Ax 2012 – 1 year on

September 1st, 2012 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

From a technical point of view, AX 2012 is a giant step forard in the right direction. The installation and configuration process is streamlined and optimized compared to earlier versions (no more Kerberos double hop challenges, no more install RTM, SP1, RUx etc. for all components , PreReq Validation Utility etc). 64 bit server, Windows 2007 clients,  support for SQL 2012, Managed code, SSRS reports, Data management, New workflow engine, AIF document service, significant changes in data loading  are some of the other many tehcncoal changes to note.

The change and the oportuties challenges are even greater  from the functional point of view int he move to an enterprisesystme with increasing support for multi company operation…

  • No more DataAreaId
  • No more Duplicate Company (a blessing  from the SQL Server technical point of view )
  •  Organization modeling instead of just Company Info
  • New accounting structure
  • Free number of dimensions
  • Role based security
  • Pre defined templates for security roles
  • Product master
  • More roles
  • EP in the core and more sitese.g. – Proejct collboration
  • More cubes
  • More modules and all in the server licence  e.g, HR mdouels, advanced Project, advanced Producttion, Questionnaire, Retail process etc
  • Mobile apps
  • Literally a  100o functional enhancements e.g. PDC, letter of credit , consolidated PO across companies, PO Budget control etc
  • SSRS reports
  • Management Reporter
  • Enhanced office integration

The most fundamental change is done at the application architecture and not in the technical architecture.

The move to store the application logic (*.AOD) in the file system to store the same elements in the OLTP database ( it is part of the OLTP database) and to introduce “Models”, is almost as revolutionary.

Meanwhile a new licensing model a drive to the cloud, and to overhaul the partner network areall  clear signs of Microsoft’s aim for more profitable and deeper penetration of the enterprise space.  This release was a major step forward, but it may have been a step too far too quickly for many implementation partners and customers.

Upgrades across an enterprise with multiple localisations requires data mapping, report conversion to SSRS  Management reporter, new workflows, new UI navigation, more modules to learn etc and a conversion of licences from concurrent to named user, consideration of whether EP user  licences  should be acquired, whether a user is functional or Enterprise etc. 

Ultimately the biggest challenge to Microsoft’s aim will also depend on its partner network capability and capacity for sale delivery and increasingly for quality local support across an enterprise,  and how it positions product licence cost, and whether key partners find the grass greener elsewhere..  These are areas where I expect to see a lot more ‘fine tuning’  so that the product advances are realised in customer adoption.

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