When someone first sees Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, one of the most eye catching features is the role center dashboards.  Each user can be defaulted to a role center, which then appears as their home screen in the Dynamics AX application, landing page in Enterprise Portal and a dashboard in their Dynamics AX-equipped Windows Mobile device.

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There are 43 out-of-the-box role centers that ship with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, covering a variety of roles commonly found in businesses from finance director and HR manager to warehouse worker.  If that is not enough, an organization can add customized dashboards or a system user can customize their own objects within their own organization.  The quickest path to success with the role centers is to identify those standard roles which most closely fit the needs of the organization’s user community and then to standardize them to contain company or industry specific data preferred by the users.  This blog will walk you through the steps of assigning and beginning to work with role centers in your Dynamics AX environment.

There is a small technical pre-requisite to utilizing role centers in your Dynamics AX environment.  Navigational path is Organizational Administration > Set-Up > Role Centers > Initialize role centers.  On this screen, simply select the role center(s) you wish to use in this environment and click OK to launch the initialization procedures.  A message will appear shortly confirming the successful initialization of the role centers.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the first step to assigning a user to a role center is selecting the default role center to which they most closely belong.  This is best done at the screen available at System Administration > Common > Users > User Profiles.

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From this screen, you can browse through the role centers initialized in your system and click View role center to launch Enterprise Portal and view a preview of what the role center looks like.  When you have found an acceptable role center, you can assign users to this role by using Add users or Bulk add users icons on the right.  Here you will be able to select user accounts that are set-up in the system and add them to that role center.  Note that you can also indicate whether the user sees the role in all companies or only specific companies.  The user will be able to see the changes the next time they login to the Dynamics AX application.

The final item worth noting in an introduction to role centers are the options available to the users to personalize their role center.  By opening the Home module of the role center and viewing the role center, the user is then able to click the link, Personalize this page.

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From that a SharePoint based form representing the user’s personal role center will open in the application.  The user will be able to add and delete parts of the page so that the information contained in their role center best fits their needs.  The web parts available span a dozen categories and include everything from KPI data to graphs to outstanding work items.  Taking the time to work through what is available and try different web parts on your dashboard can take some time because of all the available content, but will be worth it when you have created your new “home.”

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By: John Hannan – New Jersey Microsoft Dynamics AX partner