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Microsoft Dynamics AX Software Review


The Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP Suite

Finance and Accounting Software

The Dynamics AX accounting software suite includes GL, AP, AR, Bank Management and Inventory Management. The Dynamics AX accounting software is functionally rich, however, we found the extensive feature sets to be a double-edged sword. The accounting depth is great if you need it, however, it contributes to a crowded user interface and multiple screen navigation that requires extensive training. As most companies use far less than half of what accounting software systems have to offer, ERP buyers are advised to find a balance between the feature sets important to support their objectives and business processes, while at the same time not overwhelming users.

The addition of business process management (BPM) workflow automation allows organizations to configure finance and accounting workflows and approvals as well as to benefit from increased audit trail capabilities. We particularly liked the ability to reuse hierarchical financial structures across multiple accounting entities—features that were unavailable in previous versions of the software.

Financial personnel can leverage similar accounting structures and copy accounting hierarchies without having to re-create each set of books for separate entities. Invoice matching capabilities, purchase order rollover, budget carry-forward, charge allocations, project accounting, purchase order prepayments, and the ability to add items to invoices that automatically update themselves are just a few of the new options available in the latest version of Dynamics AX. An updated invoice rules engine checks for duplicate entries to avoid data and transaction repetition. AX 2012 offers numerous new accounting features, and many old features have been replaced with more advanced methods and feature granularity.

The financial and accounting modules do lack functionality in some advanced accounting procedures and project accounting capabilities. Certain features, such as advanced time and expense management that can be posted directly to the G/L, resource allocation costing, complex journal vouchers, letters of credit and letters of guarantee, and activity-based costing, are either not offered or extremely limited with the base modules, but may available as add-ons through partners. The sourcing and global procurement features are also lacking in such areas as enterprise asset management (EAM), invoice tracking, employee productivity, time and expense tracking, sale price deductions, allowances, and process-costing.

Distribution and Supply Chain Management Software

New functionality that provides corporate visibility across multiple entities is another feature of AX 2012. Organizations are now able to view consolidated supply and demand as well as planned inter-company demand, which assists in upstream planning. Multilevel order pegging is available through a form that can be applied to all entities, which allows a more controlled approach to inventory and supply chain management.

The ERP system facilitates order entry by automatically defaulting customer and inventory related data fields that may be flexibly configured, thus speeding up order entry pace and reducing transposition errors. The ability to make changes throughout order header and detail levels, modify default settings, and customize sales orders are all new or improved features that facilitate streamlined order processing. Dynamics AX 2012 also allows handling of matrixed SKUs, such as the sizing matrix for apparel, where one item (a blue sweater, for example) comes in different sizes, styles and colours. Traceable lot and serial number capabilities, quality management, and inventory blocking allow for quality control (QC) operations, something which was not available in AX 2009.

Some deficiencies in the supply chain module include lack of deep e-commerce capabilities, retail planning, and forecasting/replenishment capabilities. Some transportation management system (TMS) capabilities are included as part of the base package but many are only available as third party add-ons.

ERP systems that are born from strong financial accounting typically build out a distribution suite of sales order processing, purchase order processing and inventory management. This approach generally falls short of more sophisticated supply chain management systems, which typically originate with purpose built warehouse management, demand planning and transportation management. Dynamics AX falls in the first scenario, and while it is steadily advancing its distribution suite toward more sophisticated supply chain management capabilities, it is clearly not ready to compete with the supply chain software specialists such as Manhattan Associates or RedPrairie supply chain systems.

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Microsoft Dynamics AX



Microsoft Dynamics AX Software Review



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