Insights into Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 from the specialists
Microsoft’s release of Dynamics AX 2012 is a significant and powerful application providing a massive range of functionality. By implementing this new release of software, Professional Advantage has been able to get up-close-and-personal with Dynamics AX2012.
“Implementing the new version of AX has really brought to light the wonderful new features that are accessible to end-users”, said Craig Cornish, lead AX consultant with Professional Advantage. “The input controls for dimension setting have been improved significantly and the sharing of key master data in a multi-company arena is another positive advancement. Changes such as these improve the overall useability and robustness of the application.”
“However from an implementation perspective, consultants had to navigate a number of ‘gotchas’ and ‘neat features’ to ensure a successful outcome”, remarked Cornish. This is often the case with new software releases since methods of system configuration and setup do vary.
Two areas of specific interest stood out, data migration and account structures.
Data migration is always a bigger task than most clients anticipate. There are two aspects to consider, a) the quality and availability of the originating data, and b) the methods and tools for importing the data. The former is very much in the hands of the client organisation. But in the case of import and ETL (extract, transform and load) tools, consulting firms such as Professional Advantage can really help. Professional Advantage is developing specific data migration tools for Dynamics AX2012 to supplement those offered by Microsoft. Professional Advantage believes this is an area in which it can provide significant benefit to organisations wanting to implement Dynamics AX2012.
When it comes to account structures, the release of Dynamics AX2012 has seen the expansion of advanced rules and dimension controls. The functionality is now very versatile. It is possible to have a common account structure across multiple companies and yet vary which dimensions are used for different accounts or companies. The power of dimensions is further reinforced with auto-populate rules. This can be very useful for bringing data in from master records, such as project codes for example. “Dimensions hold the key to relevant and meaningful report analysis and Dynamics AX2012 has really strengthened the capability in this release,” said Cornish.
There is a cautionary note around advanced rules and lack of budgeting ability. Budgets are set against account structures not advanced rules. This is important for clients to consider in the design stage to avoid budget challenges downstream. Hence, it is worth noting that budget planning needs to be incorporated at the beginning of system design, and not be considered an afterthought.
Lastly, it is worth highlighting the compliance and audit capabilities which Microsoft has built into Dynamics AX2012. No doubt prompted by Sarbanes-Oxley, the function is very comprehensive. Having set various rules, an administrator can allow the system to trawl through transactions to build a profile or create alerts as required. Far beyond SOX compliance, these audit functions will help departments better manage their overall expenditure and help them take preventative action. Traditionally, ERP gathers data which is then reviewed on a historical basis, e.g. looking at last month’s numbers. This approach turns that around and puts Dynamics AX2012 in a proactive stance.
Overall, it is fair to say that Professional Advantage is heartened by the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and believes it will benefit many organisations. “It’s been fun, challenging and rewarding to implement,” commented Cornish. Having an AX2012 implementation under its belt further expands the range, skill and experience of the Professional Advantage team.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics AX2012 here.
Blog written by Chris Pennington, Consultant to PA. The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Professional Advantage Pty Ltd.