Saturday, June 27, 2009

Knowledge Base

For those that have not used it before, I want to introduce you to the eOne knowledge base. This KB gives all our partners and customers access to hundreds of articles that cover SmartList Builder, eXtender, Navigation List Builder and SmartConnect.

There are more than 180 SmartConnect articles that answer most of the questions that will come up during an implementation. All thanks goes to David Youngquist who is extremely diligent in taking our partners calls, and exposing the solutions via the KB for the benefit of all our other customers and partners. Used as a resource alongside the manual, it gives you a great way to troubleshoot any issues that arise or questions you might have during an implementation.

I am the first to admit that our search engine for the KB needs updating and we are in the process of doing this, but it still remains the best resource for troubleshooting. You can access the KB from our website





A couple of our most common questions that can be answered in the KB are shown below. I know all our consultants prefer self service and being self sufficient, so take a look here for your questions and you are likely to find the answer. If the answer is not there then please contact us at support@eonesolutions.net or +1 888 319 3663 and you will likely see your questions posted to the KB shortly thereafter.


Running an integration, but nothing happens

Category: SmartConnect
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2008

Description:

When I run a SmartConnect map the progress screen comes up. It says integration complete but has not integrated any records.

Resolution:

This often happens when you have imported a map into SmartConnect. The destination database is not populated and you need to go an mark the database in which you would like this map to run.

On the main map screen, there is a GoTo box on the top right hand corner of the screen. Select companies from this menu and mark one or more GP companies in which you want to run this map.

Now run the map and the integration should run without any issues.


System Requirements for SmartConnect

Category: SmartConnect
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2009

Description:

What are the system requirements for SmartConnect?

Resolution:

The hardware and operating system requirements for SmartConnect are the same as the Microsoft requirements for Dynamics. So if your machines will successfully run Dynamics, you can run SmartConnect.

The following are additional requirements for SmartConnect

1. The client machines must have Microsoft.NET framework 3.0 or higher installed.
2. If they want to integrate with CRM, they MUST be on CRM 4.0
3. If they want to integrate with CRM, or use the Excel addin for SmartConnect, they need to have IIS installed on a server machine on the network. This machine will have a SmartConnect Web service installed on it.
4. If they are on Dynamics 9.0, they have to have at LEAST Service Pack 2 loaded. Any service pack above 2 is fine.
5. If they are on Dynamics 10.0 they can have any service pack loaded.
6. If they want to use Windows Vista, or Windows 2008 server, they need to be on Dynamics 10.0. The 9.0 SmartConnect product is not compatible with Vista or Windows 2008 at this time.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stop Competing - Play a different game

One of the blogs I keep an eye on is the one produced by the GP product management and marketing team http://blogs.msdn.com/gp/. This is the team that are passionate about making GP better for customers and helping partners sell more solutions.

One of the recent blog entries from the marketing team was an interesting article about how to compete with and beat Sage Mas 90 and Mas 200 customers. The compete sheet is a really good resource and you can read it here.

To expand on this I have one sales tactic that I want to share with you all. CHANGE THE GAME. Do not play the same game as Sage, Accpac, Navision, Epicor etc. Change the rules, change the prospects/customers expectations. Teach, coach and insist that your prospect expect more from an ERP system. Explain how accounting functionality is simply not enough and if they are not solving XXX problem they are wasting their money.

The next few paragraphs are a direct plug for the eOne tools, but the reason we developed these tools was to help our VAR business (and yours) to smash the competition by playing a different game. How do you do it?

1: Use eXtender to change the scope/breadth of the implementation. Find the hard thing that usually gets left out of the project, and make it part of the project. Find the little things and bring them into the project scope. If the customer owns the building, show them how to manage the building using an eXtender building management example. If the prospect has loan equipment, show them the value of tracking this with eXtender. Show how tracking investor or donor relationships in eXtender - means they do not need CRM? Create three custom screens for GP that they may need, and then change the screens on the fly during the demo?

Now the stake holder has seen a system that handles building management, and can be changed easily - he now expects this from all the other software he see's. You have changed the game.

2: Enter Journals, purchase orders, inventory adjustments into Excel and have them update GP real-time. Accpac cannot do that. Explain how it is essential that the inventory manager can update GP real-time from his laptop - without spending 80K on a complex warehouse management system. Can Accpac accept direct PO entry in Excel? Once a prospect sees it they suddenly expect it.

3. Automate using SmartConnect. Automate anything in the demo. It does not matter what. Seeing automation will get them thinking about other things that can be automated. By the end of the demo you will have found 3 things you can automate with SmartConnect. Explain how if that function is not automated in their solution they would be taking a backward step.

4. Use eXtender and SmartConnect together. Think about it. Capture any custom data, in a custom screen and then have it create any record type in GP based upon user defined rules. No other ERP can compete with that - including NAV, AX, SAP, Oracle.

