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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creating a BI Solution for your company with Microsoft Dynamics AX

With the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, the BI capabilities of Dynamics AX really jumped in way of ahead of what you could do before the release. With AX 6.0 coming out next year, this is going to only be expanded upon. With that, you can use Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 now to create compiling BI solutions for your company.

With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, the driving factor of BI is actually focused around Role Centers. I think it’s important to understand Microsoft’s vision for Role Centers, and it’s purpose in Dynamics AX, so that you can truly build your company’s BI experience.

Role Centers for Dynamics AX are meant to be the delivery method for the user experience. The idea, is that Role Centers deliver to a given user type or “role” the needed reports, information and links to common forms that help the given user type complete their task(s) within the scope contained of your company’s Dynamics AX investment.

Now I think it’s really important to understand the word usage here. It’s meant to “deliver” a given roles needs from within Dynamics AX. Before, with earlier versions, the workflow for tasks was for a given user to launch Dynamics AX, go to the needed menu, navigate to the forms, reports, etc. to do their given task.

So in versions before Dynamics AX 2009, a user would “go to” the given reports, forms, and other elements within Dynamics AX. This is key to understanding Microsoft’s vision for BI and Role Centers inside Dynamics AX.

Role Centers then, are meant to be how the user experience is delivered to a given role. This, by nature, helps increase productivity and efficiency of a given user role, for performing their needed task, or acting on displayed data for important business decisions.

Now that we have this base understand of the vision and purpose of Role Centers, lets bring back into focus the title of this post, ‘creating a BI solution for your company with Microsoft Dynamics AX’.

With Role Centers as the focused delivery method for delivering the user experience, and keeping with this same thoughts process, then BI elements should be developed and made a part of the roles that make up your companies Role Centers.

So how do you go about doing this? Well like any other module in Dynamics AX, Role Centers should first be setup, configured, deployed. Then from this point, discovery and gap analysis should be performed to determine which roles your company has.

From there, each role should go through its own discovery and gap analysis process, where each role for your company is compared to the ‘out of the box’ role that closely matches the role at hand. The outcome, or deliverable, for this process should be the creation of a scope document(s). These documents should lay out the BI elements needed to enable the role to be a valid, productive, user experience that delivers the roles needs to those assigned to it within Dynamics AX.
Once these scope documents are created, tasks can start being assigned. At this point, you have a lot of options to achieve the scope items for creating the roles for your company.

You can use the Dynamics Reporting Template for Visual Studio 2008 to create SSRS reports that are targeted and used in web parts for display transactional or analytical data. You can create pie, bar or line graphs used to show key metrics. You can use OLAP cube properties like KPI, to delivery dimension based data for viewing and working from. Task list, Cues, Links, and enterprise portal forms to deliver a complete role user experience.

This is all focusing on the platform delivered options for creating roles, and delivering a company BI solution, that pushes information to your users, vs. your users having to go and find the information.

There is also a lot more that can be done from the role center development aspect. This includes having MOSS, or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Keep in mind; this is different than the free WSS, or Windows SharePoint Services offerings that can be used.

When MOSS is used, this opens up the possibility for having Excel Services, and Excel Web Parts to exists as BI elements for your Role Center pages. You can also take advantage of PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint to create dashboards, which make use of Dynamics AX data, and are loaded as part of Role Center experiences.

Going beyond MOSS, you may even take advantage of RIA, or Rich Interactive Application Web Parts built with Silverlight or Flash. This can deliver high end, dynamic web parts that feed from multiple locations into published services that expose Dynamics AX business logic and data.

Moving beyond this, you also have the option to work with one of the many different ISV offerings for BI, like TARGIT BI Suite, iQ4biz, Atlas, etc. Basically any ISV BI offering that can connect to Dynamics AX through the Application Layer or that Dynamics AX can push data to, and that can publish it’s elements as SharePoint web parts for rendering on a Role Center page.

When looking at building a BI solution for your company, with Dynamics AX as your ERP platform, BI is no longer a separate project that happens as a later phase. Now BI is very much a part of a given Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP implementation project, and should be considered as such.

With Microsoft’s continued efforts, and vision for delivering needed BI elements to users, your investment with Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you and your company be more productive, more efficient, and more Dynamic!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More on Dynamics AX and the iPad

Recently, I wrote an article about having Dynamics AX run on the iPad. This article can be found at the following link.: Dynamics ax on the iPad and iphone

That post, though very, very high level - got a lot of interest. I thought that there was for sure an interest level for the iPad in the enterprise markter. This confirmed, that even for Microsoft Dynamics AX, the iPad has a place.

In the first post, I covered some high level thought processes about the iPad, and the development of native applications for extending a customers Backend software investment, like Dynamics AX.

Now I wanted to Jump into another topic on how a customer can extend their Dynamics AX investment with an iPad.

What I am talking about is RDP. Remote Desktop. With the iPhone, it was hard to use Remote Desktop. The size alone it the main issue. However with the iPad, you have plently of space to work with.

So now what RDP ot VNC application to use? Well after doing some extensive looks, I found that Jump Desktop - RDP iPad App.

This is a very useful iPad app, and priced decent as well. I have personally used this to connect to a Widnows Server and run AX. The way that Jump Desktop does the mouse, and windows keyboard on the iPad is very easy to get use to and make use of.

The only issue is TS or RD Gateway support is not yet released. However I have talked with the developers personally and they are adding this support. Once that's there, I don't see why any other RDP will be needed on the market.

So with this, you get RDP access, nearly like you have when you RDP from a Windows Machine or Mac machine.

This is another way to extend AX, through the use of Remote Desktop. With the iPad's ability to connect to most VPN's, you now have a way to be productive from your iPad on your Dynamics AX investment.

Now if you still don't see the iPad's use and also interest from Companies in using the iPad with their enterprise software, then take a look at this latest article, which agrees with what I am saying about the iPad.: Apple's iPad, iPhone and an enterprise halo effect.

Enterprises are very interested, and they want to use the iPad. It's coming to businesses, and it's use will only continue to climb.

With all this talk of RDP, still for the most true use of the iPad, and as I stated in my first post, the true benefits of an iPad can best be realized with native applications.

This means having Objective-C based apps, built for the iPad, that connect to either on-premise services, or cloud based services for extending your enterprise software to the iPad.

There are all kinds of uses for the iPad in the Enterprise, and specifically relating to Microsoft Dynamics AX.

That's all for now. I have some very interesting interviews coming up soon. Look for those. Also look for the continued series of post on the iPad and Business desire for it's use with their ERP and other LOB investments!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunrise apart of Presidents club and Inner Circle - Again!

The Microsoft WPC 2010 conference holds a lot of information, and is a place for Microsoft and partners to connect with one another.

There is a lot to cover from this years WPC, and I plan on taking some interesting spots and covering those over the next several weeks.

One of the things that takes place at WPC is the Microsoft President's club and Inner Circle members are announced. Both of these achievments help partners stand out from everyone else, and it's very hard to make President;s club, much less be included as part of the Inner Circle.

This is not just Dynamics Focused either, this is all Partners. So, something like the top 4% of Partners in the world are included on the President's club, and then the top 1% of Partners, plus other - yearly changing - elements must be meet in order to gain the Inner Circle inclusion.

Sunrise, yet again, has gained both. With this, we only focus on Microsoft Dynamics AX, and all that surrounds it.

It's part of our guiding principles, in that we will do a few things, very, very well. So I am proud of the fact, that I am part of a Microsoft Gold Certified VAR, that has once again proven we do Microsoft Dynamics AX very, very well!

This should be an honor to all the Sunriser, because it everyone that contributes that makes this awards and inclusions take place. It's attention to details on projects, working long hard hours during sales cycle and implementations, marketing and generating leads, supporting our customers long after the initial implementation is gone.

Congrats my fellow Sunrisers, being able to claim Presidents Club and Inner Circle once again this FY 2010 for Microsoft is a big deal!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference 2011

While at Converegence I was told by the AX team, that they were working on putting together a Technical Conference for the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics AX 6.0.

Well the news came out at WPC yesterday, and it's offical the 'Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference 2011' is set. The following is the direct link to that web site.: The future of Dynamics ERP - Dynamics AX Technical Conference 2011

From the site.:
"See the future of Microsoft Dynamics ERP. The Microsoft Dynamics AX team has been hard at work developing the most sophisticated, innovative release to date.

The next version of Microsoft Dynamics AX will be launched in 2011. But you can jumpstart your product and technology learning and planning by attending three days of deep technical content delivered by Microsoft leaders and technology experts. This is your chance to learn, get inspired, and see how Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you provide innovative solutions for your business.

Whether you’re a customer or a partner, you will find content to help you develop and implement on the next release of Microsoft Dynamics AX."

This technical conference is set to be held on the Redmond campus, Jan. 17-20th 2011, and list Customers, Developers, Implementation Consultants as the target audience.

This for sure will be well worth the investment in going, and I highly recommend anyway that fits into this area seriously consider going.

That's all for now, but check back soon as more to come!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WPC and O'Cloud O'Cloud!

Well WPC2010 is in full swing, and a lot of great post, information, etc. is coming from this event.

Based on the Microsoft reported numbers, there was 9500 partners attending, which is the biggest WPC event ever! Congrats to the Microsoft WPC team, that puts the event on.

In case you can't attend, like myself, you can catch WPC keynote from yesterday, featuring Allison Watson, Steve Ballmer, Bob Muglia, Tami Reller and Also MBD President Stephen Elop, from this link.: WPC 2010 - Openning Day Keynote.

There is a lot of things covered in this keynote, and it's for sure a typical Mircrosoft keynote, with music, anatics, which help introduce and get people ready for the "show".

With the music aside, there is a lot of information that can really be gleaned from this keynote, and really see the focus of Microsoft. Before I get into that, I wanted to say that it is a bitter sweet note, that CVP Allison Watson, who I interviewed here: Interview with Allison Watson, is leaving her role as CVP Partner Relations. I would like to wish Allison the best in her new role at Microsoft.

Now with that, and as the title of this post says.: 'O'Cloud!'

This has to be the theme for WPC2010, as Microsoft make good on what I deemed as The Year of the Cloud

It's now July, and I wrote that article featured on the Dynamics Community Site in Jan. of this year. We are now well into Azure being in full swing, with customers and partners in full swing of using Azure for what the cloud offers.

This means, not just Dynamics focused, but full new applications 100% developed for the cloud, that can also run on-premise.

As I have mentioned before the true Hybrid cloud will be the norm, and this is what can exists now with Dynamics AX 2009 and the cloud. A lot of news came out about the cloud yesterday, like Windows Azure Platform Appliance, and how this will enable private hosted clouds. I wont steal away to much from what Microsoft keynote shows, I invite you to make sure and review it.

I do want to leave you though with, how much have you thought of your company and the cloud? About your Dynamics AX Investment, and how the cloud can help you extend that investment, and reach.

That's all for now, but check back soon, as I have some great interviews, and post coming out soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

MSDW: ISV Solutions – The Jewels in Microsoft Dynamics Strategy

I wanted to kick off my blogging again, after the nice 4th of July holiday, with a highlight on a recent article that was published over at MSDynamicsWorld.com. This article dives into the ISV side of the Dynamics Ecosystem, and makes some great points about how powerful that ecosystem really is, and how it can help companies be truly global.

The article, wrote by Raman Dhooria, IT Consultant - Microsoft India, can be found here.: MSDW: ISV Solutions – The Jewels in Microsoft Dynamics Strategy

Raman, goes into how the Iceland based company of LS Retail took and idea, developed a retail solution that has empowered the Dynamics Partner system to offer a compeling Retail solution used by over 1,500+ companies now. This is the same LS Retail that Microsoft purchased, and is making as part of the 'AX For Retail', due out in August of this year.

Raman states.:
"How can a small Icelandic organization go global and challenge the Goliaths like SAP with a fantastic retail solution on Microsoft Dynamics platform? The answer to this question lies in the very nature of the ISV, or Independent Software Vendor, role in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem.

