Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Customize and Extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technology

Technology professionals find Microsoft Dynamics CRM easy to customize and
build on. You can:


  • Seamlessly integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM with other Microsoft software and third-party solutions.

Business Process Automation: Reduce Costs, Increase Results


Many companies face obstacles in fully integrating business process automation CRM solutions into their organizations. But we designed Microsoft Dynamics CRM to synthesize with existing systems, giving employees access to familiar tools. This can lower training costs, decreased ramp-up time, and fewer frustrations resulting in greater user adoption. Take advantage of:

  • Organization and personnel level workflows
  • Extensible workflow model (for on-premise and partner-hosted offerings)
  • Custom workflow actions
  • Business Logic Extensions: event-based plugins with pre- and post-events on all platform executions
  • Client-side form events, enabling features like drop-down fields that auto-adjust with user selections

CRM Security: Information is Power—Data Management Is Easy


Customizing and controlling data access has never been simpler. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Provides a comprehensive CRM security model based on roles and privileges so you can easily customize and control access to data by job roles and task needs. Features include:

  • Integrated security via single sign-on or Live ID
  • Role-based security settings for easier management
  • Custom-added entities work within the security model just like entities shipped in the box
  • Sharing/delegation for objects/records, to individuals or teams
  • Direct access to data via filtered SQL views that automatically determine users' roles and privileges and only returns data they have access to

Data Model Extensibility: A CRM Solution that Grows with Your Business


Microsoft Dynamics CRM contains the mechanisms for expanding and enhancing the system with new capabilities and technology without requiring major infrastructure changes, so you can count on it to support your organization for a long time to come. Possibilities include:

  • Custom entities and attributes (a.k.a., objects and properties)
  • Custom object relationships, such as 1:N (many); N:1; and N:N (new to 4.0 version) allowing you to model virtually anything
  • Object hierarchies (self-referential)
  • Infinite relationships between objects

Service-Oriented Architecture: Connect for Success


Build rich integrations across your organization with a centralized, easily discoverable set of web services. Web services in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are connected through a common integration framework across business systems, applications, and processes. You can benefit from:

  • UI extensibility (including custom navigation panes and buttons which can call custom ASPX pages from within CRM in order to persist data into CRM)
  • Completely Web services-enabled platform, even on custom entities/attributes, so it's accessible from any other system capable of making web service calls
  • All offerings of Microsoft Dynamics CRM push/pull data from other systems
  • Real-time transactions with other business applications through real-time platform events (On-Premise only)

CRM Technology Helps Businesses of All Sizes


Whether you have a few employees or a few thousand, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can benefit your customer-driven business. Learn how other businesses like yours have used Microsoft Dynamics CRM to get a competitive edge.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Healthcare Industry
Microsoft Dynamics CRM works effectively as Patients Relationship Management tool in health care industry by ensuring following key functions and a lot more……….

• Chronic/Communicable Disease Case Management
• Epidemic Response Management
• Patient Information Management
• Community Outreach Management
• Referrals Management
• Physician, Nursing & Staff Management
• Scheduling and Activities Management
• Payment Authorization and Processing
• Clinical Trial Management (Research)
• Comprehensive Business Intelligence
• Integration with Office Communicator and SharePoint Portal

Monday, December 14, 2009

Microsoft dynamics Acquisition

Microsoft Dynamics Acquisitions Accelerate Industry Innovation for ERP Customers
Acquisition of manufacturing, professional services and retail solutions propels Microsoft Dynamics ERP industry strategy forward.

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 22, 2009 — Building on the Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategy to drive industry-specific innovation for customers and enable partners to deliver repeatable, vertical solutions, Microsoft Corp. today announced the acquisition of four industry solutions that will extend the core capabilities of one of Microsoft’s ERP products, Microsoft Dynamics AX. This move supports Microsoft’s promise to enable the Dynamic Business, which includes offering flexible business applications that remain relevant as business needs evolve.

“With these acquisitions we are investing in building industry functionality directly into the Microsoft Dynamics AX application, while other ERP vendors are cutting corners or trying to reconcile multiple industry offerings as a result of acquiring several companies,” said Crispin Read, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics ERP. “We are a safe haven for customers and partners who depend on us to drive continuous innovation in our products and lower the total cost of ownership.”

The following acquired technology will be offered as part of Microsoft Dynamics AX, which will give partners the opportunity to drive deeper vertical solutions for customers in manufacturing, professional services and retail.