5. Use Custom SmartLists, and the shortcut bar to drive workflow. Show transactions jumping from one persons SmartList to another persons SmartList as a transaction moves through a companies workflow.

It is not just eOne products that make your demo sing there are other things that are must show differentiators:

1. FRX report books and report manager. (a must on every demo)

2. Excel Reports in Outlook

3. Navigation Lists for searching multiple records

4. Business Alerts (they are still cool)

5. Business Portal - even if they never use it, it is a great differentiator

6. .Net development environment in the toolkit.

6. All the ISV's out there with great products. Don't talk about ISV's like they are add-on’s but that they are a core part of the Microsoft solution.

There is no reason why GP is not the leading ERP in the market. It should be, and we at eOne will do our bit to ensure it competes and beats all comers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let me Google that for you

www.lmgtfy.com

Have you ever been asked a stupid questions by a colleague.? Or more specifically a questions that has the answer plastered all over the internet? If they only looked. Next time someone is too lazy to look something up use the link above.

If you get asked:

"How do you convert Liters to Gallons?" - send them this linkhttp://tinyurl.com/npysuf.

"What time is it in Paris?" - send them this linkhttp://tinyurl.com/m2kpd8.

"Does SmartConnect work with CRM"" - send them this linkhttp://tinyurl.com/ksgqo8

Remember you can use this site for any lazy questions, which will almost always reduce the number of lazy questions you get asked next week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Time to Love the Base

I get to speak with many Dynamics GP partners every week, and more often than not we end up talking about the running a GP VAR consultancy. Despite the GFC and all the negative talk almost every partner I speak with indicates 'we are really busy'. That got me to thinking - why we are all so busy and what steps as a community we can take to ensure we not only ride out the storm but continue to grow and do well
Why are GP VAR's doing well in a GFC (according to me):
1. We know our business: This means that we know how to make money out of selling and supporting GP. This model has developed over the last 15-20 years and in general GP partners understand their business really well.
2. We know our customers: Trust between customers and partners has built up over many years, and despite the tough economic times GP VAR's remain the trusted advisor to their customers. This means that if a customer needs to improve efficiency and even reduce their staff levels, they turn to GP VAR's for the solution to their system needs.
3. GP partners know how to sell into their customer base - always by adding value. GP VAR's do this better than any other. I have worked with other software vendors as well as AX and NAV vendors - but nobody work with their existing customer better than GP VAR's.
4. Our risk taking and major investments were a decade ago: GP VAR's have a solid customer base, know there software and are focused on building value and relationships rather than training up untested staff in new technologies (which gets expensive).
What VAR's are doing and should do to grow now:
1. A number of VAR's have cleaned up their consulting and sales rosters . There is no point keeping people on the team that do not add value. I am yet to see any solid hard working consultant or sales person being laid off (no doubt there are a few exceptions to this to the benefit of those partners that will always employ good people when they come along). The people that are pushed out in hard tend to be those that are slack in the first place.
2. Get deeper into your customers business. Understand it. Feel the pain. Provide solutions to help them achieve what they need. Become critical to the success of your customer business and be proud of your efforts. The customer will never forget.
3. Broaden the offering. Now is a great time to over additional value add activities and get into CRM, SharePoint, Document Imaging, Integrations etc. This does not necessarily mean a big investment, and some great success stories exist through partnering with people your trust. Your client trusts you, you trust a top CRM implementer. Bring in the implementer, clip the ticket and provide great solutions without taking the risks of gearing up for new technology.
4. Creative marketing: Throw away the old book. Simply do a Youtube.com search for GP and see how some partners are marketing differently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7-rm6nsux0
5. Use your consultants to sell. This is not as hard as it sounds. Customers believe consultants (well the good ones anyway) way more than they believe a sales person or account manager. It's fact. Anything with a salesy smell is ignored in this market. A consultant that says 'I can save you 3 days a month if we just .....' will close the deal every time.
6. Believe that GP is better than all the competitors. Because it is. Take the true .net development environment of GP, the 15-20 years of functionality, the broad ISV community, office integration capabilities and the low cost of upgrades and ongoing ownership. I challenge any software to compete. I have been a GP presales person for many years believe in a demo GP shown correctly will match and beat anybody. If you want to learn how - send me a message.
Coming back to point 5 above - eOne is doing to help is to help make this easy. We are building a demo environment that our partners can access via TS, that is set up with simple 3 minute demo scripts for all our products. No longer carry hard drives and VPC's around with you and wait 15 minutes for them to restore. Our partner consultants can log on while wrapping up a day in the office with the Financial Controller. In 3 minutes you can show how to enter PO's or Journals into Excel, how to build an eXtender form or how to automate GP tasks with SmartConnect. If you make it a rule that consultants must take 5 minutes before they go home to show each customer something new - you will never run out of consulting work.
This does not have to involve ISV's or eOne products. Re-introduce your customers to Excel Reports (how many of you actually implemented this with V10?), FRX report manager, Excel Report builder, eXtender (especially with SP4 to be released shortly), collections management, analysis cubes etc.
This list is endless and customers will not forgive you if you do not tell them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Social Media


To date I have avoided the social media phenomonen for a variety of reasons (the blog is as close as I get). I thought this image said more than words could.















