Friday, November 25, 2011

A touch of Dynamics Ax

One of the more interesting features of the latest version of Dynamics Ax, where I had high expectations, were the touch enabled features in the production area.
During last week's Technical Conference in Nice,  we saw a nice build up towards the demo of Manufacturing Execution, the new name of the Shop Floor module.
  • During one of the keynotes the unique position of Microsoft was highlighted.  It's the only vendor in the market that serves both consumers and businesses.  Imagine the experiences those teams can share?
    Touch screens for mobile phones are more than common these days.  We see an increase in touch functions for standard PC's with each release of Windows.  These developers of Microsoft must have tons and tons of experience with touch driven solutions.  Touch enabled features seem like an obvious thing today.  Can you imagine Windows Mango without touch?
  • Key note speakers talked about Dynamics Ax and the use of Kinect, control Ax with gestures.  There exists a software development kit, Kinect is coming to the PC.  So yes, why not bringing it on to the business floor, the ShopFloor?  Already the next step.
  • If you look at the user interface of Dynamics Ax Retail, you can't help but notice it has touch enabled features all over the place.  It's very clear what the developers had in mind when working on it.

The intro of the session was promising, as we were being introduced to the configuration of the terminal screens.   You can do some customizations there, defining different kind of terminals, configure the form layout (without developing).  Stuff like enable/disable close actions, the action pane etc.

We saw a numeric keypad, with the big buttons, and...  that was it.  Touch features ended right there.

The layout of the other forms was totally not touch oriented.  The processes were in no way adapted to the specific needs of touch.
If I see the use of the scrollbars, the way dropdown fields are used, the build up of the grid, ... Without mouse and keyboard, you are lost.

I've been working with Dynamics Ax on the production floor for almost 10 years now, making touch enabled input screens.  Customizing some interfaces or creating new ones, adapting the flow of data entry to what machine operators need.   I know when it works and even more when it doesn't work and this... 

I really hoped we would be getting something out of the box, ready to be deployed at a machine near us but no such luck.
The speaker tried to save the day, by saying stuff like 'you can always increase the font size' to set the grid height.  But he knew he wasn't very convincing.
Sorry to say, but the guys working on Ax 2012 in the production area didn't get 'touch'.  Microsoft really missed a chance here.
Still plenty of room for partners to bring in there solutions though.

But to end of with a positive note: You don't pay full price for an ME client.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Willy, could you get in touch with me for a related question?