Sunday, January 30, 2011

Upgrading to 2010

Before you upgrade your SmartConnect clients to GP 2010 please read the attached KB article.

Things to note at a high level:
1. You must upgrade to V51 of SmartConnect 9 or SmartConnect 10 (depedning on your current GP version) before upgrading GP to 2010.
2. You can not simply export your maps from a previous version and import than into the 2010 build of smartConnect -you must run the SmartConnect upgrade process.
3. You can not upgrade to 51 after you have upgraded GP to V2010. You must upgrade to SmartConnect 51 before you begin your GP upgrade.
4. If you have gone ahead with an upgrade without upgrading SmartConnect first you will need to: Restore the backup you took before the upgrade began onto a test system. Upgrade to 51. Upgrade GP and SmartConnect to 2010. Export the Maps and import them into production.


This is not always going to be the case with SmartConnect upgrades, and has not been the case with previous upgrades. This has been a major release with many table and coding changes - which is why following the correct steps are essential. Rest assured your next upgrade will be significantly simpler.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Folder Feedback

I received this message today from a partner and thought I would highlight the folder data source feature below.

"Thank you so much for all your help. It is up and running and working like a charm. That Folder Data Source is such a cool feature built right into Smart Connect…. I’m going to let the rest of my co-workers know about it and our salespeople and I’m going to try and get everyone looking at where we could use this at other clients!"


Folder data source's are a great function inside SmartConnect that makes peoples lives easier. When Building a SmartConnect map there are many sources of data you can choose from (SQL, XML, Excel, CRM, Real time, GP, Change etc) - and one of those is simply to point at a network folder.

What is a folder data source: Defining a Folder as the data source for a map simply says that the system should look into this folder and if it finds new files, then run the map to import these into the maps destination. The map will run based on the defined time schedule within SmartConnect.

Why is that good: Perhaps the best thing is that there is no manual intervention to execute a folder sources map - it happens automatically. Another feature is that SmartConnect does not look for a specific file name, but imports whatever files are placed in this folder. The folder datasource allows for multiple files to be copied to this folder at any given time and it will import each sequentially.

Why use a Folder Datasource:

Client Scenario 1: One customer created a windows folder into which anyone from the accounting team could copy a month end journal that was written in Excel. There were 5 accountants that each prepared month end adjustment journals, so each could copy them into the same location and be sure that they would all end up in GP.

Client Scenario 2: Another customer received bank import files each evening which were always named something different. Rather than manually having to rename files for import - they were simply dropped into the import folder and imported automatically overnight via a folder datasource.


Tricks: It is important to have a consistent file format, even though the file name can change. When you first set up the mapping you will need a master format to enable the fields to be mapped to the destination. This file can be just a the column headings, but will enable you to build the original map.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What does Maintenance include

We have had a number of questions recently about what is and is not included in maintenance. I wanted to clarify this below.

Software maintenance on eOne modules (SmartConnect, Extender Enterprise and SmartView) are paid annually at 17.5% of the current retail software price. So if you purchase SmartView for $1,500 your annual maintenance costs will be $262 which is shared between eOne and Resellers. This provides the following services:

1. Access to our knowledge base: http://www.eonesolutions.net/KnowledgeBase.aspx
2. All software service packs – a service pack is a minor update. Like from 10.0 to 10.0 service pack 1
3. All Software upgrades – an update is a major update. Like from GP 9 to GP 10, or GP 10 to GP2010
4. All Software hot fixes – a hot fix is a bug fix that is deemed urgent and cannot wait for a quarterly service pack.

There are no direct support hours included in the maintenance fee for end user customers. Most reseller companies include a phone support component within their general GP support programs and we rely on our resellers to provide support directly to their customers. As you can see from the SmartView example above eOne receives a portion of the $262 per customer to ensure we maintain and upgrade our products for all our customers. There is no room in this for us to take direct and free support calls for each of our customers.

If you choose to engage directly with eOne you are certainly able to do so through the purchase of direct support packs and consulting packs. All our services are sold on a per hour basis and you are able to purchase blocks of 4, 8, 12 and 16 hours. Once you have purchased services you are able to use these for a mixture of support, consulting, design or development purposes. The eOne support and consulting team are based in Fargo ND. When is comes to all eOne products there is no one that knows more about the products and how to get the most out of them than the eOne Services team.

If you would like to engage directly with our consulting/Support teams please contact us at sales@eonesolutions.com

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Repellant

Our last blog talked about innovation and creativity. My search led me to some interesting inventions in 2010 - one of which was the 'teenager repellent'.

Howard Stapleton (Merthyr Tydfil, Wales) invented an electromechanical teenager repellent - a device that makes annoying high-pitched noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults. The "Mosquito" ultrasonic teenage deterrent aims to solve the problem of unwanted gatherings of youths and teenagers in shopping malls, around shops and anywhere else they are causing problems, claiming to be "the most effective tool in our fight against anti social behaviour". He later used that same technology to make telephone ring tones that are audible to teenagers but probably not to their teachers.


This has gotten me to thinking about what 'customer repellent' we all carry around with us in the software business. I am currently in the process of having some building work done on my home - and the similarities between building a room and implementing software are significant. Lets think briefly about the things that act as a 'customer repellent' between a builder and a customer and see if the links are the same between a software implementer and a customer.

1. Quote $: Take time to provide a well thought out, easily readable and accurate quote. Don't guess, don't make stuff up. No one will get upset down the track if you have a justifiable basis or documented assumption to back up your quote. e.g. When my builder says "we quoted on 3 sky lights but now you want 4 to brighten things up - there is no argument about paying a bit more".
2. Jargon: Make sure you explain what is happening in terms your customer understands. Don't use the term SQL when your customer refers to it as a 'database'. The builder explains exactly what he has done so I understand which is very different to how he speaks with his trades people. "we have build the box gutter by bending a large piece of flat metal to fit, and made sure there is 900mm on each side. This means that if there is a massive storm there is no chance of it ever leaking."
3. Be the expert: This means do not pretend to the be expert - but actually be one. When the builder says "there are two ways of doing that - but I strongly recommend you go with option 2 because it is foolproof" - I always agree with him even it it costs a little more. Also he will always defer to an expert if need be. If there is a questions about electrics he talks to the electrician.
4. Never lie: Sounds simple but get caught once and the trust is over. Never lie also means never be over confident if you could be wrong. I recently had someone say that they guaranteed that this XXXX had never been the case - when it was the case. All credibility is lost.
5. Give advice and make suggestions: You are the expert. If you are not making suggestions about new tools, new ideas or how you have seen other customers do something - you lose credibility. When I asked "the new room seems to have made the kitchen darker" the builder gets a new job by saying "I did a house recently where they put in a small skylight with a big opening at the bottom to diffuse the light right across the room, and by putting down lights around the edge it became a great feature".

I think you are starting to get the point. Unless you are doing these things you are actually putting up a customer repellent. You will lose customers. You should lose customers. In the last few months I have seen a tradesman whose pants are falling down - deliver much better customer service than what I often see in the software marketplace. Think about what you do everyday and how you are inadvertently pushing customers away like mosquito's.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy New Creativity

It is time to get creative in 2011 and do things differently. As a wise man once said "If you do things like everyone else - you will be just like everyone else".

I was inspired by this image which surfaced during the recent floods in Queensland.



2011 is year to think differently, act differently and do some things you have never done before.