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Microsoft Dynamics AX Implementation Guide

Book Description

Your all-in-one guide to exploring and implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX

About This Book

  • From project kick-off to go live and upgrade, learn what to expect in each phase of the project

  • This book guides you through the entire journey of a Dynamics AX implementation project, helping you to avoid the common pitfalls and adapt industry knowledge and best practices for your own project

  • This one-stop guide is packed with key tools and techniques to aid your Dynamics AX implementation

  • Who This Book Is For

    This book is for IT project managers, solution architects, and consultants who are planning to implement or are in the process of implementing or upgrading Dynamics AX. To use this book, you must have a working Dynamics AX system in place and must be familiar with the basics of Dynamics AX.

    What You Will Learn

  • Prepare for a great start with effective project management and planning from the beginning

  • Gather details early using effective requirement-gathering tools and techniques

  • Gain tools and techniques for effective infrastructure planning and hardware sizing

  • Get to grips with integration and data migration through planning and strategy

  • Familiarize yourself with the reporting and BI tools

  • Master functional and technical design to customize existing features and designs in your own projects

  • Manage your configuration and you’re your configuration from one environment to another

  • Learn industry’s best practices and recommendations on customization development and performance tuning

  • In Detail

    Microsoft Dynamics AX is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that supports multi-site operations across various countries, providing international processing within the company. It is an ERP solution with a lot of features and functionality, and it provides support across the fields of financial, distribution, supply chain, project, customer relationship, HR, and field service management.

    This book is all about simplifying the overall implementation process of Dynamics AX. The purpose of this book is to help IT managers and solution architects implement Dynamics AX to increase the success rate of Dynamics AX projects.

    This all-in-one guide will take you through an entire journey of a Dynamics AX implementation, ensuring you avoid commonly-made mistakes during implementation. You’ll begin with the installation of Dynamics AX and the basic requirements. Then, you’ll move onto data migration, reporting, functional and technical design, configuration, and performance tuning.

    By the end of the book, you will know how to plan and execute Dynamics AX right, on your first attempt, using insider industry knowledge and best practices.

    Style and approach

    This is a progressive, easy-to-follow book that summarizes numerous aspects you need to know to make your Dynamics AX implementations successful using code examples to get you hands-on.

    Downloading the example code for this book. You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at http://www.PacktPub.com. If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.PacktPub.com/support and register to have the code file.

