The new Business process modelling experience in LCS.

If you’re working on a Dynamics 365 for Operations project, you’ll know that the implementation process is managed through Lifecycle Services (LCS, https://lcs.dynamics.com).

We’re just at the stage in our current project where we’re starting to document our business processes, and we’re looking at the task recorder so that we can record task guides.

I was going to document the process for recording and playing task recordings, but Donald Hilton beat me to it – so see his post: Task Recorder Help in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Each Dynamics 365 for Operations environment is deployed from an LCS project, so there’s no setup inside of Dynamics 365 for Operations except for the Help Systems parameters at Systems administration > Setup > System parameters:

I haven’t found that this setup filters the list of libraries that you can select when recording or playing task recordings, but maybe I’ve missed something.

Anyway, in your LCS project you can use the Business process modelling tool to setup and maintain your hierarchy of business processes:

Click on that option and you see all of your Business process libraries, and a new option ‘View this page in the updated BPM experience’:

This opens a new page and that has an Import option:

The Import parameters include a thoughtful ‘Download template’ option:

And, if you used the business process hierarchies with the task recorder in Dynamics AX 2012, the import format will look familiar.

Like many reseller, Intergen have used our own business process hierarchy which has evolved over all of our Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Operations projects, and this option will provide us an easy way to setup our own Business process hierarchy so that we can re-use as much of our existing documentation as possible.

We’re still finding our way through the process of modelling our business process hierarchies in LCS and using Task recordings and Task guides. There are a couple of issues we’re still working through. One is that the user has to be a Project member of the LCS project. So maybe we are going to use one or two ‘Training’ user ID’s to save on the setup and maintenance of all of our users in the LCS project. The other issue is that the Task guides can expose sensitive information to the users:

As you can see above, there’s a clear warning on this when you create a Task recording – but we’re still figuring out all of the implications of this.

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Customer search in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Continuing my occasional series as I’m getting reacquainted with Dynamics 365 for Operations after a few month’s absence, we were looking at the new way the customer search has been implemented on the create sales order form.

Let’s go to the Sales and marketing > Sales orders > All sales orders list page and click New:

Now I could enter the customer account if I knew it, but let’s just start typing the first few characters of a name. I’ve typed “For” and stopped. I don’t hit enter. After the shortest of pauses, I see:

Pretty neat, but what if I typed “Wholesale”?

Oops. But notice that filter icon next to the Name. Click on it and:

Obviously I can change ‘begins with’ to ‘contains’ and I see:

.. all of my wholesalers.

But you can’t game the system by typing *Whole* in the customer name:

Well, not until you click on the filter icon:

Obviously that hasn’t helped too much, but clear those back-slashes, and even though the search criteria says ‘begins with’, is now acts as ‘contains’, so:

Gives, (when you click on ‘Apply’):

Exactly the same thing happens when you create a new purchase order and you’re entering a vendor account:

A similar thing happens as Item search on sales order lines and purchase order lines – but it’s using the ‘Search name’ field and not the Product name

Of course you can filter by Product name (or any other field) just by clicking on the column heading – don’t forget to clear your other applied filter though. I remember I once saw someone searching for a 50mm bolt by simply searching for *50mm* in the product name. Converted me from holding everything in separate fields to text search in an instant.

As an aside, don’t forget that you can create sales orders from a customer record, and of course you can customise your customer list page list grid to show whichever search fields would be useful to you.

And you can create a purchase order from a vendor.

Happy AX’ing. Or I we should say 365-ing, or Operations-ing?

Form and action search in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

As I said before, I’m getting reacquainted with Dynamics 365 for Operations after a few month’s absence, and I’m starting to like the form search feature. I learnt a lot of menu paths in Dynamics AX 2009 and 2012, and that’s not so much of an achievement because there wasn’t a lot of change between those versions, but things have moved on a bit, and now that I’m starting to lose the little grey cells I’m happy for the computer to start to do a bit of the work for me. So to find a form, use form search. For instance, you want to check on your warehouse setup – use the form search (Short-cut Ctrl-Forward-slash(/)):

Just type a bit of the form name. Don’t hit enter, just be patient. For instance, I’ve type ‘Ware’:

The option I wanted (Inventory management > Setup > Inventory breakdown > Warehouse) is actually the last one on the list, but it’s found it – and so have I.

This search is a little bit idiosyncratic, for instance you’re better off with ‘All customers’ than ‘Customers’ but it’s still a very useful feature.

But wait, there’s more. Let’s open the sales order form (no I’m not going to give you the menu path – go search for ‘All sales orders’), and let’s say that you want to find an intercompany purchase order. Now in the old days (AX 2009 and 2012) you’ve have to click through all the menu options until you noticed the one you wanted – but now, we have action search (Short-cut Ctrl-Apostrophe(‘)):

You can see it’s the lower of the two search buttons. I’ve typed ‘Inter’:

Not only does it give me all of the options, but it’s indicating which ones are active.

That’s pretty neat, and I hope it means that I won’t ever again have to put up with that horrible sinking feeling I get when I’m in a pre-sales demo and can’t find the form or menu option that I want.