Microsoft Clarifies Present Document Management Options for Dynamics AX 2012 and Office 365

Convergence 2012 has no sessions dedicated to Office 365 with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, but senior program manager for Dynamics AX Chris Garty has shared his latest views on how the products can be used together now.  More plans are in the works, he promises, but for now Microsoft sees three specific scenarios that the product supports to some extent: document generation, document management and export to Excel.

Document generation and document management capabilities involving Office 365 and Dynamics AX currently revolve around cloud access to documents either generated by AX or shared in AX via the URL DocuType. These documents would be uploaded to SkyDrive, SharePoint Online, or SharePoint 2010, and then the corresponding Office Web Apps can be used to view and edit them.

The Dynamics AX Office Add-in capability is not supported, so viewing data exported from AX in Office 365 Excel is not going to offer the same experience as locally installed copy of Excel.  Garty explains that in fact Dynamics AX data exports to Excel first require a local copy of Excel to be available.  "Then the workbook can be saved and uploaded to SkyDrive or SharePoint Online for future collaboration and editing using the web version of Excel," he writes.

Garty will be hosting a session at Convergence titled "Extending the Reach of Your Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Implementation with Microsoft Office Ad-Ins: CSAX15", but the summary appears to include only Microsoft Office for the desktop, considering that the add-ins are not yet supported for Office 365.

Given the basic nature of these capabilities, and the lack of any process-related context (to be fair, it was just one blog post), there are ample opportunities for the document management consultants and solution providers to continue adding value for AX customers to meet specific business needs.

Garty ends his post with a call for feedback on how customers are working with AX 2012 and Office 365.  No one had chimed in publicly as of the posting of this article.  Is document management too low a priority for Dynamics AX customers? Have they already written off Microsoft's bare-bones capabilities in exchange for add-on solutions with richer features and industry-specific capabilities?

About Jason Gumpert

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Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. Jason has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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