    Table of Contents

    1. Microsoft Dynamics AX Implementation Guide
      1. Table of Contents
      2. Microsoft Dynamics AX Implementation Guide
      3. Credits
      4. About the Author
      5. Acknowledgments
      6. About the Author
      7. About the Reviewers
      8. www.PacktPub.com
        1. Support files, eBooks, discount offers, and more
          1. Why subscribe?
          2. Free access for Packt account holders
          3. Instant updates on new Packt books
      9. Preface
        1. What this book covers
        2. What you need for this book
        3. Who this book is for
        4. Conventions
        5. Reader feedback
        6. Customer support
          1. Errata
          2. Piracy
          3. Questions
      10. 1. Preparing for a Great Start
        1. Project kickoff
          1. Managing customer expectations and commitments
          2. Tips for customers
          3. Customer environment and culture
          4. Resources
            1. Consulting team resource alignment
            2. Customer resource alignment
            3. External resources
          5. Establishing the team
          6. The kickoff meeting
        2. Project management and governance
          1. The project plan
          2. Communication
          3. Change control
          4. Budget tracking
          5. The view from the top
        3. The Agile methodology
        4. Summary
      11. 2. Getting into the Details Early
        1. The requirement gathering techniques
          1. The tools to use at this stage
            1. Questionnaire
            2. Lead
            3. Negotiate
        2. Conference Room Pilot (CRP)
          1. Why is CRP needed?
          2. Considerations for CRP success
          3. The CRP execution
        3. The Fit/Gap analysis
        4. The implementation strategy
        5. Key deliverables from the analysis phase
        6. Summary
      12. 3. Infrastructure Planning and Design
        1. The Dynamics AX components and architecture
          1. Databases
          2. The middle tier
          3. Reporting and BI
          4. Client
          5. The Help server
          6. Capacity planning and infrastructure estimation
          7. Capacity planning
            1. The deployment details
            2. Reports
            3. Operating sites and schedules
            4. The ISV products
            5. Customizations
            6. Integrations
            7. The batch process
          8. Using Lifecycle Services – Usage Profiler
          9. Infrastructure estimation
        2. Planning the system topology
          1. The production system topology
          2. The nonproduction system topology
        3. Cloud deployment
          1. The cloud services
          2. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 on Azure
        4. Industry best practices and recommendations
          1. Planning
          2. The SQL server
          3. The AOS server
          4. Reviews
        5. Summary
      13. 4. Integration Planning and Design
        1. Integration planning
          1. Integration scenarios
          2. Integration requirements
          3. Synchronous or asynchronous
        2. Integration technologies
          1. Application Integration Framework and services
            1. The AIF architecture
            2. Key concepts in AIF
              1. Services
              2. Adapters – transport mechanism
              3. Message processing
            3. Cloud-based integration
          2. The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Data Import/Export Framework
            1. An ad hoc manual file import/export
            2. Automated asynchronous integration
            3. Master data management
          3. .NET Framework – .NET Interop
          4. The .NET Business Connector
          5. The third-party integration solution
          6. Connector for Microsoft Dynamics
        3. Integration design and development
          1. Selecting the right integration technology
          2. Developing a high-level conceptual design
          3. Defining field mapping
          4. Development, configuration, and testing
        4. Best practices and recommendations
        5. Summary
      14. 5. Data Migration – Scoping through Delivery
        1. Managing scope – simplifying data migration through rightsizing the scope
          1. Questions to ask during the scoping exercise
          2. Leading the data migration requirements sessions
          3. The battle of history
        2. The design and development phase
          1. Data mapping and transformation
          2. Planning the data migration
          3. Selecting the tools for data migration
            1. How do I select the right tool?
            2. Data migration versus data entry
            3. Data import features developed on the project
          4. The Data Import/Export Framework
            1. Terminologies
            2. Architecture
              1. The import/export process
            3. A summary of key features
            4. AIF
              1. The features of AIF
            5. Custom X++
            6. Describing custom X++
            7. Excel add-in
            8. Describing an Excel add-in
          5. Data migration execution tips
            1. Initial templates for business
            2. Extracting source data into SQL tables
            3. Never rename/repurpose fields
            4. Considering premigration steps
            5. Considering postmigration steps
            6. Changing SQL to simple recovery mode
            7. Multithreading and max DOP
            8. Index and statistics maintenance
            9. Disabling the AX logging
            10. Considering SQL updates on migrated data
            11. The SQL import – through caution and expertise
            12. Managing configurations
            13. Configuration management simplified with DIXF
            14. Reviewing and deciding on the configuration
        3. Data validation
        4. A classic example of a data migration issue in projects
        5. Summary
      15. 6. Reporting and BI
        1. Gathering BI and reporting requirements
          1. The top three customer issues in reporting
            1. Inaccurate data and calculation
            2. Performance
            3. Layout and formatting
        2. Knowing about reporting tools
