I just discovered that you can enable integration of AX and communicator such that you can see a contact's status right from within AX. To me this was so cool I couldn't wait to check it out and share the goodness.

You can see Communicator presence for any party type person in AX so it will work for customers, vendors, contacts, employees and so on.  This would be any entry in the DirParyTable with a Type = Person. I tested this out with AX 2009 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2. Here's how you set it up.

  1. Log in to Communicator.
  2. Open AX and make sure the Presence Support configuration key is checked. To do this, go to Administration > Setup > System > Configuration.
  3. Create a new customer by going to Accounts Receivable > Customers. Click the Customers button.
  4. Add a new customer and set the Address book type to Person.     

  5. On this screen, click Setup > Advanced contact info.
  6. Select the Contact information tab. Click CTRL+N to add a new record and enter in the contact details. Be sure that you enter the email address in the Communication field and check the Communicator sign-in address field.

  7. Now go to the General tab and voila! you can see the presence icon for the contact. If you click the icon, the Communicator options menu appears.

You can see where this functionality could really be a time-saver for certain roles in your organization. For example, if the person responsible for expense reports could IM employees right from in AX when they are reviewing an expense report and have a question.

If you want to do some integration in your forms with Communicator, check out this interesting blog post that shows you how to send an IM from within AX through code: http://gregondax.wordpress.com/.