• A process manufacturing solution acquired from Fullscope Inc., which provides tight integration of business processes across discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing

• A professional service solution acquired from Computer Generated Solutions Inc., which delivers a single system to manage projects and resources, execute financial transactions and customer billing, and match resources with client assignments

• Retail solutions from LS Retail EHF and To-Increase Denmark A/S, a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbus IT Partner A/S, that enable Microsoft to provide an end-to-end retail solution including store management with point-of-sale, merchandising and ERP capabilities

With these technology acquisitions Microsoft is providing core industry functionality embedded into Microsoft Dynamics ERP applications, allowing partners to focus on the last mile of innovation, which has been shown to have the greatest impact on a customer’s business. In fact, IDC research shows that Microsoft Dynamics ERP partners with vertical focus outperform those without in several key areas including higher overall customer growth, a higher proportion of revenue from new customers, larger deal sizes, and a trend toward higher operating profit margins.

“We chose Microsoft Dynamics AX with the process manufacturing solution from Fullscope over Oracle and SAP because Microsoft’s industry solution enabled a better fit with our business processes instead of dictating a set of fixed industry best practices,” said Mark Holt, director of information technology, Cayman Chemical Company Inc. “Microsoft’s move to add industry solutions directly into Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a predictable industry road map, allowing partners to focus on the vertical solutions that can keep pace with the rate of innovation.”

A vibrant ecosystem of independent software vendor partners delivers vertical solutions for multiple industries across Microsoft Dynamics ERP, which also includes Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics SL.

Process manufacturing and professional services solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX are available immediately on the Microsoft Dynamics price list, and the retail solution will be available at a later date. Microsoft will provide updates to customers and partners as the availability date approaches.

More information on Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions, and details on the new industry functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/en/us/products/ax-overview.aspx.

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of adaptable, easy-to-use ERP and CRM applications that enable business decision-makers to run their business efficiently and drive business success. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Inventory Costing Validation Process in Dynamics AX 4.0 and 2009

Inventory Costing Validation Process in Dynamics AX 4.0 and 2009

This was posted by Kent Smith and it is his personal experience;

I was recently asked of a client to validate that the FIFO costing in Microsoft Dynamics AX works correctly for their auditors.  This was on a 4.0 environment so the 2009 validation processes weren’t an exact fit.  The process we came up with should be applicable to 2009 as well however.  The process is as follows (I would recommend to run this per item to keep it simple):

  1. Run the Specify Inventory Value report (Inventory Management -> Reports -> Status -> Inventory Value -> Specify inventory value) as of the first date of a new period to attain beginning cost price (latest transaction cost / transaction quantity).
  2. Run the Inventory Transactions report (Inventory Management -> Reports -> Transactions -> Inventory Transactions) as of the first of the period through the end of the period by Financial Date.  Sort this by Financial Date.
  3. Match values from the beginning cost on your “Specify inventory value” report to the running issues on the “Inventory transactions” report.  As you run out of inventory for each receipt, match up against the next receipt by financial date.  These should all match out including adjustments.  The formula for determining your cost per quantity of the transaction will be the (financial cost amount + adjustment) / quantity of the transaction.

This process could obviously be modified to validate the other costing methods as well just by changing the criteria of how you match or average costs.  It will give you a simple way to validate costs per transaction.  One additional note on the process is that this will only be effective after the closing of the period.  Until then, Microsoft Dynamics AX will not adjust costs according to any costing model.




Thursday, October 22, 2009

Microsoft Dynamics ERP, CRM certifies with windows 7

Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Announces Certification for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2


We are very pleased to announce that all of our Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics  CRM products will be certified to run on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 when these become available on October 22nd, 2009.  (Microsoft)

Over the past few months, our R&D teams have conducted extensive testing of the current versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics SL on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. As a result of these tests, we are confident that our customers will be able to deploy the latest version of Microsoft’s desktop and datacenter operating systems alongside their Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions, and enjoy all the advantages that this will bring to their business, including:

*       Saving money through server consolidation.  By running Microsoft Dynamics applications virtually with Hyper-V, our customers can maximize the utilization of the underlying physical servers, reducing their data center footprint along with costs of sourcing, purchasing, and maintaining server hardware.

*       Easier, quicker access to information. The improved taskbar and other innovative desktop management features in Windows 7 make finding and interacting with business information easier than ever.  We are currently looking into other ways we can optimize the desktop experience with Windows 7 for the next release of our products, by integrating with features such as Jump Lists and Federated Search. 

*       Interacting with Information in New Ways.  We’re excited by the possibilities that the Windows Touch feature enables in Windows 7, supporting multifinger manipulation of programs displayed on a touch-screen computer.  This capability opens up interesting new role-based scenarios that the Microsoft Dynamics research and development team is already exploring. 

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM team is also hard at work with the Exchange team on certifying Exchange 2010, and are looking to certify later this year. 




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Process Manufacturing & Microsoft Dynamics AX

Process Manufacturing & Microsoft Dynamics AX

Today’s process manufacturers face enormous pressures. In order to remain competitive, these businesses need to convert raw materials efficiently and cost-effectively into final products, while addressing a broad range of regulatory and customer requirements. They must constantly review and evaluate their internal processes to keep their operating costs low while controlling the variability of raw materials at each stage of production. Regulations may change, trading partners and suppliers may be replaced, and raw material quality may improve or degrade, all of which potentially dictate adjustments in formulas or recipes.

Process manufacturers require solutions that combine the planning and reporting capabilities of traditional business management systems with the unique tracking, control, and multi-dimensional inventory requirements of process manufacturing. Using these capabilities they can integrate the entire process manufacturing life cycle and increase the flow of information internally and with customers and trading partners. As a result, process manufacturers can better manage all the variables required to make and deliver high-quality products to custom specifications, gain visibility into production and supply chain activities, optimize capacity, comply with regulatory requirements, and drive continuous process improvement.

Designed specifically for the process manufacturer, Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX, formerly Microsoft® Business Solutions–Axapta®, can help companies increase the speed and efficiency of their manufacturing operations, communicate more effectively with their extended supply chain, and provide real-time information to gain deeper insight into their businesses. This white paper describes the unique requirements of process manufacturers and discusses how Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX can address those needs.

This white paper contains an overview of Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX and a summary of key functions and concepts. Process manufacturing encompasses a wide range of operations. For example, chemical companies often use formulas, while most food and beverage manufacturers use recipes. Likewise, manufacturers in different process industry segments configure products for customers differently. Food, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies tend to use containers and packaging, while basic metals and pulp and paper companies often use variations of end items. For the purposes of this paper, the terms “formula management” and “recipe management” are synonymous.

While the unique characteristics of certain process manufacturing segments may seem important to differentiate, the underlying management and planning techniques used in all segments are similar. A single software solution can address most of the collective set of business requirements. The differences, however, between process and discrete manufacturers are fundamental and cannot be addressed well with a single software solution.

Recipe or Formula Management

Discrete products are assembled from a fixed quantity of components included in a bill of materials and are produced in a relatively linear, predictable manner. On the other hand, process industry products result from a series of mixing operations, chemical reactions, extractions, or other actions that transform raw materials into a final, sellable product. Recipes generally include more variations than the typical discrete bill of material.


In addition, variations in intermediate results and material flow are much greater in process than in discrete manufacturing. Some raw materials used in a recipe may be lost through evaporation, spillage, and the like. Process industry manufacturing personnel often must make adjustments in quantities, ingredients, and production steps as the result of unanticipated outcomes. In many companies, managing actual production variances is considered an art and frequently represents the key to ensuring manufacturing efficiency and profitability.


A recipe has three forms:


  • Standard Recipe: The standard recipe defines the basic formula or listing of ingredients for an item and includes raw materials, quantity or volume of those ingredients, the routing the product follows through the plant, and the standard or anticipated costs of production. Most manufacturers freeze the standard recipe for some period of time, such as a year, a quarter, or a month.


  • Adjusted Recipe—as planned: When production is planned using the exploded recipe, the production manager makes on-the-fly adjustments to the recipe, such as increasing the amount of raw materials required, changing the raw material itself, or selecting alternate routings. Generally changes such as these are made because the production manager has evaluated the production environment, condition of on-hand materials and equipment, and similar information not available to the system. From this information the production manager determines which variations must be made to achieve the desired result. At this point the production order has not been released to the floor, so these one-time changes are made to process and recipe details included in the production order itself. An example of this sort of decision is increasing the amount of flour in a recipe for a batch of bread based on the relative humidity of the plant.


  • Adjusted Recipe—as produced: The adjusted recipe–as produced describes the actual combination of ingredients used in production. It differs from the standard recipe and bill of material, and from the adjusted recipe–as planned, because of any additional unplanned events that may have occurred such as:


    • Using non-standard amounts of raw materials
    • Completing more product than planned (due to a better-than-expected yield or a larger-than-needed shrinkage factor)
    • Consuming more or less time at a work center or in the overall schedule than anticipated
    • Obtaining unexpected co-products and/or by-products that, in turn, can be considered raw materials or finished goods
    • Changes in production factors such as degrading machine tolerances or environmental changes


Using the example from above, the production manager adjusted the amount of flour in the bread recipe at the time the order was planned and released. When the operator actually begins to mix the dough, the relative humidity has changed again and a different amount of flour must be used. Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a flexible approach to formula and recipe management. Not only can Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX manage multiple variations of a recipe, the system can also maintain and employ alternate recipe attributes, such as whether ingredients are defined as a percentage of the recipe size or as a fixed quantity.

Raw Materials Management

Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a flexible approach to handling raw materials, including:


  • Managing and tracking co-products and by-products.
  • Analyzing the costs associated with co-products and by-products.
  • Managing multiple containers and packaging variations of a main item, including two-level recipes and catch weights for package variations from a single main item.

Co-Products and By-Products

Production processes can yield materials other than the planned end item. These additional outputs, called co-products or by-products, may be reused, sold at a profit, or disposed of at a cost. Co-products and by-products are symptoms of the volatility that can occur while manufacturing process items. Generally, co-products are desirable secondary outputs from the manufacture of the planned product which can be sold or reused profitably. By-products are unavoidable secondary outputs that may be sellable or usable, or they may be waste that must be disposed of at a cost. Occasionally by-products can be sold for a profit, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX enables manufacturers to efficiently manage, track, and account for the costs of multiple outputs from a single production run

Costing for Co-Products and By-Products

While each process manufacturing company handles the costing of co-products and by-products in a slightly different way, the process generally focuses on three best practices:


  • No cost
  • A manual, hard-allocated cost
  • A pro rata cost based on a percentage of the weight of the total recipe


Costing for co-products and by-products can be determined by the percentage of the total cost of the recipe allocated to them. If producing a by-product results in a material that can be used or sold, the cost allocation is positive. However, if the manufacturer has to pay to dispose of the by-product, the cost allocation will be negative. For example, the main item might cost 10 percent more to produce because of the cost of disposing of a by-product. As a result, the main item carries 110 percent of the cost. A negative value would be applied as a burdened cost on the remainder of the items in the recipe, based upon percentage.


Co-products always result in a positive cost allocation. Consequently, a co-product can assume part of the recipe costs. For example, if a co-product weighs 10 percent of the total production output, then the main item costs 10 percent less, or carries only 90 percent of the cost. To make this allocation, a user must select a pro rata cost-allocation option instead of the no-cost option when creating the recipe for the product.


A recurrent co-product or by-product is both a raw material in the formula and a result of production. For example, if 10 percent of a raw material does not dissolve when it is mixed with other ingredients, this quantity can be recovered at a later stage in production and received back into inventory as a co-product to be reused in a subsequent production run.

Multiple Containers, Packaging, and Variations of a Main Item

Process manufacturers generally handle packaging in one of two ways:



Defining different item codes and recipes for each of the various end items is not necessary because each end item derives from the same main item, follows the same recipe, and probably results from the same production run. In a discrete manufacturing system the only alternative in such a situation is to assign every container/variation combination a unique finished-goods SKU and, in turn, create a separate bill of material for each combination.


Process industries manufacturers consider these end items as products produced in different containers (such as 10-lb. versus 20-lb.), different packaging types (such as private label packaging), or simply as variations of the main item (such as various widths). Using the enhanced configuration capability of Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX, the user can capture multiple variations for a main item without creating unique item codes and recipes for each.


When an item is defined in this way, Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX displays the total inventory balance by the base unit of measure (UOM) and the breakdown by container type at the same time, on the same screen.


This view enables a salesperson to accurately assess inventory levels and quickly suggest substitute products when the exact type requested by the customer is not available.

Catch Weight

With Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX, a number of weight values are defined on the item master, including normal minimum weight, absolute minimum weight, normal maximum weight, and absolute maximum weight. Process manufacturers must capture the exact weight for packaged products, because the packaged weight often varies from the standard or anticipated weight. Catch weight represents the actual weight of a product in a container, as opposed to the anticipated or theoretical weight of a container or item.


Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a conversion factor for calculating the difference between the weight of the product’s base inventory unit and that of the packaging configuration. Still, the actual weight of each case must be recorded accurately in order to evaluate pricing, generate invoicing, determine inventory valuation, and generate reporting.


With Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX, the warehouse staff scans or enters the actual weight of each case, skid, or batch when inventory is picked, packed, and shipped. The total actual weight—the catch weight—is updated for the order, and the customer is invoiced for the actual quantity shipped. Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX also maintains an additional unit identifying the pack quantity for catch weight items. This permits more accurate finished-goods management and enables manufacturers to cost and sell by container/variation combination for each main item.

