The Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services Overview

Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) can assist organizations to enhance the predictability and quality of their Dynamics AX 2012 implementations as it simplifies and standardizes the entire implementation process to help realize business value much faster. The Microsoft Azure-based collaboration portal offers a unifying, collaborative work environment alongside a number of regularly updated services to help manage your application lifecycle for your Dynamics AX 2012 implementations.

The Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services Overview

The LCS has one main objective: deliver the right information, to the right individuals, and at the right time, and to assist in ensuring repeatable, predictable success every time there’s a rollout of an application implementation, upgrade or update. By providing a work environment that can be used collaboratively by both partners and customers – together and separately – LCS enables much closer collaboration, speeds up implementations, and reduces the time to value.
This new cloud-based tool set allows customers and their respective partners to manage Dynamics AX projects, right from pre-sales to implementation and even operations to deliver a predictable, on-budget and on-time Microsoft Dynamics implementation to provide you with a much quicker ROI. LCS will also help you meet your business requirements whilst you remain poised to meet the future needs of your company as it evolves. LCS is a tool available as Microsoft Dynamics Partner and runs on Windows Azure. It is specially designed to manage and optimize all customer implementations. The tool delivers implementation methodologies as well as template business processes to allow companies to rapidly realize a quicker ROI.
LCS also delivers value in another area: audit & risk management. By using the business process modeling, auditors can better understand business processes and save time on communication and confirmation of business processes with management. They can also identify risks, deficiencies, inefficiencies and controls, and develop appropriate recommendations for improvements. The result is significant savings with external and internal audits.
Another function of the business process modeling is to help identify gaps and risks between the business or organization and Microsoft Dynamics, then these risks can be mitigated or eliminated. Business process maps offer a good baseline for both testing and documentation to ensure that users follow proper policies and procedures. This also reduces the general time required to train/ cross train end-users in both business and Microsoft Dynamics.
Lastly, the business process modeling along with task recorders present a requirements base for the application security. Through the maps, it is easier to understand and visualize what roles should perform specific functions on Microsoft Dynamics. When you add or change processes the maps clearly shows which roles should be modified as well as users who should lose or gain access.
Many people wonder whether LCS is a collaboration tool or platform.

In actual sense it is both; a collaboration tool as it allows sharing of information related to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 implementation; and a platform as it integrates many processes. This application will eventually change how organizations view Dynamics AX implementations after more elements are added to the available version. While the current version is still lacking a few few elements to make it a powerful collaboration and implementation tool, Microsoft is working tirelessly to come up with a more sophisticated version. LCS has a number of features that make it unique and some of those features are discussed below.

 

Features

  • Intuitive and easy-to-learn application with the look and feel of Microsoft Windows 8
  •  Helps determine peak loads on an installation
  •  Great Business Process Modeler. Through its visual interface, this application enables organizations to define their business processes within a multi-level hierarchy
  • After defining your business processes, Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services delivers a fit/gap report of the processes
  • The tools, dashboards, and checklists enable a much easier overview of updated project information
  • You can use it to help you perform a high-level estimate of your upgrade project, taking customization into consideration
  • Can be used to obtain a rough estimate of licenses required for a solution to support your business
  •  Helps maintain an overview of the installation’s environment and minimize system downtime
  • Even after the initial implementation, you can still continue using LCS to keep process documentation up to date

As a partner, LCS will allow your customers be better prepared and ready for their implementation projects. While LCS may not do the preparation job for them, it will allow them to have a clearer picture of the work needed for their various projects. This collaboration tool will be a real game changer as Microsoft is working to include more elements to make it perform better. More features and functionality are expected to be added to the application in the near future.
At Convergence 2015, the tech giant Microsoft told AX partners that Lifecycle Services usage is essential and that they should broaden their general understanding of the platform in preparation for the awaited arrival of AX7. This means that it won’t be possible for customers and partners to perform some server management activities without LCS in AX7. Enforcing these rules will contribute toward eliminating error prone steps that eventually cost AX customers their time and money. LCS solutions will enable customers and partners to package their content and process models into the LCS environment to be deployed in a much more repeatable manner.

Conclusion

LCS is a relatively new portal for organizing, monitoring, and even managing Dynamics AX projects from start to finish. This cloud-based application can be used to implement Dynamics AX and ensure it adapts to your processes. Solutions are pre-packaged deployments alongside a series of configured business processes, brought to accommodate an Azure deployment.

The objective of LCS solutions is to empower an organization – Dynamics customer or partner – to extend different aspects of LCS. They will also allow the platform to easily automate additional elements of a deployment. In fact, much of the work can be accomplished even before an AX instance is developed. For instance, if an organization handles payment methods, GL, or other typical key areas of their business in a certain way, those areas can be captured in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services based on industry best practices and instantly deployed to suit the most preferred approach.

Michael Taylor
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of DynaMe. DynaMe is a blog focused on cloud based Microsoft Dynamics.
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