Report your bugs, free-riders!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the fastest innovation and most agile business software in the world. A very feature rich solution with a packed very fast moving roadmap. We see new possibilities and features coming monthly in platform update, fall/spring releases. if you look at the entire platform-stack including windows, office, and platform (power* apps) new features being made available on a daily basis. Being first and fast have changed and challenged the Dynamics 365 ecosystem. Mostly for the good.

But we have to recognize that it is people (and highly productive) behind this innovation tsunami. In such an environment there are thousands of elements that must to fit together. If you look towards the number of combinations on how you can use and setup Dynamics 365, I would assume that this is millions of combinations in the core product. And when adding office and power* apps, combinations just increases exponentially.

People are people, and there is a limitation to the numbers of combinations that can be tested, both from a manual and automated testing scenario. This leads to scenarios that there is no capacity to test everything before the product is released. It is not possible to test all of the millions of combinations, and I know that even Microsoft do not have unlimited people and resources to cover every test scenario.

This evidently results in issues and bugs that will be found when implementing Dynamics 365, and these needs to be reported to Microsoft support so that the fixes becomes part of the future solution.

Searching, testing, reporting a solution takes time and do cost money! Each time I find a bug, I report this to Microsoft so that all of the community can benefit of a fix. But as some have recognized that reporting issues/bug is requiring effort and resources. You report the bug, analyze the issue, report the issue, Microsoft provides hotfixes, the hotfix needs to be validated and testing and then deployed to the environment. This takes time, but is necessary!

With this blog post I urge both partners and customers to report your findings to Microsoft, so that all the rest of us can benefit that we are an ecosystem together. As I hope most of you know, we are quickly moving towards Dynamics 10, that is often referred to as the “ever-green” solution. This means that there are ONE version, that all customers are using, and that follows the Microsoft roadmap. When one customer reports an issue, and it is fixed, then all benefit from this.

Then there is the issue with the “free-riders”. These are the people that recognize the issue, find workarounds and DON’T take the investment in time and resources of reporting the issue. They know and see the issue, but choose to live with it or ignore it. Then in many cases, Microsoft if not even aware of any issue, and the issues just continues to be present in future releases. The best way is to report what you see to Microsoft support or to Microsoft ideas. Then Microsoft can take action on it, because they know of it.

So, I urge my fellow community friends to not be a Free-Rider, but report your issues. This will ensure that we all can share the resource/time burden among us, and we also improve and strengthen Dynamics 365, that we all will benefit from.

PS! Dynamics 365 is the BEST business application in the world!

Focus18 – EMEA – London

The User Groups for Dynamics 365, AX, CRM, BC/NAV, and Power BI road-trip named Focus is arriving to Europe and is making a stop in London from 5-6 September, 2018 featuring dive deep sessions covering advanced topics on D365 Finance and Operations and Customer Engagement. Additionally, specific topics to the Retail space including modern POS, inventory management, sales orders, ecommerce, credit card processing and more. This is great stuff!

It is a privilege for me to participate and present together with great MVP’s, Microsoft experts and the Dynamics 365 community. If you want to check out my sessions, I will have the following sessions:

Deep dive into retail pricing and discounts. 

This session is about what product sales price and discount options that exists in Dynamics 365 for Retail – “out-of-the-box”.  With actual and real examples of how to implement and maintain your retail prices.

 

Learn, Try, Buy for Retailers.

The “Learn, Try and Buy for Retailers” is an accelerated onboarding approach that enables you to evaluate if a cloud enabled Dynamics 365 for Retail is the right direction, and to be able to learn as much as possible prior to performing a business- and solution analysis. This is available for agile and iterative approaches, and this sessions shows why buying a small Dynamics 365 license is an affordable investment to purchase before scope of implementation have been defined. Using VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) is a central topic in this session.

Power BI and Retail.  How to get the numbers.

This sessions shows how to publish retail transactions into a Azure SQL database or CDS(Common Data Services), and then analyze the retail sales in Power BI.

Check out https://www.focusemea.com/locations/london as there are many other very interesting sessions.

 

See you in London!

