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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Management Reporter 2012 Rollup 2 Released

Well we have some exciting news to report on, in that Microsoft has just released Management Report 2012 Rollup2! You can find a direct download, via PartnerSource or CustomerSource access from the following resource page.: Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics ERP Installs and Service Packs Overview

The biggest reason I'm excited about this release, beyond the 70+ bugs that are fixed, is the tested and official support for Management Reporter 2012 databases running on SQL Server 2012!

Up until this release it was not possible to install Management Reporter 2012 on SQL Server 2012. For more information about Management Reporter 2012, you can use my recently published post cover the great content on the topic located at InformationSource: InformationSource: A wealth of Management Reporter Knowledge

To get more insight into the value SQL Server 2012 brings to customers who are investing into Microsoft Dynamics AX, you can use the following link to see past post I've done on this topic as well.: Past AX 2012 & SQL Server 2012 post.

Finally, there is one more interesting point to be made with this latest Rollup for Management Reporter 2012. As reported in the following, New Management Reporter 2012 update available post customers & partners should be aware that this is the last release that will support the Dynamics AX 2012 INTFx data provider. There is a new setup option that came with MR2012 that allows for the setup and use of a Datawarehouse concept, vs. direct connecting to the AX 2012 transactional DB.

This new option should be considered as proceeding with the use of the Datawarehouse concept for MR 2012 with AX 2012 allow for amazing performance boost. Further this option should be considered and migration plans created, as beyond this release the Datawarehouse approach will be the *ONLY* option supported.

Well that's it for today's updates. I hope you find them useful, and helping you get the most out of your Dynamics investment. Till Next Time!

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Spotlight: Apps for Office 2013 - future value add for Microsoft Dynamics AX Customers

I hope everyone is doing great this week! I wanted to take sometime today and start back a few spotlight series around the different products and technologies that help complete the total solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Microsoft by far, has the biggest single year product release than ever in it's history. There is so much potential to add value for Microsoft Dynamics AX customers, and that has to start with understanding how to target specific technologies and position them correctly within the frame and use of an AX investment for a customer.

With that, lets start with Office 2013, and the following resource.: Apps for Office & SharePoint: Developer Training

From the page.:
"Developer-focused how to training and walkthrough videos about Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 including changes and new features for search, social, ECM, WCM, and REST. Learn about apps for Office and SharePoint."

As you can see from the resource page, and the above image, there is a lot of great developer training introductions around a host of approaches and technologies based on an earlier preview version of Office 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Visual Studio.

Office without a doubt is a first class citizen client of Microsoft Dynamics AX today, and will continue to be so in the future. With the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 alone, the native ability for Office 2010 to enable workloads and processes for users is amazing. Take what is coming with AX 2012 R2, and what we see with Office 2013 and you know this will only continue to be a focal point for truly enabling a system of engagement for Microsoft Dynamics AX customers.

I encourage you to take Office 2013 for a spin, and think about what kind of vertically focused, and value added solutions can be developed - that also increase the overall ROI for the Microsoft Dynamics AX customer base.

That's all for this post, but check back soon as we continue this focus, along with more on the cloud, BI and of course core Microsoft Dynamics AX topics. Till Next Time!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

InformationSource: A wealth of Management Reporter Knowledge

I hope everyone is doing great today! I wanted to kick this morning off with a highlight around InformationSource and how it has a wealth of knowledge around Management Reporter 2012!

You can access InformationSource, with your CustomerSource or PartnerSource access, from the following location.: InformationSource.Dynamics.com

As you can see from the image above, there is a number of topics covered around Management reporter. Each with video's, walk through's and more to help you truly get the most out of your Dynamics investment around this area.

Management Reporter 2012 comes with a great new user interface, several updates, including the ability to connect it's output of reports to Microsoft Office SharePoint 2010.

InformationSource truly is becoming a most useful tool for learning, understanding best practices as well as the delivery vehicle for such value added services as the previously covered Data Migration Framework.

