For some of the more technical Microsoft Dynamics GP users, you may want a little more control and customization when reporting on your GP data. SmartLists provide a fairly quick and dynamic option to custom reporting, but they may not be visually satisfying. On the other hand, integrating BI360 with GP will allow you create very clean and organized reports in an Excel-like environment, but won’t give you that rudimentary control that your technical mind may crave. If you’re looking for some sort of middle ground between these two options, take a look at SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) for Dynamics GP.
The key to creating effective SSRS reports is having a good knowledge of SQL – or at the very least, a fairly strong knowledge of databases. This is what scares away some users, but for those that have this type of background, SSRS Reports could be your salvation in the pursuit of both visually appealing and fully customizable reports.
While SSRS Reports can be easily viewed within Dynamics GP, they are created in Microsoft Report Builder – a separate software program that is offered for free by Microsoft. Using Report Builder allows you to take a custom SQL query that you have created (either from scratch or by using Report Builder’s intuitive Query Designer) and turn it into an appealing report. With the ability to easily create tables, charts, and even visual scales/gauges, you can turn a simple list of data into a work of art!
If you have SSRS Reports deployed in your GP environment, you can view them by going into any series and selecting the “Reporting Services Reports” item in the Navigation Pane.
By: Rahim Jiwani, Application Specialist, WebSan Solutions Inc.
Many of our Microosoft Dynamics GP clients use our support desk for assistance with issues that arise from time to time. We offer various levels of support,from ad hoc to 24/7 availability. The need for support varies with every client. Some require lots, some very little.
For those that like to perform their own support, there is a great utility available free of charge that can be downloaded (through a partner) from Microsoft. This tool, called the Support Debugging Tool, improves error handling & has many great features. These include:
- Colouring Windows by Company
- Easily Capture Screenshots of Errors & Email ALL Related Support Information to a Help Desk
- Transaction Logging
- Executing SQL within Dynamics GP
To obtain this tool, get the DEBU_1100.zip file from your Microsoft Partner
Unzip & copy to your Dynamics GP install folder
Start Microsoft Dynamics GP as an Administrator & agree to Add New Code message
From the file menu, select Microsoft Dynamics GP > Tools > Support Debugging Tool to turn on the new functionality
Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Implementation Manager at WebSan Solutions Inc, a Microsoft Dynamics GP Silver Partner. Adam formally managed Dynamics support services at WebSan Solutions Inc.
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.
If you are a frequent user of Microsoft Dynamics GP, chances are you use a select few windows much more often than others. If this is the case, you may find it helpful to have shortcuts to these key windows directly on your home page. These shortcuts can be added in several different ways:
- Quick Links – Arguably the most popular method is to add the window to the Quick Links pane of your home page. To do this, hover over the Quick Links pane, select the pencil icon that appears in the top right corner of the pane, and click the Add button to add new links. Don’t forget to refresh your home page if the new link does not appear right away.
- Navigation Pane – To add a shortcut to your navigation pane, open the window that you want to link to, select File, and select Add to Shortcuts. A link to that window will now be added to your navigation pane when you are on your home page.
- Toolbar – To view the toolbar for a particular series, right-click the blue menu bar at the top of the Dynamics GP screen and select the desired series so that a checkmark appears next to it. To customize which icons are on the toolbar, right-click the blue menu bar again, select Customize…, choose the appropriate series from the drop-down menu, and click Add to add a new icon to the toolbar.
By: Rahim Jiwani, Application Specialist, WebSan Solutions Inc.
You finally have Microsoft Dynamics GP and now you are ready to explore the wonderful world of online accounting software which is good and all but while you’re having lots of fun using the different applications it provides, don’t forget that you have to maintain it! Here are five tips to help you maintain Microsoft Dynamics GP.
1. SQL Backup
Make sure you create SQL backups of every database on your server. It’s recommended that you performed full backups or you have the option of full backups with transactions log backups, but it’s ultimately your choice. You also need to back up Dynamics databases, Company (s) databases and Model database.
2. File Backup
SQL aren’t that only backups that you have to do, don’t forget the other multiple files that need backing up to. For example any folder that ends in dic, set or config and all the other folders including subfolders. The <DATA> folder is included in the backup process as well as Dex.Ini that is located in the <DATA> folder for example OLEPath, OLEPathHR, Word Macro File etc.; I have one more suggestion, backup any files in the manuals of any add-on products.
3. Schedule your backups
Schedule backups for SQL and Files as needed. But remember the more backups you have the more chances that if information were to get lost it would be low. You should have automatic scheduling for backups. This is to ensure that backups are completed, don’t believe me? Check the transaction log because it keeps a record of backups done.
