Archive for June, 2010

What kind of training is most beneficial for Dynamics GP? Part 2

This blog is a continuation of a previous post found here. That post contains a bit of background about how I learn/learned Dynamics GP. I would now like to go through several training methods and list off the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Formal MBS Classroom training – Usually an intensive 1 to 5 day class taught by certified instructors on the particular subject. Often held at MBS training centers or at various Partner locations.

Advantages- Covers everything related to your topic. Usually have training material developed for course. Can take beginner, intermediate, or advanced level classes. Beginner classes tend to be long and boring. Advanced classes seem to be shorter and more to the point but still broad in scope.

Disadvantages- Fairly expensive. Often generic instruction as it doesn’t relate specifically to your business. Lots of different students with various levels of questions.

Onsite training – Usually administered from a Dynamics consultant, typically sent from your Partner. Can find rogue consultants working on the down low at cheaper rates (not sure how I feel about that. If I was the rogue consultant it would probably be fine. If it was someone else selling services I’d probably be weary of the quality. Ha.)

Advantages- Instruction from consultants that know you and your business. Have often implemented Dynamics for your business. Very specific on procedures and processes. Tailored to company needs. Can schedule a consultant whenever you need it.
Disadvantages- Consulting rates can be expensive. If you get all employees together that need instruction can be cheaper than formal classroom instruction per person.

Offsite Training – Training from your Partner or other Dynamics Partners at their location. Usually half day, full day or multiple day training. Don’t be confused with formal MBS classroom training. Example of class schedule from Rose’s website.

Advantages- Class is away from usual environment. Less distractions. Can have current data used if access is worked out. Can be scheduled for one company with several users needing training.
Disadvantages- Most Partners will cancel classes if they don’t reach a minimum attendance for scheduled classes. Can be frustrating to put off classes.

Dynamics GP system manuals and user guides – Found in the help section of GP. GP 2010 and GP 10.0 have it listed under the question mark in the top right hand corner of the program. Every module or 3rd party product has it’s own user manual.

Advantages- Free. All the obscure features of each module listed.

Disadvantages- Reading user guides are better than any sleeping pill invented. You can’t sleep, try reading the SOP user manual.

Conferences – Convergence, Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Tech-ed, SPTech, Comic-con, etc.

Advantages- Networking galore. Lots of industry professionals to bounce questions off of. Get to see what’s new, figure out old features not being used. Broad based knowledge and specific knowledge if you go with a purpose.
Disadvantages- Usually require travel to remote locations. Can be fun unless you get sent to Fargo in the middle of January. Have to be away from your business/office. Usually return home full of inspiration but completely wiped out from a week of no sleep.

Partnersource / customersource – MBS official website with knowledge base articles, how to documentation, user guides, white papers, installation documentation, product specifications, etc.

Advantage- If you are current with your enhancement you can access site. If you are seeing it on your installation MBS has probably seen it and there is a tech doc on how to resolve or get around issue.

Disadvantage Searching capabilities are pretty frustrating / limited. Maybe MBS should put their tech docs on Google.

Online training – Webinars, online manuals

Advantages – You can attend/watch at your own convenience. Some are free, a lot cost a nominal fee.

Disadvantages – Online manuals in GP are pretty bad. Can’t interact with instructor. Not as specific if you are not attending live presentation to ask questions.

Online resources – Blogs as numerous as the sands in the sea, GP communities, www.google.com.

Advantages – Mostly free. I usually start with google (sorry Bing), it will lead to specific blogs/authors. I tend to gravitate to David Musgrave (Patrick Roth gets honorary mention here as well.), Mariano Gomez, Mark Polino, Victoria Yudin (Sql view queen), Frank Hamelly, Leslie Vail. Oh, Rose business solutions as well. ha. GP communities will often help with break fix type questions. Here are some training videos from our website compliments of movie star Steve Chapman.

Disadvantage – You get what you pay for. Nothing is guaranteed to work or not break something. Highly recommend testing everything before implementing. If you are reading my posts and taking them for gospel you should reconsider. I would assume every other blogger would suggest the same thing.

Trial and error – I find creating a test company from production data is best when using this approach.

Advantage – You can test several different approaches to figure out what is best for you. Doesn’t effect your production environment. It’s free.

Disadvantage – Can take longer than calling someone who knows what they are doing. If you do something wrong (eg setup a module incorrectly without thinking the effects on the future) can be very limiting on future use of product. Not that using a fully trained consultant will guarantee anything but you probably have more chances of getting it right.

Conclusion: For me, unless I’m doing it on my own data for my own needs I find it hard to justify the time and expense for a several day class. I like getting a project and using manuals, fellow consultants, GP Blogs, etc. to learn a new module. I may lose some time figuring things out but I know what I’m doing relates specifically to my future needs. I also tend to think hiring a consultant for a few hours will get the same results as attending a day long class. Of course I’m a GP consultant so I’m just a wee bit biased.

So which method of training is the most beneficial for Dynamics GP for you? Did I miss any other forms of training?

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