AX Technical Conference 2014 – Day 3

Posted: February 12, 2014 in AX Technical Conference

A week after the event I get to my thoughts on the final day of the AX Technical Conference 2014 in Seattle. Day 3 started with the “ask the experts” sessions. I attended ASK403 “Ask the Experts – Manufacturing” which to be honest was a disappointing session. Clearly R3 is not a vehicle for manufacturing enhancements. This was hosted by Conrad Volkmann with Roxana Diaconu (MRP Program Manager) and Johann Hoffman. A couple of potential changes in the future include the re-write of the BOM/formula structure because they are more closely aligned than ever, and item substitution in BOM’s from planning will be considered. However it was what was not being considered that caused more discussion; graphical scheduler, full item copy, trade agreements in cost calculations, planning to consider purchase agreements (although one attendee said it did I cannot see the options in the plan settings, no more production workflows, shortage reports prior to start, cross docking for production, and RAF and Start Parameters to not be controlled by the user.
However most of the questions were raised the team were not “officially” aware of and they encouraged everyone to submit feedback through the Connect tool and the Support system to help prioritise changes. They also encouraged the sign up to the private beta programs. So listen to them – if you want it, ask for it!
My second session was BRK454 “Explore the power of lifecycle services business process modeller” which was hosted by the program manager for LCS Jared Lambert and probably the best speaker I encountered – Jared really knew the product, was using it in a development environment, engaged with the audience really well and handled the questions expertly.
LCS has been with us for 14 months now and for the past 8 it has been out of Beta. The session I went on was a specific element of LCS the Business Modeller, a tool that helps capture and visualize your business processes. The use of the advanced task recorder to record processes and then import them into LCS to create process diagrams with all of the process steps and properties created from the process recording. Task Recorder advanced is available on R2 CU7 onwards and is available as a separate hotfix.
The diagrams can be exported to Visio (2010 and above) but currently you cannot import them due to all of the data structure captured. However you can generate documentation in a set template, add links, launch AX and see all of your business processes in one online repository. This is a tool that will be making great strides in the future and is likely to become the default implementation tool of the future.
My third session was BRK428 Tracking dimension at work! This showed the new item tracing (CU6 R2), batch attributes-based pricing (R3) and batch merge (CU7 R2) functionality. Hosted by Johan Hoffmann and Phillippe Jacobsen. The batch merge takes a mean average calculation of the batch attributes during the merge with a limit of 20 attributes to merge. It uses the BOM Journal because the framework of having positive and negative transactions in the same journal was already in place. The item trace focuses naturally on serial and batch controlled items and although there is no inbuilt product recall process the traceability have advanced from the initial AX2012 offerings. I will hopefully blog about this nearer the R3 release. The attribute-based pricing extends the concept of the pay on quality that was brought in for vendors and allows the business to sell to customers based upon the attributes of a product. There were some very powerful concepts in this session which will impact on the process industry sector.
My final session was “Managing Sales Incentive Programs using pricing and promotions” – BRK424. Presented by Olga Mulvad and Gaurav Roy this was one of the sessions with the most new functionality packed into an hour. It included trade promotions which allowed the business to track the cost of promotions and apply funds and rebates to obtain a cost versus benefit scenario to understand if the promotion was effective. Broker Management for the payment to an agent for the facilitiation of services based upon the miscellaneous charges concept. Royalty Management to pay royalties to the holder of the intellectual property based upon invoiced sales of a product. Sales rebate changes including the ability to see from the sales line the value of the order with incentives seen against the cost. Vendor rebates based upon the same structure and model as the customer rebates but relating the purchase side. Some of these areas were clearly new and the presenters were very open to constructive enhancement requests based upon what was seen, but even without some of the issues this was a whole new set of functionality previously absent in the software.
The three days at the Technical Conference in Seattle were fantastic. I got to meet up with some very AX orientated people and got to see first-hand the new software and the direction Microsoft are aiming. I hope I can attend the next one, and anyone reading this with the opportunity to go should take it!

  1. dray says:

    Fantastic read! clearly blogging is in your blood!

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