AX 2012 - Procurement Catalogs Explained
Well I hope everyone is having a great Friday! Man what a week for Microsoft Dynamics news, with so much great coverage from around the community. There is so much interest in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, and you can just feel the momentum that started at Convergence keep surging through the Ecosystem.
Today I wanted to focus in on some great features around the Enterprise Portal in AX 2012, and specifically around Employee Procurement. Microsoft really has listened to the client base in this area, and has shown that AX 2012 is truly powerful platform. One pain point for a lot of companies has revolved around the procurement process for employee's. With the release of AX 2012, and further the improvements from the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack the ability for companies to have multiple types of procurement catalog's helps to ease this area from a pain point, to a value add.
There are three different types of Procurement catalog's that can be created, for a Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 instance. Those include: Procurement catalogs, Vendor catalogs & External catalogs.
You can have multiple of these types of catalog's, and can enable them by legal entity. This means that you can shape the catalog ordering experience by legal entity and role even. Take this further, a Procurement Catalog is made up of internal products, with specific formatting, images, descriptions, and a hierarchy.
Next option, is around the Vendor Catalogs, which can be setup through an import & mapping process. Further, you can create rules for automated approval's of new products, release options and what legal entities that the specific imported vendor catalog's are enabled for. Finally, you can - as would be expected - setup vendor catalog import parameters for root folder, upload size as well as files to process.
Our third and final option for procurement catalog management, is External catalogs. This has some really neat feature offers, but there is also a bit of technical understanding, and working with your external vendors for getting this setup.
You will notice, in looking at the demo data version of this setup, for the "Zones-Test Catalog" that there are several things that need to be understood when enabling this. First the site settings, in what can of call method, content type and return URL Key. Further there are session specific properties, as well as destination, return URL options & Shopping Protocol.
On the topic of the Shopping Protocol, you will notice that the listed method for the demo is OCI_HTML. This represents a sample class by the name of Sample_Code_CatMessageFormatterOCI40HTML. This class enables the implementation of the OCI 4.0, or Open Catalog Interface, which you can find out more about from the following resource link.: Wikipedia - Open Catalog Interface
You can find out more details about the setup and overview of the external vendor catalogs, from the following resource on MSDN: External vendor catalogs overview [AX 2012]
From the resource page.:
"If you rely on your vendors to host procurement catalog data for you, you can configure access to the vendor’s external catalog site in Microsoft Dynamics AX so that users can access the vendor’s external catalog directly. You receive the remote access settings from your vendor, and then set up the required configurations in Microsoft Dynamics AX using the Maintain details for an external catalog form."
With all of these great options for Procurement Catalogs, the pain points of employee procurement that existed in the past are now value add solutions out-of-the-box. This mixed, with a host of great features around request for new items, vendors, and enabling workflow's to control all of these processes truly make the tag line Powerfully Simple a reality.
Well that's all for this week, I hope everyone has a blessed & wonderful Easter weekend! Make sure to check back soon as there is a whole lot more to come. Till Next Time!