For a tech geek businessman or businesswoman, Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) would be nothing new. And he or she would agree that TFS can benefit your business in an unimaginable way.
For people who are new to TFS, it is a management system that brings different stakeholders together without limitations and gives them the right to access, modify, and delete project files all at the same time.
It allows collaboration between team members and managers via different mediums like a website, Microsoft products (e.g. Excel, Microsoft Test Manager [MTM]), etc. We will get to the benefits of using TFS with Dynamics AX in a while.
Let’s first understand the basic of Dynamics AX first. It is an ERP tool from Microsoft that allows businesses to make strategic decisions based on careful analysis. It is claimed to be suitable for all aspects of businesses including human resources, finance, etc. Now, moving on the big question, why should you use TFS with Dynamics AX.
Microsoft has already made TFS a core part of Dynamics 365. Therefore, experts suggest that all Dynamics AX users who want to move on Dynamics 365 in future should start using TFS now. This would allow smooth transition later. Most companies are moving on to Dynamics 365 because it has various specialized segments like Dynamics 365 for operations, Dynamics 365 Development for finance, etc. Another reason for migration is online option and the associated features that bring in innovation and ease at work.
Transparency and Accountability
TFS allows teams to work in alliance. With features like Check In, Check Out, there can be version control and a sense of responsibility. Based on the settings, if a user has checked out a file, another user will not be able to work on that file until it is checked in. If a user checks out a file and makes a change in it before checking in, the system will automatically record the entry. Therefore, there is a greater sense of responsibility on part of team members when they make changes. If Dynamics AX users want, they can view history of items to see who all worked on a file and what changes they made.
Cross Functioning Made Easy
TFS is also a great way of letting different team members perform different tasks on the same files at the same time. For example, a project involves a project manager, a developer, and a tester. So, using TFS, a manager can create a new file and check it in the system for the entire team to view and see the work assigned to them. A developer can do the work and check it in the system for the tester to test. This serves as a common platform. Dynamics AX can really benefit from this functionality because it allows different teams to collaborate better.
Common Developer Brings Greater Benefits
Believe it or not, using Microsoft products with each other can really bring in a lot of ease in terms of how you work. It can be better integrated with each other. For example, if you are using Microsoft Outlook as your e-mail service provider, you will be able to e-mail Word documents straight up without having to sign-in some other mail provider and attaching the document. Therefore, since both TFS (includes VSTS) and AX are Microsoft offerings, these complements each other in a good way. The updates and releases will always be compatible and you would not have to worry.
Reporting Services Act as a Quick View Tool
The TFS architecture has a great reporting service feature which allows managers to get quick reports on the progress made or work done. To make use of this feature, you need to have the advanced version of TFS. Dynamics AX’s homepage usually provides a quick report but what if your work is scattered throughout different office and your teams work from different countries. The reporting service in this case can help you get a quick look at all the happenings.
A good way to incorporate TFS in your Dynamics AX lifecycle would be to hire a consultant who can give you the right direction and provide all the necessary support in transformation of internal processes and migration to a better platform. Make sure that the consultant you choose is unbiased. Although, you would be spending a little extra in making use of the consultant’s service, you would be sure that your business benefits from the decisions that you are taking. If you are using Dynamics AX with TFS, we would love to hear about your experiences.