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Monday, November 30, 2009

DAX ROI and Azure Dynamics ERP Services

Well as I posted first thing this morning, getting back into the swing of things. In doing so, I have a double post here to get the week off right.

As the title says, the first part of this post is about Dynamics AX ROI, or Return On Investment.

This is why companies implement Dynamics AX over SAP, Oracle, Epicor, etc. It's because of the ROI, and benefits that come from being a part of the Microsoft platform and software stacks.

I saw on twitter a post to a link, to Nucleus Research's post ROI study. Click here for that direct link.

This study covers the spectrum of Microsoft Dynamics Line, and of course that includes Microsoft Dynamics AX. The direct link to the specific Microsoft Dynamics AX published paper can be found here.: The Real ROI of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

In this paper, I found some very interesting information, and specifically out of the customers that agreed to participate, 75% of them have already seen great ROI, while the others are on their way to doing so shortly.

Also from that paper.:
"Companies looking to
maximize returns from Microsoft Dynamics AX and other ERP deployments today should:

• Get IT and business together to define needs and requirements up front and get user buy-in.

• Evaluate products both on real functional requirements and ROI– and build milestones for both into your deployment plans.

• Keep customization limited to ensure you’ll be able to upgrade and adapt in the future without significant rework."

The above is the conluding points of advice. The paper is well worth the read, and just another independant source talking about what make Microsoft Dynamics AX so great.

Now for the second point of this post, Azure Dynamics ERP Services. We have been talking about the cloud on this blog for over two years, knowing that it was coming. PDC just took place and one of the things learned there was a new set of Dynamics ERP Services that will live in the Azure Cloud Platform. Making use, no doubt, of the AppFabric so that is truly lives in the Cloud and not on a hosting VM image, that lives in the cloud.

These cloud services can be found at the following direct link.: Online services for Microsoft Dynamics ERP

The two main services are.:

- Payment Services for Microsoft Dynamics ERP
Now you can have a total retail solution. By combining Microsoft Dynamics ERP software with Payment Services for Microsoft Dynamics ERP you can accept credit and debit transactions as you ring up sales right in your ERP software. No credit card terminal needed. With Microsoft Dynamics ERP, you can accept credit card payments in real-time. Payment Services is fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) to ensure the security of your credit transactions.

- Connect for Microsoft Dynamics ERP
Connect for Microsoft Dynamics ERP helps you access the resources you need to maximize the effectiveness of your Microsoft Dynamics solution, and increase profitability. With Connect, your employees can access community-driven knowledge, best practices, training, and updates tailored to their specific role directly from their Microsoft Dynamics ERP application.

Both of these are wonderful moves in the right direction. And I know a lot of our retail clients, and possible clients are looking for that PCI DSS compliance. So this is great to see.

Over at MSDynamicsWorld.com, a great article about this actually has been posted by Linda Rosencrance. Microsoft Calls On Azure for New Dynamics ERP Services

From the article.:
"Microsoft said it can best serve its customers by offering a flexible deployment model so they can implement their ERP systems in the environments that are best for them. Microsoft said currently over 150 partners worldwide offer customers this hybrid option.

The online services that can be attached to its Microsoft Dynamics ERP platform including a new Azure-based service called Sites, new Commerce Services, and an expansion of its Payment Service, according to the company."

"The significance of this announcement is about Microsoft Dynamics taking another step into the world of cloud computing, and being one of the early vendors to talk about a hybrid environment of on-premise and cloud and how those scenarios might work and providing the technical support to allow them to work," said Jim Shepherd, an analyst with Boston-based AMR Research Inc. "And there hasn't been a real connection yet between Azure as a public cloud service from Microsoft and the Dynamics product line. So this is the first time we're really seeing the Dynamics business leverage the Azure offering."

There we have it, the first real production level offering of the Azure Cloud Platform with a Hybrid on-premise+cloud approach. This will be the norm for businesses with the cloud, and this is only the very tip of the iceberg.

Well that's all for now, check back later!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Back at it again!

Well Turkey week '09 has come and gone, and now it's time to get back into the grind.

Alabama beat Auburn again this year, in a close game. But a win is still a win! Roll Tide! We are playing Florida this weekend for the SEC Championship!

As for Dynamics AX and this blog, I will be getting back into the swing of things. I actually have a back log of post, since I did not post anything last week. So I have some good and interesting post waiting.

So check back soon as I get back to posting, and we get ready to close out another great Dynamics AX year!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkey Week is upon us!

Well Turkey week '09 is upon us. It's time for eating, eating and more eating. Also time for being with family, friends, loved one's.

