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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adopt the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack - a must have

Recently, in February of this year Microsoft released the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 feature pack. You can access the latest Dynamics AX ISO, which includes the feature pack, from the following location on PartnerSource: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack Release.

From the release notes: "Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack is the Microsoft ERP solution for enterprises that empowers your people to anticipate and embrace change so your business can thrive. It constitutes our biggest releases that target five key industries: Manufacturing, Distribution, Services Industries, Public Sector, and Retail. This release also incorporates Microsoft Dynamics ERP RapidStart Services.

All of the industry solutions, Process Industries, Public Sector, Retail, and Service Industries, are now incorporated into the product and are installed the same way as other Microsoft Dynamics AX modules. Customers can enable or disable features by using configuration keys and can use features from multiple industry solutions. For example, a Public Sector organization can use the Retail POS capabilities, a pharmaceutical company involved in drug discovery and trials can use Service Industries and Process Manufacturing capabilities, or a wholesale distributor can use the Retail merchandising features."

Further, Microsoft just recently as of three days ago posted the following link on PartnerSource stating: "We strongly recommend that all Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 implementations move to using the Feature Pack"

The Resource Page.: The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack—Why You Should Adopt it Moving Forward

There are several reasons to make sure that the feature pack is the focus now and moving forward from all the updates to specific industry solutions adding retail, if desired, as well as having now support for 25 Countries. Further, Microsoft points out that: "When Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is released in H1 Calendar Year 2013 it will automatically install the remaining Microsoft provided country localizations (Asia, South America, Eastern Europe, etc.); so that we maintain the single consistent Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 code base."

This then suggest, that in order to go to R2 - with the least time needed for deployment, having what resides in the feature pack for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is a critical step. Further, applying and using the feature pack as the target version for any and all current AX 2012 instances, gives you the same build as CU2. Bringing your Microsoft Dynamics AX investment to the latest and most stable build. Even if you have applied CU2, you should look towards the feature pack, as it's clear through the message it's a stepping stone towards R2 that will be release first half of 2013.

Well that's all for now, check back soon though as a whole lot more to come. Till Next Time!
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reflecting back on this time last year

Alabama State Flag - The Crimson Cross

Its funny how fast time flies by. Its hard to believe, that next month marks a year since we had very severe and terrible storms cells that spun one of the deadliest tornado's to every hit the great state of Alabama I call home. So many lives were lost, and since then - still more with other storms and tragic events.

April 2011 Tornado that struck many parts of Alabama

It so easy for us to take each day for granted, and trust me I am easily one that can raise his hand high and admit I do so all to often. We can get caught up in our professional work life, or whatever it is that we spend our so precious and little time on the earth. Looking back, to last year, you can see from the following post, that we were all affected in some way in this area, as well as the outpouring of support that we received from our fellow man.
It's strange to me, how little things, more than passing dates even, bring back memories and times of reflection. Just yesterday, my Mother gave me something that was saved during the total loss of their home. It is a pin, nothing hugely special or of any real monetary value to anyone. This pin however, was something I earned when I was 19 years old. It told the world, in a small way, I was a Microsoft Certified Professional for passing in January of 1999 the Network Essential's & Windows NT 4.0 Workstation exams.

MCP Pin I received when I was 19, that survived the Storms of 2011

Man I thought I was something back then. Being 19 only, and already a Certified Professional. How little did I realize how much farther I had to go, and still continue to strive and become better each day. Holding that pin, looking at it's now off-white background, and of course the old Microsoft logo, just brought back so many memories of all the years I've worked in this profession. It also represented something that no storm can ever take away. The spirit that our God, no matter what name you may refer to God by, graciously gives us. Further, though the pin be something so small, and physical it did help remind me that what matters the most is the treasures we create.

These treasures I refer to, have no value of gold or silver, or any real physical matter at all. Its the experiences, and the times we get to share with our family, friends and loved ones. Those moments that you can recall so easily, like seeing the birth of your kids, marrying the love of your life, or even down to a simple smile and nice gesture to a complete stranger.

Though this post has very little to do with helping in anyway with adding value to Microsoft Dynamics AX project, I thought it well worth the small time and effort it took to acknowledge all of this. To reflect on the past, the experiences and times we all get to share, and further to embrace what matters the most in everything we do, is those treasures we get to create and store up. Those moments of happiness when the pains of a go-live lose all bearing weight, and the struggles of learning something new products like AX 2012 - fade quickly away when reflecting against the more important moments of our lives.

