April 2019 – Endeavour is aware of an issue caused by a recent update to Adobe Writer / Adobe Professional. This issue is impacting all versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP when creating PDF documents. The issue relates to a new security message that appears when GP attempts to create a PDF document.
The Adobe security message appears BEHIND the main GP interface.
This Adobe security warning affecting Microsoft Dynamics GP is preventing users from interacting with the message. GP may appear to be frozen.
If your organization uses Adobe Professional / Adobe Writer along with Dynamics GP, you will need to make the changes outlined in the Adobe technical article linked below.
Common uses of Adobe Writer and Dynamics GP include the Paystub Emailer add-on from Encore and the Emailer add-on from Binary Stream – to name a few. This issue does not apply to emailing PDF documents via the Dynamics GP Word Template functionality.
If you need additional assistance, or would like to jointly test to see if this issue applies to your Dynamics GP environment, please contact the Endeavour Solutions Support desk by emailing email@example.com .
KPI’s, Business Intelligence, Custom Reports and Datamarts are nothing new to Microsoft Dynamics GP, but the potential for user adoption and ease of access has improved significantly with the release and recent updates to Microsoft Power BI – Microsoft’s new cloud based dashboard and reporting tool. As a testament to Microsoft’s backing of this great tool, we’ve been told that Power BI will be embedded across the entire 2018 Microsoft Dynamics portfolio including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information to help corporate executives, business managers and other end users make more informed business decisions.
Embedding Power BI Dashboards and KPIs in your organization
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be used as a defined measure to gauge the performance of how your business operations and strategies are being implemented and executed. Microsoft Dynamics GP can obviously give you the answers, but typically only if you are looking for them, and periodically additional outside information is needed to form a more complete story. Additionally, there are users that may be outside of your core GP team, who would love to gain access to AR, Sales and other KPI. PowerBI can be a good means to help expose such valuable insights. For example, Endeavour’s GP Bistro product connects GP with Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) and used Power BI within CRM to provide dashboards for sales by custom, AR aging by customer, and popular products sold. www.endeavour365.ca/gpbistro
Telling a story with KPIs and dashboards via Microsoft Power BI can serve to “keep a pulse” on such metrics, supporting an aggregation of information and a more frequent review of metrics by business users. This higher frequency (weekly, daily, even multiple times a day) of reviewing and taking action based on specific metrics relevant to each department is what is referred to as “embedding KPIs” within your organization. Before we look at user adoption in relation to your efforts to embed dashboards and KPIs, let’s take a quick look into what makes a great dashboard and set of KPIs in the first place.
What makes a great Power BI dashboard and set of KPIs?
Most KPI’s and related visualizations seen on a dashboard (graphics, numbers, pie charts, maps, bar graphs) represent specific metrics. Each metric can tell its own story and together with other related metrics on the same dashboard, can tell a broader and more complete story, including storytelling elements such as a timelines, cause and effect relationships, and a shared context.
Each KPI on your dashboard should follow the M-C-A method for KPIs; an acronym representing: Measurable, Common understanding and Actionable.
Great KPIs require all three (M-C-A) and typically start with a Measure represented by a $, # or %. The measures should be supported by a Common understanding around the source of the data, the timeline represented, the method of calculation, and the desired targets. Periodically our consultants will host a cross-functional team meeting to assist clients in reaching an internal agreement on specific measures such as % Available Inventory. Finally, great KPIs should be Actionable. Actionable refers to the underlying business commitment to keep a pulse on business performance and to hold specific people accountable for the results. Actionable also refers to the documented set of future actions that will be used to adjust the ‘people, processes or technology’ if the KPI targets are missed.
Supporting User Adoption of Embedded KPIs
Once the dashboards and KPIs are designed and published using Microsoft Power BI, there is a need to ensure that the business users are able to embrace and accept these dashboards within their daily practices. Without adoption, your team will be hard pressed to achieve any positive action and performance improvements if the dashboards are not used.
Borrowing from our Project Managers at Endeavour Solutions, user adoption is best supported by facilitating three key inputs: Knowledge, Attitude and Practice, or what has also been referred to as reaching the user’s head, heart and hands. Our lead Consultants and Project Managers often include a change management plan (communications and training) that strives to anticipate and address potential user gaps such as the following:
• Knowledge of what the change is, including the difference between the old and the new.
