Number sequences in Dynamics AX probably only get technical types and a few bean counters excited. But one man’s trash is another’s art. In AX number sequences as in most ERP systems provide unique identifiers to transactions (SO, PO, JE, etc.) or master data (e.g. customers, items, vendors, etc.) In AX these user friendly identifiers can be maintained in continuous or non-continuous alphanumeric sequences.
With previous releases (AX 2009 and earlier) number sequences were system generated sequential strings with hard coded system or user (administrator) specified prefixes or suffixes. Size of the number sequence (number of digits) and smallest, largest, and next numbers can be specified as well as a unique code and name. AX 2009 also supports number sequence groups and additional advanced functionality. In AX 2009 and earlier versions, the number sequences were specific to a company, and if the organization maintained and supported multiple companies within the AX environment unique number sequences had to be maintained for each company.
With the introduction of the Organizational Model concept in AX 2012, number sequences functionality has been enhanced to allow sharing of number sequences across organizations and organization types. Without veering into a separate discussion of Organizational Models in AX, from a number sequence perspective the change allows association of a sequences to not only multiples companies (or the comparable “legal entity” in AX2012), but also multiple organizations such as operational units and legal entities or literally “shared”, with options within that matrix. This allows an association of a master data number sequence such as a product to be shared globally.
Two new concepts have been introduced in AX 2012 to the number sequence framework. These are scope and segment. A segment is a data entity such as a legal entity, operational unit, or perhaps a fiscal calendar. A number sequence can have more than one segment. As scope is a valid combination of segments used for a specific transaction or master data entity.
AX 2012 ships with the following valid segment combinations (scope)-
Company (DataArea) and fiscal calendar period
Legal entity and fiscal calendar period
Although scope is predefined for a data entity, the segments within that scope are configurable.
Shared scope uses a generated number across an instance of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, and has no segments.
Company or (DataArea) is essentially the same functionality as previous releases.
Combinations are apparently at face value, although there are limitations.
As one can see with AX2012 the number sequence framework is significantly enhanced. Users and partners are still learning the explosion of technical and functional improvements that the MS Dev team has created. Number sequences have greater power and complexity than presented in this brief entry. For a more in depth look please read the White Paper by Microsoft’s Madan Natu, Senior Program Manager-Using the Enhanced Number Sequence Framework in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, which was released earlier this week. Many of us have much to learn.