Perform What-If Analysis Within Excel using PowerBI
Sometimes you want to have a way to juggle numbers a little to perform quick what-if analysis, but you are not committed to the change at the time so you really don’t want to be changing the codes within Dynamics AX just yet, and would rather have the changes remain off-line until some time in the future.
In this example we will show you how to use an off-line worksheet that contains all of the changes that you want to make along with PowerPivot and PowerView to create a simple dashboard to track the impact that changes would have on your data.
Add additional Dynamics AX fields to worksheets after exporting to Excel
Exporting to Excel from Dynamics AX is probably one of the most used features for all of the do-it-yourselfers out there because once the data is in Excel you can create your own reports, dashboards, and analysis in a tool that we are all very familiar with.
But just because Dynamics AX exports the fields that are showing on the form does not mean that you have to settle for that data. Using the Dynamics AX Add-In for Excel, you can see all of the fields that are available within the table or query from Excel and add in new columns on the fly, making your Excel queries even more useful.
Synchronize Dynamics AX with Microsoft Outlook
Although we would like to be sitting in front of Dynamics AX all the time, it’s usually just not the case because we’re travelling, or just away from our desks. All that time, people may be setting up meetings for you, assigning critical tasks, or updating contact information that maybe you will need.
You don’t have to miss a beat though because you can set up your Dynamics AX client so that it synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook, and then all of the tasks, appointments, and contacts that you use will travel with you on your laptop, tablet, and even your phone.
Assign tasks to other people through Activities
You don’t have to have all of the CRM functions enabled within Dynamics AX in order to take advantage of some of the features that it offers. You can use features like Activities without any additional setup, which allows you to create appointments, notes, and also tasks.
These activities don’t even have to be for you either. If you want to send someone a gentle reminder, then you can create a task, and assign it to anyone in the organization. The task will then show up on their activity list, and also pop up as a reminder in Outlook (if you have the synchronization enabled).
Deploy the standard cubes for instant Business Intelligence
Dynamics AX 2012 comes pre-configured with 16 reporting cubes that distills the data into a more user friendly view. You can use these to create your own reports and dashboards from, and because they remove the need to be a database expert in order to understand the data, the general users are able to take advantage of them as well.
You may think that the creation of the cubes would be an arduous task, involving a lot of design & planning, and would require weeks or even months to get them up and running, but it’s not the case. All you have to do is run a simple deployment wizard and you should be up and running within minutes.
What are you waiting for?
Applying templates to multiple products at once
Product templates are a great timesaver, because they allow you to set up one product, save it’s configuration as a template record, and then use it to create new records with those defaults, or apply it to existing records to update the key fields.
If you are updating existing records, you don’t have to do them one at a time though, if you select multiple product records, then you can apply the same template to them all in one fell swoop, saving you a lot of time, especially during the data setup phase.
Create reports for Dynamics AX from within Word
The Office Add-Ins for Dynamics AX are great, and most people are familiar with the Excel Add-In, but don’t forget about the Word Add-In. This allows you to create documents that are use data from Dynamics AX, almost like a mail merge, giving you the ability to create custom reports without having to get your IT department involved.
This allows you to create summary documents, or internal reports that you are able to format just like you would any other Word document, and also reuse over and aver again if you need to.
Have Dynamics AX tell you when there are document attachments
Being able to attach documents to almost any record in Dynamics AX is a great tool to take advantage of because it allows you to move all of those files that you used to store on network shares or in local file folders, and puts them at everyone’s fingertips.
You can make it even more useful though by turning on the notification flag for document attachments in the client options, which will tell AX to highlight the documents button whenever there are documents associated with the record that you have selected. Then you will know immediately if there are files that you can browse through.
Create collaboration workspaces to share information
There are times when multiple people are working on a project and you need a place to share all of the common documents, and also a place where everyone is able to collaborate and add their input. Dynamics AX has an inbuilt feature that is designed just to allow that called Collaboration Workspaces, which are linked to a number of the functions such as Projects, Campaigns, Cases etc. allowing you from the record to create a SharePoint workspace that everyone is able to access and collaborate through.
Not only is this much better than the usual way of doing this which is usually through some sort of shared network folder, or even worse, a folder on someone’s desktop, it is more secure, and also gives you the ability to use all of the functions within SharePoint to really share information.
All you need to do is create the workspace and you are up and going.
Create reports instantly with Autoreports
Sometimes you need to send someone a copy of all the data that you have on your current screen for reference. Although you can send them a screen shot, there is a much better option for you which is called an Autoreport. To create it, all you have to do is press CTRL-P and Dynamics AX will do the rest for you.
Autoreports are great because they will create reports on all of the data that you have in the query regardless of if you have multiple pages, they have hyperlinks back to the main data such as products making drilling into the information easier, and they are more secure since they can be delivered as PDF documents.
Forget the ALT-PRINTSCREEN key combination, and just remember CTRL-P.