 

 

Measure sales per Retail Category in Power BI

Drill down on sales per category, employee, and department is key essentials for Retailers. Doing this gives a more specific view of what’s generating sales and what isn’t. Having insights into top categories or departments might help make decisions about purchasing and marketing. A good point of sale comes with reporting and analytics, so you can quickly get the data you need, whenever you need it — without manual calculations.

Power BI is a must have for all retailers, and this blogpost is about creating a retail category hierarchy in power BI.

If you have worked with Retail Categories, you know that there exists a “parent-child” relationship between the categories as illustrated from the following data in the Contoso demodata set.

In power BI it is possible to also create such hierarchies, but it requires some minor changes to reflect this. My inspiration came from Power BI Tutorial: Flatten Parent Child Hierarchy. I will not go through how I build a retail power BI analysis, but I can share that I use ODATA entities, and here is the entities I’m using:

More information on the data model is available in DOCS her.

The “trick” is to create a new column named “Path“, and a column named CategoryL[X] for each level in the hierarchy, that for the RetailProductHierarchyCategories looks like this:

Here are the column formulas

Path = PATH(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[CategoryName];RetailProductHierarchyCategories[ParentCategoryName])

CategoryL2 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];2)

CategoryL3 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];3)

CategoryL4 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];4)

CategoryL5 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];5)

…etc

Then I create a new hierarchy column for, where I specify

And I use the Hierarchy Slicer that is available in the power BI marketplace.

In power BI I then get a Retail Category slicer, and can filter and measure sales per category in power BI

Microsoft are in process of aligning ourselves with future of Power BI and create the new version of Retail Channel Performance with New Common Data Service for Analytics capability coming to Power BI https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/cds-analytics/

Keep on rocking #MSDYN365FO!

DAX2012 R3 – Playing with Retail CRT

The Microsoft Dynamics AX commerce runtime (CRT) serves as the engine for a retail channel. It connects to a CRT database that stores business data for the channel.. Dynamics AX uses the CRT Architecture in the Retail ePOS, mPOS and in the Sharepoint based eCommerce solution. Also the SiteCore eCommerce solution uses the CRT as the integration to Dynamics AX.

Let’s look at some of the interesting things with CRT.

1. It is a well-documented framework supported by Microsoft. More details on it is available here.

2. It can make it easier to integrate business logics to other eCommerce solutions. Like Magento.

3. We can create CRT web-services that handles information like very advanced retail prices, on-hand shipment, check-outs etc.

4. And MUCH more. This CRT we will have almost everything we need to interact with external system. It Rocks !

Let’s take an example. I would like to utilize the CRT to calculate a sales price with discounts. Price/discounts in AX is very flexible and almost all options you can imagine. Here is a small example of the possibilities we get in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU 8.

Let’s say we would like to expose this price/discount structure as a web-service to external parties. Since the CRT is relying on it’s own channel database, it means that the much of the integration is actually not creating a heavy load on the Dynamics AX database. We also have the possibility to “scale out” on the architecture.

The CRT is developed in Visual Studio, and is basically just a bunch of dll’s. I have to admit, that Visual studio, Web-services and is not my strongest side. So I decided to see it I could access and use the CRT framework directly from Dynamics AX. The new call-center module in AX 2012 R3 CU8 is using this, and I wanted to create a very simple job that exemplifies how CRT operates and can be used. Basically I’m looking for this:

I use the standard AX 2012 R3 CU8 contoso demo data, but added the following quantity discount to the Houston store;

Since I know X++, I’ll use X++ job to try this. The infolog I got was the following:

Here we see that the CRT returned the sales price, discounted price, and also information like total amount. Surely it can give everything else, but I wanted to keep the example easy to understand.

I created the following job to play with the framework, and it gives you an idea of how to interact with the CRT from AX.

static void demo_CRT_GetSalesPrice(Args _args)
{
    //To test this code, use the AX 2012 R3 CU8, and use the USRT company
    Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.Data.IPricingDataManagerV2                pricingManager;
    Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.Services.PricingEngine.DiscountParameters priceParameters;
    Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.DataModel.SalesLine                       crtSalesLine;
    Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.DataModel.SalesTransaction                crtSalesTransaction;
    System.Object                                                                 roundingRule, currencyConverter;
    CLRObject                                                                     clrSalesLines, enumeratorSalesLine;
    CLRObject                                                                     clrObjectSalesLines;
    System.DateTimeOffset                                                         activeDateTimeOffset;
    System.String                                                                 lineIdString;
    System.String                                                                 customerPriceGroup = "";
    Price                                                                         price;
    Qty                                                                           qty;
    InventDim                                                                     inventdim;

