Thursday, March 9, 2017

AX Upgrade - some misc feature gotchas

This post is to consolidate various functionality related notes.  Some of the items noted are from folks that have emailed me or posted as a comment on this blog or in one of the AXUG online community forums:

1.  Partitioning was added as a feature in R2.  Here is the link to the technet article which describes this new feature.  A new field is now on tables that have business related data.  The new field is Partition.  Mostly noted to say there is a few field on the tables, but if you are importing data from a pre-R2 environment into an R2/R3 environment, this field would need to be considered in the load process.

2.  Personnel functionality added as a feature in R2.  The new field is Personnel action type.  This is described in a technet article.  This will prevent you from adding any new workers in your R1 to R2/R3 environment.  If this functionality is not needed, then you can disable it in the license configuration via the AOT.  See screen shot below.  (Thank you to Jeff Stone, Support Director at Merit Solutions for posting in the AXUG SIG - AX Application Lifecycle Management Community on January 16, 2017.)

3. AX 2012 R3 contains new Warehousing and Transportation Management features (WAX and TRAX), but there is not an upgrade path.  So when upgrading from 2012 R1 or R2 to R3, you will not have this functionality available.  But you can upgrade to this new functionality by draining all your inventory, open transactions, inventory close, consistency check, enable WAS/TRAX, and then bring it all back in, etc.  (Whew - that was a mouthful and special thanks to Dave Philips, MSFT Senior Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft Fargo, ND who posted this in the AXUG Open Forum on January 19, 2017.)

4.   Where's my code - Peeling the Onion...
If any of your software providers have changed, take a close look at what layer they are in.  We had purchased software from a VAR vendor, subsequently the software was sold to an ISV vendor.  So when upgrading to R3, our DBA used the replace command (which is a good thing as it retains the legacy IDs.  But since the model was in the ISV layer, it had nothing to replace and basically did a fresh install.  However what it left was the R1 model in the VAR layer and caused a compile error since it was an R1 model!

5. If you are upgrading to version CU9, you will have an issue with MRP hanging.  There is bug in the upgrade process that results in a table not populating properly - UnitOfMeasureConversionCache table.  This will result in Forecast Scheduling hanging.  If you truncate the table, AX will rebuild the table and all will be well.  There is a KB on LCS to fix which is included in CU10.  Thanks goes out to Michael Ebensteiner on the Microsoft Support team!!!  I started first looking at what was newly implemented and found Sequencing of Production orders and Demand Scheduling were new in R2/R3 and started with chasing down these rat holes to no avail.

6. Microsoft's Security Development Tool can now only be run via the AOT and can only be run in single user mode!  I had forgotten that in our RTM/R1 installation, we created a menu item for the tool.  **Update: Sorry, we misread a warning message, it is OK to run this and can be added as a menu item fairly simply.  WHEW - I love this tool!  Will use it as much as I can until I get to D3FO when it goes away.  😭😭😭

7. Continuous Number Sequences may not work correctly.  After our upgrade, we found that AX pulled in 000000 as the next sequence number and the transaction will fail.  This was for several functions.  We found a blog post that described a stored procedure not getting updated properly.  So true for us: 

8. Process to release production orders has changed.  We found that if you have a BOM with mixed flushing principles the picking list could be affected.  This was due to how we had set up our BOMs.  We used "Manual" for those items we wanted to appear on the pick list.  We had to update our BOMs to use "Start" which corrected the issue.

9. General Ledger Voucher Transactions the journal batch number field cannot be personalized on the Voucher transactions form (Nav path: General ledger\ Inquiries\ Voucher transactions).  This was an update by Microsoft for performance reasons (see KB2758624 for details).  The journal batch number is important to our Accounting staff.  We will develop a custom inquiry/report to retrieve this field.

10. Trial balance transactions missing after upgrade to CU9.  This is only an issue with CU9, but noting it all the same.  We found after our upgrade, we could no longer look at general ledger transactions that were created pre-upgrade. There is a hot fix for this and once applied all was well - KB3024254.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tracking Issues

Picture courtesy of Summit 2016 Sikich booth
I noted in my prior post, Upgrade Issues Abound!!!, that you should track your issues.  I can't express enough the importance of doing this.  It will help you in the future - TRUST ME.

Issues are never fun, you just want to get past them and move on.  They might get passed around to from person to person before they are resolved.  You may just get told "try again" and "Voila!", it's fixed.  Everyone move on happily that it was resolved, and the least of anyone's concerns is how it was fixed.

Speaking from a project manager's standpoint - for sanity sake and future reference, you should document them!  The reason for this stance is simple: it could happen again (expect that it will), and having documentation will help you resolve it much quicker or better yet - prevent it from reoccurring!

Here is a starting primer of what you should document:

  1. What were the circumstances and situation prior to the issue occurring?  Is this part of a business process flow.  What exactly were you trying to accomplish and what were the expected results.
  2. Note any and all particulars about the issue - warning or error messages, correct and incorrectly updated fields, what it now prevents you from doing, etc.
  3. What did you do to resolve?  Apply a hot fix, update some code, change a conversion step, change a configuration setting, etc.
  4. What decisions were made regarding this issue?  Did you define a workaround, change a process, define an alternate method, etc.

There are many tools in the industry that can be used to track issues.  And it may depend on your situation on what might work the best.  The solution can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet and get as sophisticated as a purchased application.  I've used several methods over the years.

Here are tools and thoughts to consider:

  1. Excel - this is a simple but workable solution.  Collaboration with others is doable, but harder to control since you will likely distribute so there will be many versions out there and then you have the arduous task of keeping a master copy updated.  It's free format - so you can create and define columns as you please to suit your needs.  This has served me well over the years, but tracking was mostly on me.  In my opinion, it is a workable solution for smaller short term project involving only a few team members.  You can also store the Excel sheet on SharePoint and set it up so that it has to be checked out and versions are saved.
  2. SharePoint list - this gives a better online view, and you can create dashboards, notifications, etc. to share/communicate with others.  Typically good for sharing within your own organization.  SharePoint can workflow capabilities, so with a bit of programming you can make it a bit more robust of a process.
  3. Google docs - this allows you to share a document and allow interactive updates.  Can be used to share with individuals outside of your organization.  In my opinion, this can be workable but you lose a bit of control since others can update interactively.  So you need to define some rules, but very workable for projects with only a few team members.
  4. Purchased tools of which there are many - I've been on the fringes of a couple (BaseCamp and Pivotal Tracker) which are collaboration tools that can be used with individuals outside of your organization.  They have features that allow notification, logging, and some workflow.
  5. Jira by Atlassian is the tool my company implemented to track issues during our ERP implementation project.  And we continue to use it today in IT to track user requests, software application issues, and also for projects.  This has been a great tool.  It is highly configurable!  It has notification, workflow, dashboarding, and search capabilities.  It has logging so you can see who updated an issue, what field they updated, even if they changed some text.  It is a SaaS tool so you can collaborate with others outside of your organization seamlessly.
You could say that many at my company have a love-hate relationship with Jira.  They get constant notifications, but it has also become our memory!  We use it as a knowledge-base to search for past issues.  We record decisions made, workaround used, code implemented, etc, etc.

Share with me your thoughts on tracking issues and what tools you've used in your career!  Happy tracking!!!