          1. SQL Server Reporting Services
            1. Out-of-the-box SSRS reports
          2. EP chart controls
          3. Cues in Role Center
          4. The AX auto-report wizard
          5. Exporting to Excel from forms
          6. Business intelligence/analytics – cubes
            1. Accessing data from cubes
              1. SSRS reports on AX client
              2. KPIs and chart on AX Role Center
              3. Excel and Power BI
              4. The Report Builder tool
              5. Visual Studio
          7. The Management Reporter tool
          8. List pages
          9. Office Add-ins
            1. Word add-ins
            2. Excel add-ins
          10. Other add-on BI solutions
        3. Mapping reports and identifying gaps
        4. The custom report development
          1. Development
          2. Testing
          3. Deployment
        5. Summary
      16. 7. Functional and Technical Design
        1. The functional design document
          1. Why write FDD?
          2. Fit/Gap review session
          3. Project management aspects of design
          4. Things to know before writing FDD
            1. The party model
            2. The global address book
            3. The financial data
            4. The reverse engineering tool
            5. Key global features
            6. Big picture diagrams
              1. The functional architecture
              2. Integrations
              3. The flow of data
            7. Do's and Don'ts
        2. The solution design document
          1. Overview and objectives
          2. Guidelines for Solution Design Documents
        3. Engaging ISV partners
          1. Before choosing ISV solutions
          2. After selecting the partner
          3. Common pitfalls
        4. The Technical Design Document
          1. Overview and objectives
          2. Guidelines for the Technical Design Document
            1. Preparation
            2. Execution
            3. Outcome
        5. Summary
      17. 8. Configuration Management
        1. Configuration planning
        2. Collecting the configuration data
        3. Configuration tools
          1. The Data Import/Export Framework
            1. Importing and exporting data using various formats
            2. Copying and comparing data between legal entities
            3. Copying data between Microsoft Dynamics AX instances
            4. Creating a custom entity
          2. The Microsoft Dynamics ERP RapidStart Services
          3. The Excel add-in
          4. Export/Import – DAT/DEF file
            1. The definition group
            2. Defining the export criteria
            3. Finding related tables
          5. The LCS configuration manager – the beta version
          6. The Test Data Transfer Tool – the beta version
        4. Configuration data management
          1. The golden environment
          2. Copying the template company
          3. Building configuration templates
        5. Summary
      18. 9. Building Customizations
        1. Getting ready for development
          1. The version control
          2. The development environment
            1. The shared AOS topology
            2. The private AOS topology
            3. The TFS branching strategies
              1. The main only strategy
              2. The development and main branching strategy
              3. Development, main, and release
          3. Ground rules for development
            1. Development layers and models
            2. AOT objects' naming conventions
            3. Label files and language
            4. Establishing the code review process
        2. The development process
          1. Conceptualization
          2. Data design
            1. Adding fields to the existing tables
            2. Table Types
              1. Regular
              2. In-memory
              3. TempDB
            3. Table fields
            4. Date effectivity
            5. Table properties
              1. The table group
              2. The table caching
            6. Index considerations
              1. The clustered index
              2. The non-clustered index
              3. Best practices for indexes
            7. Tables key considerations
              1. The alternate key
              2. The primary key
              3. The replacement key
              4. The foreign key
              5. The natural key
              6. Surrogate keys
            8. The delete actions
          3. The business logic
            1. The number sequence framework
            2. The FormLetter framework
            3. The RunBase framework
            4. The SysOperation framework
            5. Services and the Application Integration Framework (AIF)
            6. Other application and development frameworks
            7. Best practices to customize business processes
              1. Reusing the code
              2. Using eventing
              3. Customizing the code
              4. Where to add the custom code
          4. The user interface
            1. Client user interface guidelines
              1. The list pages
              2. The details forms
              3. Details forms with lines
              4. The simple list
              5. The simple details forms
              6. The simple list and details forms
              7. The table of content forms
            2. Enterprise portal user interface guidelines
              1. List pages
              2. The details forms
              3. The two-phase create dialog
            3. Report user interface guidelines
              1. The document type reports
              2. The simple list
              3. The group list type
          5. Security
            1. Key concepts
              1. Security roles
              2. Duties
              3. The process cycle
              4. Privilege
              5. Permissions
              6. Policies
              7. Security for custom objects
        3. Coding best practices
          1. Best practice check
          2. Naming variables and objects
          3. Commenting the code
          4. Labels and text
          5. Database
          6. Transactions
          7. Exception handling
        4. The Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
          1. Development
          2. Creating the build
