Integrating Project Server and Project Online with Dynamics AX 2013 R3
Microsoft Project Server and Project Online provide rich project portfolio management (PPM) functionality for business users. The combination of PPM with the financial management features of Dynamics AX provides a rich set of capabilities for project-focused businesses such as professional services and construction. In the AX 2009 SP1 release, we provided a solution that integrated project information between the AX Application Object Server and Project Server 2010 (white paper here). The integration was based on a synchronization service responsible for tracking changes in the two systems and keeping the mapped entities up to date. We made minor updates to this integration for the AX 2012 release.
While this was a seamless experience for the end user, it turned out to be fairly complex to configure and a challenge to troubleshoot when something went wrong. So when we looked at updating the integration for Project Server 2013, we talked to customers and partners and found that many of them simply wanted to be able to modify their project work breakdown structure in the Project client application. Looking ahead, we also determined that the architecture of the existing integration service would be incompatible with Project Online in Office 365.
With Dynamics AX 2012 R3, we provided a simpler, out-of-box integration with the Microsoft Project application through a client add-in (white paper here). With this solution, Microsoft Project files can be linked directly with projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Customers can still get rich PPM functionality by additionally publishing their MPP files to Project Server (2010 or 2013) or Project Online in Office 365. The main differences are that the integration will be through the client rather than with the two servers and the field mapping is fixed.
While direct Project Server integration is still available in AX 2012 R3 it will be removed in future releases. For out-of-box capabilities, customers and partners are encouraged to use the new add-in instead. We realize that some customers would prefer a server-based integration or have customized information that they would like to map between the systems. We have partnered with TPG The Project Group to ensure that their PSLink product works well with Dynamics AX 2012. You can read about their solution here.