• Attitude towards the change, sometimes boiling down to either: WIIFM – “what’s in it for me”, or addressing any issues of ‘trust’ related to the questionable success of past changes.
• Ability to Practice, test, trial, and live through the change. From a Dashboard and Power BI perspective, this would involve a short training session and clear set of communications on what the KPI’s mean, how they are calculated, desired thresholds, future targets and the actions that can be taken to improve results.
Dashboards and KPIs serve to keep a view of specific tactics, keeping a scorecard on the actions and programs that are implemented to support your organization’s efforts and strategic goals. We’ve found that the ease of deployment, when using Microsoft Power BI, has been greatly increased, and thus reducing the cost of deploying Dashboards and KPIs within your organization.
As a next step, we recommend watching our Power BI Demo video (39min) accessed on-demand via our website at www.endeavoursolutions.ca/businessintelligence , then talking with your peers and broader business community around the types of KPIs (that are M-C-A) and dashboards that can help to improve your organization’s performance. In the video, we outline a project methodology as well as additional recommendations and next steps for you and your team.
Our consultants at Endeavour Solutions have a number of pre-defined KPIs, sample dashboards and a defined project methodology, that can help to accelerate the adoption and embedding of dashboards and KPIs as part of your next Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Intelligence project. www.endeavoursolutions.ca/about-us
First of all, yes you can have your on-premise server-based software hosted in a Dynamics GP Cloud.
There are a variety of flavours of “Cloud”. The two main ones that we recommend are Public Cloud (Microsoft Azure) or Private Cloud (Endeavour’s Cloud hosting partner).
For today’s insight, lets focus on the Private Cloud, as the Azure public cloud is currently geared more towards technical IT needs.
So, what is the difference between a private cloud and what you may have now?
It depends on what you have now. If your current Microsoft Dynamics GP or Dynamics CRM server-based software is already hosted off-site at a 3rd party data centre, the two may be roughly the same, just a different billing model (per user fee vs a list of monthly service fees) and potentially a different set of support services.
If your current Microsoft Dynamics GP or Dynamics CRM server-based software is hosted in an “IT closet” at your office, there is a good chance that moving to a Private Cloud may be quite a bit different – and well worth considering.
Some of the high level differences between cloud and internal hosting include:
For CRM web clients, the user experience would be roughly the same, though mobile access may be easier to setup via a private cloud.
If you are using the Dynamics GP desktop clients, you will need to RDP (remote desktop) into the server for the private cloud, many clients are already doing this rather than a full direct-connect.
For GP web client and remote access from a home office, this will be easier via a private cloud.
The firewall, anti-virus and other security measures are almost always better in a private cloud.
In terms of Risk, typically the private cloud is a safer bet.
Better disaster recovery, better back-up and better restore times.
Better physical security, better cyber-security and better fire protection.
Often a greater level of IT monitoring and loading of periodic windows and security patches.
Performance may also be better with cloud depending on the specifications and age of your current infrastructure
Does Private Cloud hosting cost more?
The short answer is “Maybe”, (see Endeavour Canadain GP Private Cloud Price)
The long answer is often a resounding “No”, once other costs/risks are considered. The top costs to consider are:
The IT support services that you use to monitor and maintain your IT infrastructure.
The back-up and off-site storage protocols that you have in place.
The ongoing physical security, cyber-security and protection efforts employed.
The level of Risk you are prepared to assume, the consequences and cost of a potential breach (ie Ransomware or theft of customer data)
If your IT team is highly skilled and are backed by a healthy budget, then a private cloud will often cost less, however if your IT team is running on a shoestring budget, or are seen as a sunk cost, then, yes a Private Cloud will be seen as costing more – but may be worth it in terms of reduced risk.
Beware of deals (e-mail SPAM) that are Too Good – To Be True (TG-TBT), as they probably are!
To Good to be True # 1 – Free migration, GP migration with no ISV’s, with free online training.
Migration excluding ISV’s (3rd party products) is of little use as most rely on ISV products.
Free online training is on CustomerSource. Endeavour has many free recorded webinars.
Training and support for your business processes and specific configuration is better via Endeavour Support.
To Good to be True # 2 – Low cost introductory Azure hosting. Our technical team has looked extensively at this.
