Archive for March, 2012

Convergence 2012 Update

Convergence 2012 was quite a successful event for me again this year. Like last year, though, all of the excitement and learning has led to an increased workload upon return to the office, as I start to dig in to all of the updates and changes that I want to make for the organization.
My theme for the remainder of calendar year 2012 is going to be focused around GP User Training. To start this process, I put together the below memo for the organization. Hopefully other users will find this to be a useful resource:
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Tips and Tricks from Convergence 2012

The following list is made up of some of the tips and tricks that I was reminded of over the course of the four days at Convergence. Some of them may be obvious, but it never hurts to rehash in order to avoid mistakes and lessen data entry requirements.
Speed Date Entry
Keying on the day number in a date field will cause Dynamics GP to fill in the current month and year. For example, keying a “23″ in a date field the month of March 2012 will input the date 23/03/2012.
Exception Reporting
Use Smartlists as a way to do Exception Reporting in GP. For example, as part of the month-end close process, Smartlist reports can be created to show any unposted transactions, any GL accounts that are set up incorrectly, or any erred transactions. If the exception report yields no items in the smartlist, there are no exceptions to review.

Testing
The development/test company databases are there for a reason. They should be used freely and often. If you find yourself hesitating prior to posting an entry, take the ten minutes to switch over to the test company and first perform the transaction there. Don’t test in the production company.

Prepayments
Use Project Accounting to better track prepayments. By putting the prepayment “on account”, once an invoice is entered the system triggers to let you know that there is a balance associated to the account and then allows you to apply against it.

Unapplied Documents
Go to Reports > Sales > Analysis > Unapplied Documents in order to run a report of all payments, returns, and credit memos that have not been applied to invoices/sales documents. This report can be used at month-end dates to help ensure that all paid A/R items are closed out and removed from the Historical A/R Report.

1099 Vendors
Leverage Smartlists in GP in order to manage your 1099 vendors on a monthly basis. Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP > Smartlist; follow through from Purchasing > Vendors > 1099 Vendors and keep up to date on records and which vendors you will be sending a 1099 to at the end of the year.

Smartlist Wildcards
You can perform searches and filter using Wildcards in Smartlist. The table below breaks down the SQL -like wildcards that are available:

As an example, in the screenshot below the Smartlist search definition is going to search for vendors whose vendor name begins with A, C, J, L, or R:

Smartlist Clarity
Improve report clarity by renaming Smartlist Columns. Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP > Smartlist, create your smartlist, click “Columns” and change the “Display Name” for each column heading that you’d like to update.

Additional information and support


The Microsoft Dynamics Support website has a host of information available for customers.
http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/customer/en-us/default.aspx

From that site there are links to training materials, customer support, and the Dynamics GP Community.

CustomerSource
CustomerSource is your home to all Microsoft sponsored support, training, etc. Ask a site administrator for your login information.
https://mbs2.microsoft.com/userinfo/AssociateAccount.aspx

Customer Training
There are numerous training materials available throughout the CustomerSource site. Below is a link to the main training page with downloads and information available.
http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/customer/en-US/training.aspx

Dynamics Community
There are Forums, Blogs, and Videos posted to the Microsoft Dynamics Community website. Users can post specific questions and look for support ranging from other users to Microsoft support employees to industry experts.
http://community.dynamics.com/product/gp/default.aspx?ref=hp

Product Suggestions
Microsoft pays attention to the Product Suggestions that are logged in to the system. Go to the Customer Support webpage, log in to your account, and log an issue/suggestion. It’s very likely that if enough other users log the same issue that the problem will be resolved / changed by the next version of GP software.

General Searches
Microsoft set up a search engine specific to Microsoft Dynamics GP. It pulls a search from over 100 blogs and registered support sites that deal directly with GP. If you have a difficult question or want to start looking for support on your own, this site is likely the place to start:
http://mygpsearch.blogspot.com/p/my-gp-search.html

GPUG – Great Plains User Group
Go sign up for the GPUG, GP’s official free user-based and user-driver group. General membership is free. The site gives even further access to user support, blogs, trainings, events, and other resources.
http://www.gpug.com/

CRMUG – CRM User Group
Just like GPUG, go sign up for the CRMUG, CRM’s official free user-based and user-driver group. General membership is free. The site gives even further access to user support, blogs, trainings, events, and other resources.
http://www.crmug.com/

Thoughts on Convergence 2012

If you think that Convergence is a waste of time and money, you haven’t been to Convergence. If you think it’s long, tiring, and requires a lot of effort, you’re probably right.

I go to Convergence to talk with Dynamics Partners and Users. I don’t go to any sessions. I don’t spend much time looking at software products and services offered by other partners. I don’t even eat much of the food. I talk with people about Dynamics; how they use it, what they like about it, what they don’t, and what they’d like to do with it.

Every Dynamics user I talk with heartily agrees that Convergence is a worthwhile use of their time and money. The most enthusiastic are those who are attending Convergence for the first time. Most of them are downright bubbly as they describe their experiences over those few days. We had several customers join is in Houston this year. There were several first-timers. All of them loved it.

These are some of the reasons first-timers love it:

  • They get to discuss the issues they may be having with another set of very knowledgeable people
  • They become aware of a broader range of functionality available in their existing systems
  • They decide that, “OK. Now it’s time to upgrade.”
  • They discover several ways to solve problems or increase the benefits of their systems with small additional investments
  • Microsoft does a pretty good job of executing a fun and interesting convention experience
  • They get to talk with lots of other users, doing all sorts of things with Dynamics
  • They get to see Kirill live and in action, and Doug Kennedy may play the drums
  • They get to visit an interesting place they may have never been to before
  • They know that there will most likely be another Convergence within 12 months

So next year we’re going to New Orleans. Will you be there?

