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Dynamics AX Integration with the Microsoft Suite

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Dynamics AX 2012 is a great ERP system, and you probably don’t think that it could get any better. But it can, because Dynamics AX leverages all of the other products within the Microsoft suite of …

Dynamics AX 2012 is a great ERP system, and you probably don’t think that it could get any better. But it can, because Dynamics AX leverages all of the other products within the Microsoft suite of products to extend the application outside of what the traditional ERP systems are able to do natively.

In this overview we will show some of the ways that Dynamics AX 2012 leverages these products, and how you will be able to take advantage of them as well.

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  • Thanks Murray. Is such integration possible when DAX is remotely hosted and accessed via RDS? Do you know which products can be integrated in the cloud, and which still require local installations or LAN connections?
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  • 1. Dynamics AX | Microsoft | SharePoint | Office | ExchangeDYNAMICS AX INTEGRATION WITH THEMICROSOFT SUITE Dynamics AX 2012 is a great ERP system, and you probably don’t think that it could get any better. But it can, because Dynamics AX leverages all of the other products within the Microsoft suite of products to extend the application outside of what the traditional ERP systems are able to do natively. In this overview we will show some of the ways that Dynamics AX 2012 leverages these products, and how you will be able to take advantage of them as well. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 2. Lync is the latest version of what used to be called OfficeCommunicator. It is a one-stop-shop for securelymessaging, desktop sharing and collaboration, and alsovoice and video communication. You can install this as anoptional component along with Microsoft Exchange, or ifyou subscribe to Office 365, then this may be included inyour bundle. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 3. LyncLync has two clients. The first is the traditional versionthat you would run on your desktop. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 4. Lync on SmartDevicesAnd the second type of client is the mobile version, whichruns on Windows Tablets, Windows Phones, iPads,iPhones, and Android devices. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 5. Lync Presence InDynamics AXIf you have a Lync client running on your client, thensomething that is pretty cool happens. Wherever you seea contact name, if the person has an IM account definedagainst them, and they are on-line with Lync, then you willsee a Presence indicator which matches their status onLync.Immediately you will be able to see if the person is on-line, and also if they are available. By right-mouse clickingon the icon, you are given a whole host of communicationoptions. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 6. Instant MessageDirectly fromPresence IconWithin the blink of an eye, you can start chatting withthem, and they may be able to help you uncover moredetails on the transaction that you are looking at. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 7. Desktop Sharingfrom LyncIf you want to create a desktop sharing session with theother person so that they are able to see what you arelooking at then you can start that from the Lyncmessaging window. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 8. Desktop Sharingfrom LyncNow you are both on the same page, and it’s easier toexplain what the problem is that you are having. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 9. Remote DesktopSharing ControlAt any time, you can also give others control of yourdesktop so that they are able to navigate throughDynamics AX rather than tell you what to click on. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 10. Creating A GroupMeetingIf you realize that you need to include someone else in theconversation then you can add participants to themeeting. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 11. Creating A GroupMeetingYou can search the Lync directory and find out who isavailable and then add them to the meeting. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Creating A GroupMeetingYou can have as many people as you want join in on theconversation. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 13. Creating aConference Call onthe FlyIf you would rather talk to the people rather thanmessage through text, then you can create a Lync callusing VOIP, or if you telephony system is integrated intothe Lync server then you can call external land lines aswell. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 14. Sharing Documentsand AttachmentsIf you have documents that you want to share with theother participants, then just drop them into Lync and theywill be able to download them to their local machine. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 15. Lync TranscribesYour SessionsAfter you have completed your call through Lync, a copyof your conversation will be saved to your inbox forreference. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 16. Missed a Call? LyncWill Notify YouIf you try to contact someone, and they are not available,then Lync is smart enough to send them a reminder as ane-mail. In this case they will see that you tried to get incontact with them, and call you back.Very cool. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 17. Almost all modern ERP systems have some sort ofintegration into the Office products since it is the bestproductivity suite on the market. Usually this entailssome sort of static downloading to a spreadsheet.Dynamics AX takes the integration to a whole new level. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 18. Pull PushIntegration WithinExcel To DynamicsAXExcel has a Dynamics AX Add-In which is worth it’s weightin gold. It allows users to securely connect through toDynamics AX document sources and have live dataconnections to the ERP system. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 19. Filtering Based OnLive Data In AXAs you are filtering our the data, the conditions that youcreate may be validated directly against the data withinthe ERP system, ensuring that you do not fat finger in thewring filter values. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 20. Updates To AX AreValidated ThroughBusiness LogicIf you allow the connection to publish data back toDynamics AX, then you are also able to make changes tothe data in the Excel Spreadsheet, and then update theDynamics AX database through business procedures. Thisis much better than hacking the data through ODBCconnections since all of the traditional logic for the updatestill runs.If there are errors, then the system will report them. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 21. Word Has Data PullCapabilitiesNot to be out done, Word has a similar Dynamics AX add-in that enables data to be shared between the worddocument and Dynamics AX. It is not able to update thedata from the Word document, but is does have a coupleof tricks that may be even better.In this example we create a custom Purchase Ordertemplate using word, which will work a little like a mailmerge file. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 22. Published TemplatesLink Directly To AXWhen you publish the template, it becomes availabledirectly from the Generate from template menu buttonon the ribbon bar. Almost all of the documents withinDynamics AX have this feature enabled, including SalesOrders, Quotes etc. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 23. Templates MergeCurrent Data IntoFormAfter telling the system to create our document from thetemplate, the data from the current record is merged intothe template and we not=w have a word version of thedocument.You can use this for other templates as well such as labels,collection letters, proforma invoices and more.How cool is that. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 24. ExchangeAlthough Dynamics AX does not have to talk to Exchangedirectly, all of the information in Outlook is going to bestored there. If you are like me, then you may have anumber of ways that you access your email and contacts –it may be a laptop, a phone, a home workstation, and alsoa tablet or two. Exchange is the bridge that will keep all ofthis information up to date regardless of where you areaccessing the data. If a task from Dynamics is created onyour workstation, then this will immediately become anotification on your phone and tablet. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 25. Notifications SentVia EmailAll emails sent though from Dynamics AX will comethrough to Outlook. All of the hyperlinks will be enabledwithin these emails. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 26. Links Within EmailsOpen AX Client toView TransactionSo if you want to go straight into the ERP system and viewthe details of the alert then you just need to click onthem. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 27. Creating Ad-HockAppointments andTasksFrom the Activities menu on most of the transactions, youcan assign tasks and create appointments for yourself, andalso others within the organization. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 28. NativeSynchronizationFrom AX To OutlookDynamics AX has synchronization services built into thecore of the ERP system. All you need to do is tell thesystem where you want to send the information.In this case I created a set of folders just for the DynamicsAX calendar, contact, and task items. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 29. AppointmentsMoved ToCalendarsSo as appointments are scheduled for me throughDynamics AX either through processed in place within thecase management system, or through Ad-Hoc meetingrequests within Dynamics AX. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 30. Contacts Moved ToOutlookYou will choose which contacts are sent over to Outlook,and when they get there you will have all of the detail onthe contact that is available within Dynamics AX.If a contact is removed from Dynamics AX then it will alsobe removed from Outlook, saving you the hassle of havingto clean up your own contact lists after they are moved toExchange.Additionally, since these are contacts in Exchange, thenthese will be available on your tablet and smart phones. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 31. Social ConnectorProvides SMIntegration InOutlookA great tip for Outlook power users is to use the OutlookSocial Connector. This is the person box that shows up atthe bottom of the Outlook contact details. If you linkOutlook to Facebook, LinkedIn, MSN etc. then you will seea feed of all the contacts recent activity.It’s also free. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 32. Assigned TasksManaged ThoughOutlook.Tasks also show up within your Exchange account.Sometimes that’s a little bit of a reminder of all the workthat is outstanding… as in my case. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 33. SharePoint is the backbone of all the collaboration anddashboarding capabilities that are delivered withDynamics AX. It is used in the Role Centers, for reporting,for document management, and so much more. Sinceyou will have this installed in your environment, you mightas well take full advantage of all the capabilities that itoffers. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 34. Role Center In RichClient Is SharePointWhen you open up the Rich Client, then the Role Centerwill be one of the first things that you see. This is just anembedded view onto SharePoint. There are around 40pre-configured role centers delivered with the standardinstall of Dynamics AX, tailored to specific user groups,which the users can then further personalize. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 35. Thin Client RoleCenters DeliveredThrough SharePointNot only can you access these Role Centers through theRich Client, but if they user wants to open up a thin clientversion that has all of the main functionality available tothem. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 36. Dynamics AX WebParts Delivered WithSystemIn addition to the standard web parts that you are able touse on the role centers and portals that are delivered withSharePoint, Dynamics adds in a number of smart webparts that are able to share and integrate with DynamicsAX a lot more effectively.This also means that you don’t have to do any additionaldevelopment on existing SharePoint sites if you want toput Dynamics AX data into. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 37. PerformancePointKPIs & DashboardsDelivered StandardWhen the BI components that are delivered with thestandard Dynamics AX install are enabled, then they comealong with a bunch of KPI’s, scorecards, charts, anddashboards that can then be added to any of yourSharePoint sites. They inherit all of the user security fromSharePoint and also Active Directory so you will be surethat only the right people are seeing the data. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 38. PerformancePointKPIs & DashboardsDelivered StandardThrough SharePoint you are able to add newPerformancePoint views. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 39. Changed ThroughDashboardDesignerAlso, if you want to change the existing scorecards, KPI’sor charts, or even create your own custom versions, thenthe Dashboard Designer (which is included within theSharePoint site) gives you full access. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 40. Business AnalyticsEmbed AX KPI’s inDashboardsIf you just want to add business indicators to yourSharePoint dashboard, then there is a Dynamics AX WebPart for that called the Business Overview. This is usuallya standard panel on the default role centers. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 41. KPI’s Embedded inCubes & DeliveredWith ProductIf you click on the Add indicator link, then that will allowyou to browse all of the business indicators that aredefined in any of the standard BI reporting cubes that aredelivered with the system. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 42. Workflow Task ListActionable ThroughSharePointAnother Dynamics AX Web Part that you can use withinSharePoint is the Work List. This will show you all of thealerts, and workflow tasks have been assigned to you.From SharePoint you are also able to act upon theworkflow tasks, meaning that people within theorganization that do not usually go into the Rich Client forDynamics AX will have a place that they can simply browseto and approve (or decline) workflow steps. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 43. User Links &Reports Link RoleCenter To AXThe final Dynamics AX Web Parts that we will show arethe Links and Reports. These allow the users to createmini menus that show up within SharePoint. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 44. User Links &Reports Link RoleCenter To AXThese menu items can open up the Dynamics AX Richclient functions, or they can open up any of the featuresthat are available in the Portal clients. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 45. Ad-Hoc AnalyzeData ThroughPowerViewPowerView is a reporting tool that is available withSharePoint that users are able to use to create their owndashboards and analysis without needing to ask for helpfrom IT. With the latest release of Dynamics AX 2012,Microsoft made the integration even better with thisfeature by adding an Analyze data menu item on most ofthe key forms. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 46. Ad-Hoc AnalysisData ThroughPowerViewThis takes the user straight into a PowerView dashboarddesigner. Because this is linked to the default BI cubesthat are delivered with Dynamics AX, then the reportingfields are a lot easier to understand than if the user wouldhave to go straight to the database. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 47. Export DashboardsTo PowerPointIf this is not a one-off report, then the user is also able tosave the report to SharePoint to access later on, and alsoto share with everyone else in the organization. This maybe locked down as well so that users are only able tochange their reports… © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 48. Export DashboardsTo PowerPointPowerView has a neat feature that allows the user toexport any of the dashboards that they create toPowerPoint - another example of Microsoft crosspollinating the functions between their products. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 49. Export DashboardsTo PowerPointWhen the report is published as a PowerPointpresentation, it looks pretty much like any other staticreport that you may have created in the past… © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 50. Export DashboardsTo PowerPointBut when the PowerPoint goes into presentation mode,the report becomes a live, clickable, filterable report thatis grabbing information directly from the reporting cubesif they are available. This allows users to createsophisticated presentations for vendors, or customers,filter the data to what they want to show, and thendeliver them to the external people. Since they do nothave access to the companies data, the report becomes alocked report. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 51. SharePointDocument LibrariesSometimes there are documents or information that doesnot quite fit neatly into the ERP system, or that you wantto present in different ways. SharePoint is usually theideal place to put this information.In this example, we use SharePoint in conjunction withMicrosoft InfoPath (which is part of the Office Suite) tocreate a nutritional spec sheet and recipe for a productthat uses some of our pruducts. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 52. SharePointDocument LibrariesThe benefit of doing this is that all of the free-form fieldsthat we are entering in the InfoPath Form will becomeindex fields within the SharePoint library that we can thencross reference from Dynamics AX. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 53. Connect SharePointDocument LibrariesTo OutlookAlso, if we have any documents that we want to have acopy of for off-line reference, then we don’t need to savethem away to our local file system, and then have themget out-of date. Directly from SharePoint, you canconnect the library with Outlook. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 54. Connect SharePointDocument LibrariesTo OutlookThat will make a copy of all the documents that are storedthere in your own personal Exchange account. When theyou are off-line, then they have access to all of thecurrently cached files. As soon as you connect to thenetwork (either physically, or through a VPN) thedocuments will be refreshed.No longer do you need to worry if you have the latestversion of a presentation, or the latest fact sheet on aproduct, because SharePoint and Outlook will keep youup-to-date. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 55. Enterprise SearchWill Find What YouAre Looking ForThe Enterprise Search is a small but incredibly usefulfeature of SharePoint that is linked directly into DynamicsAX. Enterprise Search will crawl through your ERP, andfile system data and quietly index all of the informationthat it finds.If you want to find a menu item that you are not quitesure where it quite is, then just type in a key word, and itwill find it for you.If you quickly want to find a product, or a customerrecord, just type in a key word, and it will locate it for youin any company on the system. Then just click on the linkand it will take you right to the details. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 56. DocumentAttachments CanAttach ToSharePoint LibrariesWith the latest release of Dynamics AX 2012, a newfeature was added which extends out the attachmentsfunctionality to also allow you to store documents withinSharePoint Document Lists. This is a great featurebecause then you can have additional filtering and accessmethods to your files. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 57. SharePointDocument LibrariesMay Be EmbeddedIn ViewIf you don’t have the latest version though, not a problem,you can embed SharePoint document libraries directlywithin your forms – a few lines of code are requiredthough… © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 58. SkyDrive is the Microsoft cloud based documentmanagement tool. It allows you to register computers,tablets, and smart phones as clients, and any file that isadded, updated, or deleted from any of the devices willthen be synced to the cloud and then updated on all ofthe other clients.I personally use this as a way to keep all of my businessfiles in sync between my workstation and laptop, and alsoso that I can quickly look at files on my smart phone ortablet.This will be extended with the release of SharePoint 2013,by giving organizations an option to turn SharePoint into aSkyDrive host. This gives users a better place to storesensitive information, and also allows Dynamics AX andSharePoint to use those files as well. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 59. Storage in theCloud or onSkyDriveTo show you how this works, here are the local and cloudversions of my SkyDrive account. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 60. Save File LocallyI can put a file on my local drive… © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 61. File Synced ToCloud & All OtherLinked LocationsAnd within a few seconds (depending on the size of thefile) the file is now available in the cloud – and also on allof my other devices. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 62. Instantly ShareDocument FromDesktopAdditionally, we can share the documents eitherinternally, or externally, depending on your setup. Youcan do this through the windows client… © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 63. Instantly ShareDocument FromWebOr the web client… © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 64. Create Read Only,or CollaborativeLinksBoth versions will take you here to the Sharing feature,where you can create read only links, or links that allowothers to make changes to the documents if you want tocollaborate with them. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 65. Instantly Send YourCloud DocumentsTo OthersIf you want to quickly send someone an e-mail throughSkyDrive, then you can do that from here as well.How easy is that. © 2013. All rights reserved.
  • 66. AboutMurray Fife