4 Options to Migrating Your Data into Dynamics GP

For companies who have made the choice to switch to Microsoft Dynamics GP, developing a plan to migrate existing data to the new system and developing an ongoing plan to feed data into Dynamics GP is one of the most common problems we solve for our clients.

Here are four common solutions we recommend:

Microsoft Dynamics GP Integration Manager

Dynamics GP Integration Manager is included with GP for 9 months beyond the date of your GP installation. This temporary license is designed to give you enough time to execute an initial data migration to GP, but for ongoing GP integrations you’ll need to purchase a license.

Integration manager was created specifically for Dynamics GP integrations and is simple to install and use.

The tool is import only, not bi-directional and integrations must be run manually or off a fixed schedule as opposed to real time. Although there are some data manipulation features, there are few options to transform data; you can only use the integration points provided. Some users find that the error logs and reports are not clear enough to help them troubleshoot problems. It can also be slow for larger integrations and expensive, at $10K, to use beyond the free license period. Accordingly, most integrations we develop require a more robust and flexible solution.

Microsoft eConnect

Microsoft eConnect is a .NET development toolset that supplements the functionality that Integration Manager lacks. eConnect uses .NET development tools, SQL stored procedures and XML to build integrations to Dynamics GP APIs. Its complete flexibility allows developers to build any type of integration from any source data to any point within Dynamics GP.

The most significant benefit of using eConnect is that it contains the internal business logic and rules required to integrate data into Dynamics GP. Without eConnect, it becomes very difficult and time consuming to build web services compliant with Dynamics GP business logic rules. Even if you are an expert in Dynamics GP table structure, experienced developers will benefit from using eConnect.

eConnect drawbacks are that it is very technical to deploy. Developing custom solutions at this abstracted level requires an array of technical knowledge, including .NET development, Windows network and SQL database skills and expertise. It can also be fairly difficult to run and maintain.  A custom developed eConnect solution does not have a standard user interface; only a programmer will be able to access the application once it is running. Troubleshooting can be difficult; eConnect does not have the prebuilt tools to validate data and resolve errors. Error logs and reporting are not as defined and errors will often not be easy to resolve.

For those with the skills to build their own solutions, eConnect makes Dynamics GP integration development a very feasible option. Even if you have a .NET development team on staff, it can be a significant project.

Fortunately, there are several good third party integration or ‘middleware’ products available that offer strong integration functionality and don’t require coding. In our client base, we have had the greatest success implementing these two options for our Dynamics GP integration clients.

Scribe Insight

For clients who need higher volume integrations that run automatically, Scribe Insight is a great option. Scribe is powerful and flexible enough to build nearly any integration including the very high volume and complex. Scribe uses eConnect to import data into Dynamics GP with the correct business logic, but layers on a lot of functionality and features lacking in a bare eConnect solution, including a user interface, flexibility to manipulate data, integration with a variety of data sources, strong error reporting and resolution tools.

Because Scribe requires some knowledge and expertise to build the initial integration, most customers require a consultant to deploy the software and build the integrations for them. However, customers with strong database skills can usually quickly learn Scribe and map their own integrations.

Once the integrations are built, Scribe requires very little maintenance and runs automatically. Even staff members with minimal technical expertise will be able to manage errors, resolve issues and keep the application running smoothly. Scribe pricing is great value for the strength and flexibility of the solution.

SmartConnect

SmartConnect is a one-stop integration toolset that is simple, fast, powerful and affordable. It was developed to make integrating to and from GP easy and intuitive and it provides the control and flexibility to configure integrations without a developer.

With SmartConnect you can connect to any GP data, anywhere with a native GP data made available via eConnect and Service Base architecture – SOP, POP, AA. You can also connect to Dynamics GP configurations created via Extender, Dynamics GP SmartLists created via SmartList Builder, Dynamics GP nodes exposed for integration using Node Builder and third-party applications.

 

For more information on integrations, or to find out which option is the best fit for your business, contact us today.

Employee Spotlight: Jacqueline Park

 

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Jacqueline Park, our Director of Consulting.  Jacqui was born and raised in Sarnia, and went to university in London, Ontario. Before moving to Toronto, she lived in Burlington for 10 years. Jacqui now lives in Toronto, and loves it!

Prior to working at Rimrock, Jacqui worked in various IT roles- as a programmer, developer, systems administrator, project manager and business analyst. She also did some independent contracting work.

In her spare time, Jacqui loves hitting the gym. A self-proclaimed gym rat, Jacqui spends a lot of free time running, swimming, cycling, and doing CrossFit. She even manages to do a few triathlons in the summer. She’s also been teaching yoga for over 10 years and still teaches weekly. She practices most days along with breathwork and meditation every morning – which she credits for keeping herself grounded and focused.

Read on to find out more about Jacqui.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?

I have been here for about 6 weeks now – I am learning so much from everyone! I am so grateful and inspired to be working with such a talented group of people. I am quite comfortable in an entrepreneurial environment and I really appreciate the inclusive culture and work life balance that we have here.

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?

I don’t have a favourite. Every place I have visited holds a special memory for me. My most recent trip was to India. I travelled there last fall for the first time; any concerns and fears that I had completely vanished once I arrived in Rishikesh. The people, food, culture, markets, temples – and all the bright colours – it was magic! I would go back in a heartbeat. My next big trip will be Vietnam and Cambodia or Bali.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

I would love to be a sound engineer at a massive music festival or rock concert.

