A report from the Emerald City, where despite the fact that the weather was “mostly sunny” today, the talk of the town is the new Dynamics AX. While it’s my habit to provide a daily report, I only was able to type up notes from the first of five sessions today, so will publish that one, rather than wait for the full day’s report. I know everyone is on the edge of their seat to hear about (what MVP Lane Swenka quoted Sri Srinivasan as) a sexy ERP.
A couple of conference notes. While CRM was part of last year’s conference, it is not this year. And despite the fact that it’s billed as a technical conference, there are a LOT of functional sessions. Attendance is at a record 1375.
Our first session today was a general session with Daniel Brown, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX research & development. He certainly did a great job revving the crowd. The focus is “Business Process Transformation and the new Dynamics AX”. You will see a recurring theme on how the new AX is focused on the business, and how it can be better for the businesses, rather than how business can adapt to their ERP.
The huge announcement was that yesterday (Monday), we shipped the new Microsoft Dynamics AX! It is now in General Availability, or what’s now called RTW (
released to world? Corrected: release to web. Thanks to Bertrand Caillet!).
A great way to summarized the drastic changes to the system is to copy the bullet points that Dan provided to us:
What is it?
– Intelligent user interface
– Proven business logic
– Continuous life to your system
– Business anytime, anywhere
He went into details on how much better the user experience is. We are certainly cloud first, mobile first. Dan did a demo for us and at the end revealed that he had done it all on his smartphone. He discussed business process reinvention tailored for the particular employees and their roles, or personas. Business process insight integrates exciting new changes in PowerBI – which he did not discuss in detail, but I have seen elsewhere that there are big changes – circling around real time analytical data. We can also take action based on the insight that is provided. It’s well integrated with Office including import and export. Data management is done via data entities – there are now 1700 of them. Possibly a tenfold increase from the version you are currently on!
Cross-company data entry is quite different now.
Data entry, in fact, has changed. You can create a general journal in AX, and open it in excel. It has a shipped template thanks to the data entities. You can enter data in Excel, where the user might be more comfortable, and then publish it back to AX.
Globalization is another area which has undergone drastic transformation. In days past, a V.0 would ship with few localizations and they would catch up later. Not now. We have a UI in 40 languages, a UA (help) in 17 languages, and regulatory reporting for 16 countries. Many more of each are on the way. Localization is configurable. There are curated solutions available for this, which meet a “very high bar.”
Agility is another hot topic. We are working much more granularly now, in that developers can do component level work, and we can more precisely service the ERP.
Lifecycle, ah, everyone has heard talk about that by now. Deploying code via the cloud? Unattended deployments done automatically via builds which can be customized? Step right up, folks, and prepare to be amazed… Help is now Wiki-based and task recordings, well, they’ve now got capabilities you’ve never dreamed of. In short, cycle time is much less.
Over 70 ISVs with 130 solutions were in the onboarding process, with 48 curated solutions, and 45 of them in the Azure Gallery. Though I heard on twitter that we actually had a few more than that. When have we ever released a V.0 with dozens of ISV solutions ready on GA day?
Quality has not been neglected in the looking forward. There are huge strides made with automated testing, to support a “Zero Bug Backlog” which translates to reduced time of open bugs. Multiple previews were delivered in a very large TAP to ensure quality.
Nine or ten companies have already gone live with the software. Several more on the way.
There are some deprecated items; however, a head was in the way of them when I took my photo of the slide (sorry). I can tell you that Advanced WMS takes the place of WMS II.
Finally we had our call to action: to learn about business processes at the technical conference. I will paste here the areas and their number of sessions so you can judge the focus.
- Financials (19)
- Human resources (3)
- Project management (3)
- Supply chain (26)
- Manufacturing (7)
- Public sector (2)
- Retail (12)
- Service industries (1)
– Process Tech
- Business intelligence (5)
- Integration (1)
- Office (2)
- Performance (2)
- Support (1)
- User experience (3)
- Workspace (3)
– Types of Courses
- Ask the Experts (7)
- Breakout sessions (59)
- Hands-on labs (8)
- Round table/focus groups (16)
Please enjoy, and thank you for your patience in seeing about the other sessions!