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Monday, November 14, 2005

Interview with Steen Andreasen

I took the time the other day to sit down and virtually interview Steen Andreasen about his up coming book: "MORPHX IT". Below is the interview Q&A Session:

Steen, let me start off by first asking you to give the readers a little bit about your self, your background in Axapta, I mean Dynamics AX.

My name is Steen Andreasen, and I am working as Axapta programmer in Denmark for WM-data, which is a Nordic supplier of design- and IT-related services.
For about 10 years I have been working as a programmer on ERP products. A couple of years I was working with the predecessor to Axapta, Concorde XAL. I have for the last eight years been working with Axapta, Actually as I started the system was called Atlanta - I started out working with the first beta version. My first job on Axapta was to help localizing Axapta for the Turkish market. It was a great time as I was expatriated to Turkey; in fact I think it was the first job done on Axapta. Prior to my present job I have for some years been working on the HRM modules in the standard package. I learned a lot about product development in these years, as I was with from the start of creating the HRM modules.

Next let me ask you, where do you see, AX for short, going over the next 3-5 years?

There have been a lot of rumors out, where AX is going. MBS has already started streamlining their ERP business with re-branding their products. The next step is to give all four Dynamic systems the same user interface.
In the short run I think Axapta will stay as it is. We will see a tighter integration to other Microsoft products, like Office and .net, making it easier and more user-friendly to integrate other products.
MBS is a new player in the ERP business so they have still much to learn and I am curios about how they will integrate four different products as one. My guess is that they will keep the four systems as it is. Some of the new modules might be developed in .net to be used of all four systems. In the long run those modules might be the platform for Dynamic as one system.

Do you think that Microsoft buying Axapta and making it part of the Green Project was a good move or bad one for AX and the AX user base?

MBS acquisition of Navision, and thereby Axapta has opened many doors. I think it was the best that could happen for Axapta as a product. Also I think it will benefit the AX user base as Microsoft is good and streamlining and making their products user-friendly.

When the time comes where the four products are to be merged to Dynamic, I think it will be like converting the AX user to a totally new system. This might be though for the users, as is takes time implementing a new system.

Obviously you have noticed the lack of good training content related to AX, as you are about to release a book called 'MORPHX IT'. Who is the intended reader, what level should they be at, and what do you base your book content on?

I wonder why there have never been written any better documentation for Axapta. Version 4.0 is supposed to have better help for the application classes, but still there is a long way to go.

I thought about writing a book for a long time, I did research for an Axapta book, but I realized that it was going to be a quite a job describing the MorphX Development Suite. Finally I decided to take a ½ year leave from my job writing the book.

MORPHX IT is an Axapta programming book and the focus area is the MorphX Development Suite. The book is not just a walk-through the features, as I base the book on my more than 8 years experience working with Axapta.

The target group for my book is people with a technical background or people interested in learning what is behind the application. This could be programmers, students or consultants. However I believe that most AX programmers will gain something by reading the book.
Before reading the book it will be an advantage knowing how to navigate in the Axapta application, and how to use the Axapta Configuration Utility.

Going off topic a little bit here, but if you could add one thing to X++, AX itself, what would it be and why?

During my years working with HRM modules, I have been working at a lot of different partner sites. Nearly each partner has their own set of tools to manage the mods they are doing for their customers. I wish MBS would add better tools for handling the mods you are doing for your customers. You have a set of tasks to do for a customer, and the only feature to keep track of it is by using AOT projects. I miss version control, better features for delivering updates to customers.

What are your plans after you release your new book? Is there plans for another?

First of all I am returning to my job. I have planned anything yet, but I might be doing an update of my book after 4.0 has been released.

What do you think about the penetration AX is seeing in the US, and do you think the US user base will out grow the current dominate European based user base of AX?

As AX now is a MBS product there is more focus on the US market. However I don’t think AX will be a dominated US product.
In fact having a large US user base on AX will be good, as US is one of the most important markets. Being a popular product in the US will make the future for AX better.

Do you have any closing comments you would like to say to the readers?

I will soon update my website with more information about the book. You can be notified when my website is updated by subscribing at: http://www.steenandreasen.com/axaptabook.asp.

Attending AX programming courses will cost you much time and money. With this book you will have an alternative to attending courses and this for only a fraction for the price of a course.

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com


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