The following features have been added to the workflow functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
Workflow server components no longer need to be installed on a web server running Internet Information Services (IIS). Workflow server components are now automatically installed when you install the Microsoft Dynamics AX Application Object Server (AOS).
Workflows created in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 will not be upgraded. Before you upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, we recommend that you process all business documents that have been submitted for processing, or cancel the workflows that are currently in progress.
Several new elements have been added to help you design workflows. These elements enable you to design workflows that have alternate branches or branches that run concurrently. These elements include:
- Conditional decision — A point at which a workflow divides into two branches. The system will decide which branch to use by evaluating the submitted document to determine whether it meets a specified condition.
- Manual decision — A point at which a workflow divides into two branches. A user must take an action, and the action taken will determine which branch is used to process the submitted document.
- Parallel activity — A workflow element that includes two or more branches that run at the same time.
You can now add an automated task to your workflows. An automated task executes business logic and requires no human interaction. For example, an automated task can perform a credit check, run a report, or update a record.
The workflow editor is a graphical interface that enables you to model Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 workflows by arranging workflow elements on a canvas—similarly to how you would graphically model a business process using Microsoft Visio. You can add, delete, and reposition workflow elements that represent the tasks and approvals that make up the workflow. You can also add flow-control elements, such as manual and conditional decisions, automated tasks, parallel activities, and subworkflows so that you can create complex workflows that precisely model the business processes you want to automate.
For each element in the workflow, you set properties that determine such things as the assignment of a task, the time allowed for completing a task, an escalation path in case the time limit for the task is exceeded, who will be notified about specific events related to the task, and any automatic actions that will be taken for the task.
You can now implement workflows for the line items on a document. For example, you may want to configure a workflow for timesheets where each line item on the timesheet is approved by a specific project manager.
Work item queue
In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, you could assign a workflow task to a user, role, or organizational hierarchy. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you can now assign a workflow task to a work item queue, as well. A work item queue is a collection of documents that require processing. A queue must have users assigned to it. Those users will be responsible for monitoring the queue and processing the documents in it.
You can determine which users you want assigned to the queue. Any user assigned to the queue can complete any of the tasks in the queue.
Workflows and your organizational structure
In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, each workflow was company-specific. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, a workflow can be used in the following ways:
- A workflow can be used across all organizations. (These types of workflows can be used only with documents that contain organization-wide data.)
- A workflow can be used for a specific organization, such as a particular legal entity.
The following changes have been made to improve the workflow notification system.
- Workflow-specific notifications — Email templates are used to send workflow notifications. You can now create and use a specific email template for each workflow. This enables you to customize the message so that is appropriate for each workflow.
- Aggregated notifications — With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you can implement workflows for the line items on a document. Because line-item workflows may generate more email notifications, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 now enables workflow participants to aggregate their notifications for line items into a single email message.
Workflow performance analysis reports
A workflow online analytical processing (OLAP) cube is included with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Using this cube, you can generate a report that shows how a workflow performs so that you can identify bottlenecks in processes. You also can determine if the workflow is adding efficiency to your business processes, and provide a means of comparing the automated workflow to the manual processes it replaced. The analysis focuses on showing how much work was done using the workflow and how much time it took to perform the business tasks that make up the workflow. By using these reports, you can modify your workflows and optimize their performance.
You can view the workflow history and the status of an active or completed workflow and its elements that includes data about new workflow features, such as advanced flow-controls, automated tasks, line-item workflows, and work item queues. You can view this data either in the Microsoft Dynamics AX client or the Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX.