The new Warehousing App

Microsoft have released the new warehouse APP, and the setup instructions can be followed here :

You can download the Windows App here:

The setup instructions are very good, and in 10 minutes you should be able to get the app working as expected in your windows 10 machine. The App also have a demo-mode that lets you try it out, without having to connect it to an environment.

Here are some pictures for you pleasure.

Thank you Markus J

Retail process modeling; Divide and conquer

I normally don’t share much that is considered as employer specific IP/tools, but today I will do an exception. At EG we have for years been focusing on how to address the business processes for the Retail industry, and how to name and classify these processes. By combining the structure APQC business process mapping and classification with the essential understanding on how to improve and implement the retail business processes. This means we have a that a predefined approach for scoping and planning retail implementations. The key to this model, is to ensure that we can have a good scoping and planning phased retail implementations based on the customers actual processes.

The top level in the EG Retail model we group all epic processes into “Management processes“, Operating processes” and “Support processes” as seen in the following picture. Then we have broken each process into sub-processes(Levels), pretty much according to APQC.


Level 1 – Operating processes

The Operating processes are the day-to-day processes taking place in at a retailer. We have divided the level 2 processes into 5 specific areas as seen in the figure below.

1. Category management is all about grouping products into hierarchies with similar properties and attributes. This makes it possible to give responsibilities and parameters on group levels, instead of on SKU level.

2. Sourcing and procurement is about making sure that we have the products available on the store/channels available for sale. This means working with vendors and producers, and to have clear planning strategies.

3. Retail logistics is processes that typical happens at the central warehouse, and when replenishment to stores is needed, then it is sent at the right time.

4. Omni channels is about being available to customers on multiple platforms and through the customers purchase experience. It stretches from brand awareness, store, web, mobile, loyalty and after sales processes.

5. Store operations is what is happening at the physical store.

Each of these level 1 the retail processes have been split into the following level 2 processes. In the column 1 we have the parent process, and below we have the sub-processes in the horizontal boxes.

We can further look deeper into the category management processes and we see the following level 3 sub processes. You can see the red boxes in the level 1, have been moved to the first column in level 2, and then the sub-processes are shown in the horizontal columns.

For each and every retail process we break the processes down to level 3 or level 4, and we then also decide on how we are solving each of these sub processes. This is done by color coding the processes. As you can see in the following picture, you see that most is solved in standard Dynamics 365, but also with some 3-party products. There are also processes that is not covered by the solution stack available currently.

At level 3 we have mapped each of these processes into APQC and into the LCS business process modeler. When we take the level 3 process called “Define categories” we have a relevant APQC process named 2.1.1, and this means that we(or APQC Members) can extract som KPI’s to allow us to define how this process are performing.

Together with APQC we can use these KPI’s to measure how good this process if performing, and also compare the process with similar retailers also using the same KPI’s. This tells us if the process needs to be improved to achieve more.

Microsoft released a new APQC library in November 2016, that is available in LCS, and here Microsoft have defined 3774 business processes and have 617 flow charts for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations. This gives us a further ability to map the processes directly into Dynamics 365. Here I have searched for “category” to see what APQC and Dynamics 365 processes are supported.

Using the process mapping to create a implementation plan.

When we are working with our customers, we build a scope plan quickly, and define what processes we what to start with, and what to postpone into future projects. We can be clear about the how quickly the ROI can be, and that we can start on business processes where we today have low performing processes. In the sample scoping below, I show how we can start with the stores, then in project 2 enable the HQ suppy chain/replenishment and then finally start a project where logistics to the stores are in scope.

This means we can do project phased retail implementations within the budgets for the retailer. Each of the “Boxes” also contains process descriptions, VSTS backlog and task lists, UAT test scripts and workshop agenda’s. This means that when running a retail project, we don’t have to start with a blank whiteboard.

In addition the model have been mapped into Visual Studio Team Services. This means that the Retail model is also a implementation model for than can be used by project managers, consultants, developers, customer super users and stakeholders.


I hope this gives you some ideas on how we are approaching the retail market from a business process standpoint, and delivering our implementation as predefined repeatable services where Azure, Office365, LCS, VSTS, ODM and all the other good Microsoft services are used to the full extent.

Retail is detail, and the future is bright J

Check out KB 3206881 – New image preview control

Microsoft have released a hotfix on the document preview control, and this is actually quite cool. In the following picture you see the preview pane have been updated with some new buttons.

Now we have ordinary functions like move, zoom, print, but we also have highlight, Blocking and some text functions.

This means we can make direct changes to the attached images, and this is interesting when we have scanned copies of invoices or any other document.

In the following picture, I have just highlighted some parts, and blocked some texts. I have also added a text of my own.

Why is this interesting? Because good developers is experts in “copy-with-pride” solutions. And we now have a new web-enabled control that allows us to create new extended solutions for handling scanned documents.

I expect that we very soon will see small invoice approval apps available at a fraction of the price we have seen before, and that is using this feature.

Try it out J It’s Cool.


Warning; Generate Demodata; Financial period close

Dynamics 365 for Operations have a nice feature for generating demo data.

Here is my 1000 $ tip!