ISVs are a breed of organizations who build their software solutions to work in a niche or in concert with a larger software firm's technologies. In the case of Microsoft Dynamics, ISVs have long found a suite of ERP and CRM products for which they can create their own applications. This ecosystem offers innovative, solution-driven companies the opportunity to align with Microsoft platforms and Dynamics in particular and present end to end solutions on the Microsoft platform. All this builds originality, creates new solutions for the transforming world to evolve into a bright future.

In the case of Iceland-based LS Retail, they created a smart retail application on the Microsoft Dynamics platform. They took it along with Microsoft sales prowess into 60+ countries and through 120 Microsoft partners. Today, they have 1.500 companies with 27.000 stores operating over 55.000 POS terminals worldwide.

The more I explore, the more interesting the analysis becomes. How can a small Icelandic organization go global? Would they have achieved this triumph as a stand-alone product company? In India, we have 100+ LS Retail customers which is more than SAP's IS retail base. Wow! There is certainly serious strength behind this strategy."

The article is well put together, and I think it deserves a highlight. The content is fitting, seeing as how we are approaching the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for 2010 soon.

I would like to thank Raman for the great article, and also would hope that maybe this would help others in pushing to their goal of deliverying more and more ISV based solutions that fit specific needs of the Dynamics Ecosystem.

That's all for now, but check back as I have interviews lined up, and a lot to review. Till next time!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sunrise Technologies wins prestigious Microsoft Distinction in Marketing Award

Sunrise Technologies, Inc. (www.sunriseconsult.com), The Microsoft Certified Gold VAR I am a part of, just did a press release on a recent award. This was for the 'Microsoft Distinction in Marketing Award for Overall Best Marketing Campaign'

The press release can be found here.: Sunrise Technologies wins prestigious - Microsoft Distinction in Marketing Award - Web Marketing proves to be a best practice in lead generation

From the Press Release.:
"The 2010 Microsoft Distinction in Marketing Awards has been granted to companies who demonstrated a focused marketing campaign for various Microsoft Dynamics products during Microsoft’s fiscal year 2010. Recipients were selected from nominations and the winners were chosen based on marketing objectives, plans, and results deployed in Microsoft’s FY10. Winners were recognized in five categories: New Lead Generation, Existing Customer, ISV, Industry Targeted, and the Overall Best Marketing Campaign. The Overall Best Marketing category recognizes the best marketing effort amongst all categories.

Sunrise Technologies was granted the Overall Best Marketing Campaign award for its work associated with the marketing of the ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX. Sunrise developed and executed a strategic and integrated Web marketing campaign that included a mix of Web activities, such as Pay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, and a Virtual Online Office, that featured their vertical expertise and customer evidence stories.

“We’re pleased to congratulate Sunrise Technologies for its outstanding integrated Web marketing campaign, which is a direct reflection of their commitment to Microsoft Dynamics AX and the customers they serve,” said Darlene Perfetto, Senior Director, U.S. Microsoft Dynamics National Managed Partners. “Sunrise sets the bar for marketing excellence and plays a very important role in the growth and success of Microsoft Dynamics.”"

"“We are extremely proud to have received the Overall Best Marketing Campaign award from Microsoft,” states Amber Kirkman, Marketing Manager of Sunrise Technologies. “This award is a true reflection of the hard work that all of our employees put into promoting Sunrise Technologies and Microsoft Dynamics AX, our outstanding partnership with Microsoft, and the unbelievable marketing outlet that we have at our fingertips, the World Wide Web.”"

This is a great award, and it goes to deserving effort that is for sure. Amber Kirkman, and the rest of the Marketing team to an outstanding job with all sorts of efforts. These efforts pay off for Sunrise and it's customers, and the marketing team at Sunrise well deserve this award! Congrats Ambera and the rest of the Sunrise Marketing Team!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Busy, Busy...

I just wanted to do a quick post about being super busy. It's year end, a lot of project work, and the 4th of July is coming up.

So I will be back in full force after next week, kicking off the new Microsoft FY2011, with some great post about Dynamics AX 2009 and 6.0.

Until then, have a safe a wonderful 4th!


"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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