We are at week 11 of our 12-week series titled "Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012." In this week's edition we turn our attention to the topic of 'Processes and Workflow' and the 'Agile' messaging pillar for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Previously when focusing on the Agile pillar we have looked at the topics of Development Tools, Integration & Web Services and Programming so let's now have a look at business processes – in many ways the foundation on which work gets done within organizations.
Business management software can provide significant value when it can help the business execute on these processes more efficiently and effectively. We introduced workflow support in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to help organizations automate their business processes for greater efficiency. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, we've improved on these tools and introduced some powerful features that not only drive efficiency but also provide the flexibility to quickly model and change your business processes, giving your organization greater agility. So far, the feedback from customers in our Technology Adoption Program (TAP) has been very positive, so we're excited to give you an overview of how our new workflow features can help you automate, standardize, and thrive!
Faster Process Modeling
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 makes it much simpler for business users and people with limited programming skills to set up and automate some pretty sophisticated processes. This lets the people who understand the business and work with these processes on a daily basis define the conditions and business rules, assign tasks, and automate the flow of information through the organization.
- Visual Tools. To understand a business process, it's easiest if you can look at it visually so that you can actually see what's happening. Most people are familiar with flow charts as graphical representations of processes. One of the most exciting features of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is the new graphical workflow editor, which uses a similar paradigm to let a business user model a process and build the associated workflow that automates approvals, escalations, notifications, decision points, and all the other detailed tasks that happen along the way.
- Prebuilt Workflows. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 will ship with around 60 workflow types, which help speed up the process of creating a workflow. You can pick one of the available workflow types, which are associated with specific business documents, and then model the resulting workflow to reflect your particular organization's policies and procedures.
Faster, More Flexible Process Execution
We've also added features that help you design richer workflows, which reflect the way business is done in your particular organization and can speed up execution of specific processes.
- Assignment. A particularly powerful part of workflow is assignment. Every organization assigns tasks differently, so Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 supports a number of ways to do so, including assigning to an individual, group, or role, or defining an organizational hierarchy, with rules for escalation. Organizations can also assign tasks to work item queues, which can in turn be assigned and managed at an individual or team level. . Ultimately, we've provided as much flexibility as possible to get the work done.
- Conditions and decisions. We've also added the ability to create workflows that branch, based on specified conditions or decisions that people make as part of the process. Decisions can be conditional or manual, depending on the process and the rules or policies that govern it. Conditions can become a pretty powerful part of your workflow because they enable you to essentially automate your business rules or business policies.
- Time limits. The ability to set time limits on tasks, approvals, and manual decisions-and to define escalation policies when limits aren't met-helps your organization complete tasks on time and avoid stagnating processes.
- Parallel activity. For processes that require multiple tasks to be executed at the same time, we've included parallel activity and the ability to call other workflows from within an existing workflow.
- Line items. We've seen a number of processes where a single document, for example an expense report or purchase order, contains multiple line items that need to be processed differently. We've built in features that enable workflows to be applied to a specific line item, rather than treating a document as a whole, which means more granular control.
Ultimately, workflow is about automating and standardizing business processes, leading to greater efficiency, while also making it quick and easy to change those processes, so your business maintains its agility. You can learn more by watching the following video featuring, Senior Program Manager, Karl Tolgu on our YouTube Channel
Share Your Thoughts
What unique needs does your organization have around review, approval, and processing of business documents? How often do these processes change?
If you missed past editions of this series, then please take a look at the links below:
- Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: Real Simple – Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Makes Collaboration Easier
- Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: Securing Peace of Mind – The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Security Model
- Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: Sharing Business Information the Easy Way w/ Enterprise Portal
- Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: Easy ERP is NOT an Oxymoron
- Next-generation ERP: the right mix
- Press Release: Team Lotus in the driver’s seat thanks to Microsoft Dynamics AXIT Supports Lean Thinking
We will be back next week with the final installment on organizational flexibility! Until then….
Sr. Industry Marketing Manager
We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!