This blog contains information and feedback on the Supply Chain Management area in Microsoft Dynamics AX with a special focus on the functionality in the latest version of the product.
In this post, we will cover easy-to-do modifications that can be done to Role Center pages and do not require special development skills. The goal is to explain how to add a value to a Role Center page by changing to best suit your business needs.
There are a number of predefined Role Centers for different roles that are coming with Dynamics AX and all of them can be personalized to be more useful to you. We assume you already have Dynamics AX 2009 installed and Role Centers configured. For the example, we will use the default Role Center that is a home page for users that are not associated with a specific role. The default page looks like this:
As you can see, there is a lot of unused space on the default Role Center page. Let’s try to make this page more useful by modifying the Web Parts that are already present on the page and by adding some additional Web Parts.
We already have 3 Web Parts on the page:
· Quick Links
· Work list.
However, by default only the Work list has some predefined data, the Cues and the Quick Links Web Parts are just empty containers that should be modified to be useful.
Adding a link to the Quick Links Web Part
First, let’s add some links to the Quick Links. All you need to do is to click on Add Links (pretty straightforward, isn’t?) and a dialog will pop up where you can chose which link you want to add. The dialog looks like this:
Here we have 3 options - we can add a link to:
- Any item from the main menu (Desktop link)
- Any Enterprise Portal page (Enterprise Portal link)
- Any hyperlink (URL)
We will add one of each type:
By default, the EP link is hidden in the desktop client, but shown on the Role Center page on the Enterprise Portal. Click Display Enterprise Portal links in the client to choose to have the EP link in both the desktop client and on the EP page. Desktop Links are shown only in the client and hidden in EP, while URL links are shown in both places.
Now we can see the following links in the Web Part in the client:
Let’s look how the Web Part looks on the EP page:
The Desktop Link in the example will lead to the Inventory Management/Items list page; the EP Link will open the Sales/Activities page.
We can manage all our links from both the EP and the client. Click Manage Links to open a dialog where we can change the order of the links, remove links or edit them:
We have changed the order or the links by putting the URL link on top and also changed the title of the EP link to make it clear that it points to the Sales Activities page:
It does not matter whether you do modifications on the EP page or in the client – the changes are reflected in both places, you just need to press F5 to refresh the page in the client if you have done modifications on the EP page and vice-versa.
In the top right corner of the Web Part, you can see the drop down menu that allows switching between Personal and Shared views of the links. This control is visible for Dynamics AX administrator users only; other users can only see the Personal view. By switching to the Shared view, an administrator user can add or manage links that are available by default to all users in the personal links view mode. Individual users (including administrators) might choose to delete the shared link from their Personal view, it will not affect other users. If an individual user modifies the shared link, then the modified version becomes a personal link for this user and the shared version is excluded from the user’s Personal view while other users are not affected by the changes. If the administrator user modifies the shared link using the Shared view, then the changes are reflected on the Personal views of all users.
We hope now you know how to personalize the Quick Links Web Part to best fit your needs.
Creating a new cue and adding it to the Cues Web Part
Let’s now see how we can add value to the Cues Web Part that is empty so far. The Cues Web part can show a pictorial representation of an important number for a business, for example, the number of open sales orders. There are a number of predefined Cues that you can easily add to the Web part on your page by clicking the small button on the right side of the Web part and selecting the Modify Shared Web Part menu item.
By doing this, you are entering edit mode for the role page. The Web Part property editor for the Cues Web part will appear in the left side of the page. There we can select Cue to modify (the Cues Web part can show up to 6 different Cues) and choose one of the existent Cues. We have chosen the Delayed Receipts Cue.
After choosing a Cue the default values for the Cue’s parameters will be copied from the Cue definition. For now, let’s just use the default values and press the OK button at the bottom to apply changes.
We have added several more predefined Cues:
Pretty cool and quite easy, isn’t?
Now let’s create our own new Cue, that could be more interesting. To do it, we need to open a form with the list of artifacts we want to present as a Cue and then press Ctrl-F3 to open the SysQuery form. We will use the Inventory On Hand List page.