4. Monitor your backup jobs
Keep track of the backups that are being done, even if you have written it down in your calendar. It’s just to make sure everything is going smoothly. A really good thing about Microsoft Dynamics GP is that you can program your SQL server to notify you if the backup fails.
5. Test your backups
Even though you can automatically schedule backups, once in a while test your backups just to make sure everything is getting backed up. A good way to test a SQL backup is to restore the backup to another server.
By: Natalie Williams, Marketing Coordinator, Websan Solutions Inc., a Canadian Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner
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
A lesser-known method for reporting on your Microsoft Dynamics GP data is through Solver’s BI360. BI360 is an Excel-based business intelligence tool that offers out-of-the-box integration with Dynamics GP for reporting, budgeting, and dashboards. It offers several key benefits to users:
- Familiar Environment – BI360 is an Excel add-on, which means all of your reporting is designed and displayed in the same Excel environment that you are already accustomed to.
- Simple Design – No SQL knowledge is required to design your own report or budget in BI360. It’s a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows almost anyone in your organization to develop customized and effective reports quickly.
- Integration – BI360 automatically integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics GP environment and pulls data from GP in real-time when generating reports, so you never have to worry about synchronization.
- Easy Distribution – not only does BI360 give you an easy and effective medium to design and view custom reports, but also allows you to easily distribute static versions of your reports to non-BI360 users.
In a nutshell, BI360 is a simple tool that provides powerful Dynamics GP reporting in a familiar environment – what more do you need?
By: Rahim Jiwani, Application Specialist, WebSan Solutions Inc.
I recently read an article in the Toronto Star titled “IT projects are ticking time bombs.”
The article cited a study at Oxford University where they found that 17 percent of IT projects were so mismanaged that they had “average cost overruns of 200 per cent….”
After reading the article, I spent some time thinking about the IT projects I’ve been involved in over the years, from the large, multi-million dollar SAP projects to the smaller, 5-15 user Dynamics GP projects. I’ve had my share of smooth go-lives and my share of “rough” projects. One common theme with the projects that run smoothly is that an unbreakable link exists between the project team and their vision of what they’re working on and the overall business goals for the project.
It’s somewhat human nature, really. If we understand the “why” of what we’re doing, then the “what”, and “how” are easier to understand and “get behind.” I’ve seen projects with great potential and a really strong business case go off the rails because the executives didn’t effectively communicate to the project team what the real goal was. If the project team and leaders have “context” by which to understand the purpose behind the project, the odds of success rise dramatically.
There are obviously numerous other factors that affect the outcome of an IT project (which I’ve written about in the past), but I come back to executive involvement and leadership as the #1 factor in project success.
I’ve even seen “rough” projects continue off the rails for months and even years until a new executive comes on board in the company to “take charge” and rally the troops around fixing the problems that exist. In fact, it amazes me every time how rapidly the issues actually get resolved, once a strong leader puts their weight behind identifying the problems and assigning clear accountability for their resolution.
One of the things I look for when selling software to a new prospect is a strong leader. We even had a Client executive bring his entire team to our office this week just to “see the whites of our eyes” and have his team meet ours before moving forward with us. To me, that’s a sign of a strong leader who understands what it takes to deliver a successful IT project.
So perhaps some IT projects are ticking time bombs, but all bombs can be diffused by the right person with the right tools and attitude.
By Andrew King, Managing Director, WebSan Solutions Inc.
We all know that the economy is not in the best shape. Some companies are forced to downsize due to insufficient revenue in these times. Anywhere that they can cut cost is a benefit to them, that’s why many companies are now deciding to use Saas (Software as a service). Just because a company may be downsizing doesn’t mean their data and files do, so they still need software to store their information. The great aspect about Saas is that instead of spending money on hardware, installation and maintenance you have the advantages of having your company records, data and information web based.
If you can save money in you IT spending and still have the advantages of data being backed up, disaster recovery and long term record retention, wouldn’t you do it? But maybe you’re a smaller company and your IT department consists of only you. Then you should get your core business applications hosted in the “Cloud”. You still have access to everything in your database; the only difference is that it’s through the internet. Now you might ask, “What kind of software would be a good choice to leverage as a hosted solution?”
Microsoft Dynamics GP online accounting software gives companies the flexibility to customize the software based on their needs and requirements. It’s one of the most capable and sophisticated business accounting solutions for small to medium business, now available in the Cloud. No need to install software on users’ laptops or worry about keeping the system updated with the latest patch.
Investing in Online Dynamics GP is a good investment in your business; it puts your finance department on the same wavelength with other department and keeps your general ledgers, payables and receivables, budgeting, collections management highly organized.
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics GP click here
By Natalie Williams, Marketing Coordinator, WebSan Solutions Inc., a Canadian Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner