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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

AX 2012 BI Basics - Dual Datasets for single Report Data Provider

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I must say for me, it was great being with family and friends, however I was terribly sick and still fighting this cold. With that I'm finally getting back into the swing of things and ready to get some great value added content back on the blog.

With this I wanted to focus back on some BI Basics with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The focus for today's post is around delivering two Datasets via a ReportDataProvider class. The idea, is that we have a need for a header and details section of a report, in which the data will be delivered via a single Report Data Provider.

One of the best examples of this, that really is easy to understand and explain this concept via is the WMSPickingListReportDP class. This class has two methods that have the decoration of SRSReportDataSetAttribute as part of it's make up. One if for the header, as seen in the image above. The next is for it's details, as seen in the image below.

Both are very similar in deed, and both return variables that are declared and filled within the calling of the processReport() method of this Report Data Provider class. This in turn allows the report design, to have a linked set of Temporary tables, one for header data that is returned and used for rendering, and the other is for the details beyond the scope of the given header data that is filled for a specific WMSPicingListReport.

What this shows, is the power and flexibility of the AX-SSRS framework when used and designed correctly. I would, also in this post like to take a step back, and lets review then the following when considering the design of such reporting artifacts for an instance of AX 2012.

Above we see a diagram that shows the concepts of the reporting framework for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The idea, is that you always start with the data, this includes inside or outside of AX 2012. Further moving from there, going to the report design, the report elements, and finally the execution of the report, and security to govern it.

The following is a list of the task needed, in order when you start to design and creating AX-SSRS BI Artifacts.:
  • Define Data Source (Query / Code, OLAP, Other DS)
  • Define Ranges (Query or Code)
  • Create a Reporting Project
  • Create a Dataset bound to Data Source
  • Create Report design
  • Publish report
  • Create Menu item for launching
  • Define Security Elements
It's important to keep this focus in front of you when designing and working within the AX-SSRS framework. If you do then you can be assured you will get the most out of your reporting investment.

That's all for this post, but check back soon as I will have more to come. Till Next Time!

Update: I wanted to make sure and back reference a post I did, that covers the core concepts of the AX-SSRS reporting process. You can find that post here.: AX 2012 - AX-SSRS Report Design Concepts. As the name suggests, this post covers well the core concepts, and will help refresh anyone that needs it on the process of reporting for AX 2012.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I wanted to post this week and wish those who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving! It's a time of friends, family, fun and of course Turkey's! It's a time to give thanks for the people in our lives, and for the experiences that we have had together.

With that, first off I am most thankful for a loving, and grace giving God (YHWH), and a path to salvation with Yeshu / Yehsua / Jesus Christ. I am thankful for my wife, and my two wonderful girls - who help keep me young. Further I'm thankful for my family, friends, and all of you who help make up the Dynamics Ecosystem.

May you all be blessed this holiday season, and may you spend time with your family, and friends. May you build up those memories of time of joy, and happiness, which I believe are the treasures we store up in heaven!

Happy Thanksgiving! More post starting next week!
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Microsoft Surface RT & Dynamics AX - Real World Use Case

Well as I eluded to earlier this week, today I wanted to talk a bit about a real world use case I've come across of Microsoft Surface RT & Dynamics AX. This use case focuses around the power of Microsoft's entry level tablet device, a scanner and warehouse needs for Dynamics AX.

Let me set the stage for this use case. The customer was running into issues with some of their more costly symbol wedge scanners. This customer is making use of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, and using Dynamics Anywhere for their mobile warehouse process needs.

In trying to help reduce errors, and issues with connectivity, a Microsoft Surface RT table was purchased, for $499.00 along with a connected scanner. This then was tested, and found that the power that comes with the Surface Tablet, helped reduce errors, save money, and save time!

With that said, here is a link to the surface specification's.: Surface Specifications.

Now I have to state the obvious, in that this form factor represented in the Surface RT tablet does not always fit into the need of rugged warehouse needs. However in this case it did. Obvious the symbol scanners can be handled a bit rougher, and it's form factor of handheld usage is usually great for such needs.

That stated, if your looking for a great form factor, to help out with warehouse scanning needs, why would you not consider the Microsoft Surface RT tablet, and a connected scanner? Security comes to mind without a doubt, as well as form factor for rugged use. I suspect however that OtterBox and other such companies will be releasing rugged protection for the surface devices.

I really thought this was a great use case, seeing it in action, with Microsoft Dynamics AX & the Microsoft Surface RT tablet. It's all about value, and without a doubt, value was received in this case.

That's all for this post, but check back soon as I get back into BI, BI Basic's with AX 2012, and more! Till Next Time!

P.S.: On a small milestone side note, I have just surpassed my 900th blog post about Microsoft Dynamics AX, and this year represents my eight year of posting! Thanks to everyone who continues to push me on creating good, value added content for the community!
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Roll on Role Centers & the AX 2012 R2 Content Wagon Arrives

Today I wanted to bring focus to a few topics that need some spotlight. First off, is the Roll on Role Centers focus, for the title of this post. Specifically, MSDynamicsWorld.com recently posted a piece specifically on how to make Role Centers work for your business.: 5 Ways to Make Microsoft Dynamics AX Role Centers Work for Your Business

From the post.:
"'The improvements in AX 2012 should help partners [guide more customers to use role centers], but there is a mindset [with some partners] that BI is still not the focus, that AX implementations are still all about the transactional aspects of the solution,' according to Brandon George, a Microsoft MVP

'Too many implementations never bring Role Centers into full focus," says George. "Understanding the goal, and purpose - creating a System of Engagement, is a new generational shift for ERP and SCM software. That is the ultimate goal and point of Role Centers. Like all such shifts, it takes thinking about this from the start, proper gap analysis, design, development, and finally execution.'"

Jason and the team at MSDynamicsWorld.com quoted me well, and without a doubt I do believe thoroughly in this focus of creating Systems of Engagement for Microsoft Dynamics AX clients. Further I do believe that even those clients that are fresh on an AX 2009 implementation, has so much to gain from Role Centers, and this focus around engagement of their user base, by role.

I admit I'm thrilled to see more people take up the banner, for the term System of Engagement, and further explaining what that really means. How this should be the focus for what we do within the ecosystem. The ultimate end result actually, that continues to add value. The idea, is we can help enable customers to turn their data into a value stream for them. Creating learning loops with lead & lag data elements, that helps take information, and drive strategic planning for a company. Helping them meet, and exceed their goals!

The next spot light, and something that I'm really glad to see, is Microsoft continuing stepping up the documentation and information effort around Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. A great summary post by Becky, from the support team highlights some great sources on TechNet & MSDN.: Preliminary Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 content now on TechNet and MSDN!

Further adding to this, is the release of the recent tech conference on AX 2012 R2 video and other content to InformationSource.

Again, it's refreshing to see Microsoft have content at the forefront of the planning. This only helps further build the body of knowledge around Microsoft Dynamics AX, that the ecosystem so desires. Having valid, good content from Microsoft, makes it possible for the pundits of the Dynamics Product line to have cornerstone points and themes in which to work from - spreading in our own voice the value we perceive in each topic we dare tackle.

That's all for this update, check back soon as I have some really interesting topics to talk on. Windows Surface RT use case with Dynamics AX, BigData, BI and more! Till Next Time!
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Monday, November 05, 2012

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 System Requirements - Updated

Welcome to November everyone! It seems this year is really flying by, and what a year so far. It is one of the largest product release cycle years from Microsoft in the history of the company. This includes Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, SQL Server 2012, Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 & Windows Server 2012 as well as Windows 8.

With this in mind, recently Microsoft updated the System requirements for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. You can download the latest system requirements from the following location.: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 System Requirements

Above we see a screen shot from the system requirements section on supported server OSes. This now includes and list Windows Server 2012.

Similar to the inclusion of Windows Server 2012, as well as SQL Server 2012 bits for server side possible scenario's, we now have listed as Windows 8 being a valid, tested and certified client OS for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

You will also notice in reading the system requirements that Microsoft Office 2013 is supported, but only for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. On this note, if you do wish to take full advantage of AX 2012 R2 new BI capabilities - in full - then an update is coming in Spring 2013 for SQL Server 2012. Further you will need Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 to make full use of all the now native features, like PowerView for example.

All-in-all, the ability to run and take advantage of the latest Database, Client and Server OSes for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is now here. Further, taking more advantage of the latest Office, and SharePoint technologies does mean an upgrade to those packages for 2013 versions. It's good to see Microsoft continue to invest in Microsoft Dynamics AX, and allowing those that have made the choice to do so, continue to take advantage of the latest and greatest technologies that makes up the stack in which AX resides on.

That's all for this post, check back soon as more to come! Till Next Time!
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