Two-Level Recipes

After a user defines a recipe that can be produced and stored in multiple variations—a two-level recipe—Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX automatically populates the list of raw materials specified whenever a particular packaging configuration is produced.


Each time a main item is produced and a corresponding packaging type is selected, Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX designates the appropriate amounts of raw materials for that packaging type, without having to create multiple item numbers or recipes for each main item/end item combination. In addition, multiple packaging types can be produced at the end of a single production run.


Lot Management

Many process manufacturers need extensive lot management capabilities. Lot management functionality in Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX goes well beyond simple lot tracking. For example, process manufacturers must be able to track materials:


  • From a specific supplier
  • As intermediate and finished goods
  • When created during production
  • As sold to specific customers

Production Date Tracking

For accurate reporting and tracking, Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX captures the production date, as well as the lot number, of raw materials received from a specific vendor.


Using the production date of each raw material or finished good, the system calculates the shelf life of the given lot. Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX can also manage shelf advice date (for example, “best before” date), and the retest date for every lot of a particular product. (Often a product must be retested on a regular basis to ensure the quality of the product is still acceptable.)


Production date and shelf life are used to determine which lots to pick, employing either first in/first out (FIFO) or first expired/first out (FEFO) rules.

Lot Picking Options

In process manufacturing, different lots of the same product can have different chemical attributes. Consequently, when a customer reorders a given item for the same use, the product from the original lot must be sold or used in production to ensure the identical result. Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX enables the user to specify whether the material or product may come from any lot, must come from a full lot, or must come from the same lot that was shipped to the customer on the last order. As a result, the customers can request a specific lot to match specifications and parameters used in previous orders.


Although most manufacturers provide their customers with specifications for standard products, some customers order products with more precise requirements or formulas that differ slightly from the standard formula or recipe. To fulfill these orders, the manufacturer either must produce a special lot that meets the customer’s request exactly or find a lot already in inventory that meets those requirements. If a lot meeting the customer’s needs is already in inventory, locating and pulling it to fulfill the customer order usually is quicker and more cost-effective than producing a special lot. Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX helps the manufacturer maintain exact lot location information and accurate specifications by lot, making it easy to quickly determine if a lot meeting the customer’s requested specifications is in stock or whether one must be planned and produced.

Shelf Life Management

Process manufacturers manage shelf life and the selection of products for sale or use in several ways:


  • FIFO
  • FEFO
  • Best Before (“best if used before the given date”)


With Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX, manufacturers can choose a picking option and link that option to the quality control (QC) system for each product. By using this capability, those lots that have been tested and those requiring retesting because they have been on the inventory floor too long can be quickly identified. Managing material shelf life helps ensure that products used or shipped still conform to specifications and have not changed or degraded over time or from exposure to air, moisture, or other environmental factors.




Saturday, October 17, 2009

Compatibility Testing Results for Microsoft Dynamics AX

Compatibility Testing Results for Microsoft Dynamics AX

The Microsoft Dynamics AX Sustained Engineering Team has completed the following compatibility tests for the new releases of the following Microsoft stack components :

Microsoft Product

Microsoft Dynamics® AX version

Windows 7

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 and Dynamics AX 2009 RTM and SP1

Supported as a client only, in 32 bit and 64 bit mode

Windows Server 2008 R2

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 and Dynamics AX 2009 RTM and SP1

Operating System Supported in 64 bit only

Note: for upgrade from Windows Server 2008 to R2 with Microsoft® SharePoint 2007 already installed please refer to KB962935 and the following Technet article.

Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2

Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 and Dynamics AX 2009 RTM and SP1

Operating System Supported in 32 bit and 64 bit mode

Windows Terminal Services

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 and Dynamics AX 2009 RTM and SP1

Office 2007 Service Pack 2

Dynamics AX 4.0 SP2 and Dynamics AX 2009 RTM and SP1

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Upcoming Sure Step Release!

Test the Upcoming Sure Step Release!

You are invited to review the next release of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step! Reviews of the upcoming Sure Step beta will begin the week of October 5 and will run through the first week of November. What to expect as a beta tester:

* Minimum one week commitment to reviewing the latest release in regards to new and updated content and interface modifications.

* Access to a secure site to download the Sure Step beta release.

* A series of Live Meetings to review the beta release, with emphasis by topic area.

* Conduit to provide feedback to the Sure Step team in a timely manner.

* Satisfaction that your actions will help to make the next version of Sure Step a better product prior to release!

