Sharing of Customers and Vendors in Dynamics AX 2012
Posted on: November 5, 2014 | By: Jarrod Kraemer | Microsoft Dynamics AX/365
One of the decisions a business has to make before they begin implementing AX is how they plan on handling the management of Customers and Vendors. There are a couple of ways to do this, (For Example: MDM in R3), but in this post I want to focus on using a Virtual Company to maintain Customer and Vendor information. Many of the tables in AX can be flagged to be shared across legal entities. Some of these tables include methods of payment, payment days, aging buckets, etc. These tables are rather easy to share. However, if a decision is made by a company to share customers and vendors, a layer of complexity gets added to the mix.
One of the reasons why a business might want to share a customer or vendor is because vendor and customer creation is centralized. This centralization allows for consistent customer and vendor numbering, a consolidated process for creating customers and vendors, and streamlined customer and vendor management. The reporting of vendor and customer information can be done with ease because of the consistent customer/vendor number between legal entities contained within the Virtual Company. The sharing of customers/vendors also allows a company to better handle their master data management between multiple legacy systems and AX since system integrations will only be concerned with the singular customer/vendor number.
When to setup a Virtual Company in Dynamics AX 2012
Ideally a Virtual Company should be built after legal entities are created but before any system configuration is completed. The virtual company gets created under system administration, and legal entities that should be contained within the virtual company will be added.
Only legal entities that have been added to the Virtual Company will be able to access the shared information. I included a drawing to show how the Virtual Company Behaves.
When we create the virtual company and decipher which tables are to be shared, Legal Entities 1-5 will be able to access the same information. So as an example, let’s say I create Customer ABCD in Legal Entity 1. If I then switch entities and go into Legal Entity 3, I will be able to create a Sales order and sell an item to Customer ABCD even though I did not create Customer ABCD in Legal Entity 3. It will automatically show up because it was created in Legal Entity 1, and the customer is shared.
Conversely, if I had to sell an item to Customer ABCD in Legal Entity 6, I will not see it since Legal Entity 6 is not included in Virtual Company 1. I will have to create Customer ABCD in Legal Entity 6 in order to sell an item to them.
Sharing of Customers and Vendors
As previously stated, many of the tables in AX can be easily shared using a Virtual Company table collection. The added complexity comes when dealing with Customers and Vendors. There is a TechNet article that shows exactly which tables are to be shared for the sharing of Customers and Vendors because those tables are intertwined with a large number of other tables. As of 9/1/2014, the articles references over 120 tables that need to be shared. I would recommend sharing all of those tables unless a seasoned AX architect can explain to your business why a table should not be shared. Once these tables have been collected and added to the Virtual Company, AX will now be able to share Customer and Vendor data. The article is referenced here.
In conclusion I would recommend the sharing of Customers and Vendors before any system configuration has been completed due to the complexity of the customer and vendor tables. If the Virtual Company is created and the referenced tables are shared, then the sharing of Customers and Vendors should be fine. Remember to test out all business scenarios and reports!
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