I will end with, take the time to enjoy the moments you have been given. Realize, that these projects we all work so hard on, and spend so much energy on are really not about the technology, or some business process - but really is all about the people. That is what companies really are anyway right? People. Till Next Time!
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Torrential Data Solutions brings embedded document imaging and workflow natively within Microsoft Dynamics AX with the expert help of IDB Solutions

It is with great pleasure that I get to talk with you today about a recent success story for the company I'm apart of IDB Solutions, LLC. Our client? Torrential Data Solutions, Inc a Microsoft Silver ISV Partner providing value-added ECM technologies to the Dynamics Ecosystem.

A direct link to the press release, can be found here.: Torrential Data Solutions, Inc brings embedded document imaging and workflow natively within the Microsoft Dynamics AX user experience with the expert help of IDB Solutions.

From the press release: "IDB Solutions, LLC. is pleased to announce that Torrential Data Solutions, Inc., a Microsoft Silver ISV Partner providing value-added ECM technologies to the Dynamics Ecosystem, has selected IDB as their trusted Microsoft Dynamics AX partner. IDB Solutions was tasked with helping Torrential Data bring their “Datahaven for Dynamics” solution offering to the Microsoft Dynamics AX market space, to enable “embedded document imaging and workflow” natively within the Microsoft Dynamics AX user experience."

Further... "“We chose IDB Solutions because of their proven expertise in the Microsoft Dynamics AX market space. Throughout the engagement, IDB staff demonstrated a deep understanding and knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics AX design and development best practices and a relentless focus on adding real value for the Microsoft Dynamics AX customer. Most importantly, IDB was committed to our success in bringing ‘Datahaven for Dynamics AX’ to market," said Brad Bimson, President of Torrential Data."

Working with Brad and his team has been a great pleasure, and at IDB Solutions we are always looking for ways to add real value for Microsoft Dynamics AX customers. As the press release states, what TDS brings with it's "Datahaven for Dynamics" solution truly helps companies content-enabled processes.

Value is always the goal for myself personally, and for IDB Solutions. Value is more than just a word to us, it is our product & our brand. In short value is truly our focus, and having the pleasure of helping TDS bring their product to the Microsoft Dynamics AX market space shows our commitment to adding value, and to helping customers like TDS succeed with their AX projects.

You can find out more, by visiting our site: IDB Solutions, LLC Website

Stay tuned as I have a whole lot more of Dynamics topics, post, book review and more. Till Next Time!
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Conv12 - Its a Wrap

Well it's Friday, and that means it is time to get back to focusing on the every day task or adding value to the Dynamics Community and our customers Dynamics AX Projects.

Conv12 started off for me with Saturday having a great kick off during the Official Microsoft Dynamics Communities meet and great. There really are some great idea's, and great momentum. The key focus for me on this level, is how to best leverage all the product team blogs, partner blogs, MSDN / TechNet resource pages, and what is already being captured in the Microsoft Dynamics Community forums and more.

Moving right along from that, Conv12 kicked into high gear, with from meeting's with newly signed customers, current customers, as ell as helping deliver on AXUG DayOne Sessions. The two that I was directly involved with were UBAX03 - AXUG Special Interest Group (SIG) Roundtable Discussion: Software Architects and UBAX14 - AXUG Special Interest Group (SIG) Roundtable Discussion: Business Intelligence & Reporting.

I've personally been involved with the Software Architects (SIG) for the past three convergences now, and it has grown since the first one I helped panel. It has went from a circle of chairs, of around 12 people, to a packed room that could seat 60-70 people this year! The major focus was a lot around performance, and of course the topic of interest was Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. This year also showed a lot of promise, when the crowd was able to get into the session and had a lot of great questions. This ranged from BP on index design, performance and scale for the SQL Server, code promotion processes and many more topics. This session was lead by @DAXCodeGuy, @DaxDataGuy & Me!

The next topic, Roundtable Discussion: Business Intelligence & Reporting is one that if you follow this blog, and have heard me speak is one that my company and I focus heavily on. The reason this is the case, is because it can derive some of the most Value for a customer and it's an area least understood right now actually, specifically for how to make the best use of the out-of-the-box BI Framework for AX 2012.