To sign up for the Sure Step beta, send an email to: sstap@microsoft.com. Please include:

1. Company

2. Contact name

3. Email

4. Phone

5. Area(s) of interest:

o Industry: Public Sector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

o Industry: Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX

o Microsoft Dynamics NAV Process Flows

o Cross-functional: Microsoft Dynamics CRM (xRM) development platform

o Agile Project Types

o Organizational Change Management

o ISV Product Implementation Guidance

o Microsoft Office SharePoint Project Template Creation

o Optimization Offerings

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Business Intelligence Overview

Business Intelligence Overview

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a model driven approach for developing Business Intelligence (BI) applications that use the SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) development environment. Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services provides online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality.

An OLAP query – called a cube - is a set of related measures and dimensions that is used to analyze data.

Cubes can be used as data sources for:

· Integrating menu item reports and Role centers.

· Integrating Web parts in Role centers.

· Browsing aggregated data that uses Microsoft Excel 2007.

http://i.msdn.microsoft.com/Global/Images/clear.gif BI Development Tools

You use several different tools to create and customize cubes. The following table lists the tools that you use to create and customize BI cubes.



Application Object Tree

Microsoft Dynamics AX cubes are defined in the AOT. You can specify measures and dimensions at different levels and on different objects in the AOT using the BI properties that appear in the Properties sheet. An OLAP perspective is used to identify the tables that contain the measures and dimensions for a cube.

BI tools in Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides tools that are used to generate and update BI projects. On the Microsoft Dynamics AX menu, point to Tools, and then point to Business Intelligence (BI) Tools.

After you create cubes in the AOT, you can generate a BI project so that you can work with the cubes in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS). For example, in BIDS you can define calculations and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be used to further analyze the data.

You can also modify existing cubes. For example, you may want to add measures or dimensions to an existing cube so that it contains additional data. The BI tools provided by Microsoft Dynamics AX allow you to update an existing BI project.

Business Intelligence Development Studio

BIDS is Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 with additional project types that are specific to SQL Server 2005 business intelligence. BIDS provides a variety of designers, tools, and wizards to work with the objects in BI projects that are generated from cubes in the AOT. You can define or update cube features. For example, you may want to update the goals for the KPIs for an existing cube. You can deploy and process cubes from within BIDS.

SQL Server Analysis Server

SSAS is the core data layer of the Microsoft BI platform. SSAS provides online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality for BI applications. Cubes are deployed to a SSAS database. You can process cubes directly from an SSAS database.

http://i.msdn.microsoft.com/Global/Images/clear.gif Provided BI Content

BI content that is installed with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 provides a model for developing BI solutions in the Application Object Tree (AOT). The following content is available:

· Default Cubes

· General Ledger cube

· Human Resources Management cube

· Sales cube

· Purchase cube

· Accounts Receivable cube

· Project Accounting cube

· Production cube

· Customer Relationship Management cube

· Expense Management cube

· Accounts Payable cube

· Role centers. Role centers display BI content such as KPIs and trend reports.

· Dynamics AX project. You can open a Dynamics AX project in BIDS to customize default cubes and other BI content such as KPIs and calculated measures.

· OLAP Perspectives in the AOT. You can add data to pre-built cubes by modifying the corresponding perspectives in the AOT.

http://i.msdn.microsoft.com/Global/Images/clear.gif Common BI Development Tasks

Developer tasks include:

· Creating a new cube. For more information, see Defining Cubes in Microsoft Dynamics AX.

· Updating measures and dimensions in the AOT for an existing cube.

· Updating cube features such as KPIs and calculated measures in BIDS.

· Adding new KPIs to Web parts in Role Center pages.

· Generating a business intelligence project.

· Deploying cubes in a business intelligence project.

7 c's for effective communication

7 c's of Communication

Clear: Your messages need to be clear if they are to be effective.

Concise: If you want your messages to be read by busy people, make them brief. Say what you need to say, and say no more (while maintaining goodwill, of course). Remove all words phrases and sentences that serve no purpose. You can also eliminate wordiness by substituting one word for wordy, overused expressions.

Concrete: You have a choice in your writing to use concrete (specific) or abstract (vague) words. They both have a place in business writing. However, concrete terms are typically more accurate and, in some cases, more believable.

Correct: Correctness in business writing includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format. For spelling, punctuation, and grammar, you should keep a dictionary and a writer's guide at your desk.

