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Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics ERP RapidStart Services [AX 2012]

Updated: June 20, 2013

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft Dynamics ERP RapidStart Services lets partners and customers configure an installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 by using a cloud-based, interview-style questionnaire. The questionnaire uses general terminology about business processes instead of terms that are specific to Microsoft Dynamics AX. Partners, independent software vendors (ISVs), and customers can create, maintain, and reuse configurations that reflect their custom solutions. Partners can also create additional groups of questions to enlarge the scope of a configuration. The sections in this topic provide information about RapidStart Services: what it is, how it works, how it can help your organization, and how you can start to use it.

In this topic

Interview style questions

Interview-style questions: By answering interview-style questions, partners and customers can configure Microsoft Dynamics AX in much less time than is required to configure options form by form. Partners and customers can ask the right questions even before they license Microsoft Dynamics AX for an implementation.

Geared toward business users

Geared toward business users: The interactive and intelligent questionnaire targets business users, not technical experts. Customers don’t need to have any experience with Microsoft Dynamics AX to start. Customers can focus on the business processes that matter to them, without having to learn to use a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program at the same time.

Collaborative configuration

Collaborative configuration: This approach saves time, because the partner does not have to go through the process of collecting business details from multiple parties..

Configuration library

Configuration library: Microsoft provides a core set of ERP capabilities in the form of ready-to-use templates. A configuration can be based on a business process, such as procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, or acquire-to-return. A configuration can also be based on a module, such as General ledger, Accounts payable, or Accounts receivable, or on a customer template that is based on a functional area. Customers can also build templates that are specific to their organization and store these templates in the configuration library.

Store_Share_Reuse

Store, share, reuse: Partners and ISVs can create a configuration one time and then store it. This stored configuration can then be used in additional implementations or as the basis for similar implementations. RapidStart Services can be used from the pre-sales phase through the implementation phase. Therefore, partners and ISVs can share custom templates with customers.

Fully extensible

Fully extensible: Partners and ISVs can create additional templates to support their extensions and custom solutions.

Online service

Online service: All that you require to start is a subscription to the cloud-based service. Because no installation is required, you can carry your configuration wherever you go. A subscription to RapidStart Services is included in the Microsoft Dynamics Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA). Prospective customers can also access the subscription if a partner has provisioned the customer through the partner’s account.

RapidStart Services is used in a workflow that lets partners, customers, and business experts tailor the configuration and deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to the customer’s organization. The following diagram shows the process that partners and customers follow in RapidStart Services to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX.

RapidStart Services Workflow

Figure 1 – Overview of the end-to-end RapidStart Services workflow


Your organization works through the following four major phases as you progress through the workflow that is depicted in Figure 1.

RapidStart Phases

Figure 2 – The four major phases in the RapidStart Services workflow

RapidStart Services roles

Each phase in Figure 2 is aligned with one of the following key RapidStart Services roles. These roles are assigned in User management in online services for Microsoft Dynamics ERP. In the following list, the descriptions reflect the manner in which the roles are typically assigned. However, you can assign any of these roles to a partner, customer, or consultant. For example, in your organization, it might be more appropriate to assign an ISV to the Customer administrator role or a customer to the Designer role.

  • Partner implementation expert – The Partner implementation expert coordinates the configuration of RapidStart Services by answering basic questions to specify the version of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the scope of the implementation, and the appropriate geographic location and industry.

  • Designer – The Designer reviews templates, functional areas, and questions. The Designer also modifies or adds new capabilities, based on a partner’s or customer’s extensions, and then adds the capabilities to the tool as additional templates. The Designer has complete access to the design and configuration experience. The Customer administrator can also perform the tasks of the Designer.

  • Customer administrator – The Customer administrator works as the project manager for a configuration and deployment. By adding users to the tool and assigning roles, the Customer administrator determines who answers questions for each area. The Customer administrator also monitors the progress of these users and manages the connections for the Microsoft Dynamics AX endpoints.

NoteNote

An additional role, called View, does not fall into the RapidStart Services phases. A user who is assigned to the View role can review and copy functional areas and templates from another organization. Before a customer can copy a functional area from a partner, that customer must be set up as a user in your organization and must be assigned to the View role.

RapidStart Services is scalable and easy to customize to suit the business processes that your organization has to configure for your implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX. By using RapidStart Services, you can reduce the time and costs that are required for your implementation process, and you can include custom extensions in your Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 configuration. Additionally, you can give your organization’s business experts control over the design of the configuration and improve the overall quality of your implementation.

Reduce implementation time and cost

RapidStart Services can help you reduce the time that is required to configure, implement, and deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX, and also reduce the implementation costs of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

The following features contribute to the reduction in time and cost:

  • Preconfigured templates include default settings for many options in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, based on the most common values for your industry. You can also make choices about the settings that are unique to every organization.

  • Configurations for business processes and modules can be created and saved. These configurations can then be used as the basis for additional implementations of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

  • Targeted questionnaires let users who are familiar with the customer’s business processes configure the application by entering information that is based on general terminology for a business process. These users don’t have to understand the intricacies of the application.

  • A guided sequence of steps provides progress indicators as you configure the business processes.

Include custom extensions in the original ERP configuration

Through the Extensibility Framework, RapidStart Services enables the solutions that partners develop to be reused in multiple implementations of Microsoft Dynamics AX. Therefore, partners and ISVs can create appropriate questionnaires to cover the intellectual property (IP) that is specific to their industry. Partners and ISVs can also create templates that capture best practices, and then reuse these templates while allowing for differences between customers.

Empower your organization’s business experts to design the original configuration

Because RapidStart Services provides an intelligent questionnaire-based framework that can be modified, business experts in an organization are empowered to contribute their insights to the original configuration and deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in their organization. These business experts can also help tailor questions to the organization.

Improve the quality of your implementation

The following features of RapidStart Services help improve the quality of your implementation:

  • A structured implementation process

  • A scalable, repeatable process for partners

  • Integrated workflow and reporting

  • Strong collaboration between partners and customers

  • Simplified migration of master data

  • A transparent configuration process

Partners

Sign up for online services for Microsoft Dynamics ERP. Partner Portal is available to Microsoft channel partners who have signed the Online Services Addendum (Schedule C) to the Solution Provider Agreement (SPA). Partner Portal lets channel partners set up and manage online services for their customers. By using online services, partners can create, maintain, and reuse configurations that reflect their custom solutions, and can also create additional question groups and questions to enlarge the scope of a configuration. These configurations can then be uploaded to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 during the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX for a customer. For information about how to activate your Partner Portal account, see Activate your Partner Portal account for Microsoft Dynamics ERP RapidStart Services.

After you have activated your partner account, the RapidStart Services administrator for your customer can complete the activation, access Customer Portal, and start to use RapidStart Services. For more information, see Add a Customer administrator to a service in RapidStart Services.

Customers

After your access to RapidStart Services has been enabled, you can use Customer Portal to add users in your organization to your implementation and assign user roles. Customer Portal is a password-protected site for users of online services and is included as a benefit of a Microsoft Dynamics ERP service plan. Customer Portal lets customers manage online services, online users, and online user roles, and set user and organizational preferences. For more information about how to add users and assign user roles, see Add organization users and assign roles in RapidStart Services.

A 90-day trial of RapidStart Services is available, so that you can take RapidStart Services for a test drive. This trial does not require that you install any software, or that you be a Microsoft Dynamics AX customer. Work with a Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partner to gain temporary access to RapidStart Services during the 90-day evaluation period.

For more information, see Try out Microsoft Dynamics ERP RapidStart Services.

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