I got the chance to interview Mark Polino a Microsoft Certified IT Professional for Dynamics GP. He is a well-known MVP in the MS Great Plains community. I attended Dynamics Decisions 2011 and I thought he did a wonderful job speaking about the worst mistakes that you can make with Dynamics GP, which was really helpful because I’m new to the system. These are the questions he was asked:
1. When did you realize this would be your career?
In my first few years as a consultant, I realized that my experience with Dynamics GP gave me an advantage even if I chose to go back into the industry. When I moved out of consulting and into a controller role for a while it made a huge difference in getting the job.
2. In 2010, you wrote the book “Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook” what was your inspiration for writing it?
I had built several “50 Tips in 50 Minutes for Dynamics GP” presentations that got great reactions. I was considering building them into an eBook and mentioned that to my friend and fellow MVP, Mariano Gomez. He was talking to a publisher about a book and he put me in touch with Packt Publishing. The rest is history and the publisher’s help made a huge difference in delivering a better book.
3. What are you current projects now? Are you planning on writing another book or speaking at an upcoming event?
I have a number of speaking engagements lined up including a pile of presentations at Convergence 2012 in Houston. I’ve written a number of fictional short stories to illustrate Dynamics GP features in a different way. There are a few more projects in the works are, but none of them are far enough along to discuss just yet.
4. What would you say is the strongest feature in Microsoft Dynamics GP?
I think there are two. The first is its strong financial features. This provides a solid underpinning for Dynamics GP. Second is a strong ISV/Partner channel. This provides ways to extend Dynamics GP into places no one can foresee.
5. What is the biggest problem that you’ve observed that new users face?
It’s still training/training/training. Companies don’t want to pay for. Training gets delivered at implementation and maybe never again so new users only get what’s passed down. People learn more about what’s already in their system after an upgrade, even though much of the functionality isn’t new. Companies think ERP should be easy to use. It is, but Angry Birds is even easier and there are more than 56,000 videos of walkthroughs of Angry Birds. This idea of the software being so intuitive that we don’t need to train is simply unrealistic.
6. What do you think the future of Cloud ERP holds
Cloud ERP will bring greater accessibility, that is, ERP in more places. It may ultimately reduce flexibility. It will be harder for companies to customize ERP systems in the way they have in the past. Frankly, this is both good and bad. It keeps companies from making mistakes like customizing new systems to look just like their old systems, but it may make sales harder for more horizontally focused systems.
You can visit Mark Polino website here: http://msdynamicsgp.blogspot.com/
By: Natalie Williams, Marketing Coordinator, WebSan Solutions Inc., a Canadian Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner
Management Reporter 2012 for Microsoft Dynamics has been released & is now available for use. Management Reporter is a robust financial reporting tool that provides companies visibility into organizational health. Management Reporter is available for the following Microsoft Dynamics products:
- AX 2009 & 2012
- GP 2010
- NAV 2009
- SL 2011
Upgrades include greater design flexibility, the ability to collaborates with co-workers, enhanced drill-down capabilities & a more interactive viewing experience.
Last month I wrote about how now is the time to perform some Spring Cleaning on your Dynamics GP system. With that in mind, I want to highlight the Accounts Receivable Paid Transaction Removal feature, which helps speed up Dynamics GP performance.
This feature is often overlooked as firms do not want to lose historical data. However, the utility only removes receivables transactions for companies that do not maintain receivables history. By performing this function, transactions that are fully applied are moved to history, greatly reducing the number of transactions that are reviewed when aging documents or performing other routines. This greatly improves the performance of Dynamics GP.
Once this process is run for a document, it can no longer have transactions performed against it. For example, one cannot NSF a removed cheque. Therefore, it is recommended that companies run this utility for a date at least 90 days prior to the current date.
To access the Paid Transaction Removal, select Sales > Routines > Paid Transaction Removal.
Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project Manager at WebSan Solutions Inc, a Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner offering implementation & support services for large & small firms in a variety of industries.
Spring is here & that means SPRING CLEANING! With that in mind, system administrators should be thinking about cleaning up their Dynamics system & shoring up their licensing needs. Thus, I would like to tell everyone about a free utility that will help cleaning up your licensing needs.
Microsoft Dynamics GP is licensed concurrently. Meaning, if a user is logged into multiple companies at a single time, they will also be using multiple licenses at that time. For firms with multiple companies running on Dynamics GP & where the number of licenses is very close to the number of actual users, this can present a problem.
For those where purchasing additional licenses is not an option, there is a utility to prevent users from logging into multiple companies at the same time. To install, download from Customer Source & extract the Prevent_Users_Logging_In_To_Multiple_Companies.zip file. Then simply log into Microsoft Dynamics GP & select Tools > Customize > Customization Maintenance, then import the extracted file .
No longer will multiple logins from a single user burn multiple licenses.
Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project Manager at WebSan Solutions Inc. A certified Microsoft partner.
It’s that time of the year when many employee are taking time off to spend time with family. Whatever holiday you celebrate, this is definitely the time of the year for family. With employees out of the office, companies must track the amount of time taken by each employee.
Microsoft Dynamics GP has a number of vacation tracking options:
- The Human Resources module has a Vacation Calendar option. This presents a calendar view, with a listing of employees that have taken time off for each day.
- The Canadian Payroll module makes Vacation Accruals every pay period. Each employee has a vacation rate attached to them. With each pay cycle, automated accruals are made to each employee record to track the amount of vacation earned. When vacation is taken, it comes out of this same pool of time earned. Further, all the appropriate entries are made to the General Ledger with each transaction.
Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project Manager at WebSan Solutions Inc with numerous Human Resources & Canadian Payroll implementations completed.
The air is definitely a little colder these days, making it the perfect time to fly south for a little R&R. In an effort to reduce workload, allowing for a little extra R&R, a number of our clients have chosen to implement Electronic Reconciliation. Through this module, one can download their bank statement & process into Dynamics GP, eliminating much of the manual work associated with the bank reconciliation process. Setup is a simple process & is completed in one simple screen. Downloading files is a standard process through most banks. By implementing this simple module, companies can save a considerable time each month in the administrative process.
Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project Manager with WebSan Solutions Inc.
In 1983, Quaker Oats purchased Gatorade, transforming it from a multi-million dollar business into a multi-billion dollar business. Fast forward a decade & Quaker decided that another drink manufacturer was primed for the same growth. This time, Quaker eyed a takeover of Snapple, a popular fruit beverage. After paying a large ransom for the Snapple business, Quaker did not see the returns it had forecast. The Snapple brand fizzled as Quaker resources were washed down the drain. Eventually, the Snapple brand was sold at a $1.4 billion loss to Quaker.
What went right with Gatorade that went so wrong with Snapple?
The measurement tools that Quaker used to evaluate Gatorade were both accurate & appropriate. However, in the decade that past, these same evaluation tools were not updated. Quaker applied the same methods & metrics to the Snapple brand that they did to the Gatorade brand. However, in the decade that had passed, these tools were no longer the most appropriate.
Evaluation mechanisms are constantly being updated. What works today might leave you behind tomorrow. Quaker found this out first hand. If companies want to continue to thrive, they must be constantly tweaking & evaluating the tools they use to evaluate their business.
Microsoft Dynamics GP leverages ever evolving Microsoft technologies in order to provide the best reporting options possible. Users can access reports in many different formats. Business Alerts can send automated emails to any staf member when exception criteria are met or at specific intervals. Emails can be configured to include attachments, including lists of applicable information. Users can have similar automated Reminders open on their screens when specified criteria have been met. This allows for fast & automated management by exception.
To Do lists & Check List force users to complete tasks periodically in a structured way. Meaning, no longer are workflows undocumented or dependent on a single employee. If an employee leaves the organization, those same tasks must still be completed.
