Archive for Dynamics AX for Retail 2012

Windows Problem Steps Recorder – Part 1

How to quickly document steps in Windows 7 and Server 2008 for all applications (Dynamics AX, AX POS, Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail, 3rd party apps, etc)

Microsoft Dynamics AX has a handy tool that was built into it starting in Dynamics AX 2009 called Task Recorder. It assisted users in writing test scripts since it automatically took screenshots, added commentary and compiled it all into a nice document all by the user just performing a series of steps.
(In 2009 it was located here: Microsoft Dynamics AX -> Tools -> ‘Task Recorder’)
(In 2012, it was located here: File -> Tools -> ‘Task Recorder’)

This product was used for everything from writing training docs to functional design documents to issue documentation. One of the biggest downsides of this product was the fact that it was limited to recording processes within Dynamics AX. This creates a problem for steps in the testing script that required processes outside of AX (Server 2008, POS applications, etc).

Thankfully, there is a solution for this that won’t cost a penny more. You just have to know it exists. This product is called Problem Steps Recorder which will document these steps in and out of the AX application in a nice file that includes text about the action as well as a picture or ‘screengrab’. Don’t let the ‘Problem’ in the name fool you. This tool can be used for so much more…

To run the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR), do one of the following options:

  1. Navigate to ‘C:\Windows\System32’ and run the application ‘psr.exe’
  2. Navigate to Start and type psr in the search box. Click Enter.
  3. Click on ‘Run’ and type in ‘psr.exe’

You can only run the PSR by running the .exe. NOTE: In order to record administrative tasks, right click on the executable and select ‘Run as administrator’. If you don’t do this step, you won’t be able to record administrative tasks.

Running the PSR

Running the PSR is very easy. All you have to do is:

  1. Run the executable
  2. Click on ‘Start Record’
  3. Perform the steps desired like normal
  4. Click on ‘Stop Record’
  5. Select the name and location of the file to save
  6. Click ok.
  7. That’s it!

The resulting file will be a .zip file. Within this file, there is a .mht file which can be viewed in Internet Explorer. A .mht file is a MHTML (MIME HTML) file which is a file that is used to combine resources like images, flash animations, java applets, and audio files together with HTML code into a single file. In this case, it is screen capture images.

Regardless of the document you want to create (end user issue replication process, testing scripts, training docs, etc), this file will act as an excellent base line for any doc you want to create.

Changing the settings of PSR

There are several settings that you can set for the Problem Steps Recorder. To get to the settings, open the PSR, click the down arrow on the right hand side of the PSR bar, and select ‘Settings’ (Figure 1 below). This will open the PSR settings form (Figure 2 below)

Fields in the PSR Settings:

  1. Output Location
    a. The default location for the created .zip file
  2. Enable Screen Capture
    a. If Yes, there will be a screen shot for the last XX number of steps as determined by the parameter below
    b. If No, there will not be any screenshots for any steps
  3. Number of recent screen captures to store
    a. This value defaults to 25. That means that only the last 25 steps will have a screen shot

Why would you not want every step to always have a screenshot? The more screenshots you have, the larger the file that is produced. In general, in a process where we are recreating an error, only the last few steps are critical in details hence the last XX number of screenshots. Additionally, with 25 screenshots and 50 steps, the .zip file produced is ~1 MB while the mht file produced is ~2.3MB. This example was not as large as some that could exist.

dynamics ax problem steps recorder

Figure 1 – Settings in the Problem Steps Recorder

Dynamics AX problem steps recorder settings

Figure 2 – PSR settings

There will be a Part II to this post which will do a deep dive into the PSR. Stay tuned and check back soon!

Mattress Firm selects Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 and Blue Horseshoe to improve customer experience

Mattress Firm Dynamics AX for RetailCARMEL, Ind. (Marketwire)– Mattress Firm, a leading U.S specialty bedding retailer, has selected Blue Horseshoe, an Indianapolis based solutions services firm, to implement Microsoft’s Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 throughout its organization.

Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 is an end-to-end Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that provides a purpose-built foundation for the new reality of retail, in which consumers are better informed, more digitally capable, and willing to shop in more channels than ever before. Offering functionality for financials and operations management, Dynamics AX for Retail empowers organizations to increase productivity and improve customer service delivery.

