Thursday, October 29, 2009

Airlift

I will be one of the 400 people heading into Fargo next week for the Technical Airlift. I am really looking forward to seeing how GP's new improved functionality is going to help 'airlift' sales of Dynamics GP in 2010.

What is a sales guy doing at a tech conference? A couple of really key reasons:

1. Technology=Sales
The connection between technical advances in GP - and sales has never been stronger. There was a time when we could rely on 'Microsoftism's' to sell GP, but that is not enough any longer. We need to have the best product, with the best road map. I am keen to have Microsoft show me how we can beat all the competition by having a technically superior solution to our competition.

2. This goes with That, and hooks to that?
GP has great modules, ISV's have great solutions - but how does everything work and talk together? As VAR's this is our job to eliminate this question for our customers and present a 'solution' that is made up of the best of the best. One of my aims at Airlift is to help the technical crew get a grip on how to hang things together.

For Example: When to use SmartList Builder, when to switch to Excel Report builder - or is Navigation List Builder a better option when working with the HR module?
Or if I am using Wennsoft, how can we integrate and automate the next steps?
Or how to best tie custom entities in CRM with GP.
Or how to populate eXtender fields in GP with the data captured in CRM?
Or I love Rockton's SmartFill addon - but does it work with eXtender and other third parties?
Or How do I make that V10 workflow stuff, fit with a real customer need?

3. eOne and V10 sp4 and V11
eOne has played a big part in the release of both SP4 and the upcoming V11. The first place to learn all the secrets of what is coming next from eOne/Microsoft is Airlift.

4. Understanding the power of SC
There are a few developers out there that still insist on writing directly to eConnect. I am going to discuss all the things SC can do as part of a full GP solution - and help reduce dev time while making more money for VAR's.

5. Talking up Excel Report Builder
ERB is really cool and i think the most under utilised module out there, that most customers already own. Come and talk to any Microsoft Rep or anyone from eOne to learn about where and when it will help you win a deal.

So there are a few reasons why I am flying right to the other side of the globe to spend 2 days with 400 technical guru's. It is the tech teams that bundle together solutions in a way that solve our customers business needs. If we do not get the tech components right then we are all out of business.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

On a personal note.

This Saturday I competed in and completed the Hawkesbury Classic. This is a 111km overnight kayak race on Sydney's Hawkesbury River. This was physically the hardest thing I have ever done, by far. 16hrs of propelling a boat forward by hand. The last 2 hrs was a challenge of the mind as there was nothing left physically to give. I could draw all sorts of business parallels and metaphors but that would be demeaning to the 650 competitors. There is simply nothing quite as satisfying as setting a goal, and then achieving it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Having data specific extender windows pop up! Impossible?

One of the well kept Microsoft Dynamics GP Extender secrets - is that you can have different eXtender windows pop up based upon the data you are working with. For Example, you may want to capture extra information about an inventory code but the data you need to capture is different depending on the inventory item. Lets say you sell both telephones and hard drives. For the telephone you need to track (make, model, color, hands free, number of lines, and a host of phone features such as call back and number storage) while for the hard drive you need different information (storage capacity, make, connection types, connection speed, Mac support etc)

Using Extender you do not need the user to be aware of the different data types. Users simply need to open the item extras window (or have it pop up automatically) and Extender will ask for the correct information based on the item currently open in the inventory screen.

So how do you do this?

1. Create two independent Extender windows with both linked to item maintenance
2. Use the window Groups function to link these two windows together. Call this group 'Item Details ' or a similar useful descriptor. You are able to group in here as many windows as you require, so it might be just two or you can have 50 different windows for inventory.


3. Use the conditions section to define under what circumstances you want this window to open. In this case we have said "if the item number = 'INSTALL'" open the Extender install window. You can use any field from the main GP screen in your condition. (e.g. you can use item class, price list etc).
4. Set this group (under options) to either auto open, leave it as a manual exercise or add a hot key CTRL E for Extra is good. (using a hot key is useful in that no matter where the user is they can hit CTRL E and be sure the extra window will open).

