…that’s the question!

I often get the question if it is possible to share some master data in AX2012. Out of the box we all know that some data like chart of accounts, products and global address book records are shared.

In AX2012 like all previous versions it is possible to create virtual companies and setup with table collections the sharing across some or all companies.

Namely the users want to share master data like customers and vendors. But also there are some ideas to share released products. Since AX2012 I’m not a fan anymore of sharing these data across multiple companies.

Products

Products are shared and you can release products to one or more companies. The disadvantage many people admit is that almost all setup should be done on the released product. By sharing the released products they hope for saving setup time. The challenge on the released products is the data model and all related tables. When you have a wrong table in the table collection or you miss some tables it can create a real big mess.

On the released products there is a template functionality for easy fill the additional fields on the released product form. This is limited to only the fields (data sources) on this form itself. Related tables like default order settings are not included in this template functionality.

Customers/Vendors

My opinion is that master data like customers or vendors best could be setup per company as well. In most cases within several companies you want to use other default payment terms or standard bank accounts. When you share the customer or vendor these fields are shared as well and you are limited and have to work around company specific setup.

On the other hand, due to the global address book you can only have one primary address for a party. If you setup addresses with purpose delivery, it is standard not possible to assign per legal entity what is the main delivery address for your company. This could be dependent on e.g. location of the companies.

Impact from financial dimension framework

Another attention is related to the financial dimension framework. With AX2012 it is possible to setup dimensions which differs per company. So in company A you have e.g. a business unit and cost centers. In company B you can setup business unit, department and employees. So the number of dimensions as well as the values can be different per company

It is possible to setup default dimensions on master data. You get a list of active dimensions within the current company. Within these fields you setup the values. The data model in the background handles these values in several tables and stores one single reference (record) id (Dimension value set) in the table of your master data (e.g. field DefaultDimension on the VendTable.).

What happens if you share the master data and have different dimensions setup in the shared companies?

The answer is not the one you would like to read. Having shared e.g. the Vendors and you open the vendor details form you will see in company A the business unit and cost center field. You can edit these values and it stores them. Close the form and reopen will still show these entered values. The problem begins when you open company B. In company B you see the three dimensions without values. When editing these values a new dimension value set will be created and the reference will be saved in the shared ‘Default dimension’ reference field. In company A the default dimensions are gone (and vice versa).

Conclusion

In AX2012 it is more challenging to share master date by using virtual companies compared to previous versions. If you have different dimensions or other default values setup per company, it depends on the need of having per company different setup on your master data.

To share or not to share…

That’s all for now. Till next time!

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Comments1
  1. KamalSeptember 16, 2013   

    Thanks nice article. As said It has become cumbersome with the present data model. The flexibility you get by keeping data limited to a company precedes the shared data. Often companies want to have shared data to keep them in Sync. I think there are better alternatives to do that through intercompany AIF actions. This still keeps the flexibility while keeping the data in Sync.

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