“We selected Blue Horseshoe as one of our consulting and system implementation partners because they have a proven track record of efficiently implementing end-to-end retail solutions. Furthermore, they understand our organizational needs, as well as the importance of improving the customer experience,” said Patty Wade, Mattress Firm CIO & Vice President of Strategic Planning.

The Enterprise solution will provide greater flexibility and expansion capabilities, while enhancing rapid growth by allowing the company to innovate and integrate to the ever-changing technological landscape. Operating an intuitive POS like Dynamics AX for Retail allows employees to spend less time at the POS, which greatly reduces time during order processing. The consolidation and integration of the company’s different systems to a centralized solution allows for reduced operational and system maintenance costs, in turn reducing overhead and improving their competitive advantage of offering the best costs without sacrificing customer service.

Mattress Firm will showcase its progressive retail story to embrace technology and drive their business forward at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & Expo (Retail’s BIG Show), in New York City, January 15-18, 2012. Attend show, http://events.nrf.com/annual2012/

About Mattress Firm

Founded in Houston in 1986, Mattress Firm is one of the nation’s premier specialty bedding retailers. With the largest geographic footprint in the United States among multi-brand mattress specialty retailers, Mattress Firm currently operates over 800 locations across 26 states. For more, visit www.mattressfirm.com

View Microsoft press release

About Blue Horseshoe

Blue Horseshoe is a privately held solution services firm based in North America; providing expert management & strategy consulting, system design, implementation, and optimization, and distribution design services to Fortune 500 and mid-market businesses throughout the world. For more, visit www.bhsolutions.com

Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 -What you should know

What you need to know about Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail 2012…

Dynamics AX for Retail

It’s Powerful.

Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 is a powerful, integrated solution offers more value faster- Enables operational efficiency faster while reducing complexity

  • Purpose-Built for the New Reality of Retail
    • Immediate, accurate insight enabled by a unified solution at the store, headquarters, supply chain, and beyond
    • Complete and centralized control of hardware, UI, and user profiles to optimize for a rapidly changing workforce and multiple store formats
  • Improves Delivery of Customer Service:
    • Fully customizable UI tailored for mobile & customer-facing devices offers more personalized engagement to build loyalty
    • Quick access to real-time information enables customer choice and grows customer satisfaction
  • Empowers Your People to be more productive:
    • Role-Based UI e.g. Cashier and Store Manager, drive security, reduce shrinkage, and improve speed of service
    • Tailored Role Centers, e.g. Merchandise Manager and Purchasing Lead, provide instant access to relevant tools to prioritize tasks, and reduce training times

It’s Agile.

Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 is an agile solution that enables opportunities and reduces risk- Enables organizational responsiveness to market opportunities and expansion into new retail channels

  • Delivers a 360 Degree View of the Business:
    • Cross channel scenarios enable a consistent customer experience
    • Optimize the customer experience and supply chain through channel transparency
  • Enables scale with the flexibility to adapt:
    • Extensibility model optimizes workflows and competitive differentiation
    • Grow with new formats and penetrate emerging markets quickly with a global, multi-country solution built on a unified natural model
  • Accelerates leverage of marketplaces & social commerce:
    • Cloud-based commerce service enables new points of customer engagement and visibility through marketplaces e.g. Amazon, Ebay, Shop.com
    • Leverage social networks as e.g. Facebook & Twitter as valuable new sources of revenue, customer feedback, and digital marketing

It’s Simple.

Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 is an easy-to-use solution that drives adoption and lowers costs – Drive innovation while simplifying every stage of the retail lifecycle

  • Grows and adapts with your business though ease of upgrade:
    • Phased deployment and rollout protects the store channel
    • Consistent API’s protect investment and encourage innovation
  • Ease of implementation builds a solid foundation for user adoption and customer loyalty:
    • RapidStart, upgrade advisors, and other powerful tools drive simple, template-based configuration
    • Out of the box Retail-specific roles and security accelerates user adoption
  • Connect store associates the rest of the organization through integrated self-service collaboration capabilities:
    • Streamline basic organization collaboration with self-service SharePoint-based store and vendor portals and ad hoc, end-to-end business process integration through Sites Services
    • Find information quickly to better serve customers through Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Business Connectivity Services

Contact Blue Horseshoe to learn more about how Dynamics AX for Retail can work for you.

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