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
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.
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.
Learn about Microsoft 365, CRM and Cloud Migration
Microsoft 365 Enterprise is more than just the latest in Microsoft Office. 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