Sunday, August 30, 2009

What is eXtender Enterprise?

Over the next few weeks I am going to put together a series of blogs regarding eXtender Enteprise and what differentiates it from Microsoft Dynamics GP Extender.

The first topic I will discuss here is Logic Routines.
This is one of the best keep secrets inside of eXtender and can be used in a myriad of ways that will help you configure your Dynamics GP to meet your business needs.

What is the Feature:
Logic automation or Logic routines allow you to trigger simple dexterity scripts to run automatically as you move about a standard Dynamics GP screen. The Logic works just like an eXtender window in that you can trigger the script to run from an extras menu, as you enter, change or exit a field or as you save the record. Instead of opening a window to capture data the function simply runs the logic script you have created .

Why this feature is great:
The best part about Logic is that it is easy and quick to configure, and while it requires programming skills it does not require a full install of the dex development environment, cnk's or new dictionaries. You can incorporate simple programming without a new chunk and without a new dictionary in the dynamics.set file. There is no workstation install. All you need to do is cut and paste a script into eXtender logic, you have deployed the functionality across the entire system.

The flow on from this approach is that the cost of ownership is lowered for customers, as the dictionary does not need to be recompiled when you upgrade to the next version of GP, and there is no work station roll out if there are updates or changes \. You could say that this feature is a little like VBA, but the best thing is that it is not VBA! It is a much cleaner and more powerful way to deliver simple customisation with all the power that dexterity delivers.



How to Use it:
To create a logic routine, first open eXtender and then under the Automation grouping, select Logic. The key components of this screen are discussed below:


Routine Type: this determined when the logic will be executed. There are three primary options here:
  1. Extras: This allows you to execute the logic form an extra menu or a hot key.
  2. Form: This allows the logic to execute when you open, close or move around on a standard GP entry screen.
  3. Table: This allows you to execute logic based upon create, change or delete updates to a GP table.
Tasks: The tasks are where the actual logic is created. The code is sanscript, which is really just simple dex code. You can have this execute in any of the product dictionaries installed with this install of GP.You can let your imagination go wild here and use this code for either simple of complex custom functionality. If you are not a programmer then this is time to call on you resident Dex guy, or contact eOne where we can assist.



Example
Looking at the two screenshots above you can see an example of eXtender logic in action. Here we have a logic routine that executes any time that you change the date in the PO Number field on the sales transaction entry window. The logic checks that this PO number has not been used on an order for this customer previously, and if it has gives the user the options to change the PO number, ignore it or cancel this transaction. The script that runs is also displayed above and while you may not be a programmer it is fairly clear as to what is going on.

What to do next?
Start identifying clients that can benefit from this functionality. Get you developers involved so they can appreciate the ease of delivering these simple solutions. Inspire your customers by not only using eXtender to create a bunch of custom screens, but also as a great way to deliver small and simple customisations to GP. Stop hiding behind the line 'customization is too expensive' and deliver to your customers exactly what the need.

Start building up a library of simple scripts that you as a partner use as a competitive advantage. When you walk into a prospect this enables you to show functionality that you know the competitors (accpac, sage, nav) cannot show and also something that you know the other GP reseller will not be showing. Use this functionality to stand out from the crowd and win new GP business.

Friday, August 28, 2009

End of the Road


We're reaching the end of the road on some of the most popular promotions at eOne. Monday, August 31st is the last day to place your orders for the promos below, so contact me asap if you'd like in on the deals!

Buy GP Extender or SmartList Builder and Get $1550 off SmartConnect
Any customer that purchases Microsoft Dynamics GP Extender or SmartList Builder between May 15, 2009 and August 31, 2009 will be eligible to receive $1550 dollars off the retail price of SmartConnect. This means you can purchase SmartConnect for just US $2950.

SmartConnect and eXtender Bundle
Customers around the world are discovering the power of using eXtender Enterprise and SmartConnect together. Until August 31, 2009 we are offering a bundled price of US $6950 when SmartConnect and eXtender are purchased at the same time.

Cash for Clunkers Update

Also, as a reminder, our Cash for Clunkers program is projected to end in less than a month. Currently, we have 7 "Clunkers" traded in for SmartConnect which means there are only 23 left! If you or your customer would like to register your clunker trade in, call or email me (abbey.heesch@eonesolutions.net) as soon as possible.

Technical Hints - moving maps to v48

I have had this questions a few times this week so wanted to share the answers with everyone.

Scenario: You have built all your maps on SmartConnect v35 and have installed the production server with GP10 and the new SmartConnect v48. What is the best way to move the maps from one server to the other.

Answer: The best option is to export the maps from the development environment and import them into the production environment. BUT - you must first upgrade the developmentenvironment to the latest version of SmartConnect (48). Changes in v48 have meant that the exported XML is not interchangeable between v 35 and v48. So make sure that your two SmartConnect installs are the same version before doing any of your exporting and importing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Balance Already Shrinking

From sea to shining sea legacy integration, migration, and automation clunkers are being traded in and customers are benefiting by receiving US $1,000 rebates when they purchase SmartConnect.