          3. Testing/defect fixing
          4. Release to production
          5. Application Lifecycle guidelines and best practices
        5. Summary
      19. 10. Performance Tuning
        1. Performance testing and tuning
          1. Preparing for the process
          2. The execution stage
          3. Outcome
        2. Tools for performance monitoring
          1. The trace parser
          2. The performance monitor
          3. The performance analyzer – DynamicsPerf
          4. The LCS system diagnostics
          5. The performance benchmark SDK
          6. The SQL Server Profiler
          7. The SCOM pack for Microsoft Dynamics AX
        3. Factors that impact performance
          1. Infrastructure
            1. Issues due to inadequate hardware
            2. Virtualization
          2. The environment setup
            1. Network bandwidth and latency
            2. Setting up Windows
            3. Setting up SQL Server
            4. An outdated application, kernel, and missing hotfixes
            5. Inappropriate AX configurations
              1. Number sequences
              2. Database logging
              3. Debugging in production
            6. Maintaining indexes
            7. Batch servers
          3. Code and queries
            1. Data caching
            2. Too many RPC calls between the client and server tiers
            3. Set-based operations
            4. Batch parallelism
            5. Long-running queries – missing indexes
            6. Displaying methods on form grid
        4. Approaching performance issues
          1. Understanding the issue
          2. Planning and defining the analysis strategy
          3. Corrective action and review
          4. General scenarios and investigation strategies
            1. Issue 1
            2. Issue 2
            3. Issue 3
            4. Issue 4
            5. Issue 5
            6. Issue 6
            7. Issue 7
            8. Issue 8
        5. Summary
      20. 11. Testing and Training
        1. Testing
          1. The test planning
          2. Test scenarios and test case development
          3. Unit testing
          4. Function testing
          5. System integration testing
          6. User acceptance testing
            1. The UAT planning
            2. UAT execution and experiences
            3. The UAT outcome
          7. End-to-end testing
            1. End-to-end test planning
            2. Execution and real-life examples
            3. Training
            4. A training plan
          8. The change management
            1. Training preparation
            2. System and business readiness
            3. Security roles
            4. Business process flows
            5. Training manuals and user guides
              1. The Task Recorder
              2. The business process modeler
            6. The Help system
          9. Personalization
            1. The training environment
        2. Summary
      21. 12. Go-live Planning
        1. Key considerations prior to going live
        2. The decision to go live
          1. Business contingency planning
          2. Some technical tips
        3. Putting together the go-live plan
        4. Executing a release
        5. The importance of communication
        6. Summary
      22. 13. Post Go-live
        1. Initial stabilization
          1. Triage and prioritization
          2. Bug fixes and their business impact
          3. The deployment stage
          4. Troubleshooting tips and FAQs
        2. Proactive preparation – what's coming
          1. Preparing for the first month-end
          2. Reporting requests
          3. Security and roles assignments
          4. Form changes
          5. Performance reviews
          6. The data growth
          7. Training opportunities
          8. Engaging with Microsoft
          9. A Microsoft support budget
          10. Business process optimization
          11. Open change requests
        3. Post-implementation review
          1. Why post-implementation review?
          2. Key factors to get the most out of PIR
          3. Preparing for PIR
          4. Pain points from experience
          5. Post-implementation review – an AX 2012 customer
          6. Current state – key challenges
          7. The unused potential of Dynamics AX
          8. Improvement opportunities – processes and systems
          9. New features from the next release
        4. Summary
      23. 14. Upgrade
        1. When to upgrade
          1. Benefit to the business operations
          2. Are operations ready for the change?
          3. Stabilization of the newer version
          4. Continued technical support
          5. Upgrade versus reimplementation
          6. Project strategy and planning
        2. Upgrading options
          1. Source to target
          2. In-place upgrade
        3. The Dynamics AX upgrade process
          1. Planning the upgrade
            1. Managing customization (Fit/Gap)
          2. Managing the scope
            1. Managing the data
            2. Business engagement
            3. Impact on integrations
            4. Impact on reporting
            5. Code freeze in the source system
            6. Infrastructure planning
            7. The upgrade analysis
          3. The code upgrade
            1. Planning for the code upgrade
              1. The code clean-up
              2. New features that replace the existing ones
              3. Standalone partner/customer code
              4. Changes in customization due to Microsoft refactoring in a new version
            2. The code upgrade process
              1. The baseline database
              2. Selecting the upgrade checklist
              3. Importing AOD/model files into the baseline database
              4. Executing the code upgrade checklist
              5. Code upgrade conflict tools
            3. The upgrade script
            4. The security upgrade
          4. Testing the data upgrade
            1. Objectives
            2. Planning
            3. Execution
            4. Outcome
          5. Upgrade testing
            1. Data validation
            2. System and regression testing
            3. Integration and end-to-end testing
          6. End-user adoption
          7. Deployment planning and execution
        4. Summary
      24. Index