Microsoft Releases Dynamics Lifecycle Services Tools for Dynamics AX
As a Microsoft Dynamics AX partner specializing in implementing the Dynamics AX ERP system for Professional Services firms, we're always on the lookout for tools and methods that will help us provide our consulting and technical services in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Microsoft shares this aspiration for its channel partners, and in an effort to provide its partners and customers with a series of tools to help implement and manage their Dynamics AX system, has released Dynamics Lifecycle Services.
Dynamics Lifecycle Services is a set of new cloud-based tools that allow customers and partners to better manage Dynamics AX projects all the way from the pre-sales stage through to implementation and ongoing operations. Here's a quick diagram that depicts the various tools in Dynamics Lifecycle Services and which stage of the ERP lifecycle that it applies to.
Dynamics Lifecycle Services is made available through the Windows Azure cloud platform. You can set up a "Project" for each customer or implementation, and then based on the phase of the project and the vertical that the customer is in, Lifecycle Services will provide you with a series of checklists and tools that you can use to manage the project. It also provides a project dashboard that consolidates access to this information. Here's an example of a project dashboard in Dynamics Lifecycle Services:
Here's a quick run-down of the tools that are available in the initial release of Dynamics Lifecycle Services.
- Collaboration Workspaces - One feature is the collaboration workspaces, which allow you to set up secure, web-based customer-managed collaboration workspaces for your projects. You can then manage your projects in these workspaces using either Microsoft SureStep or other implementation methodologies.
- Business Process Modeler – The Business Process Modeler is a great new tool for creating cross-functional business process flowcharts based on the metadata in Dynamics AX. You can easily map business process and perform a gap/fit analysis using this tool, as well as quickly generate business process documentation and flowcharts using the new Advanced Task Recorder. Here’s a screenshot of the BPM tool:
- Code & Upgrade Analysis Tool – A new code and upgrade analysis tool leverages a cloud-based rules engine to analyze your code and identify potential best practices, performance, and upgradeability issues. This will then generate reports that can be imported into the MorphX development toolset as a to-do list for developers.
- Usage Profiler – The usage profiler helps you model user and batch processing loads as a starting point for sizing your servers and other infrastructure requirements.
- Diagnostics Tool – A new diagnostic tool helps monitor the heal of your AX systems, collecting data from your AX environments and comparing that data against some pre-defined rules to provide you with a list of corrective actions that you can take.
- Issue Search – The issue search is a repository of system issues that have been reported, are in-progress, and have been fixed. It also identifies specific code objects and lines of code that might be affected by a hotfix.
About the Author
Andy Yeomans is Director of Business Development for SAGlobal, where his role is to help project-driven organizations evaluate and select ERP software systems to better manage their finances, projects, clients, and resources. Andy was instrumental in developing the organization's Microsoft Dynamics AX industry solutions and practice area for the AE & Environmental industry. Andy has over 17 years of ERP experience and has helped dozens of AE & Environmental firms evaluate, select, and implement ERP software systems for their business.