    RetailStoreTable    storeTable = RetailStoreTable::find("HOUSTON");   //Lets use houston as an example here
    RetailChannelRecId  channelId = storeTable.RecId;                     //This is the recid for a retail channel. A retail store is an extension of a retail channel.
    CurrencyCode        currencyCode = storeTable.Currency;
    appl.setDefaultCompany(storeTable.company(), false);                  //Setting default company to houstons company

    //Creating a unique line ID
    lineIdString = System.Guid::NewGuid().toString();

    InventDim.InventLocationId = storeTable.inventLocation;
    InventDim.InventSiteId     = InventLocation::find(storeTable.inventLocation).InventSiteId;
    InventDim                  = InventDim::findOrCreate(InventDim);

    //Pricing manager : Encapsulates data access to pricing information.
    pricingManager          = Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Headquarters.RetailProxy.AxPricingDataManager::BuildDataManager(channelId);

    //Price parameters : types of AX discounts (aka trade agreement discounts, aka not Retail Periodic Discounts) are currently activated and should be allowed on the transaction
    priceParameters         = Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.Services.PricingEngine.DiscountParameters::CreateAndInitialize(pricingManager);
    roundingRule            = Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Headquarters.RetailProxy.ServiceHelpers::GetRoundingMethod(currencyCode);
    currencyConverter       = Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Headquarters.RetailProxy.ServiceHelpers::GetCurrencyConverter(currencyCode);
    activeDateTimeOffset    = RetailPricingEngineHelper::getSessionDateTimeInChannelTimeZone(channelId);

    //Next we create a crtSalesLine, that represents a channel agnostic sales line.
    crtSalesLine = new Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.DataModel.SalesLine();

    crtSalesLine.set_ItemId("0001");        //Lets use product 0001 as our example
    crtSalesLine.set_InventoryDimensionId(InventDim.inventDimId);
    crtSalesLine.set_Quantity(10);          //Lets use quantity 10 as our example
    crtSalesLine.set_LineId(lineIdString);  //Let give this line a uniqe ID

    crtSalesLine.set_UnitOfMeasureSymbol("ea"); //Let use 'ea' as the unit

    //We then create a sales transaction, and add the salesline to this.
    crtSalesTransaction = new Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.DataModel.SalesTransaction();
    clrObjectSalesLines = crtSalesTransaction.get_SalesLines();
    clrObjectSalesLines.Add(crtSalesLine);                      //This is where the we add the salesLine to the sales transaction

    //Lets calculate the prices
    Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.Services.PricingEngine.PricingEngine::CalculatePricesForTransaction(
        crtSalesTransaction,
        pricingManager,
        roundingRule,
        currencyConverter,
        customerPriceGroup,
        currencyCode,
        false,
        activeDateTimeOffset);

    //Lets calculate the discounts
    Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.Services.PricingEngine.PricingEngine::CalculateDiscountsForLines(
        pricingManager,
        crtSalesTransaction,
        roundingRule,
        currencyConverter,
        currencyCode,
        '',
        '',
        '',
        true,
        Microsoft.Dynamics.Commerce.Runtime.DataModel.DiscountCalculationMode::CalculateAll,
        activeDateTimeOffset);

    //And, let's show what the CRT can give us.
    qty   = crtSalesLine.get_Quantity();
    Price = crtSalesLine.get_Price();
    info(strFmt("Normal sales price is %1 when buying %2", price, qty ));

    Price = crtSalesLine.get_DiscountAmount();
    info(strFmt("Discount amount pr unit is %1, when buying %2", price/qty, qty ));

    Price = crtSalesLine.get_NetAmountPerUnit();
    info(strFmt("Net amount pr unit is %1, when buying %2", price, qty ));

    Price = crtSalesLine.get_TotalAmount();

    info(strFmt("Total amount is %1 when buying %2", price, qty ));

Maybe some of you can teach me how to expose the CRT in a web-service, so that we can easily