Standard reporting is available in paper format as would be expected. Users can further use inquiries to research linked transactions if auditing information. The same information can be exported to Excel or Word at the click of a button through a Smartlist. These can all have filters applied to them to restrict the information that is displayed. However, where Dynamics GP takes things a step further is SRS Reporting. Smartlists can live on the server in the form of an Excel Report. These can contain, charts, graphs, lists or whatever one's heart desires. These reports are linked to the server & the Dynamics GP database through Excel, meaning information is constantly changing on them automatically as data is entered into Dynamics. And the best feature is that those who wish to view these reports do no require a Dynamics GP user license as they are not actually logging into GP. The same premise applies to SRS (or SQL Reporting Services) Reports. These are built through regular SQL statements & can include filters, etc, just like any SQL query would have. Data can be displayed in many different formats & again, do not require a license to view.
The evaluation tools offered by Microsoft are beyond comparison & constantly evolving. those utilizing Dynamics GP are always in the know & won't be left behind.
With the weather getting a little colder, we all know the Holidays are fast approaching. It is around the Holidays that many, like myself, begin to travel to see loved ones. This year in particular, I have a lot of travel lined up. This got me thinking about how popular Dynamics is around the world. So with that said, here are some quick facts about Dynamics GP's worldwide popularity …
- Dynamics is most popular in North America, the Middle East, Singapore, UK, Australia & Ireland.
- Dynamics GP, originally called Great Plains, was developed in Fargo, North Dakota by Great Plain Software.
- There are currently over 300 000 Dynamics customers around the world, spanning 41 languages
One of the lesser known setup features of Microsoft Dynamics GP2010 is the ability to have the system pop-up a predefined message box on login advising to the status of an environment.
If anyone has used the fabrikam company, you know what I'm referring to, the modal dialog box that appears advising that this is a demonstration company, etc etc.
There are actually two other message boxes that you can trigger for your own company.
If you navigate to your company setup screen (Tools--> Setup --> Company --> Company)
You can add two different reserved tags to the end of the Company Name.
The first is <TEST>, (make sure you include the angle brackets and enter all UPPERCASE letters). This will trigger the following popup for all users to this company on login:
Alternatively, if you change the company name and a "<HISTORICAL>" tag to the end of the company name you will trigger this pop-up:
These are both handy messages to advise users that this is a Test or Archive instance.
This works in both GP10 and Gp2010, however, as of build 1752, there is a small known glitch in which the Dynamics Connect home-screen widget will not work when using these tags. See this blog for details...
A word of caution, don't modify any other parts of the company name, and always put the tag at the end, as some modules require exact spelling of the company name for their registration keys to operate (for example Canadian Payroll).
In my next post I'll discuss the various methods to have different colours by company, in both GP10 and GP2010.
Stay tuned until next time...
New on the Dynamics GP2010 home screen is the "Connect" window. This widget dynamically populates with Microsoft Dynamics GP support information, user groups and links to general information.
One thing we noticed is with any of our test companies we always saw this error:
Well it turns out this is caused by special characters in the company name.
As many of you know, when you put the tag "<TEST>" into the company name you get a nice warning on login that this is a a test company. See this blog for details...
Unfortunately, the angle brackets cause the URL to the Dynamics Connect site to get malformed.
Here is the URL that Dynamics Connect is trying to access:
Notice the "&company" parameter is "%3cTEST%3e". The %3c and %3e are the HEX equivilant codes for the ASCII characters that represent < and >
If you remove the characters it will open fine.
Unfortunately until Microsoft fixes this your only options are to either remove the "<TEST>" from your company name or remove the Dynamics Connect widget from your home screen in user preferences.
Alternatively if you had a DPI based firewall that scanned outgoing URLs, you could make some crazy rule to use URL rewritting, but that's really out of scope of this article :).
Thanks for reading, until next time....