In March of this year, I was given the opportunity to attend Microsoft Convergence in Atlanta, Georgia. During Convergence, I attended a seminar on the Project Management and Accounting Module that highlighted the changes that were made in the latest release of Dynamics AX2012. Project Management and Accounting is used to plan, initiate, control, manage, and complete projects. It allows you to manage direct and indirect costs, assign resources, create and monitor budgets, and set up billing rules that define how the project is invoiced – i.e. Milestone billing.
In past versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX, the Project Management and Accounting module offered a flexible solution but still required third party add-ons or integrations, such as Project Server, to assist Project Managers with adaptable and agile project planning. In the last two releases, Cumulative Update 7 for R2, and Dynamics AX 2012 R3, major changes have been made to increase the viability of the module. These new updates have kept in line with the Dynamics AX adage: powerful, agile & simple.
Listed are some of the more powerful features of the Project Management and Accounting module:
- The ability to use features of Office 365 SharePoint project sites such as:
1. Creating and modifying a project in SharePoint
2. Publishing a project from Microsoft Project to SharePoint
- The ability to use Microsoft Project to create and update the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for an AX2012 project quotation
- The ability to create WBS templates in Microsoft Project to use in Dynamics AX
- The ability to use predecessors
- The ability to view a graphical illustration of worker availability to see how many days, weeks, or months workers are available in a specific time range and a list of projects that the worker can be assigned to
- The ability to track changes or updates made to timesheet entries
Listed are some of the more agile features of the Project Management and Accounting module:
- The use of Microsoft Project and AX2012 to manage a project created in either program
- The ability to assign workers from AX2012 to tasks in Microsoft Project
- The ability to associate tasks in Microsoft Project with project categories in AX2012
- View a list of workers who meet requirements based on skills, previous project roles, and availability
- The ability to create billing rules for projects – automatically create customer invoices based on project milestones
Microsoft has also worked to keep the module simple in various ways:
- Book resources by hard-booking or soft-booking hours
- View graphical representation of available workers who can satisfy resource requirements
- View summaries of project budget balances based on transaction type, category, category group or cost template
- Filter the display of workers based on name, skill sets, cost, and price
The above changes have substantially enhanced the functionality and operability of Dynamics AX2012. Project Managers now have much better tools at their fingertips to successfully manage the project life cycle from project initiation, through to planning, execution, and finally, closure.
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