Saturday, October 27, 2012

Demystifying Global Address Book 2012

The global address book, GAB, is a central record in the system that unifies all the different roles of a person or organization. An organization could be a customer and vendor in one or more companies. The GAB record is the connection point for all of the different roles that the organization plays.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, all of the data associated to an entity was stored in the entity table. This means that tables such as the customer table stored the name, address, and contact information. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, introduced the global address book, and this was the beginning of the transition to a common repository of this data. While the information was still stored in the entity tables, it was synchronized to the global address book tables. Therefore, it was actually stored in multiple places, both in the CustTable and in the DirParty tables.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, by removing, the synchronization and duplicate fields from the entity tables, and instead storing the data in the common address book tables, this transition is complete. In line with the architecture efforts to normalize the data, the address data will be taking advantage of the new enterprise structure. New addresses will require a location field. The Name address field in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 will be converted to a location. On upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 or Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, the system will add a value to this field if one does not exist already. The use of Virtual Company for Address Books will be removed and a party can be associated to one or more address books. Party tables are now global which means the need for setting up virtual tables is eliminated. Address table is deprecated and replaced by the global table LogisticsPostalAddress.

There are a number of exciting changes to the whole address functionality in AX 2012, I will discuss few in this post. 

1.   Verification of existing parties is optional.
Example: Julie Hanson exists as a party in the system already. Users create a new customer and type in Julie Hanson in the name field and tab to leave the field and save the record. If duplicate check is turned on, in the address book parameters, then users will get the duplicate detected dialog displaying the existing party records with the same name. If duplicate check is not turned on, the system will never warn users that there is another party with the exact same name.

To open the main setup form, click Organization administration, click Setup, and then click Global address book, click Global address book parameters. Under General, in group Party information, there is a check box Use duplicate check, telling the system to search for duplicates in the global address book on entry of a new record. 

2.   Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 provides default data for country/region codes and address formats. Over 250 Microsoft approved country/region codes are provided with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Postal address fields that are displayed upon entry are based on the address format associated to the country/region code.

Example: While entering a new address for country Canada, the address fields on display will be different if the country selected was Brazil. Since both the countries have different address formats. The address fields on display will change on the fly and any data entered will be lost. 

3.   Multiple roles per address. The same address can be designated for different types of usage such as delivery and remit to. In earlier versions, you would enter the same address twice for different purpose/role.

Example: Contoso International sells and purchases goods and services from the company Fabrikam. Contoso International has a head office, three production facilities and four sales offices. Each of the locations can accept deliveries but the receivables processing is centralized at the head office. Hence, the head office also needs to be a remit to address.

4.   Addresses are date effective.
Example: Lamps Inc. is a customer of Fabrikam. Lamps Inc. is moving its main production site in 30 days and has sent a change of address to Fabrikam. For historical reporting purposes, Fabrikam needs to maintain Lamps Inc. old address even though it will no longer be active 30 days from now.

5.   Verification of ZIP/Postal Codes is optional.
In previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX, in order to use ZIP/Postal Codes the reference data had to be set up, defined, and could not be of free text format when users entered an address. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, options were added to turn on verification for ZIP/Postal Codes, cities, and districts. If the verification option is not marked, these fields can be entered as free text and reference data does not have to be defined in order to use the value. If the verification option is marked, users will have to define this reference data prior to using it in an address.
To open the setup forms, click Organization administration, Setup, and then click Addresses. Under Parameters tab, there are three checkboxes, the first one is Zip/Postal code.