Microsoft has recently made available the CU7 release of their Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 ERP system. As a provider of Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solutions to the professional services industry, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the CU7 release due to the addition of some significant enhancements to the Project Management & Accounting functionality in Dynamics AX. This blog will be the first of a series of blogs that will explore new functionality introduced in Dynamics AX 2012 R2 CU7.
One of the major enhancements in the CU7 release is the addition of a true Work Breakdown Structure or WBS within Dynamics AX. In prior versions of Dynamics AX, the WBS was simply a tool for building a list of tasks or activities within the project. These tasks were mostly used for project accounting-related functions such as defining the level of detail for project budgeting and time entry. There was very limited project execution functionality within the WBS.
In Dynamics AX 2012 R2 CU7, Dynamics AX now has a true Microsoft Project-style WBS as shown in the screenshot below.
Work Breakdown Structure in Dynamics AX 2012 R2 CU7
This WBS allows for improved management of project tasks within a traditional WBS grid view, similar to what you’d see in Microsoft Project. Some of the features of the new WBS include:
- The ability to use WBS or task templates to create a new WBS
- Support for predecessors and successors
- Automatic scheduling assistance
- Automatic creation of estimates and forecasts at WBS granularity
- Multiple views of the WBS:
- Planning View – build up project structure, timeframes, dependencies, etc.
- Effort Tracking View – WBS in the context of hours (original, to completion, etc.)
- Cost Tracking View – WBS in the context of costs (original, to completion, etc.)
- Revenue Tracking View – WBS in the context of revenue (original, to completion, etc.)
- Visual status indicators to highlight variances
- Ability to open the WBS and/or manage the WBS in the Microsoft Project client
These new WBS features will help project managers that want to use Dynamics AX as more of a true project execution system, in addition to a project management and accounting tool.
As part of the release of CU7, Microsoft has also confirmed a couple of roadmap related items. The next interim release of Dynamics AX (AX 2012 R3) will be released by April of next year, followed by the next major release of Dynamics AX (AX 2015) in Q4 of 2014. So Microsoft continues to make significant R&D investments into Dynamics AX, which will position it well for the future.
In the meantime, we’re excited about these enhancements to the CU7 release. Watch for additional blog articles in our series about the new features that are available in CU7.