This week we have started working on our next project for the Bare Cones Configuration Guide series, which has been to start uplifting the Configuring the General Ledger guide from the Dynamics AX 2012 version to the Dynamics 365 for Operations release. Rather than wait to finish all of the 8 chapters before releasing out this content we have decided to release them out individually as we get them finished.

We are happy to say that the first module for the General Ledger is available and if you want to check it out here are all of the details.

BBCG03: Configuring the General Ledger within Dynamics 365 for Operations
MODULE 1: Configuring the General Ledger Controls

Before we can start posting to the General Ledger, there is a little bit of housekeeping that we need to do in order to set up all of the codes and controls. We need to configure our accounts that we will want to use within the ledger, set up our chart of accounts and also configure some of the defaults for posting to the ledger.

In this guide we will step you through the initial configuration of the General Ledger so that you can then start using it.

Topics Covered

  • Adding Currency Codes
  • Configuring the System Parameters
  • Adding additional Main Account Categories
  • Importing Main Account Categories through the Excel Add-In
  • Configuring a new Chart of Accounts
  • Adding a new Main Account to the Chart of Accounts
  • Creating a Main Account Import Template
  • Populating the Import Template
  • Configuring Account Structures
  • Creating a new Fiscal Calendar
  • Configuring a Company Ledger
  • Configuring the Accounts for Automatic Transactions

This module actually shrank a little from the AX 2012 version because of the improved way that we can import data from Excel and even create custom import templates using the Workbook Designer. That feature by itself is worth a peek at this guide.

If you are interesting in checking this guide out (or the earlier versions like the one for AX 2012) then here is a link to the all of the versions of this guide: http://bit.ly/2gHSjjv

If you are really up for a challenge then you may want to take on the Bare Bones Configuration Challenge. You can start with this guide and as we start releasing out the other 15 guides in the series then you can work through them as well. These guides will teach you how to configure a bare bones installation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 from scratch. If you complete all sixteen modules then you will become a Bare Bones Configuration Privateer and we will send you a badge to prove it.

Or if you want to go retro then you can do exactly the same thing with Dynamics AX 2012 – all of the guides are already available.

Also, if you want all of the content on the site and all of the new content that we are delivering then you may want to think about signing up for a Premium Membership. Once you have that you can plunder the entire site and download any of the books at any time. Here is the link: http://bit.ly/2fYMgTW

Watch out for use to release more modules as we get them finished over the next weeks.

In the past importing data into Microsoft Dynamics has been a little bit of work. The Data Management tools within Dynamics 365 for Operations makes it a little easier to package data up into data sets.

But if we want an easier way to import in data then there is a second option which is the Excel Workbook Designer which allows us to create Excel templates directly from the data entities and then use them to access and even import data within minutes.

In this walkthrough we will show how you can use this feature to do this by creating an import template that imports in Main Accounts in to the ledger.

Creating a Main Account Import Template

The first thing that we will want to do is create a new Excel Workbook that we will use to import in the data. Luckily this is a super simple task.

How to do it…

To do this, open up the navigation panel, expand out the Modules group, and click on the Organization administration module and click on the Excel workbook designer menu item within the Office integration subgroup of the Setup menu group.


Alternatively you can search for the Excel workbook designer form by clicking on the search icon in the header of the form (or press ALT+G) and then type in excel into the search box. Then you will be able to select the Excel workbook designer maintenance form from the dropdown list.

This will open up the Workbook designer form listing all of the data entities that we can create template from.


We want to create an import template for the Main account data entity so we will start off by filtering down the entities by typing in main into the filter box.

That will filter out most of the data entities and then we will be able to select the MainAccount data entity.

Also within the Available fields list box we will see all of the fields from the entity that we can use within our import template.

Start off by selecting the Chart of accounts field and click on the right arrow button.


This will move the Chart of accounts field over to the Selected fields list box.


Then add the Main account, Name, Main account type and Main account category fields over to the Selected fields list.

Now that we have all of the fields that we need to set up the Main Accounts we can click on the Open workbook link within the menu bar.


When the Open in Excel panel is displayed we will then be asked where we want to save the file to.

In this example we will just download the file locally and click on the Download button.


This will open up a dialog box and allow us to save the Excel file locally, or just open it up. In this example we just click on the Open option.