This class is only meant for generating demodata in the Contoso dataset, and will corrupt and delete any real data you may have created. If you take a look at the class LedgerPeriodCloseWorkspaceDataCreation that will generate month end financial closing data you see that it only works towards specific contoso companies and personas defined in the contoso company.

There is also a method executed in the beginning, that just deletes data, and makes sure any data you may have generated is just gone.

Why Microsoft have decided to include this “Demo-data” package in the implementation deployment I don’t understand……

…and if you wonder; Yes, I did this mistake.

Try Dynamics 365 now

Microsoft is currently holding an online virtual Dynamics 365 launch party and I’m happy to see that Microsoft is delivering as promised. Take a look at it here:

What Microsoft also have made available is a trial experience of Dynamics 365 for Operations. That is available here. What you get is an access to a 30 day multi-tendent trial experience, where basic testing can be taken place. In my case I got company number 037, and I cannot access other trial users company J

In this first release you will have limited access to 3 basic processes as defined in the trial experience task recording. You can try to navigate around, but you have very limited access to create customers/vendors/products etc. Important: This is NOT a full feature trial, and you NEED to follow the task guides as your guide to Dynamics 365.

Remember that Microsoft is constantly refining and improving the trial experience, and if you want a full-blown trial you need to contact a Dynamics 365 partner that can help you set this up. Later Microsoft will release additional trial experiences, and also support localized trial experiences. Other industry based trials are on the way, like Retail/POS experiences.

Check it out!

My Dynamics 365 FastTrack experiences

If you have not heard about the Microsoft FastTrack program for Dynamics 365 on-boarding, then this is the post for you. So, to say it simple; the FastTrack program is Microsoft’s involvement after the licenses have been purchased to get you fast up and running on the cloud platform.

It starts when the licenses have been purchased through the CSP-portal (or through a EA agreement), and lasts until the live production system have been deployed.

When a Dynamics 365 deployment should start, we get a checklist of tasks that need to be completed when we move from one stage to another. The LCS implementation project looks a bit different than the ordinary LCS projects.

As you can see here there are a lot of checks that needs to be confirmed before going live. In the process, some guidance is needed, and Microsoft is giving this as a service included in the license. As the implementation goes forward Microsoft is conducting some bi-weekly workshops, where each meeting has a predefined agenda with information and some room for discussions and guidance. The touchpoints are divided between actual workshops using Skype 4 Business and Tech Talks that is a kind of webinar session.

In the FastTrack program there is a role and responsibility, that is explaining what is expected from the parties involved in a Dynamics365 rollout.

I have been lucky, and have been involved in a complete cycle, and I have to say that I’m impressed how this FastTrack program works. As the Dynamics 365 is quite new, and the entire Dynamics ecosystem is trying to absorb the information made available, it is easy to get lost and to think that implementations are conducted in the same way as earlier. If you expect that some hardcode system administrator/developer can jump into the sandbox/production environments, then you are wrong. Now things have to happen in a sequence and have to follow predefined quality steps to ensure that we get a rock-solid production environment.

Our FastTrack contact have always been available and have given us the “light touch” on the shoulder to guide the implementation and expectations. Remember that FastTrack is not about business processes, masterdata and project management. That is still handled outside of this program.

A small and important reminder; remember that you have to purchase your implementation licenses, and remember that you could start small, and ramp up you license count as needed.


Testing Microsoft Flow for CRM –> AX integration

A few days ago Microsoft have the Flow connector available for preview, and you can read more about it here. What I wanted was to see if I could make a very simplified flow, where a customer is created in CRM, and then transferred to Dynamics AX.

The flow therefore consists of the following steps, when a record is created in CRM, a customer is created in AX. After that, I wanted an email to be sent to me.

To test this flow, I created a Customer in CRM online.

Then I waited for a few second, and then the customer was visible in AX. I just became very impressed.

I also received an email, telling me that a new customer was created in AX from CRM, and that made be even more happy.

If I when in and analyzed what happened, I could trace the entire integration in Flow, and also see how much time spent on processing each step. In this case, I see that AX used 10 seconds to process the JSON/ODATA message, and spent 3 seconds to sending me an email that the record was created.


Here are the steps I used to create this flow. First I select the Flow action “Dynamics CRM Online – When a record is created”.

Then I specify the organization and the entity name: Accounts

Next I add the action Dynamics AX Online – Create a record

And I select the instance, and what user I should log in with. I also select the entity name: Customers, and select to only transfer the Account number and Account name into the AX entity. Some of the other fields, I choose to hardcode for simplicity reasons.

The last step is to send an email to myself

Some summary.

Using Dynamics AX with flow will certainly be the way forward on how we integrate AX with CRM and all kinds of other 3’rd party systems. It is still in preview, and the next thing we are waiting for is that Dynamics AX can get reactive, and then when a record is created or modified inside AX, this can trigger a flow. But Microsoft have promised that this is on its way. Also remember that this tool has its current restrictions and that we need to be patient and let Microsoft further develop and improve its capabilities. But for easy and simple integrations I would call this as a unique opportunity to get rid of complex and time consuming integrations. As long as you keep it simple it works as intended.

Thanks Microsoft, keep it coming!