This session, like the Software Architect SIG, went very well actually - with good solid foundation information being given to the audience from @DaxDataGuy as well as myself. This was meant to be a starting point for some, and clarification for others. Building from this event, and as I've pointed out previously, I am putting on a three part AXUG webinar series, which you can find out more about the first of the three at the following resource page.: AXUG Academy - BI With Dynamics AX 2012: Options, Development, And Delivery I (Apr 2012)

Social Intelligence as well as SocialTech in general was a big focus at the event. There are some exciting things taking place, that you can tell we are all just scratching the surface with. This is an area that is still really trying to be defined within the community itself, for how best to be used, as well as for driving value for Microsoft Dynamics Customers. Look for more on this topic, from myself, on many different fronts very soon!

To help close things out, there were a ton of awesome sessions, demo's as well as networking events. All-in-all, the best Convergence yet with over 10k+ attending from all around the world. To help continue what was started in Houston, make sure and visit the Virtual Conv12 resource site. This has a wealth of recorded sessions, because lets face it with over 400+ just to much to cover. So make sure to take advantage of this great resource, it will remain up for one year.

That leads us to our close out, which is a focus to next years event, Conv13, being held in New Orleans!

Planning is well under way to help make Conv13 and even better event than this year was. Microsoft has held convergence in the past, at New Orleans, and being from the south, I'm glad to see it getting close to home. You can click on the above shown banner and book mark that page to stay up-to-date with the latest information.

Well that it's, it's done, over, it's a wrap! Finally resource page that you might find useful, is the official recap page: Houston 2012 Recap. I hope everyone had safe travels back, and your already putting all that networking and knowledge to work, to help make our Dynamics Ecosystem better and better. Till Next Time!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MSDW: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Boasts Closer Ties to SQL Server Release

I wanted to circle back around on an article MSDynamicsWorld.com posted. That is: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Boasts Closer Ties to SQL Server Release, GM Says.

From the article:
"If you are curious how Microsoft Dynamics AX is improving integration to Microsoft SQL Server 2012, the AX team wants you to know that the AX is a prime customer of SQL Server internally at Microsoft, and many of the key improvements that Dynamics AX aims to deliver in the upcoming 2012 R2 release, from support of data warehousing initiatives to master data management to the building reports and KPIs in the AX 2012 interface to load testing of SQL Azure are all dependent on the AX and SQL Server teams work together."

This is a topic I have been personally covering and will continue to expand on, from the following.:

The area of BI for AX 2012 is one that as I've point out in the past can bring great value to new & existing Microsoft Dynamics AX customers. What's critical is understanding the right tools for the job and how those are correctly implemented and used with AX.

Going back to the article from MSDW, something that I have not covered much yet, but directly will impact and help further expand the capability of AX in creating a BI story for companies is around analytical MDM.

From the article:
"According to Pedersen, AX 2012 R2 will expand analytical MDM capabiltiies, but operational MDM will not be a focus area. R2 will mostly see improvements again as it relates to the improvements in SQL Server 2012. "The most effective analytics are the ones that consider all the elements, not just those constrained to the AX data," says Pedersen. He expects customers to look for ways to roll together data from other systems through SQL Server Reporting Service, including, potentially from big data sources served through the Azure data market to conduct deeper analytics."

These are all great moves, and should excite any AX customer no matter what version your on. You can see that Microsoft is providing the right framework, to enable a true BI Story for AX Customers.

Well that's all I have time for right now, but check back soon as we have a lot more to cover and talk about. Till Next Time!

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Conv12 Update

I hope everyone is enjoying #Conv12 and are able to connect and learn from all the great sessions going on. There are a number of updates I wanted to share with everyone, and if your not able to attend, no worries, there is plenty of current and post coverage.

One of the main focuses that I have is around driving value for customers. This is the whole reason that a customer buys into the Dynamics Product Line. With that, I'm seeing a lot of traction, for some ISV's that are presenting at the Expo hall, whom I trust and I've seen bring real value to new and existing customers of Microsoft Dynamics AX. With that in mind, the following are some updates and highlights I find interesting, and know that for existing or new customers, some of these products can really help drive the most value our of your AX investment.

First update, Datahaven for Dynamics AX is getting a lot of attention in the Expo hall. You can find out more about their solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, by going to the following resource page: Datahaven for Dynamics AX.

From their resource page.:
"Datahaven for Dynamics AX offers the most innovative, compelling document management for any organization using Microsoft Dynamics AX—from lower volume organizations with dozens of AX users up to the highest volume, most complex, multi-national organization with millions of annual transactions and thousands of AX users."

