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Monday, March 11, 2013

AX 2012 - Going Mobile!

Everyone is talking mobile these days. It's not new really, but if you think about the amount of devices that someone interacts with on a daily basis, it's easy to understand why mobile has such a huge focus. This includes having mobile ERP & BI needs for companies of all sizes. With this topic in mind, fellow blogger & peer Dilip wrote about the release of a new white paper.: Configure Dynamics AX 2012 Mobile Connector - Dilip's Blog.

Now, I do believe that Dilip will give us some great insight as he is able to play with what the new white paper talks about. You can download the white paper, from the following location.: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 White Paper: Configure Microsoft Dynamics AX Connector for Mobile Applications. I would like to highlight this a bit more myself, and so this is the point and goal of my post today. First lets look at the summary of this white paper.:

"This paper describes how to configure an environment that is running Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, so that users can connect the Microsoft Dynamics AX mobile phone application. The initial version of the Microsoft Dynamics AX mobile phone application enables mobile expense capture."

Now we can see that initial scope is to enable the mobile expense capture for travel & expense focused needs. It's clear that this is a framework and that Microsoft will continue to invest into this framework for enabling more mobility through this approach. That stated, there is a good bit that needs to be configured, and technical assets managed.

The above is a diagram that shows the specific elements involved in this framework. Further it shows the flows of message and authentication. This represents: Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS), Mobile phone application, Microsoft Windows Azure Service Bus and Access Control Service (ACS), Microsoft Dynamics AX Connector for Mobile Applications & Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

It's also important to understand the functional scope that is needed to be configured within Dynamics AX 2012 for this to be properly enabled and add value. It's listed out as.: Users, Expense Management and finally Human Resources. Now that is a possibly a wide & deep functional foot print, specifically when you mention the term human resources. This I believe is the most important part really to understand and what needs coverage. This is actually missing from the white paper. What specific configuration and modeling is completed within expense management & human resources to truly enable this. Further, I can image that workflow and other types of focus are needed as well.

Beyond this, the white paper has very detailed specifics on how to configure the needed technical aspects for enabling this expense capture mobile application. It is a great example of a hybrid cloud scenario that makes use of phone device end points, cloud assets and on-prim instance of Dynamics AX 2012. This is a great step in the right direction for seeing true value for such hybrid cloud scenario's with AX 2012 today, however there is plenty more to do in order to drive real value from such scenario's.

I would like to see the functional depth, the minimal functional depth, that is really required to achieve this setup. Having that paired with this very technical document, would help give and understanding to the functional & technical footprint needed, in order for a company to weight the true cost for the value this can bring.

That's all for this post, check back soon as we continue our Dynamics Journey including Convergence 2013 starting this coming Sunday! Till Next Time!
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