A critical phase in any ERP implementation, including Dynamics AX 2012 is the migration of master data. User Acceptance testing is smooth when customer sees their own data and obviously, the system isn’t classified as “functional” unless data is successfully entered as per the desired designs.
For beginners and new entrants into ERP, the database model in Dynamics AX 2012 can seem to be very complex and may give a tough time to the integrators and developers, who are migrating data from old systems to Dynamics AX 2012.
When the developers or system integrators have to import data in Dynamics AX 2012, they must know how to classify data. Data can be classified into 4 types.
System Configuration Data: The data which is used to set up the environment of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Parameter Data: The Specific Data for a module which is migrated from a staging environment to the production environment.
Master Data: The data which describes an entity, such as Vendor and Customer etc., including the parties, locations, products and activities referenced by the entity.
Transactional Data: The data which describes an entity that document business events and record their economic value.
Microsoft Dynamics offers a wide range of options for importing Data. Each of the type is efficient and optimum in its’ own way. The 5 ways to import data in Microsoft Dynamics AX are mentioned and discussed in detail below:
Microsoft Dynamics AX Import:
Dynamics AX Import:
The primary mechanism for transferring Data between the different instances of Dynamics AX is the standard Import method. The utility is available in System Administration->Common->Data Export/Import->Import.
In order to use the functionality of this feature, Definition groups have to be created which include the tables involved in importing of Data. This utility cannot be used for migrating data from one ERP system to another or to import data into the older versions of Dynamics AX 2012.
Microsoft Excel Add-in for Microsoft Dynamics AX:
Another powerful option to import Data in Dynamics AX is the Excel Add-in. Data has to be organized in a specific pattern and some basic requirements are need to be met in order to import data successfully. Only the Excel documents which meet the below mentioned requirements can be used to create or update Data in AX tables.
- Replacement Keys: Parent Data source must have unique indexes other than RecId.
- Related Replacement Keys: Each RecId-based foreign key must be related to a table that specifies a replacement key
- Relationship Direction: Relationships pointing towards parent from child element should be used only
- Query and Service Consistency: Query and service must be synchronized in order to ensure consistency
- View Support: Services using views must be properly implemented using the specified methods only
RapidStart services are used to populate basic configuration data along with some master data. The services cannot be used to import transactional data. These services can, however, be used to manage data.
AIF has the ability to exchange external data in the form of XML with Microsoft Dynamics AX. To call an AIF service, System administration > Setup > Services and Application Integration Framework > Inbound ports, and then click New. Enter a Port name and description. Select service operations under Service Operations. Click on Activate and use the system generated WSDL URI to import Data externally.
Microsoft Import Export Framework:
The Microsoft Import Export Framework is a very powerful tool for importing and exporting Data. It has predefined entities which map the data to the desired fields and validates the data. The data is at first migrated to a staging environment where it can be validated once again. After that, it is finally transferred to the AX tables and new records are created or existing records are updated. There are 5 main steps to import Data using the Framework:
- Prepare Data Source
- Select an AX entity
- Map and Validate Data
- Transfer to Staging Tables
- Transfer from Staging Tables to final AX destinations.
The framework also allows creating customized entities. I will be writing in detail much more about data migration scenarios in Dynamics AX 2012 so visit us frequently if this is something of your interest!