Rock and Rave vs. The Spot at Convergence?

These two events are the major annual parties that have thousands of participants every year. I have been to many events in the past but I thought I’d start ranking the parties against each other so if you are a person that only has one good party in you a year you’ll know which one to attend.

The Rock and Rave was fantastic this year if bowling, pool and networking with you’re fellow convergence teammates.

Timmy K was a king of Lucky Strike.convergence 034

Tim was good at pool but we found Steve S. A. was a shark. I personally saw him clear the table and I didn’t even get to take one shot.

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Of course Rebecca was in the middle of it all.

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The spot is usually some type of band or dance location. If you like to bust a move like Jeff below this is a great event.

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If you’re not ready to kick up your heels it’s still worth coming by and checking out the scene.

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I’m a sucker for dancing but I love bowling and pool. I’d give the edge to Rock and Rave this year.

What do you think?

We still have give aways

The past couple of days have been great. If you haven’t seen our team walking around in our bright orange shirts you might be the only one.

Here’s some of our team trying to give away free stuff.

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The famous Steve Chapman is a hit every where. We’ve had his followers come by and wait around for him to return from his various activities.

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I think we are going to have his followers start handing out freebies so we don’t have to take them all home.

Running in the Rain

My days are always much better when I can begin them with a little exercise. That’s especially true when I’m out of town as I am today, attending Convergence.

It’s a stormy day in Houston. Lots of wind and rain. A perfect morning for a short run.

I had a nice two mile run down to and along the river, as a gentle and warm rain escorted me along my path.

Actually a nice run does me more benefit than a good night’s sleep, so I’m ready to go. See you there.

It’s 9:30 am in Houston. Doesn’t look too cheery, does it?

Opening Ceremony at Convergence 2012

It was a great day. Everyone I talked with indicated business has picked up over the last couple of years so that is great news for the Dynamics community. Spent the morning in partner meetings then spent the afternoon working as a booth babe. Come to think of it, there weren’t that many people coming by. Maybe I scared everyone off instead of attracting. I’ll do some pushups and hope for better traffic today.

One big announcement is MBS has now made the Professional Service Tools Library open for partners to use with clients. That’s wonderful news as the tools have typically cost around $1,000 per tool in the past.

There was a lot of people at Minute Maid Park for opening ceremonies. We took the clubhouse tour which was great.

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Rebecca’s son is really into baseball and weightlifting. She was sure to send many photo’s to him to make him jealous.

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Me in the clubhouse.

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I’m pretty sure that’s Fab Melo but I only caught a glimpse of him.

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There he is again.

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Here’s some fellow tour attendees. Albert looks to be having a good time.

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The Red Sox must have prompted the sign above.

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Daughtry rocking out.

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It was a pretty fun concert and great event. Thanks MBS.

Day 2 – Finally, the Fun Begins

The preparation and setup is done, so we got to spend  most of the day talking with customers and partners; my favorite part. It’s the reason I make the effort to travel across the country. There are lots of enthusiastic Dynamics users and partners. It’s fantastic.

I spent a small part of the morning with Microsoft Dynamics GP developers. They are very, very focused on delivering the next version of Dynamics GP. They are super focused on the technology in order to present a better experience to the end-user. That’s it, delivering a better experience to the end user. You shouldn’t want anything more. Your investment in the product will continue to produce a positive return. I know it.

We spent the evening at the Astros’ home park. What a beautiful baseball park. I like the Padres’ park in San Diego, but Minute Maid Park is much  more interesting and fun.

Oh yeah. And there was this kid named Daughtry playing his guitar. He was pretty good.

Are you David Musgrave?

It’s been a while since I’ve seen David Musgrave in person and I thought I saw him from afar. Being the friendly person that I am I went up to him and asked “Are you David Musgrave?” It just so happen not to be David Musgrave. It actually was Mariano Gomez.

Mariano was quite polite in the whole encounter and happened to point me to the real David Musgrave. mariano 170

It was an honest mistake. Don’t these two fine looking fellows look like twins? It must have been the facial hair that confused me.

OK, I’ll come clean. David actually dared me to ask Mariano that question much to the delight of all present.

I can honestly say that was the highlight of the day. That and hearing everyone yell at the Microsoft executives about all the things they don’t like about the ERP channel.

Day 1 – “I thought you brought the keys.” “No, I thought you brought the keys.”

Arrived all intact in Houston by 12:00 noon. 73 degrees and a bit humid. St. Patrick’s Day celebration in full swing.

Only one snafu. We inadvertently left the keys to our travel boxes in San Diego.

Not a problem that couldn’t be easily solved with a pair of bolt cutters.

Quickly got set up for the next four days. Easy.

Should be a great time in Houston. Looking forward to it.

Convergence 2012 Pregame for Partners

Convergence is almost in full swing. Partners are meeting today to get some pre Convimageergence instructions from Microsoft. Everything in the GP sessions is about the new GP web client that is going to be available for GP2012. I’ve been to a lot of Convergences and, in my opinion, sessions that include discussions about products that aren’t released yet are fairly silly. People ask questions about how things are going to work and the presenter pretends to know exactly how the product will end up looking. At least the presenter is fair enough to say “We don’t have any idea how we are going to do the email integration for the web client”.

They did announce the new web client will convert all Report Writer reports to Word automatically. I not sure I heard that right. It sounds kind of unbelievable to me that Report Writer reports will convert? Anyone else hear anything on that side of things?

I did see Mark Polino from a far but I wasn’t wearing my dazzling orange shirt so he probably didn’t recognize me.

Met up with the Rose crew. Always good to see everyone as I’m not in the office all that much so I’m more like a nebulous cloud team member.

Our RoseASP booth is up and looking good. Make sure you come by and get some good swag.

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