This will then open up the Excel template for us. In order to see all of the data and also use the Office Add-In you may be asked to Enable Editing buy clicking on the button in the header.


The add-in will now link up with Microsoft Dynamics, retrieve all of the metadata for the Main Account entity and then retrieve all of the data for the entity as well.

We can now see all of the data within Excel that we had within the main interface.


Populating the Import Template

Now we have a template that we can use for the import. All that is left to do before we start importing in all of our Main Accounts is to fill in all of the data into the template.

How to do it…

Step 1: Open the Main Account template

To do this we will return back to our Excel workbook and refresh the connection.


Step 2: Enter in the Main Accounts and save the file

Now can now enter in all of your main accounts into the templates columns.

If you want to use a standard set of main accounts, then we have made this a little simpler and have created a CSV file with all of the necessary Main Accounts that will be used throughout these guides. We have posted them on the Dynamics AX Companions (http://www.dynamicscompanions.com) site. If you don’t want to manually enter in a few hundred accounts, then just download this version them and then copy and paste the data over into the import worksheet.


To update the Main Accounts within Microsoft Dynamics, all we have to do is click on the Publish link within the Office Add-In.


When we return back tour Chart of accounts we will now see that all of the Main accounts have been added to our Standard
Chart of accounts.


Conclusion

This is a huge improvement over what we used to have to do in order to import in data. We don’t have to even create the connections within Excel, the Worksheet designer does all of this for us.

How cool is that!


Office Teams are a great new collaboration tool that we can take advantage of within Office 365, and if we are using Office Groups then we can convert them into Teams and start taking advantage of the collaboration that it adds, but still take advantage of the Groups at the same time.

In this walkthrough we will show how you can start doing this.

Prepping your Office 365 Group for Teams

Public Groups cannot be converted into Teams, but Private ones can. So the first thing that we need to do is to make sure that the Group that we want to convert is a Private group.

How to do it…

To do this start off by opening up the Office Group that you want to make available as a Team.


Then click on link on the group and select the Edit group option.


And then when the Edit group panel is displayed, check that the Privacy setting is set to Private – Only approved members can see what’s inside.

Then click on the Save button to close the panel.


Review

Once we have made sure that the Group is Private we can move on.

Converting an Office Group to a Team

Now that we have a Private team we can convert it to an Office Team.

How to do it…

To do this, open up Teams and then click on the Create team button in the bottom left of the screen.


When the Create your team form is displayed, rather than creating a team from scratch, click on the Yes, add Microsoft Team Functionality link at the bottom of the form.


This will open up a list of all the Groups that you can enable through Teams and then click on the Choose team.


That will then make the Group show up in the Team list.


Review

How cool is that. Now we can access the Group, or collaborate within a Team.

Moving files to Your Team Channel

One piece of housekeeping that we need to take care of after we have surfaced the Group as a Team is to move any files that you have stored away within the group. The file structure will change a little with each conversation creating a folder within the group files. So to make them available within Teams we just need to move them a little.

How to do it…

For example when we create the team then by default a General conversation is created.


If we swap over to the Group we will see that there is a folder for the General Conversation.


If we have any files then just click on the option button for the file and then click on the Move to link.


This will open the Move options panel and we can select the conversation folder that we want to move the file to.


Then click on the Move here button.


That will move the file to the conversation.


Review

All you need to do is move any other files over to any other conversations that you have.

Summary

How cool is this – Teams supercharge the Groups functionality.

With the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 this month we have started the process of updating all of our content to include versions of the guides especially for this version. We are happy to say that the first one is in the can and if you want to check it out here are all of the details.

BBCG02: Configuring An Legal Entity Within Dynamics 365 for Operations

There is no better way to start learning Dynamics 365 for Operations then to just dive in and start setting it up from a blank slate. As you start sculpting your system you are able to see how everything fits together and will also give you the muscle memory that will make you a ninja when it comes to using it in the future.

For traditional ERP systems, this is easier said than done because you need to first get the system installed, and then you don’t know where to even start. Luckily with Azure Hosting, and the pre-built demonstration environments that Microsoft deliver through their Lifecycle services, firing up a new system to learn in is a breeze.

In the following guide we will show you how to set up all of the necessary codes and controls within the Organizational area of a new Dynamics 365 for Operations environment so that when you do start setting up the Dynamics 365 for Operations system, everything will run smoothly for you.

