Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Installation of Management Reporter 2012 for AX 2012

This post will take you through the basic steps of installing, configuring and a basic test of Management Reporter 2012 for AX 2012. This tool is now easily available after AX 2012 R2 CU7 as part of the Dynamics AX Setup and the tools has also been translated and made available for multiple languages.

The Reporting tool has a lot of features and Microsoft has release several videos to cover some of the functionality. Technet also describes in detail how to install and setup this tool, and you can also download a comprehensive set of whitepapers and documents covering a lot of ground for this tool.

For the sake of simplicity, I will run you through the setup with some screen shots. I am assuming you're the tech guy which has been given the task by the financial consultant to get this tool installed as soon as possible.
As with all UI, there might be minor changes in the upcoming versions.

The guide will be in three sections:

  1. Installing the Server components
  2. Installing the Client components
  3. Testing!

Before you begin you should have prepared a new domain user which will be used by the service to connect and collect data from AX. I will assume you have full access to the AOS and SQL Server and that you are on AX2012 R2 with CU7 (or higher). Needless to say, but you can obviously do all the three steps above on the same machine - if that is your swag.

Estimated installation time? We should be done within an hour. :-)

1. Installing the Server Components

Run AXSetup and choose to install "Management Reporter"

Type in the details for the AOS you want to the Management Reporter Service to connect to. This is neat if you want to diversify what AOS you want to handle any load.

Select the SQL Server Instance and Database holding the business data. In my example setup threw an error before I was able to select an actual server running a SQL Server Instance. Maybe they'll fix that in some update.  

Enter the credentials for the service account which the Management Reporter Service will run as. I chose to use the same service account as the AOS.

Type in some additional details for the Management Reporter Service. Default port is 4712. The first database entry points to the configuration database. The second to the data mart database, which will hold report data. I just added a suffix so I can test installing multiple instances later on. 

Finally type in the credentials for the domain user which will be used to connect to AX and collect data. Either let the installer set it up or choose an existing AX User ID.


Before we continue, let us check some things. You should have a new shortcut named "Configuration Console" on the Start menu. Open the Console, locate  "Data Mart Integration" and hit Refresh. Observe that things look promising. It might take a few minutes before data has been collected fully to the Data Mart Database. 

Oh, and if you wonder how that link from AX works, you should also have an entry in LedgerParameters.ManagementReportUrl for the company that has an active integration. Setup should have added that. If not, you will have to do some manual steps from this Configuration Console, but that is not the scope of this post.

2. Installing the Client Components

Run AXSetup and chose to install "Management Reporter Report Designer". This will install both the Designer and the Viewer. You can install these on the terminal server if that fits your requirements. 


3. Testing!

Let us do some testing now that we have things installed!

The Designer

First, let's test the Designer. Locate the shortcut "Report Designer" under the Start menu. 

Enter the url to the server and port where the Management Reporter is running and connect. This is a one time per user per machine thing (as far as I know).

Select a company and hit the "Set As Default".

Select the first report and hit "Generate" on the toolbar.

Observe while the report is generated. Let it complete and wait for the report to be launched in a new window.

And the report should open. Yea, I hid some of the numbers from my demo.

The Viewer

Now for the Viewer. Locate the shortcut "Report Viewer" under the Start menu.

This tool might also need to have its connection properly set. The setting is under Tools, Connection.

Double click the generated report located in the Report Library and observe it loads an integrated view of the report.

And that is it. Now tell me, did it take you more than an hour to get this up? Next up is to inform the financial consultants that you're done and they can start hammering the tool for awesome reports. 

Final note

Have someone with access to the customer license (VOICE) download the license for the Management Reporter. It is its own license file, and you only have to copy+paste its content into the Registration form under Tools. If you don't do this step, you are limited to less than a handful of users, which is fine for testing, but not the real deal.

Also, don't bother to add users manually. These will be populated from AX dependent on what users have access to what. This is all documented in the Installation Guide for the AX provider.

Data are being held up to date by using SQL Server Change Tracking. If you however notice data not being refreshed and updated properly, you will find steps to resolve this in the already mentioned guide.

I hope this little guide helped you get going with Management Reporter 2012 for Dynamics AX 2012 R2 (CU7 and upwards). There are plenty of guides out for both installing, configuring and using this Reporting tool - I just felt like making one myself as well.

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