What can you expect in Dynamics AX 2012 R3? The new capabilities of this product cover both vertical and horizontal features. Such features include eprocurement, budget planning and demand planning to help improve operational efficiencies and support the planning needs of complex organisations. Additionally, enhancements to Warehouse Management and Retail deliver benefits from a vertical standpoint. The introduction of new Warehouse and Transport Management capabilities help various industries streamline distribution and warehouse operations. These new functions include:
- enhanced inventory control: Includes a range of inventory control improvements through 360 inventory visibility, real-time cycle counting and replenishment.
- embedded radio frequency: Provides real-time transaction processing via mobile devices including receiving, putting away, picking, staging and loading.
- improved warehouse operations: Improves efficiency of inbound and outbound processes with flexible warehouse process support including ASN-receiving, advanced put-away rules, EDI support, flexible picking strategies and wave/load planning.
- rate, route and load planning: Provides inbound and outbound planning, order consolidation, routing guides, constraints-based routing, load build capacity calculations, multi-mode planning and methods to select a rate for specific loads based on the carrier’s rate profile.
- freight reconciliation: Allows you to match system-generated freight bills with invoices received from carriers.
The demand planning functionality supports basic SKU-level demand planning needs based on historic data. This functionality uses the Time Series algorithm of Microsoft SQL Service Analysis Services in combination with Microsoft Excel to view, visualise and edit the forecast data.
The investment in Retail capabilities is comprised of four areas, namely Mobility, eCommerce and Social, Industry Excellence, and Enterprise Manageability.
Immersive mobile experiences for retailers and their consumers virtually anywhere, anytime, on any device. Future investments address the retailer’s need to enhance the shopping experience and include the following:
- a native and immersive Windows 8 (RT & Pro) Tablet Point of Sale (POS) and mobile POS for Windows Phone 8, allowing retailers to provide differentiating customer-facing in-store experiences.
- Assisted Sales scenario: A rich customer experience with detailed customer information, product details and comparisons to help associates in-store personally engage with customers.
- other planned mobile scenarios include Unassisted Sales, with wish lists, product details, comparisons and self check-out; Inventory Management, including picking, receiving, stock counts, price checks and labelling; Daily Operations, supporting punch-in/out, shift and drawer management; and Key Metrics and KPIs.
eCommerce and social
eCommerce and Social are important investment areas for this planned release and gives retailers the opportunity to offer consumers an omni-channel shopping experience. Planned enhancements include:
- loyalty programs across legal-entities, tiering of customers and enhanced gift card support.
- eCommerce investments include customer-specific pricing, wish lists and integration with third party Marketplaces. In addition to the electronics web-store, the inclusion of a pre-defined web-store for fashion retailers is planned.
- campaigns utilising Facebook and Twitter.
- multi-language and multi-storefront support.
Enrichments of specific retail scenarios include pricing and promotions, assortment and catalogue, BI and reporting, and seasonality and markdown enhancements. Kitting is planned to be introduced in the next release.
To support deployments in enterprise organisations Microsoft plans to introduce the following support:
- setup and upgrade of retail stores per store in order to phase and align deployment with business requirements.
- large scale deployment using Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager.
- monitoring and diagnostics using System Centre Operations Management.
Continued investment in the procurement areas to enhance functionality to support the purchasing for complex organisations and public sector organisations. These new capabilities will benefit purchasing managers and buyers by improving operational efficiencies. Enhancements for e-procurement include:
- improved management of request for information (RFI), request for proposal (RFP) and request for quote (RFQ) from solicitation to award.
- provide better control of response types to include sealed, open and reverse auction-type bids; ability to define groups of items or all items in the request.
- improved decision-making by defining evaluation criteria and scoring upfront.
- support publishing addendums and questionnaires in addition to item/service.
- improved vendor portal experience to view and respond to open RFXs.
- allow vendors or government contractors to propose substitutes or no bid.
- provide vendors or government contractors with visibility into the status and results of a solicitation.
As with eprocurement, Microsoft will continue to invest in budget planning to enhance functionality to support the planning needs of complex organisations and public sector organisations. These new capabilities will directly benefit finance and budget directors. Enhancements for budget planning include:
- enabling budget allocation based on allocation basis rules.
- enhanced ability to budget by summary/total dimensions.
- improved process flexibility and control by default and locked dimension values on certain types of budget plans.
- position cost using effective dates or the start of benefits.
Evaluate different scenarios for what-if analysis:
- enhance management and oversight, lock certain lines, such as position costs, in a budget plan.
- enable HR position budgeting functionality into budget planning.
So there you have it, a snapshot of what you can expect from Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics AX here.
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