Topics Covered

  • Configuring The System For The First Time
  • Configuring Your Organizational Settings
  • Configuring Your Legal Entity

We have expanded the content from the original version that was written for Dynamics AX 2012, including the new ways that we are able to import in data directly from import packages. For example – now you don’t have to hunt around for the zip code import file, it’s available through Lifecycle Services.

If you are interested in checking this guide out (or the earlier versions like the one for AX 2012) then here is a link to the all of the versions of this guide: http://bit.ly/2f7xHyE

If you are really up for a challenge, then you may want to take on the Bare Bones Configuration Challenge. You can start with this guide and as we start releasing out the other 15 guides in the series then you can work through them as well. These guides will teach you how to configure a bare bones installation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 from scratch. If you complete all sixteen modules, then you will become a Bare Bones Configuration Privateer and we will send you a badge to prove it.

Or if you want to go retro then you can do exactly the same thing with Dynamics AX 2012 – all of the guides are already available.

Also, if you want all of the content on the site and all of the new content that we are delivering then you may want to think about signing up for a Premium Membership. Once you have that you can plunder the entire site and download any of the books at any time. Here is the link: http://bit.ly/2fYMgTW

Also you may have noticed that we have had a small rebranding of the site – with the dropping of the AX from Dynamics, we decided to do the same as well. Now we are just Dynamics Companions.

Why is this important? Because that means we can now create content for you on all of the Microsoft Dynamics suite – how cool will that be.

There has been a lot of talk about the Common Data Model, Power Apps and Flow recently and how it could be used. One of the ways that we have found the most useful is with the synchronization of data between CRM and AX. Usually this would be a painful process of creating web services on both sides of the applications and then trying to tether them together with some additional code.

Flow and the Common Data Model are another option, and in just a couple of minutes you can easily build a synchronization service that does just that. In this walkthrough we will show you how you can do just that.

Creating A Synchronization Flow From CRM To The CDM

The first thing that we will need to do is to synchronize the CRM Account records with the Common Data Model so that every time a new record is created then it is copied up to the Common Data Model database.

How to do it…

Luckily this is not a hard task because flow comes pre-packaged with templates that do just that. All you need to do is search the templates for the Copy new Dynamics CRM Accounts to Common Data Model customer organizations template and click on it.


When the template information is shown, all we need to do is click on the Use this template button.


Flow will check that we have connections to the Common Data Model and also to CRM and then we can click on the Continue button.

This will create a simple Flow for us and we just need to configure a few things.

Start off by selecting the CRM Organization Name from the dropdown list.

And then select the CDM Namespace from the dropdown list.

After we have done that we can just click on the Create flow button to create the flow.


There are a number of these templates available that will synchronize the Cases, Contacts, and Leads with the Common Data Model, and if you want extra credit then it’s easy to add those to our Flow library.


Creating A Synchronization Flow From the CDM To AX

Now we have created the flow that will synchronize CRM to the CDM we can create the other side of the process which will create a new Customer Account within Dynamics AX whenever a new Customer record is created within the CDM database entity.

How to do it…

To do this we just create a new flow with a trigger of when the Customer entity within the Common Data Model is updated.


And then add an action that creates a new record within Dynamics AX, and passes through the Customer ID and the Full Name from the CRM Account Record.


Seeing The Synchronization In Action

Now that we have out two trigger events we can take a look at the whole process in action.

How it works…

All we need to do is create a new Account record within CRM and save the record.


This will trigger the flow that moves the record from CRM over to the Common Data Model.


If we drill into the flow execution then we will see that it both tracked that the customer was created and then it created a record.

If we expand out the trigger event then we will see all of the CRM data that was passed through into the Flow.


And then we will be able to see all of the fields that were automatically passed over to the Common Data Model entity record.


If we look at the second Flow that is moving the data from the Common Data Model to AX then we will also see that the flow triggered for that as well.


Drilling in we will see that the event was triggered based off the Common Data Model Entity being updated and then an action was performed to create a new Customer record within Dynamics AX.

Looking at the trigger event we can see the data that was added within the Common Data Model entity record.


And also we can see the new record details that we created within Dynamics AX.


If we look in Dynamics AX then we will see that a new record was created and it was assigned the same Customer number as the record within CRM.