Coherent: Messages need to "hang together." Ideas need to flow from one to the next through smooth transitions. You can achieve this by outlining your messages, writing simple sentences and focusing each paragraph on one idea. You can also improve the coherence of your message through parallel structure, connecting words and phrases, and guide posts.

Complete: Check to be sure that your message is complete. Have you included all the information you need to ensure that the other person can do a complete job or make a reasonable decision?

Courteous: Your message should be positive-building goodwill and focused upon the reader. Watch gender specific language and always use proper titles.

How Speed and bandwidth affect performance in Axapta

How speed and bandwidth affect performance in Axapta

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can pass from the source to the destination per unit of time, averaged over many transactions. Measurement in mega bits per second (Mbps)/kilo bits per second (kbps).

Keep in mind that bandwidth is not a measure of speed, but rather of quantity.

If you look at your connection to the AOS as a freeway, bandwidth is a measure of the number of lanes available for traffic. The more lanes you have the greater the number of cars your freeway can handle.

Please keep in mind that bandwidth is not everything. Latency, "the speed", also matters.

Latency, is the time it takes for a single data transaction to occur -- the time between sending the data on the source end and its reception on the far end. Measurement is in millisecond, ‘ms’.

The speed on your freeway would be measured in the speed the cars traveled, and would be independent of the number of lanes available, (bandwidth). Speed on the network/Internet is determined by a measurement called "latency."

Simply put, latency measures the minimum amount of time possible for a packet to be transferred over your connection. The higher the latency gets the longer transfers take and the lower your connection "Speed Limit" will be.

This means that there will always be a minimum time that you can never beat. This is the latency. Even if you send a very small packet, the fastest it can get to the server will depend on the latency and not the bandwidth (if you have enough bandwidth for the packet).

So the perception of speed, is actually a combination of these two performance numbers.

The ping command can inform you about the latency on the network from your client to the AOS in ms. A more accurate way is to use the built in performance measurement tool in Axapta 2.5. (Administrator Inquiries Performance Tests Performance Tests Client/Server connection.) If the network has a high load of traffic, there is a possibility that the lower prioritized ICMP packet will indicate higher latency than there is on the network.
This is due to the fact that the ICMP packet used in combination with the ping command has a lower status on the network than the TCP packet.

What about the ASU?

Microsoft has defined the following:

1 ASU is the load generated by Axapta 2.5 when creating and invoicing the amount of 10 salesorders with 5 orderlines per salesorder, processed over the period of 1 hour. That's a total of 10 Salesorders with a total of 50 saleslines in one hour.

Go to http://technet.navision.com/ and see the article entitled 'ResourcesHardware Sizing Guide' about the definition of ASU. Please also read about the number of ASU the different Axapta modules produce. (Registration is required to access Damgaard TechNet.

How does all the above relate to the AOS?

With the above definition of ASU and demand for bandwidth and latency, and not at all having discussed the need for hardware, Microsoft a/s on the standard Axapta 2.5 gives the following rule of thumb that:

1 ISDN 64kbps is able to handle the throughput of 10 ASU, meaning that you e.g. can produce 100 salesorder with a total of 500 saleslines over a period on 1 hour.

The demand for latency has to be <100ms and preferably <50ms on the communication line.

Note The current latency requirement for Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 and for Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 SP1 is <5ms.

When the latency is high, it has a huge impact on the speed of the system.

Development gives the following formula to compute the bandwidth requirements.

The formula

ASU x 6,4 kbps = y
If y < 64 kbps then bandwidth = 64 kbps
else bandwidth = y kbps


The requirement for bandwidth by the load of 20 ASU
20 x 6,4 kbps = 128 kbps
Required bandwidth = 128 kbps

Keep in mind that the above has been tested on a standard Axapta 2.5 installation. If you have been adding to the standard application you have to consider the impact of this.


These can be rule of thumb only so please apply your common sense when sizing for a customer.

When talking bandwidth and latency requirements, you will need to agree to a performance level for Axapta with your customer.

Make sure that the bandwidth and latency are measured using Axapta's built-in tool rather than relying on what the network provider promises and measure it periodically over a period of time and particularly at peak hours to ensure that you know what the user will experience. Also make sure that the measurements are done on the production environment with as realistic a load as possible. It is of little value to measure one client loading a line that has to provide for 100.

Preferably Axapta should have a dedicated line to avoid mail, print etc. generating inexplicable sporadic bad performance. If this is not possible, make sure that the connection amply sized.

Keep in mind that due to the client/server architecture of Axapta, Axapta is hit very hard from high latency.

What about the future?

