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.

Copy task recordings from one AX2012 instance to another

As Fredrik Saetre posted a few weeks ago, in the old days (AX 2009) our Dynamics AX system environment setup was simpler – but now we’re most often faced with various Dynamics AX system environments, for instance:


In one of the first posts in this blog I talked about how you can import your own business process hierarchy into the Task recorder – then, during testing and training you can use the task recorder to build up user documentation. The task recorder creates word documents and videos in a shared folder – and you may find it useful to be able to access the same task recording from more than one instance of Dynamics AX (Test, Training, Live, etc.). One way to achieve this is to copy the task recording setup (but not the word documents and videos) from one Dynamics AX instance to another.

Simple enough to do, and here’s how it goes, we’re going to use a Data definition group to copy the task recorder setup tables from one Dynamics AX instance to another.

1. Log into the environment where you are making your task recordings, then (and obviously you only need to do this once), setup a data definition group.

System administration > Common > Data export/import > Definition group:

System administration > Common > Data export/import > Definition group > Select tables:

The table names are:

SysTaskRecorderBusinessValidations

SysTaskRecorderFramework

SysTaskRecorderFrameworkIndustryMap

SysTaskRecorderFrameworkLevel

SysTaskRecorderFrameworkLine

SysTaskRecorderIndustry

SysTaskRecorderLineArtifact

SysTaskRecorderParameters

SysTaskRecorderPopulateTrace

SysTaskRecorderRecordedEntryPoint

2. Export the task recorder tables via the data definition group:

System administration > Common > Data export/import > Definition group > Export to:

Enter a filename, click OK to export.

3. Now log out of your first Dynamics AX instance – and log into the Dynamics AX which is going to receive the Task recorder setup and import the file you created (you don’t have to have a data definition group setup to do the import). Also note that if you need to move the export file from one folder to another before you import, that the data definition group export creates two files (a .dat and .def file) – you need to copy both files.

System administration > Common > Data export/import > Import:

Enter/select the file saved above.

On the Advanced tab Tick the Include shared tables and Include system files checkboxes:

We’re not going to update existing records – we’re going to delete and re-add the records so this is a complete one-off copy of the task recordings.

When you click OK the system will display a list of tables with data:

Click ‘Yes to all’ and OK to import. The system displays a confirmation form:

Click Yes to import. The system displays a warning

Click Yes to accept the warning and you are done – easy as.

Adding a voice narration to a Task Recorder video in Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Lachlan Cash is generating a great set of blog posts, and this one caught my eye (http://organicax.com/2014/11/09/adding-a-voice-narration-to-your-bpm-recording-in-lifecycle-services/).

If you’ve looked at the new task recorder in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 (and R2 CU7) you’ll know that as well as recording your task, it automatically creates a word document, and it creates a Video recording (of up to 10 minutes).

Go to File > Tools > Task recorder

 

Task recordings are now made against a Process hierarchy – the standard Dynamics AX demo images come pre-loaded with this APQC hierarchy, but it’s possible to create and import your own business process (See  How to import a process hierarchy into the Advanced task recorder
).

Note. In the Task recorder Settings > Hierarchy levels you define a Recording mode of ‘Basic’ or ‘Advanced’. To use the Advanced mode you have to be running the Dynamics AX client on the Dynamics AX AOS server – if you’re logged into a Terminal server and the AOS is on another server, you’ll have to use Basic mode – but you still get a Video recording in Basic mode.

Select a node in your Business process hierarchy and click Start. The Task recorder form minimises. Perform your task and when you’re done click back into the Task recorder form and click Stop. There’s a short pause as your recording is processed.

You’ll see that the Node is now flagged to show that you’ve performed a task recording:

So as you’d expect, if you click on ‘Document’ the system reads the stored task recording and generates the familiar word document:

But what’s not so obvious is that it’s also created and saved a Word document and Video:

In the Settings > Parameters you find a Recording file path:

Navigate to that folder and you can find those documents. Firstly there’s a folder for your business process hierarchy and then there’s a folder for your task. The folder name is abbreviated, but it’s quite recognisable:

Now you can take the Word document and edit it, and take the video and add a commentary.

Lachlan Cash recommends using Movie maker to edit the Video:

 

The only thing that’d make that simpler was if it was easier to access those files – in a previous company we added a couple of extra buttons on the Task recorder:

We re-named ‘Document’ to ‘Generate a document’ and added ‘Edit document’ and ‘Play video’ buttons.