Review

I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty darn cool, and super easy to set up.

About the Author

Murray Fife is a Technical Solution Professional at Microsoft and an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mufife@microsoft.com
Twitter:     @murrayfife
Facebook:     facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:     google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:     linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:         atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:         docs.com/mufife
Amazon:     amazon.com/author/murrayfife

A month or so ago we officially swapped website for the Dynamics AX Companions (http://www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) project to try to make it easier for everyone to access the content that we have been creating over the past couple of years. I felt so bad though when I was talking to one of our customers and they said that the new site was hard to navigate and that they liked the old one better. This was partly because it was hard to find the right guides and also you had to go to a separate section if you were a Premium member to download the Premium content for free.

So this weekend I put on my construction hat and started to retool the website to make it easier for you all.

The first thing is that now all of the guides are listed in the dropdowns and you are able to go directly to the guides that you are interested in:


Additionally, if you click on the header link for the entire series you will be able to quickly see all of the guides.

The other major change that we made is that when you go into an individual guides landing page, if you are a Premium member then you will see the Premium content there at zero cost. No more going to the separate Premium Content page in order to add just the guide that you are looking for:


If you don’t see the Premium Content when you are browsing through the guides then switch to the List view and all of the premium content will be shown there:


Although in order to download the Premium content you will still have to sign up as a Premium member here: http://www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com/pages/subscriptions.

We hope that these changes make the site a little easier for you all to use, and I personally apologize for not doing this sooner.

The Data Management tools within Microsoft Dynamics make it so much easier to import data into the system and there are a lot of data templates available through Lifecycle Services that we can use to import in standard data. But that isn’t the end of it. We can create new templates and create mini data packages that we can use to create data within Dynamics and also that we can save away to apply to other environments as well. These data packages are a lot easier to update as well because they are just Excel workbooks, and cutting and pasting data into them is super simple.

In this example we will show how we can create a new import template that will create a new Released Product along with a Bill Of Material for it, and also create all of the component Released Products as well for the Bill of Materials so that we don’t have to do any manual data entry.

After we have done this we will also have a package template that we can use later on to load any other Product and Bill of Material in as well.

Topics Covered

  • Getting Started
  • Creating a Data Template Package Export
  • Turning the Exported Package into an Import Template
  • Repackaging up the Template
  • Importing in the Data Package
  • Viewing the Results

Getting Started

To start off we need to get a copy of our BOM that we will be creating an import for.

For this example we will be modelling an Imperial AT-ST. And all of the designs and BOM details are available for us on line.

How to do it…

After a quick search of brickset.com we can find everything that we need.

Drilling into the set details we will be able to see all of the components that we need to build the AT-ST. From the Parts screen, we can click on the View inventory full screen link.

That will take us down to the parts list and we will then be able to click on the Download the inventory as a CSV file option.


The next thing we will see is everything that we need to start building our Bill of Materials from.

Rock on!


Creating a Data Template Package Export

Now that we have our Bill of Material details we can start creating the import template that we will use to reformat the data for the load. The easiest way to do this is to create an export of the existing data in the system and use that as a template.

How to do it…

To do this we will go to Dynamics and then open up the Data Management workspace. Then we will click on the Export button to create our template.


This will open up the Export form where we will want to define all of the data entities that we want for our template.

We will start off by typing in a Name for the Export Job.

Then from the Target data format dropdown list select the EXCEL option.

Now we will want to start selecting the Entity names that we will want to be included. We want to select them in the order that we want them to be loaded, so we will start off by selecting the Released Product Creation entity.

And then we will click on the Add entity button.


This will add the Released Product Creation entity to the workspace.

Now we will want to add the Bill of Material entities to the job as well. So we will click on the Entity name dropdown again and select the Bill of Materials Headers and Versions entity and click on the Add Entity button.

This will add another entity to the job. We are not quite finished though. we will click on the Entity name dropdown again and select the Bill of Materials Lines entity and click on the Add Entity button.

Now that we have the three entities in the job we can click on the Export button in the menu bar.


This will start the export of the entities within the Data Management job.

Within a few second it will return back and show that some products, and BOM details have been exported out. All we need to do now is click on the Download package button in the menu bar.


This will allow us to save the package Zip file to our desktop.

If we open up the Zip file then we will see that there is an Excel file for each of the entities. We can’t modify those files though because they are embedded within the archive.


Turning the Exported Package into an Import Template

Now that we have an export package we can use it as a template for an import template.

How to do it…

But we will first need to make it something that is editable. So we will go to our desktop and then select the Extract All option on the zip file.

And then extract the package to our desktop.

Now that we have extracted out the files we can open up the folder and we will see all of the workbooks for the entities again.

To start off we will want to configure the Released product creation workbook to include the main product information for the AT-ST and the component parts.


When we open up the file we will see that it already contains all of the data from Dynamics.

All we need to do is delete everything except for one row which we will use as a template.


Then we will look through the template and update the first line to use the product information from the parent product – 10174-1 in this case and also update all of the descriptions.

Next we will return back to our CSV file that has all of the component parts, and copy all of the item codes.

Now we can paste these into the item and product columns.


Next we will want to add the product descriptions. For this example though we will want to combine the two descriptions together in the source CSV file. Then we can copy them.

And paste them into the template worksheet.


All that is left to do is to fill in all of the other columns with the default information that is in the first row that we saved away just for this purpose. After we have done that we can save the workbook and exit out of it.


Now we will return to folder with the template files, and we will want to open up the Bill of Materials Headers and Versions workbook.

As with the Products file we have all of the data from Dynamics AX in there.

We will delete all of the rows except for one which we will use as a template.

All we have to do with this one is update the BOMID, the MANUFACUREDITEMNUMBER and the BOMNAME columns and save and close the file.


Finally we will return to folder with the template files, and we will want to open up the Bill of Materials Lines workbook.

Again we will see all of the existing Bill of Material lines.

And we will delete all of the rows except for one.


Returning back to the source file we will select all of the component part item numbers.

And then paste them into the ITEMNUMBER column.


Then we will select all of the part quantities required for the build.

And paste them into the QUANTITY column.


Then we will copy all of the default information (except for the LINENUMBER) from the first row down into the new rows that we created.


We will need to do a little massaging of the data for the BOM line numbers though. We will create a new column and a quick formula that creates a sequential number.

And then copy the formula to all of the rows.

Then we can paste the values into the LINENUMBER column.

Then we just need to delete the work column to tidy up the worksheet.

After we have done that we can save the file and then close it.


Repackaging up the Template

Now that we have updated the contents of our import file we need to convert it back into a Package file that Dynamics is able to import through the Data Management tools.

How to do it…

Luckily that is pretty simple. All we need to do here is select all of the files in the folder and then select the Zip option from the file explorer ribbon bar.


Then we can rename the zip file and move it out of the working folder and put it on our desktop.

Importing in the Data Package

Now that we have the data package we can import it back into Dynamics and have the Data Management tools do all of the data entry work for us.

How to do it…

To do this we will return to the Data Management workspace, but this time we will click on the Import tile.


This will open up the Import form.

We will start off by giving our import job a Name.

And then from the Source Data Format dropdown list we will want to select the Package option.

Then we will click on the Upload button and select the data package that we just created and click on the Open button.

The Import process will look at the manifest in the package and then create an import job that has the three data entities that we created.

All that is left is to click on the Import button.


This will kick off the import job.

After a little bit of processing it will report back to us with the import status and the import will be done.

In this case we notice that some of the products were not imported. But that is fine, because they were already in the database. The import only created new records if they were not already there. How clever is that?


Viewing the Results

Now that we have imported in all of the data we can start looking at the data that was created.

How it works…

We will see that the parent product has been created for us.


If we drill into the Bill Of Material versions we will see that we have a BOM that is associated with the product.


Drilling further into the Bill of Materials we will see that there are also all of the BOM lines along with the quantites.


And if we open up the Bill of Materials in the Designer then we will be able to see all of the indented BOM details.


Conclusion

To load this BOM by hand would have taken forever and this whole process only took up a few minutes from start to end.

As a bonus now we can apply this data package to any other system that we like, which is great for demo data.

If we want to create other packages for more data then we can just repeat the process – minus the creation of the initial template package and then save them away.

How cool is that?

About the Author

Murray Fife is a Technical Solution Professional at Microsoft and an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mufife@microsoft.com
Twitter:         @murrayfife
Facebook:     facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:     google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:     linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:         atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:         docs.com/mufife
Amazon:     amazon.com/author/murrayfife