In the future, Microsoft has plans to produce some more detailed information in regard to the AOS communication and different types of communications lines.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy

Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy took effect in October 2002, and applies to most products currently available through retail purchase or volume licensing and most future release products. Through the policy, Microsoft will offer a minimum of:

  • 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support) at the supported service pack level for Business and Developer products
  • 5 years Mainstream Support at the supported service pack level for Consumer/Hardware/Multimedia products
  • 3 years of Mainstream Support for products that are annually released (for example, Money, Encarta, Picture It!, and Streets & Trips)

Phases of the Support Lifecycle

Mainstream Support

Mainstream Support is the first phase of the product support lifecycle.
At the supported service pack level, Mainstream Support includes:

  • Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
  • Security update support
  • The ability to request non-security hotfixes
Extended Support

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support for Business and Developer products.
At the supported service pack level, Extended Support includes:

  • Paid support
  • Security update support at no additional cost
  • Non-security related hotfix support requires a separate Extended Hotfix Support Agreement to be purchased (per-fix fees also apply)

Please note:

  • Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase
  • Extended Support is not available for Consumer, Hardware, or Multimedia products
Self-Help Online Support

Self-Help Online Support is available throughout a product's lifecycle and for a minimum of 12 months after the product reaches the end of its support. Microsoft online Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, troubleshooting tools, and other resources, are provided to help customers resolve common issues.

Service Pack Support

As part of the effort to continually improve Microsoft software, updates and fixes are created and released for recognized issues. Many of these fixes are regularly combined into a single package (called a service pack) that is made available for installation. Both the Mainstream Support and Extended Support phases require the product’s supported service pack be installed to continue to receive support (including security updates). Service packs are cumulative, meaning that each new service pack contains all the fixes that are included with previous service packs and the new fixes. This is done so that you do not have to install an earlier version of a service pack before you install the latest version. A Security Rollup Package (SRP) provides a cumulative rollup of security updates that have been offered since the last SRP.

Visit the Lifecycle Supported Service Packs page to find the support timelines for your particular product’s service pack.

Service Pack Support Policy
  • When a new service pack is released, Microsoft will provide either 12 or 24 months of support for the previous service pack
  • Support for the previous service packs is either 12 or 24 months, varying according to the product family (for example, Windows, Office, Servers, or Developer tools)
  • Support timelines for service packs will remain consistent within the product family
  • Microsoft will publish specific support timelines for a previous service pack when the new service pack is released
  • When support for a product ends, support of the service packs for that product will also end. The product’s support lifecycle supersedes the service pack support policy

A matrix of the Microsoft product families and the duration of service pack support for each product family is as follows:

Product Family

12 Months

24 Months



Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics AX






Developer Tools


Business Solutions


Consumer, Hardware, Multimedia, Games


This support policy permits customers to receive existing hotfixes or to request new hotfixes for the supported service packs during the Mainstream Support phase.

Service packs are not automatically modified to include hotfixes developed after the service pack’s initial release date. An older service pack can be modified to include hotfixes developed after the service pack has released. Contact Microsoft and request the modification.

Security updates released with bulletins from the Microsoft Security Response Center will be reviewed and built for the supported service packs only.

Microsoft strongly recommends that customers evaluate and install current service packs in a timely manner to make sure that systems are up-to-date with the most recent security software. Service packs are available on the Service Packs for Microsoft Products Web site.

Security Updates

Microsoft is committed to providing products with improved security. Our long-term goal is to remove security vulnerabilities from all our products before they are released. To realize the dream of Trustworthy Computing is a key element of our vision. Although we strive to remove vulnerabilities during development, software vulnerabilities remain a fact today and we must be prepared to respond when they are discovered.

Security Update Policy

Microsoft will provide security update support for a minimum of 10 years (through the Extended Support phase) for Business and Developer products. The security updates will apply only to the supported service pack level for these products.

Microsoft will provide security update support through the Mainstream Support phase for Consumer, Hardware, Multimedia products. The security updates will apply only to the supported service pack level for these products.

  • Both the Mainstream Support and the Extended Support phases require that the product’s supported service pack level be installed to continue to receive and install security updates.
  • Security updates will be available from Windows Update during the Mainstream Support phase, and the Extended Support phase (if available). Note that technical limitations in Microsoft Office 2000 require that it remain an exception to this process. Updates will be provided only through the Microsoft Download Center for the duration of its Support Lifecycle.
  • Microsoft advises customers to install the latest product releases, security updates, and service packs to remain as secure as possible. Older products, such as Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, may not meet today’s more demanding security requirements. Microsoft may be unable to provide security updates for older products.