When 24×7 performance and various consumption fee’s add up, costs are double the introductory fees.
Dynamics GP needs additional server(s) power and memory for remote desktop, for MR and for some of the more complex modules and ISV’s.
To Good to be True # 3 – Dynamics GP in the Cloud as an all-in subscription with no software maintenance.
This is smoke and mirrors unless you are 100% vanilla GP with no ISV and no significant configurations.
This scenario is essentially a net new implementation with high costs to configure to your needs, which I assume are already being met. (if you need help contact support)
With current Microsoft prices, moving from a perpetual concurrent user license to a per-named-user subscription license will cost more in the long run.
The Answer is: Embrace the Endeavour Private Cloud, for those clients where Cloud is a good fit.
News on the new Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 new features.
We’re trilled to be one of the first to provide a more in-depth overview on the new features within Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 ERP. With a scheduled release date of December 1, 2017, Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP has a great looking future with a detailed GP roadmap (Great Plains) and continual investments from Microsoft for this strong mid-market ERP system. Since Dynamics GP is a mature application, you will see now, and into the future, more and more focus on User Experience and user requested functions, rather than major releases of new modules or other core functions and capabilities. We believe that this is a “great thing to see” in an ERP, where stability, flexibility and scalability are important. Learn more about Endeavour Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics GP consulting and support in Canada and USA at GP Upgrade.
Top Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 new features
Dynamics GP 2018 Additional User Requested Functions
SmartList Favourites with unique password protection. Great for sharing as read-only.
Checks and Cheques have been renamed as Payments as seen in Payables Transaction windows. This reflects the common term for ETF vs Cheque.
Copy user access settings and security across AA dimension codes. Therefore saving time on setting up new users.
A variety of new Sort functions for the Receivables Transaction Inquiry window – by Type, document number, amount, amount remaining, document date, etc.
Ability to Print and Email a single statement from the customer card as seen to the right.
Ability to print Purchase Requisition.
User experience updates to the Dynamics GP web client including ‘type ahead auto-complete’. Great for cloud-hosted users.
Additional sorting options for Bank Reconciliations. Therefore saving time in monthly bank rec.
Even greater integration and accelerators for Power BI with the new GP 2018 Power BI Content Pack. (coming soon)
Dynamics GP 2018 Workflow v 4.0
New workflow approvals for General Ledger Accounts and Purchase Invoice
Workflow now exists for almost all areas including batch approvals for Purchasing, Payroll, Project, Payables, Sales, System Security and Vendor management.
Ability to copy workflow steps and settings.
Additional fields for PO and Payables transaction workflow.
Reminder e-mails for Workflow to help keep approvals on task.
Dynamics GP 2018 Improved DocAttach (Document Attachment)
Add, View and Modify attachments on most master record windows, inquiry windows and transaction entry windows.
Document Attach icon is now shown within the Ribbon on most transaction and inquiry screens including:
GP Document Attachment on Receivables Entry
Document Attachment in General Ledger Entry
Document Attachment on Employee Inquiry
GP Display Vendor notes on Vendor Inquiry
Display Customer notes on Customer Inquiry
Project Notes screens in Project Inquiry and PA Project Inquiry
Document Attach in Asset General Information (FA) (Fixed Assets).
Endeavour Solutions has been working with Microsoft Dynamics GP Canada for over 28-years to advise and help progressive organizations improve their business processes, operational efficiency and overall performance by leveraging the power of Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP. Underpinning each project is our belief that a strong ERP or CRM is only as good at the data within it. Based on this concept, our team at Endeavour strives to ask “why” and “how” to uncover the true processes and business insights that will help drive innovation within your business. Meet our team www.endeavoursolutions.ca/about-us
Endeavour Solutions Canada is aMicrosoft Gold ERP and Microsoft Silver Cloud & CRM Partner focusing on development, implementation, upgrades, support and training for Dynamics GP ERP and Dynamics 365 CRM as well as Office 365 and Microsoft Power BI.
Office 365 Enterprise is more than just the latest in Microsoft Office 2019. It also includes:
= Advanced security, profiles, and cloud management
= Microsoft Exchange Online for e-mails
= Microsoft Azure Active Directory
= OneDrive for Business and SharePoint online
= Strong collaboration tools and integration with Dynamics 365 embedded within Outlook