Sunday, June 14, 2009

CRM Templates

Very shortly eOne we will be releasing a brand new set of CRM and GP integration templates. This is something I am really excited about. The templates will give all our customers a jump start for building CRM/GP integrations. You can either take these templates and use them out of the box, or you can modify and expand on them to meet your specific needs. The core functionality provided by the templates is two way account, item and order integration between CRM and GP.
The template are a big improvement on the previous templates we had available, and we believe they are more comprehensive and 'out of the box' than our competition. Remarkably this full set contains 34 SmartConnect maps together with 8 small CRM customizations to get everything connecting the way believe it should.
The reason for so many integration points is that there is a great deal of information required when you process an order for your business. As a starting point we need to integrate all customer, item and pricing information. Before we can do that we need to ensure that all the master files fields are the same in both systems which includes things like UOM, Pricing, Payment Terms, Class ID's etc. As you can see there are many fields that GP requires in order to process and order, so we are ensuring that valid data is stored in CRM in first place.
The 8 minor customizations are a key components of the integration process, and we deemed them necessary to provide a truly workable integration solutions. We have added fields like GP salesperson into CRM that can be assigned to an account in CRM, and we have added a customer class ID field that can be defined in CRM for accounts, as this is a really important field inside GP. In regards to orders we have also designed a process where after an order is submitted the CRM form is disabled to ensure no updates are made to the CRM order, within CRM. Each of the changes are part of providing an intuitive and easy process flow between CRM and GP.
In my opinion a CRM is not a true Customer Relationship Management system if it is not integrated to your ERP backend. (I will write another post on this topic shortly). With the SmartConnect templates this integration has become much easier and allows all those businesses that have backed Microsoft with CRM and GP to truly reap the benefits of those investments.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Defining Vanilla

I must have heard this statement 100 times in the last 12 months “all I want is a vanilla CRM to GP integration” . In the defense of all those that have uttered this statement, it does sound like a sensible thing to ask for. All you want is a simple integration 'that works' for your customers.
In fact I have to admit that only 2 years ago, before our foray into the CRM and GP integration market I remember demanding a quote for the exact same thing from one of our ISV suppliers. Right here I need to apologize for being so indignant.
What is vanilla? Why do we use that term? What does a vanilla integration do? Taking it a little further I have also heard people ask for a Vanilla install of Dynamics GP? To all the consultants out there - is that possible and what would it look like? What is a vanilla chart of accounts?
When you start to think about how many different ways you can configure GP (literally thousands) and how customizable CRM is – what is vanilla? OK , I can hear you shouting “all we want is Accounts to Customer and Order to Order, How hard can that be?”
I won’t give you all the answers right now - as there is no true definition of Vanilla - but I will give you some questions to think about:
1. What if the customer is on hold?
2. Do the payment terms in CRM match those in GP?
3. What class will you use in GP for new customers?
4. Does CRM handle you pricing needs?
5. When can an order stop being updated by the sales team?
6. Do you ever take deposits?
7. Is multi currency important?
8. What about Kits, BOM’s, UOM’s, Back Orders and Fulfillment Orders and separate fulfillment?
If you are not sure of the answer to any of these questions – then you are just like me. You do not know the definition of vanilla. When it comes to integrations I think the flavor is much closer to Rainbow than Vanilla. If you have some free time you can read more here.

The New eOne Blog

The new eOne Blog is designed to provide useful information to all eOne Reselling partners and eOne direct and indirect customers. We made a play in the world of blogging back in 2006, but it fell into dis-repair after a few blog entries that sparked some controversy. Three years later we have learnt our lesson and are back to share important news, information and of course our opinions.

The blog will have a special focus on providing information to field consultants who are implementing eOne software on a daily basis.

Whether you want to know what is happening with the Microsoft/eOne OEM solutions, SmartConnect or our other ISV solutions this blog will be the place to visit. We will not to reproduce the standard fare from our website in this blog, but provide more real life information and insights regarding our products and how to inspire your customers with our solutions.

Here are a few of our passions at eOne that will no doubt be covered in future blog entries.
1. Demonstrating GP: How a bad demo can murder good software
2. Vanilla: How do you define it
3. Loving a customer base
4. Building a lean business
5. Selling more GP - it is actually easy . . .

and many, many more topics. If you want to stay up to date with Dynamics GP, CRM all with an eOne product flavor then follow this blog. We look forward to your input and comments.