This is a time that we all should reflect on what we are thankful for. Those things, times, people, place and such that help make our lives, ...our lives.

So I am thankful for.:

1.) Must always place God, YHWH, the Creator on high. And the salvation that I have seen in my life.
2.) My wonderful wife, and two little Girls!
3.) Both sides of our family: Mother, Dad, Mother-in-Law, Father-in-Law, Borthers, Sisters, etc.
4.) The ability to provide for my family, by having such a great company I am a part of, Sunrise!
5.) The little things, and small seconds that come and go that bring ordinary happinesses and bright spots into our lifes.
6.) This Blog of course, and all of you who care, and sometimes dare, to read it.
7.) Alabama Football! Roll Tide! (Sorry have to be thankful for the Tide!)

There is a lot more of course, to much to list. That's the point though, being thankful, having good times, laughing, and not taking yourself to serious.

Well I have plenty lined up for some really great post. Doktool for Dynamics AX, thoughts from PDC this week, Cyber warfare and your Cloud solutions survival, and more straight talk on Dynamics AX!

But for now, lets all have a great and wonderful Thanksgiving! I might pop-in for one or two posts next week, but just in case I don't, may you have a blessed and wonderful time with your family, friends and loved ones. Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 Microsoft Dynamics Channel Economic Survey IDC Whitepaper

*[ PartnerSource Access Required ]*

Recently Microsoft released a white paper on PartnerSource, showing the Dynamics Channel Economic breakdown. This is survey results compiled from 467 survey respondants.

The full link to this white paper can be found here.: Now Available, the 2009 Microsoft Dynamics Channel Economic Survey IDC Whitepaper!

From the white paper summary.:
"This whitepaper highlights key findings and best practices from the 467 survey responses to the 2009 Microsoft Dynamics® Channel economic survey.

Read this whitepaper to gain key business insights such as understanding the KPIs of the top half of Microsoft Dynamics partners compared to the bottom half and learn important findings and best practices from the survey to help you drive your Microsoft Dynamics business."

This was compiled by IDC, and there is some really interesting information in this white paper.

The executive summary from IDC really sets what the purpose of this white paper is all about.:
"As part of its ongoing commitment to understanding the holistic profitability of its partners, Microsoft commissioned a follow-on Partner Economics Survey with IDC in 2009 to examine the business performance of Microsoft Dynamics partners.

This study follows up two very successful partner profitability studies in 2006 and 2007 and offers four key lessons from top performing partners that every partner should consider. It also offers a wealth of performance data against which partners can benchmark their individual results."

Some of the interesting nuggets, which a lot more is in there, are.:
"Top half partners showed a significant advantage in gross margin at 56% versus 35% for bottom half partners. Much of this difference comes down to services gross margin, which we explore later in this document. Top half partners outperform bottom half partners 51% to 30% on services gross margin. Given that services makes up such a large part of Dynamics business practices, this gap is too big to ignore."

And, something from the Top Partners, lessons learned.:
"Industry Focus Means More Customer Adds and a Trend Toward
Higher Profits"

I highly recommend taking this document and seeing what kind of information it has in it. Very worth while reading, and understanding the landscape of the Dynamics Channel.

That's all for now, check back soon for more!

In the meantime, if you want to check out a great 'Top half' partner, visit Sunrise Technologies, Inc. (www.sunriseconsult.com)

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Monday, November 16, 2009

ZDNet: Oracle consulting layoffs: but what's the number?


I just saw this today, and thought it was very important to talk about. Oracle, the love child for many New York Stock Jockeys, will most likely be doing some big layoffs.

The offical report back from Oracle as of now.: "No comment". But that is to be expected, with the Technology media catching wind of this before Oracle wanted it to leak out.

Now to what's important to understand about this.:
"...I have seen this before in Europe, accompanied by staunch denials or handing off to middle management who couldn’t possibly answer the tough questions. It is standard Oracle procedure."

And The Procedure...
It’s coming up to quarter end, the numbers are probably going to look bad, let’s give Wall Street something to cheer about.

Oracle can’t lie about the numbers but will avoid bumping up against the WARN Act if it can. I suspect the latter’s what’s been calculated here.

Since projects are ongoing and people within those projects are also being RIF’d then I also suspect that at least some of those same consultants will be re-hired as contractors. I saw that in Europe on a number of occasions. There’s no reason to doubt it will not happen in the US, especially if the numbers being RIF’d are high and possibly indiscriminately. The short term effect is that Oracle can legitimately call headcount numbers as lower which will please the financial analysts but will mask what’s really going on.

