tracking product defects. He notices unexpected order increase from a key
an increase for the third week in a row. He customer. From his Role Center, Vince
quickly sets up a meeting with Ricardo, his opens the production planning Gantt
quality control manager, to discuss the chart so he can discuss how to get the job
issue. done with his production team.
Improvement on productivity is an es- is adapted to the individual employee’s The integration with Business Intelligence
sential point in Dynamics AX 2009. Sur- role, the workflows controls that tasks tools provides a complete enterprise-
veys show that our working week only and request for approvals goes to the level tool for Business Intelligence and
effectively begins on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. We right employees in the right sequence. Performance Management. Dynamics AX
actually spend 30% of our time looking for The software ensures that the employees 2009 is also fully integrated with SQL Server
programmes and data. Moreover, we use remember every step in the process in 2008 Reporting Services and contains more
only 40-60% of the functionality in the relation to the individual’s role. than 120 pre-defined reports.
Improvements in the user interface
Usability brings productivity
The answer is user friendliness and this
Role centres will The design of the user interface has been
developed so it matches Office 2007
brings productivity. Therefore, the title
of Microsoft’s strategy is: “People Ready”. fundamentally in both appearance and functionality
and this provides easier operation. For
Using a general term, we also call it Role
Tailored IT. The goal is that the users are change ERP as a example, there are List pages (overview
tabs), breadcrumb bars, Action Pane
not only able to use the solution, but also menus (known from Office 2007),
want to use it. concept. transport buttons, address bar, command
bar, navigation pages, etc.
With Dynamics AX 2009’s new role centres, As standard, Dynamics AX 2009 contains
self-service Business Intelligence and more than 30 role centres and the users More integration
workflows, employees are guided through can adjust their personal role centre to Dynamics AX 2009 is more closely
each process and utilise the systems contain what they want to see. integrated with Office than ever before
better – and in so doing become more and close integration with SharePoint and
efficient. Self-service BI Unified Communications improves the
Dynamics AX 2009 makes Business productivity by the employees being able
Role centre Intelligence available to everyone in the to cooperate more effectively. For example,
The role tailored concept is the biggest organisation and provides transparency Unified Communications share contact
news we have heard in many years and will across departments, real-time access to information with Dynamics AX 2009 so
fundamentally change ERP as a concept. information and strong reporting tools. This you can quickly see who is present and
provides better insight and a better basis available as well as share documents and
Role centres are personified portals that for decision. information easily.
show specific data, reports, notifications,
documents, key figures and tasks, which As standard, 10 SQL Analysis Server cubes More information
regard the user’s role in the organisation. are delivered with Dynamics AX 2009 Visit www.columbusit.com/axmag
Thus, it is the user’s role that determines regarding e.g. finance, sales, procurement and read more about productivity
the content of the role centre. and stock. This makes it easier for the users in Microsofts white paper: Empower Your
to analyse data in Excel themselves or to People with Self-Service Business Intelligence.
The basic idea behind the role centres is show key figures in their role centre. The
closely connected to workflows. Just as user can also export data from list pages
role centres ensure that the user interface directly to Excel.
Thinking The end
ahead of the day
Vince needs to carefully monitor a new Vince sees an alert in his Role Center to
product. He sets up several alerts to notify approve an expense report submitted
him by e-mail of any delay to the ship- by Tony, his production manager. From
ments of product components. his Role Center, Vince opens the report,
reviews the details, and gives his
Managing growth requires the ability
to adapt and react quickly to changes.
Relations with business partners become Modern IT must be designed for change
more dynamic and volatile due to shorter
product life cycles and changing needs of with SOA, web services, high performance
Growth and change go hand-in-hand and
Dynamics AX 2009 is designed to handle
frequent changes and growth, e.g. via Web services 2008 shows a significant improvement
Real-World SOA, web services and high Companies must be quick to build rela- in performance and via database com-
performance and scalability. tions with cooperation partners and it’s pression in SQL Server 2008, the size of
no good if it takes a long time to set up IT the database is reduced by 60-80%.
Real-World SOA integration.
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is In the test, Dynamics AX 2009 processed
about creating a standardised design that Web service is a pre-defined standard for 322,000 lines per hour from 2,250 simul-
provides an integrated IT infrastructure that integration and it reduces time used and taneous users and 40 batch clients
can quickly adjust to changed business the costs of IT integration. without creating locking problems.
needs without replacing the entire IT
infrastructure. Dynamics AX 2009 is supplied with 80 The user experience was a sub-second
complete business documents that can response time for ordinary functions such
SOA projects, which are designed for quick be exchanged with business partners via as line updating and less than 2-3 seconds
and frequent adjustments to business web services. For example, purchase order, for the most intensive updating functions.
goals, are called a “Real World” approach delivery note, request for quote, etc.
to SOA. Visit www.columbusit.com/axmag
Performance and scalability and read more about growth.
SOA capabilities are not just built into the In the development of Dynamics AX
core of Dynamics AX 2009, but also in the 2009, significant focus was placed on
infrastructure, such as SQL Server, BizTalk performance and scalability. A benchmark
Server, .NET Framework, Windows Server test of Dynamics AX 2009 operating on
and Office SharePoint Server. SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server
On our website you can read more about the topics in this theme magazine: Globalisation, Compliance, Productivity and Growth.
We have also collected some relevant data sheet and white papers from Microsoft about Dynamics AX 2009.
You can find it all at: www.columbusit.com/axmag
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