That's it. Next time you open the item window and select one of these items - the correct eXtender window will be available.
Using your imagination you can use this in many ways, and not just with inventory. You can have different windows pop up based on zip code, state, salesperson, customer class, vendor class, price list and so forth.

This functionality is available with both Microsoft Dynamics GP Extender as well as with Extender Enterprise.

When to Show it?
All the time. You can see how easy it is to build this scenario, and if you want to differentiate GP from AX, NAV, Sage, Accpac etc then this is a great way. Then have your prospect ask to see how Accpac can configure data specific user defined fields - during the demo?

In you pre-sales discovery find a 'need' for this functionality. It is something you know the opposition can not do, so find a need and change the customers expectations of an ERP.

Changing the ERP Game with eXtender

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fargo in November

If you're heading to Fargo in November, bring gloves and a hat, and more importantly, be sure to attend our SmartConnect training November 9th and eXtender Enterprise training November 12th!

We're holding classroom training for our partners before and after the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference event so you can make the most of your time in Fargo.

Please sign up with me (email abbey.heesch@eonesolutions.net) as soon as possible to reserve your spot as there is limited seating available. Each session will be held on the Microsoft campus and will include a full day of classroom training, as well as lunch & a snack. Pricing is $795/person for both sessions or $595/person for one session.

If you have any questions on the training, please don't hesitate to call(888.319.3663 ext 717) or email (see above address).

Looking forward to seeing you in November!



For more information the GP Technical Conference visit: http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/fargodeveloperconference/

Friday, October 02, 2009

Social Networking and Microsoft

I am still a few years short of the big 40, and still believe in learning new things and moving with the times. Hey I am blogging - that's pretty cool!

I am on face book, which has connected me with some old friends that I did not know I wanted to keep in contact with (still not sure I do!). But I do certainly see its merits. On the flip side there is information that you may now want shared with the world, and Facebook can turn into an extension of the age old gossip lines.

For Example: A while back I purchased a 1/24th share in a 38foot cruising boat. (please note that is a tiny share of a reasonably expensive boat). I then took a couple of eOne developers out for a pleasant day on the boat catching fish. (I won't mention who they were or which one threw up). A few months later I took a trip to the USA for work, and had both staff and customers say first up, "we really like your new boat". I almost fell off my chair. One of the team had kindly posted photos of "Martin's new boat' on his face book page!.
Now there is nothing wrong with any of the above, except the people I work with on the other side of the world have built up a completely untrue belief that I had recently purchased a $450,000 boat!


Now to marketing and information sharing with these tools, facebook, myspace, twitter etc? I recently noticed Microsoft GP's product team had created a face book page.

I am not sure I understand the thoughts behind it. There was a time when if I needed information about Dynamics GP I went to partner source? I always found what I needed. Now when I go to partner source it seems a bit hit and miss. There was also a clear distinction between what information was available to customers and what was available to partners. Now I can read multiple Microsoft sponsored GP Blogs, lots of other blogs (like this one) and now I can become a fan on face book. It seems to me that the information being distributed this way is all very much the same as what is on a website and in blogs.

I am all for more exposure for Dynamics products, and if this helps attract customers then I am very supportive. What I would like to see is differentiation in content across the media. There is no point have a blog that reflects everything on your website, or a face book page that simply lists the same stories that are in your blog.

I have also noticed there are a bunch of GP related videos and demo's on You Tube. Do a search hand you will find them. I would be interested to learn if this has generated much success for those posting the videos.

I still believe at the corporate level, companies looking to spend big $ on an ERP/CRM solution will skip right over information presented through social media like facebook. (or at least I hope they do). I am happy to be proven wrong but for the time being I would be happy for Microsoft to put all their marketing effort into traditional messaging, training programs and product enhancements.