I heard a story recently of a father who was looking for an opportunity to teach his son a lesson about resourcefulness. The father put a large rock in front of his young son and asked him to pick it up. The young boy could not move the stone. The father instructed his son to use ALL of his available resources. Once again, the boy used all of his might to try and lift the rock – nothing. This process occurred several more times until the boy lost his patience, crying out, “I AM using all of my resources!” After the exclamation, the father bent down and picked up the rock. “Now you are using all of your resources.”
As the project manager for our AX 2012 implementation, I can relate closely to this story. AX 2012 is Microsoft’s most recent release of its global Enterprise Resource Planning solution. The product contains several features and enhancements that meet the demands of mid-market companies looking to expand into the global marketplace. AX 2012 provides capability to view customers and vendors across multiple companies, interact with the software to enter time and expenses via the web and change organizational structures. With these new features comes the challenge of finding resources that help explain questions about the system.
I am continually finding new resources to access information, but challenged by the illustration above to be open minded in how I obtain and apply new information. Below are a few tactics that I have used to expand my reach when it comes to discovering and using new resources.
- Internal Resources – Do you have a SQL guru in your company? How about an up and coming developer? Do you have multiple locations? As a project manager with limited IT experience, my ability to extrapolate information based on internet searches is constricted; however, I find that if I present a specific problem to one of our internal developers or analysts, they can often help troubleshoot the issue.
- Microsoft Manuals (For Microsoft Partners) – Microsoft has published several manuals on the financial, project, warehouse and inventory, intercompany accounting and more. They contain examples using data from Microsoft’s test database, and these examples can be helpful for an initial overview of AX. The manuals are limited if trying to apply scenarios specific to your business, but are great for straightforward questions.
- Microsoft Forums – Take advantage of the Microsoft forums. They are useful for answering common questions. If you are experiencing an error, make sure you type the entire error message and what you are clicking on to receive the error. The more detail you provide, the better.
- Microsoft Fast TrAX (For Microsoft Partners) – Fast TrAX is an intense 4-week program in Fargo, North Dakota, that Microsoft developed for employees needing to come up to speed quickly in AX. It is designed to fully emerge attendees in the AX culture and provide a basic knowledge of the software. After successfully completing the course, you should be able to take, and pass, the Financials & Trade and Logistics exams for AX 2012. Then, upon completing the Fast TrAX program and passing the exams, you can apply to step 2 of the program, which explores AX in specific industries such as manufacturing and retail. Microsoft requires that you take a competency test before entering into step 2. This course spans over several months, but is offered as remote training for a few hours twice a week and is more manageable than taking a month to complete the Fast TrAX training in Fargo.
- User Groups – User groups are a great way to extend your network and connect with other AX users. You can sign up for a free basic membership for the AX user group at www.axug.com.
There are a myriad of resources out there. If you find yourself stagnant, don’t get frustrated! Enter a new variable into your scenario and get creative in adding to your expanding resource pool. If you work on AX and have additional resources to share, please leave a comment below.