Within hours of eOne's Cash for Clunkers program's official release, the balance on the Dynamics stimulus package is already shrinking, now down to $26,000. Congratulations to Sunergi, eTelligent, T3 Information Systems, and Admiral-West for being the first to help their customers trade in their clunkers!

At the rate the program is moving, we're projecting it will now be over by the end of August. Act now! Give me a call or send me an email (abbey.heesch@eonesolutions.net) if you'd like to reserve your clunker trade-in before it's too late.

For more information on eOne's Cash for Clunkers program please see the blog post below or call me at 888.319.3663 ext. 717.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Starting August 20, 2009, and valid for only $30,000 is a Dynamics stimulus package the market can really use. The eOne Cash for Clunkers program is aimed at helping organizations move away from time guzzling legacy integration, migration, and automation tools.

A recent news report quoted Product Director Martin Olsen, "With only $30,000 on the offer there will be many companies left disappointed, unless they are first to act. We do not expect the clunker program to last more than 20 days."

If you qualify for the program, you will be eligible for a rebate of up to US $1,000. If you have ever wanted to do this (see below) to your aging, complex legacy migration, integration or automation tools, then please read on to see if you qualify.



Who qualifies?
1. Companies who's legacy tool guzzles up way too much time.
2. Companies who have paid annual maintenance on a legacy tool for the past 12 months and need to throw the tool away.
3. Anyone who has to wait around on a Friday for everyone to stop working, so they can kick off the integrations.
4. Companies who have paid dearly for custom system automation and need to return to a manageable tool that can automate daily tasks.
5. Companies that have linked CRM to GP, but now need more flexibility and a much lower cost of maintaining their integration.

Required actions?
1. Locate your local Dynamics GP or CRM dealer.
2. Have your current annual maintenance invoice shredded for recycling.
3. Attend an online webinar to ensure you like the new model.
4. Be prepared for a more efficient business process, that will benefit your working "environment."
5. Provide proof of purchase of your clunker.

How long will the program last?
Only until the $30,000 has been used up. Watch the eOne blog for regular updates on how many clunker trade-ins remain available. To access this program, you will need to pre-register with me (abbey.heesch@eonesolutions.net) prior to making your purchase!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Jobs

I took two important lessons away after seeing this images.

1. Be thankful for the job you have.
2. We can all be more creative in our marketing efforts







On the topic of being more creative in marketing I borrowed this link from another blog. This guy has certainly put some effort into beng noticed - and when you think about it this type of CV should be much more common. What can we as VAR's and ISV's learn from a guy with too much time on his hands?



Follow this link and make sure your sound is on.






Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Webservice

I, and I suspect most GP consultants, have had a slightly fuzzy idea what a web service is. To help clear this up I went straight to Wikipedia and got this definition:

"a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. It has an interface described in a machine-processable format (specifically WSDL). Other systems interact with the Web service in a manner prescribed by its description using SOAP-messages, typically conveyed using HTTP with an XML serialization in conjunction with other Web-related standards."

I have interpreted this to mean "a piece of code, called remotely over the Internet, that does stuff". I do not pretend any of this information to be technically sound but I do think it will help GP consultants to understand Web Services and in particular how to work with the SmartConnect Web service.

So a couple of points to make:
1. You do not need a LAN, VPN, CITRIX or Terminal Serve to execute a shared web service
2. You do need an Internet connection
3. You normally call a web service from some 'code' - unless you have SC do it for you
4. Web Services can do just about anything - they could execute some other code, could return data etc.

So our challenge was to open up GP by including Web Service technology within SmartConnect. Of course eOne wanted to make these services available to consultants and not just tools in the domain of developers. We have used Web services in a number of ways within SmartConnect:
1. Allow remote entry of data via Excel. You can be anywhere and hit send on an Excel sheet which will connect to the SC web service and push data into GP.
2. You can have your developers call the SC web service from their own code, to execute a map.
3. We use the CRM web services to write data to CRM tables. SmartConnect does not ever write data direct to tables in CRM but we pass data to the web service.
4. Connecting with CRM online. I had a consultant this week say 'Wow, how did that SC map just execute and instantly update a CRM system hosted inside Microsoft, in Redmond' - it was by calling a CRM web service.
5. Pulling data out of CRM is also done through the CRM web service. We ask the web service for data, and it sends it back to SmartConnect.

This leads to the question of whether SC works with the Web services that have been built for GP? The answer is that for the moment we have not connected to these web services, but instead are using eConnect. The main reason for this is that there is broader functionality within eConnect and by having a single SC web service we do not need to confuse you with multiple web services.

So to all the consultants out there, it is time to amaze your clients with the world of web services. The traditional boundaries of networks can be put aside and the world has become a much smaller place.