As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am now working on the Microsoft Dynamics Ax product team. I plan to start posting on topics closely related to the product and felt an upfront post with a brief product overview and some context would be helpful.

Like many Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products, Dynamics Ax has an integrated development environment for rapid application development. The environment is metadata driven and contains a specialized language called X++. Nowadays, we would call X++ and supporting metadata a Domain Specific Language, or DSL.

Microsoft delivers base business application functionality and a large network of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Implementation Partners customize the application for specific customer needs. Since my previous job as a Development Lead was focused on customization, I have a great deal of interest in helping to make Ax ISVs and Partners successful.

One thing that has come through loud and clear for me in my current role as a test manager is that ERP systems are very challenging to test. First of all, their functionality is very broad. Second, there is a variety of deployment configurations that need to be considered. Third, non functional requirements like security, performance, and extensibility are paramount. Fourth, upgrade is very important since businesses can't just start over when installing a new system.

The four items listed in the previous paragraph is a starter list for what we need to worry about for the base application that we ship from Microsoft. On top of this, there is the likely possibility of ISV add-ons followed by implementation customization that tailors the product for a particular company's business needs.

One way to integrate my interest in the partner ecosystem with my current role in software test is to focus on how Microsoft can enable partners to deliver quality solutions to our mutual customers. This is something that I am focused on in addition to my internally focused responsibilities. Much of what I plan to post in the coming weeks will be related to enabling quality in the Ax ecosystem. Look for more soon…