DAX 2012 end-to-end processes and APQC

With LCS (Life cycle Services), Microsoft have taken steps to introduced the APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) Process Classification Framework as one of the business modelers.

Microsoft have also created some flowcharts to visualize the APQC processes in dynamics AX.

In some Dynamics AX implementation projects it have been decided to use the APQC model, and the participants(including me) was struggling connecting the APQC model to actual tasks and activities performed in DAX. So I started on a small mental journey to better understand how to use APQC model, and to be able to connect the dots from the classification framework into dynamics AX swim lane process maps.

First I thought that is was possible to take some level 4 APQC try to draw them. It is possible to draw the small and simple activities, but I was struggling drawing an end-to-end processes. Like order-to-cash. I quickly realized that I cannot use the LCS-APQC model to explain end-to-end DAX processes, since end-to-end processes often will involve many different departments, functions and processes.

To visualize a complex processes in an end-to-end process like order-to-cash using APQC classification model I could imagine looking something like this.

Here we see the involved processes visualized with the APQC classification. And it makes sense. But it does not tell you how to use AX in in this process, because that is described using the level 4 (or 5) in APQC. Like in 8.2.2 Invoice customers, would be a specific process, that we can visualize in Dynamics AX/LCS.

The other thing I realized was that APQC is not about implementing a ERP system, like DAX, but it’s about improving the processes you have(regardless of what systems and applications you have). Some of the activities may be handled in DAX, but many is just how to improve the actual steps the company actually does. Very often it can be the working procedure, involving many systems and internal working processes. So you don’t ask “How does this APQC process look in DAX ?”. You should rather ask “What APQC processes is involved in the selected DAX processes (like order-to-pay).

The APQC model will therefore not tell you how to use and setup Dynamics AX. It will just help you to have a common language to classify your processes and to improve them. When it comes to visualizing Dynamics AX processes in swim lane flowcharts it can be a good idea to use the APQC identifiers as process identification.

My tip when using LCS, is to understand the APQC process identification model, and use it as a repository and building blocks when you create your own processes.

By referring to APQC on your own business model you can start on process improvement project for that specific process. You will can also evaluate to implement the benchmark indicators as APQC exemplifies.

My quick summary is therefore;

1. Do I like LCS, and will use it à Yes, and I will use it for implementation and DAX process visualizations.

2. Do I like APQC à Yes, and I will use it for classification, benchmarking and process improvements.

3. Do I think that the LCS APQC processes reflect what we see at customers à No

4. What would be nice to have in LCS business modeler à More end-to-end processes, where the APQC process identifiers is used would be nice.

Happy DAX’ing !!

 

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2 thoughts on “DAX 2012 end-to-end processes and APQC

  1. Hi

    I have been down this road and made the exact same reflections you do.

    However I have not used APQC I have the used SCOR process model. And have not used LCS, I have used an ISV called Rapid Value.

    What I have experience from is that we created the SCOR model as a frame work in Rapid Value, down to level 3. After that we did level 4 processes with connected AX instructions on how to execute. Those we then mapped towards the SCOR model so the processes ( level 4 ) were connected in the “right place”.

    We have over the last 2 years increased our processes with more detail instructions as we go along. The processes will be rolled out globally over several years and therefor it is very important to have the processes documented on both high and low level. In practice our process storage tool , Rapid Value( ISV), really helps out to create, manage and use the processes and instructions. The processes/ instructions is really easy to use in both implementations and after go live to give user access to how to use the processes and AX. And also promote new and improved processes as we improve our solution over time.

    Actually I think Rapid Value is more the LCS because it is integrated in AX so it is easier to access for users and LCS is more a implementation tool then it is a process repository that will live longer then the go live date.

    What we hope to get out of this is
    1) Possibility to benchmark towards other companies late on.
    2) Keep our processes and instructions updated and easy to access for everyone using AX. Key users, Users and process managers

    Like

    • Hi Ann. Thank you for your insight and sharing your experience. I know of Rapid Value. I hope that in the future the LCS business process modeling will be further extended by Microsoft and include more processes both for system implementation and for business process improvement.
      Take care, and thanks for sharing.

      Like

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