Our team at Endeavour Solutions and GP Support North are thrilled with today’s confirmation of a new extended Great Plains / Dynamics GP Roadmap showing 2021 to 2028 and beyond. Released online and via an official Microsoft blog on July 8, 2021, the new Microsoft Servicing of Dynamics GP aligns with similar schedules for Dynamics 365 and Officially serves to give approval to the future of Dynamics GP.
Clients, as well as our consultants, have been frustrated with the lack of clarity over the past two years as Microsoft has had an aggressive focus on their Cloud-based Business Central ERP platform, leaving their updates to roadmap announcements on the back burner. Unfortunately, over this time, there were a large number of competitors trying to state that Dynamics GP is Dead, which was entirely untrue and in many cases a flat-out lie. It shows the lack of trust and integrity of certain individuals who mislead business leaders into making rash decisions for migration to other platforms.
At GP Support North and Endeavour, we are confident in the power of Dynamics GP and its longevity. So much so that we have increased both our team and the number of new GP clients during 2020 and 2021. Maybe now is the time to consider a New Microsoft Dynamics GP partner.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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
Free HR Module within Dynamics GP – Wow!. For those who haven’t already implemented HR within Dynamics GP, a quick and simple implementation of the Human Resources module can help save time/cost for your HR team. Based on a simple 3-day install/setup & training, the following are the top reasons why you should consider using the HR module.
1) The HR Module is Free – You already own it as part of your current Dynamics GP licensing. Endeavour can help you to grant access and security rights to your HR staff to maintain a centralized record of employee data such as job roles, promotions, anniversary dates, grievances, job performance, certifications and leave tracking for sick-days, vacation days and short-term disability leaves.
2) Comply with ISO, industry and privacy standards – The HR Module can be used to provide safe, documented and predictable processes for centralized record keeping of Employee data. Furthermore, with scanning and GP document attach, unsecured file-cabinets can be replaced with a secure online repository within Dynamics GP.
3) Employee certification tracking can be automated – By tracking employee certifications for safety, skills, industry associations, Unions and other regulatory bodies, SmartLists and reminders can be used to track expiry dates and proactively ensure that certifications are kept up to date.
HR Module within Dynamics GP
4) Reduce risks and chaos – One of HR’s job is to take precautions to protect the organization. Keeping easy to find, detailed records will reduce the administrative burden of having to locate, build or gather documentation relating to any potential lawsuits relating to employee performance, safety or termination.
A member of our GP consulting team had the distinct pleasure of providing coverage for our finance department over the holidays. This included opening mail and performing some simple AR processes / bank deposits. While looking at client renewal cheques, she noticed much of the good, the bad and the ugly of GP Cheque printing, which later became a point of inspiration for this month’s newsletter. Let’s start with a fictitious sample, of a “bad cheque” based on a combination of real examples seen by our AR team.
Sample “Bad Cheque” (Dynamics GP check printing)
The risk of “Bad Cheques”
Ugly, mis-aligned cheques are a poor representation of your company’s brand and attention to detail
Poor alignment creates an increased exposure to forgery and fraud (Example $__60.97 vs $9060.97)
Poor font choices (too small, too thin, too light), make it harder for your suppliers to automate their processes with cheque scanning
Sample “Good Cheque” (Dynamics GP Check printing)
What makes a “Good Cheque”
Text is an appropriate size and aligns with each of the relevant headings
The dollar sign $ is close to the dollar value, and the verbose printed amount is left aligned to reduce fraud
Payee name is in ALL CAPS as required for Cheque scanning
Paper Cheque stock has built in security features to prevent forgery
For more information on these insights, or other questions related to Dynamics GP and Dynamics CRM, please contact the Endeavour support team. We would be happy to help you explore how Microsoft Dynamics can further help your business succeed.