Let’s say we would like to see in the Cue the number of items with 0 physical inventory quantities. To do it, we are adding a new range to the query with criteria 0 for the Physical inventory field of the On-hand inventory table.
Then, we press the Modify button at the top-right and select the Save as Cue… menu item. It opens the Save as Cue dialog where we can specify parameters for our newly created Cue.
The Save as Cue dialog is available only when the form has been added to the main navigation in Microsoft Dynamics AX. To do this, you must create a menu item for the form, and then add the menu item to a menu that can be accessed through the MainMenu form in Microsoft Dynamics AX.
We have set a Cue Id and caption values for our Cue; we also have changed the Count Max property to 20. The Count Min and Max properties define how the Cue is rendered, depending on the number of artifacts it represents. If the number of artifacts is less than the Count Min value the Cue is rendered as an empty stack of documents. If the number of artifacts is more than the Count Max value, the Cue is rendered as a maximum stack of document and does not grow anymore even if the number of artifacts grows. We have also set the Threshold expression and value so that if we have 5 or more artifacts in our Cue, a warning sign will be rendered over the Cue’s icon. We also marked the Cue to be available to everyone.
Now let’s go back to the Role Center page and see what we will get when we add our newly created Cue to the Cues Web part. To do this, we enter the page Edit Mode again, select Cue 6 to modify, to put our new Cue to the last position and then select Items with zero physical inventory from the View drop down, then click OK to apply the changes. Now we can see our new Cue:
When we created our Cue, the Total property was disabled. This is because we should have a field of type Amount or AmountMST to set an aggregate function for the Cue that displays the total. Let’s see how it works on the Delayed Receipts cue (there are fields of mentioned types on it). So, we enter the page edit mode again and select the Delayed Receipts cue (Cue 1 in the example). Now the Total property is enabled and we can set the aggregation function to be Sum(PurchLine:PurchPrice).
After applying the changes, we will see the total amount of the purchase price of all delayed receipts that are represented on the Cue:
Isn’t it an easy and powerful way to get a pictorial representation of important business numbers? We hope now you know how to personalize Cues Web parts to make them really useful.
Adding other Web Parts to the role page
We still have a lot of free space on our role page, so let’s add more Web parts. To do it, we click on Personalize this page at the top-right corner of the page and enter the page edit mode that we are familiar with.
To add a new Web part, we just click one of the Add Web Part links depending on where on the page we want to have additional Web Part. Let’s say we want to add the Dynamics Report Server Report Web part above the Work List Web part, so we click on the yellow bar with the Add Web Part link just above the Work List Web Part. Actually, any Web Part on the page can be easy dragged to another place.
After clicking on Add Web Part the following dialog appears with the list of different Web Part types that could be added to the page. There is a really wide spectrum of different Web Part types to choose from, so you have lots of options. We will use the Dynamics Report Server Report Web part in the example.
After adding the Dynamics Report Server Report Web Part to the page, we need to specify which report we want to host in this Web Part. We select the Modify My Web Part item from Edit menu in the top-right corner of the Web Part to open the Web Part properties dialog and select the desired report from the list of available reports in the Report name drop down menu. We select the Top delayed production orders report.
We also choose to not show the report parameters toolbar and then apply the changes:
We can change the report’s parameters by pressing the Get Parameters button in the Web Part properties dialog. We want to see only 4 orders in the report, so we uncheck the Default checkbox for Number of orders parameters and set the value for the parameter as 4.
Then we press the OK button to apply the changes. Now we only see the top 4 delayed production orders in the report.
In the same way, we added several more reports and the Announcements Web Part. Now the role center page looks like this:
We hope that now you can personalize your Role Center pages in the way that perfectly fits your business needs, allowing you to more efficiently do your everyday work and having all essential information on your Dynamics AX role home page.
Slava Chernenko, Inventory Management, SCM, Microsoft Dynamics AX
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