Microsoft Dynamics Ax developer's blog

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mental framework

Review of the book “Managing your supply chain using Microsoft dynamics ax 2009”

After about 5 years of Ax development I’ve recognized that the model of Dynamics Ax functionality which I have in my brain is like photosynth – some areas, I worked with, covered by consistent pictures, but others are represented by random shots without high level overview.

The majority of existing materials about Ax – like trainings, documentation, so on, use “hands on” approach – little introduction and very detailed description using screenshots, particular sequences of steps in term of buttons, etc.

So I feel that there is a gap between short intros of documentation and very detailed contents (for example Russian docs contains of 2 volumes >1000 pages each).

That’s why I was very interested when Dr. Scott Hamilton sent me kindly the book, which was written to give “mental framework for putting together the details” learned from various sources . So below are my impressions.

The book contains 426 pages, and most of them are text description of Ax functionality: no screenshots, no concrete steps – just text, tables and business process flowcharts. Thus, the information density is quite high.

The book consists of 15 chapters, each dedicated for some functional area. All chapters are in scope of SCM (you can see TOC at Amazon). Each chapter contain description of a functional area, case studies and executive summary.

New features of Ax2009 (such as sites and purchase requisition) are reflected.

What I like about the book

  • The book met my expectations about abstraction level it have no redundant details, which can be obtained from products docs and training, and contains enough for making mental model of SCM modules.
  • There are lots of tables showing how ax behavior depends on parameter combinations – it helps to understand the space of different implementation scenarios.
    table example
  • As I mentioned before the most important features of ax2009 are described

What can be done better

  • Some case studies are very brief – I’d prefer to include more detailed business scenarios and more implementation details. (But maybe I should read some book about common business practice instead – could you recommend me such a book?)

Overall impression

I’d buy the book if I haven’t one. I recommend it for everybody who want to have a consistent view of Ax SCM functionality.

PS. there is also a new book by Dr. Hamilton - Managing Lean Manufacturing using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009