Customers lose out. Pulling consultants off projects mid-way through is disruptive for all the wrong reasons. If Oracle projects are billed on time and materials, then there’s always the chance that Oracle can get away for a few weeks at least by having people on the job billed out in the usual manner even if they’re really coming up to speed and not being productive. Alternatively, Oracle can offshore the work in the hope that any project delays can be compensated by short term over staffing in cheaper locales while maintaining the outbound contracted billing rate. Customers lose out either through delays for which they pay or substandard work requiring later re-work. Oracle doesn’t need to factor in the additional margin immediately as it can provide against the cost leverage it is able to get from sending work to cheaper locations against possible rework. Whichever method of accounting it adopts, it can afford to be cautious and still come up smiling"

Now lets see the big key words in this statement, and go back and reread the above again.: Customers lose out.

That's the reason why I believe this 110% to be important to understand. Customers loose out. So if your considering Dynamics AX vs. Oracle, it's worth noting this kind of moves. And from the Oracle followers it happens a good bit. Read the details about this. It's important and should impact your decision on one vs. the other.

This is another highlight and shows why the Microsoft Partner Model works great. Here at Sunrise Technologies, Inc. (www.sunriseconsult.com) we are hiring people to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX.

So are you going to fall into one of the Oracle Customer black holes? Don't get pushed into that. Look at the better option, Dynamics AX. It's a better fit, better software, and better model for implementation.

And that's not just from me saying those words. The proof is in the actions, customers and software itself.

Microsoft had layoffs as well last year, some of the first in it's history. Did you hear anything about the ERP implementation consultants getting pulled from an active role, on a project going through for another 6 months? No.

Why? Because of the Partner Model. With Microsoft, you will not end up in a ERP support black hole.

I am sure this will kick up some dust, but for this topic, it very much deserves to be kicked up. Comments? Questions?

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reflection - Where and why

With Dynamics AX, the ability to make use of Reflection, or Reflective Programming, exist.

For those that don't quite understand what reflection is, please check out the following wikipedia link, which explains it well.:
Wikipedia.org Link

As described on the wikipdeia article.:
"In computer science, reflection is the process by which a computer program can observe and modify its own structure and behavior. The programming paradigm driven by reflection is called reflective programming. It is a particular kind of metaprogramming.

In many computer architectures, program instructions are stored as data - hence the distinction between instruction and data is merely a matter of how the information is treated by the computer and programming language. Normally, instructions are executed and data is processed; however, in some languages, programs can also treat instructions as data and therefore make reflective modifications. Reflection is most commonly used in high-level virtual machine programming languages."

So the idea of reflection, or meta-programming, has actually been around for a long while. Since the mid 1980's. And the ability to perform reflective programming exists in many langauges, including C#, Java, and X++.

There are plenty of examples actually of reflection, that are common use with Dynamics AX. These may not be considered full reflective based programming, but aspects of this exists all through the common code base of Dynamics AX.

Take for example the Common object. All tables actually extend from this Common object.

As it's base, you have then the ability to send a table of unknown type, and operate it on a method that does not know until runtime, what the Common object actually represents.

So there eixsts, for the Common object, the ability for it to describe itself to later executing code, and therefore can then be acted upon at runtime.

For example.:

public void SomeMethod(Common Rec)
Table1 tbl1var;
Table2 tbl2var;

case "Table1" :
tbl1var = Rec;

case "Table2" :
tbl2var = Rec;

// Do some code here on the Tables...

In the above example we see a somewhat common approach for having a method find out what kind of table that is being passed in, and then operate on that table based on the table name.

Now if you expand this further, there are other classes, and objects that exists inside Dynamics AX that help us really implement Reflection.

These classes include.:

  • SysDictTable

  • SysDictField

  • SysDictClass

  • Etc.

You can browse the AOT, Classes and go to SysDict* and see what all exists there.

The reason I bring reflection up, is I think it's not a well understood topic, and one that if more people understood could really benefit from.

I have done some development work before, that making use of reflection could read an entire SQL Server databse, read in datatypes, field lengths, tables names, and use that to create tables, extended data types, and import the data into these new tables, with a single object.

There is also possibilities for making use of reflection for say you want to have a class framework, and have a class tied to a given customer to operate some kind of acknowledgement to that customer.

You don't however want to have a mega object that operates all this for you, and you want flexibility. What to do?

Well you can make use of reflection, to create a framework that will execute code, not knowing for sure what it's executing actually. Only knowing that the given class it is executing has a specific method. And you made sure of that this method exists, because you make use of reflection to see if it actually does exists.

This can be done with making use of the SysDictClass, and the Object, Object. You could also get fancy, if need be, and create code at run time, compile that code and run time, execute that code at run time, and have that code return it's output to operate on. Again, All at run time!