InformationSource is still listed as being in beta at this time, however since it's launch, and admitted improved UX I would say the term beta is long over due to be removed from the description of this service. Further, you can see Microsoft is committed to this approach, in that they are adding more and more content topics, including Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, Microsoft Dynamics CRM & Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009.

That's all for this morning's highlight, I hope you find it useful and get some time to learn a little bit more about Management Reporter 2012, as well as other topics, with your morning cup of Joe! Till Next Time!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

AX 2012 - Enterprise Portal Development

Well I hope that everyone is doing well today, and that your finding yourself off to a very productive and Dynamics filled week! I wanted to kick off this week, with a focus back on Enterprise Portal Development for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

The above picture comes from the recently released Enterprise Portal Cookbook, that was created by Microsoft's own.: Mey Meenakshisundaram, Principal Group Program Manager and Anees Ansari, Program Manager.

You can access and download the Enterprise Portal Cookbook from the following resource.: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 White Paper: Enterprise Portal Development Cookbook

Recently I started a series of Enterprise Portal Focused development, around the functional concept of Warranty Management. The following is a list of blog post that I've done around this topic recently.:

In light of the release by Microsoft for the Enterprise Portal Cookbook, I don't have any plans on the continued writing of this series for EP development. Unless there is a request by the community for me to do so, I believe that the cookbook by far is the best resource for Enterprise Portal development.

Instead I will focus any EP related post, in reference to the cookbook, and to start that I would like to point you to page 115 of the Development book referenced.

The above picture is from the resource located here, on MSDN.: Windows Server AppFabric Caching Physical Architecture Diagram

This specific page, from the cookbook mentions how Windows Server AppFabric distributed caching can be used to improve the overall performance in an Enterprise Portal Server Farm. Further I see this as steps that we have pointed to in the past, around truly enabling the scale, and creation of Hybrid Clouds for Microsoft Dynamics AX Customers.

Other such gems exist throughout the cookbook, and so many thanks to Mey and the team for delivering such a quality product around Enterprise Portal Development topic.

That's all the time I have today, but check back soon as we continue our journey on the Microsoft Dynamics AX path. This includes Cloud Enabling technologies, a focus back on BI, and entering into the Summer of Value with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, and creating a system of engagement for customers. Till Next Time!

Visit Hillstar Business Intelligence (www.HillstarBI.com) in order to truly unlock your data trapped in your Microsoft Dynamics investment. With our value driven business intelligence strategy Hillstar help you transform into a data informed company.

PS: I would like to thank Datamasons for their recent blog post on the recent MVP award. I'm honored to have received the award, and honored to be mentioned by such a great group of people, that make up Datamasons. You can view that blog entry here.: CONGRATULATIONS MVP RECIPIENTS JORIS DE GRUYTER AND BRANDON GEORGE!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

VSLive Redmond - Metro Mania!

I hope everyone is having a great and productive Friday! We are for sure into the swing of summer, with a lot of the U.S. having been baked as of this year. Well to help you stay cool and focused, I suggest attending VSLive Redmond and the sessions that I've dubbed Metro Mania!

I wanted to point out a few sessions from the conference that I think are well worth attending, and wish I could be there myself to learn as well!

Windows 8/WinRT track
The new version of Microsoft’s flagship product brings the Metro user interface and Live Tiles to tablet/slate devices, laptops and even desktop PCs. Apps for Windows 8 can be written with HTML and JavaScript, or XAML and C#/VB .NET, among other options. Visual Studio Live! Redmond will prepare you to build Windows 8 Metro-style apps, and understand the finer points of WinRT that will make them great. This track includes coverage of the following:
• Metro-style apps for Silverlight Developers
• Windows 8 Metro-style enterprise apps
• WinRT for Web developers

Find out more about what you’ll learn during these sessions: http://bit.ly/VSRDWIN

Workshop: XAML UX Design
During this full-day post-conference workshop, Billy Hollis will show you fundamental design principles rooted in the human brain, new ways of storyboarding and prototyping user interfaces, and ways to combine left-brained analytical power with right-brained intuition and design. You’ll see examples of next generation applications, and do interactive exercises to start down the path of creating such applications yourselves.

Find out more about this workshop: http://bit.ly/XAMLUX

If you’re planning to attend Visual Studio Live! Redmond, you can save $400 off the Best Value Package rate! Register today with the code VSLRTU for your discount.

PLUS, Visual Studio Live is running a giveaway now through July 27th to win a conference proceedings workbook from the Redmond event! Find out how to enter here.

Well that's all for this post, I hope that everyone has a great weekend! Check back soon as a whole lot more to come. Till Next Time!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

AX 2012 – Data Migration Framework: Usability to date

I hope everyone is having a great week thus far! Being head strong into summer and WPC12 behind us all, it’s time to take the biggest year in Microsoft Product history and unleash an unprecedented amount of value on the world. Microsoft Dynamics AX customers will benefit from all the great products, from SQL Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012. Let us also not forget about the value proposition that Windows 8 will bring for Phone, Tablet, PC and more!

With that said, today I wanted to wrap up my review of the recently released Microsoft Dynamics AX Data Migration Framework. I started this coverage early this week, with the following two post covering the release and step-by-step setup.:

With this now understood, I spent some time looking into the current usability of this beta release for the Data Migration Framework.

Lets point out again, that this is the beta release and therefore there will be bugs, issues and it’s not a complete offering. With that, when we start to look at the use of this framework, we must start with the types of sources we can work from. We do this from the Data Migration Framework > Setup > Source Data Formats.

I want to point out that as you open the form, we can see there is a Type field. In looking at this closer however we can’t change this from the type of File. You can see this type in the above referenced screen shot. Further inspection of this form, and it’s table DMFDataSource and we see that the field type does not allow edit. This is shown in the screen shot below.

In looking at the Base Enumeration that this field represents, being that of DMFSourceType, we do find out that there are two other types.

These types are of Ax and ODBC. We can see that there are plans then for allowing both ODBC source types, as well as enabling AX-to-AX, source-to-target usage of this framework. Just not yet! Again this is a beta, which I would think will be getting a refresh pretty soon to enable these other type source types.

Moving along, since this is file based on source types for the Data Migration Framework, out-of-the-box usage for the framework is limited. It’s powerful, and has a lot of great possible value, specifically when the AX and ODBC types are fully added. Further the framework does work well with the file sources, as I’ve tested and imported products via. If your source data is in flat files, or you can export to flat files, then you can start getting a lot of use from the framework now.

Just to show that Microsoft does plan on really helping to enable this framework to have a multitude of sources, you can see proof in the naming of .Net assemblies that come as part of the install. Specifically the below screen shot of the ‘Microsoft.Dynamics.AX.DMF.SSISHelper’ .Net assembly reference.

In looking for how this is currently used in the X++ code that is delivered along with the install of the model file, we find the ‘DMFGenerateSSISPackage’ class. As you can see from the below screen shots however, this is only targeted for file based sources, for now.

With all of this stated, if you have more complex data import needs, or your already well under way with the concept of using services to import data for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 there still is value is the data migration framework for your needs.

If we take the above screen shot, we can see the installed DMFProductEntity table. This is the staging table for products. This table, along with other staging tables, can be targets of such services or import targets for more complex importing scope.

Finally on this topic around value, there is a ‘Create a custom entity for migration’ wizard that can be called to target any out-of-the-box entities or custom ones that you may have. This is shown in the screen shot above. Further the screen shot below shows the Wizard in action with what table should be the target of a custom migration entity.

With everything said, it’s a great start to helping fill a need. As I mentioned before we have been using this approach for over 2+ years now on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 projects. What this helps with is enabling a true framework, that is repeatable and everyone can build from. Like all things in AX, you can customize this, and for your custom entities you most likely will.

Well that’s all for this post, and my current coverage of the newly release Microsoft Dynamics AX Data Migration Framework. I will come back to this topic, at a later date when Microsoft has updates that are worth sharing around this topic. Further, starting tomorrow I will get back to my regularly scheduled topics around the Cloud, BI, EP Development – and our theme of Creating a System of Engagement with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Till Next Time!
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