You can visit Brad, Gary & Daniel at booth 1352 in the Expo hall. Make sure to tell them I sent you, and get a chance to win a free iPad3 in the process!

Moving along, a sponsor of this blog and a trusted partner Data Masons announced that it has attained the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) AX distinction for its Vantage Point EDI solution.

Here is a direct link to more information about this exciting news.: Data Masons Software Earns Certified for Microsoft Dynamics Accreditation for Vantage Point EDI

From the release.:
"“By requiring the software solution to meet our highest standards, Microsoft is assuring customers that these certified solutions work with their investments in Microsoft Dynamics,” said Doug Kennedy, vice president, Microsoft Dynamics Partners. “Microsoft congratulates Data Masons on earning the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics designation.”"

Continuing with more updates, lets go to more Convergence specific information. Today, first off all is packed with a lot of great sessions. A very specific session that has caught my eye, because of my focus on SQL Server 2012 and the value it can bring is: "Taking Advantage of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn for Microsoft Dynamics" - Hilton Ballroom B, 11:00am-12:00pm.

I'm keen to hear how this is going to be positioned, specifically in how it relates to Microsoft Dynamics AX. More specific, there are right ways to do things, and wrong ways to do things. To often I've seen the design of AX by-passed, when it could have been better utilized. On this a little more, I feel that Microsoft will get this right for Microsoft Dynamics AX. What I'm wondering however, is does this mean it will be a native use technology with RC2, and what is being shown today is with RC2 for AX 2012? Or is it a not-so-native use of AlwaysOn technology from Microsoft SQL Server 2012?

Right after that session, I will be leading a Birds of a Feather round table, in the main expo area located in the Community Experience section. This is in the BFAX03 from 12:30PM-1:30PM. The session is labeled reporting gurus, and it was a great round table yesterday. We covered topics from approaches in reporting with AX 2009. Performance consideration, and pain points for getting to data. What are the best options, in terms of upgrades to AX 2012 around report development decisions that need to happen before the upgrade. Finally, we covered Creating a true BI story for your company with AX 2012. Make sure to come by, and join in the conversation - so you can take away real value around BI & Reporting for AX 2012.

My final update, is around what was shown for the general sessions Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Both Hal Howard and Kees Hertogh talked about some of the updates that were coming in AX 2012 RC2. First off, I've heard conflicting reports of when this will be released. I've heard anywhere from end of this year in 2012, and also within two hours later from a different source, 1st half of 2013. With that, we can say then we will not know for sure what the release schedule really is, most likely until this summer. My bets on such things are be conservative.

With the actual release date aside, as expected one of the huge improvements for AX 2012 RC2 is around the use of SQL Server 2012 BISM.

For those of you that are not that familiar with this topic, I've started covering this and it's real value points for AX 2012 on this blog. My most recent post about this topic, can be found here.: Understanding Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) & Future with AX 2012.

Further, building from Conv12 and the post I've been creating here, I will be putting on AXUG webinars, as a three part series that focuses specifically on this topic. You can find out more information and sign up for the first session at the following resource page.: AXUG Academy - BI With Dynamics AX 2012: Options, Development, And Delivery I (Apr 2012)

Well everyone, that's all for this update. I'm heading back to the Conference for more networking, learning and connecting right now. Feel free to tweet me at @DynamicsERP and if I have time, I will stop by, network, and connect. Till Next Time!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Introducing IDB Solutions - a new start!

It is with great pleasure, that today with the official start of #Conv12 I can introduce my new venture: IDB Solutions, LLC. Our focus is being a consulting firm that drives value for new & existing Microsoft Dynamics AX customers & partners.

We have set ourselves up in a way, that our customers are both partners & customers in the Dynamics Ecosystem. Being that our drive, and primary goal is around value for partners & customers connect with us, to find out how we can help you with your project needs!

The following is a list of services we offer.:
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX - From Upgrades to AX 2012, helping with new implementations, Business Process Modeling, complex integration's as well as development & technical services.
  • Business Intelligence - our deep understanding and focus around AX, IDB Solutions can help deliver the most value for you through correct definition, development and use of BI
  • Cloud Computing - Focused on the correct use of cloud computing technologies for extending your AX solution.
  • Mobile ERP / CRM - Implementing ISV Solutions & custom development for mobile solutions that deliver real value for your AX needs.

I'm currently at Convergence 2012, so make sure to connect with us and see how our knowledge and expertise can drive the most value for your project needs! Till Next Time!

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