To see a decent example of this, check the following out.: Generating and running code RUNTIME

Also, a great resource on this very matter, with X++ as the focus is the SysDictCoder blog, found here.: SysDictCoder Blog

The following are just some of the great highlights that have been from this blog, and I myself have made use of most or not all of these in my lifetime of AX.:

Those are just some recent few actually, and there is a lot more.

The whole idea of reflective development, making use of reflection is smart coding. Sometimes people look at it as code that makes code. If I can create a single object that saves me time from coding 200 objects, that that is the better way.

And that last example, true example. Not a made up number. I have done this before, specifically relating to data imports.

That's all for now, I hope this is enough to get you thinking about reflection, some of it's common uses in X++, and maybe how it can help you solve that next need.

Till next time!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Blog spot lioght: Gotdax?

I try to spotlight great resources I find from time to time. Places on the web that has some great peices of information, spanning the entire Microsoft stack, and how that relates to Dynamics AX.

In doing so, I will do these Blog spot light posts. Well today is one of those post, and I want to spotlight a blog called: Gotdax? - click here to visit.

This blog, was recently started this year it seems in July, by a one Jacob Sørensen who seems to be from around the north sea area of Europe, where AX was actually born.

His post, some we have see similar at the SysDict Blog and I myself have posted about, focus on the 'out of the box' ways to get things done inside Dynamics AX.

See I am a big fan of reflection, and reflective development. Meta-programming or meta-development as it is sometimes referred too. And Jacob touches some of that with his post.

Here are some of the interesting one's that he has posted so far.:

I always encourage my fellow bloggers to continue to push the envolope in being creative, and posting relavent information that helps the Dynamics AX community.

This is for sure some good post, Jacob, and I hope to see more from you! Thanks for taking the time to post!

That's all for now. I have more planned post for the upcoming week, so see you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dynamics Anywhere - A new mobile focus for Dynamics AX

Last week a press release caught my eye. It was from a new company called 'Dynamics Anywhere'. A direct link to their website can be found here.: DynamicsAnywhere Website

This company was started to focus on Mobile based solutions for Dynamics brand ERP, and a big focus of that is Dynamics AX.

This comes at a time, when Microsoft stopped it's development of it's mobile framework. The reason Microsoft did this, was told in the ZDNet Blog entry that Mary Jo did, and this blog was featured in.

The news of that was first broke by MSDynamicsWorld.com.

Microsoft saw that most solutions are either custom or based on ISV based frameworks and solutions. And with that, has tipped it's hat and is depending on VAR's and ISV's to provide this need to customers.

That is where DynamicsAnywhere fits in. I am going to be digging deeper into what they actually will be offering, but this is some very interesting news. Mobile need for business data is growing in leaps and bounds, and when it comes to a build vs. buy, well the actual compare is build vs. buy+customize.

From the Press release.:
"On 15 October 2009 Dalosy, a well known and innovative Dutch company specialized in mobile solutions, has founded a new company: Dynamics Anywhere. Microsoft’s international Partner Development Center (PDC) program, in which Dalosy participated this year, resulted in the strategy to start a company fully dedicated to mobile business solutions . This is Dalosy’s answer to the market’s growing demand for flexible mobile solutions. Dynamics Anywhere will focus on the development and distribution of software for mobile applications for companies that use Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV.

Dalosy has asked Mr. Joop van Voorthuijsen, director of the Dutch Partner Development Center and also founder and former CEO of To-Increase, to head Business Development. Joop has extensive experience in the field of development and distribution of software in the Microsoft Dynamics world. Combined with Dalosy’s broad knowledge of mobile solutions, this gives Dynamics Anywhere a very strong position.

Dynamics Anywhere is an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) with focus on the development and distribution of software for mobile solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV. These solutions, which will be sold globally through the Microsoft Dynamics partner channel, offer users of Dynamics AX and NAV the opportunity to optimize their business processes. Well known analysts, like IDC and Forrester, expect a lot of companies to invest in mobile solutions to be able to work more efficient and effective.

Improve productivity and save costs
Almost every business process can be improved by deployment of a mobile solution. Examples of this are management of order pickers in warehouses, sales order entry while visiting the customer, optimization of a distribution route or the execution of quality inspections. With Dynamics Anywhere’s innovative mobile solutions, the user can count on improvements in productivity and lower costs. The Return On Investment of these kinds of solutions is often less than one year."

The link to the full Press release can be found here.: DynamicsAnywhere Press Release

Check them out, as I will be, and seeing how this can possible help out customer needs in the mobile area.

That's all for now, back check back soon. See you next time!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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