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?

I’m a huge music/concert junkie – I go to shows every week. Lately I’ve gotten into Rainbow Kitten Surprise and really excited that I was able to get tickets to an upcoming show in TO. My absolute favourite band is Alt-J. I drove to Cleveland last summer to see them – great road trip!

If you could have a drink with anyone (fictional, alive, dead, famous, non-famous) who would it be and why?

Buddha – but I don’t think he drinks…maybe a tea?

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.

Some of you may know this already but I dedicated many years of my life to boxing – both amateur and pro. In 2008 I was ranked top 5 in the world in my weight class. I got to travel and compete all over the world with Team Canada as an amateur and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything else.

 

 

How Does Dynamics GP Differ from Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Dynamics 365 Business Central is a new product released by Microsoft in April 2018. Naturally, our clients are wondering if this means they should be planning to switch from Dynamics GP to Business Central. The answer isn’t obvious and will depend on various factors that are specific to the particular circumstances of the organization. Choosing your solution will ultimately depend on which system is the right fit for the business strategy of your company.

What are the key differences between Dynamics GP and Business Central?

It is important to understand that Dynamics 365 Business Central is not a replacement or upgrade for Dynamics GP. They are two separate products each with their own Microsoft product roadmap. Both products are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses and are best suited for managing an organization’s core finances. The key differences that need to be considered by organizations include functionality, customization tools, upgrades, infrastructure requirements, and licensing.

Dynamics GP

The target market for Dynamics GP is what is known as the mid market. These companies are characterized as having 2-100 users and up to 1000 employees. Dynamics GP was released in the mid 1990s and is a very stable solution with a large install base and an extensive service provider channel, making it a safe bet for any business. GP has one of the strongest functionality foundations in the ERP software industry with a library of extensive ISV solutions available to enhance systems. Because Business Central has been recently released, customers who rely heavily on ISV solutions to meet critical needs may not be the best fit for Business Central at this time. This is particularly significant for customers who use Dynamics GP for functions such as specialty distribution and manufacturing, and service management.

With Dynamics GP, there is greater flexibility to choose a solution that will meet your specific needs. Dynamics GP has the benefit of offering licensing options including perpetual licensing (one-time charge plus yearly enhancement fees), and monthly subscription. Deployment options include installing at your premise, deploying in a private data center, subscribing to a Dynamics GP specialty hosting provider, or deploying in the Microsoft Cloud using the Microsoft Azure platform.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

The target market for Dynamics 365 Business Central is also the mid market. With the functionality available today, Dynamics 365 Business Central is a good fit for companies that seek a more strategic alternative to QuickBooks, have up to 250 users and do not require any specialized industry functionality

Dynamics 365 Business Central is correctly being positioned as Microsoft’s new cutting-edge financial management software product. Based on the Dynamics NAV product, the software should be viewed more of a platform than an ERP software product. Microsoft is emphatic that this solution is “the future” for Microsoft, and where they are heavily investing the vast majority of their research and development, as well as marketing efforts. They are also firm in their messaging that this is not replacing Dynamics GP but the product is definitely built for the same target market.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central resides in the Microsoft Azure Cloud, and users pay for monthly subscription licensing. The SaaS model dramatically reduces the need for installation and upgrade consulting as Partners can easily provision an environment and Microsoft will automatically push out enhancements, bug-fixes, and updates. The lack of upfront costs for hardware or servers saves money for companies with few IT resources.

 

The table below illustrates some comparisons between Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Business Central:

Product/Feature Dynamics GP Dynamics 365 Business Central
Hosting On-premise, Partner Hosted or Microsoft Azure (the latter two being not included with the licensing cost) Cloud Only (included)
Customization Options Extensive Less Extensive
Add-on Options Many Limited
BI Integration Yes, with some effort. Third party add on products are also available Yes, with little effort
Budgeting Embedded setup and import Excel based budgets. Advanced capabilities through numerous ISVs Good functionality to create multiple budgets for financials, revisions, analysis, and dimensional reporting
Canadian or US Payroll Microsoft ISV
Dynamics 365 App Integration Capable Yes – significant effort Yes – less effort
Financial Reporting Advanced Financial Analysis, ISV Products Embedded Account Schedules and Analysis Views, ISV products
GL Account Structure Multiple Segments for Structure and multi-dimensional functionality for additional reporting Multiple Segments as well as Dimensions for a robust reporting Sub-structure

 

Another alternative, which we will provide further detail on in a subsequent article, is the Intelligent Edge. This technology allows GP customers to connect to an instance of intelligent cloud via Business Central. This will allow users to leverage solutions such as Power BI, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and AI.

If you’re considering a new ERP system, or if you are evaluating the cost benefit of upgrading Dynamics GP, please contact Rimrock. We are happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your options to help optimize your ROI and mitigate risk.

 

Tips for a Stress-Free Dynamics GP Year-End Close

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story” – Orson Welles

This time every year, Microsoft Dynamics GP customers start getting anxious about the upcoming year-end (YE) close process. Whether it’s your first time, or your twentieth time completing your year-end close in Dynamics GP, questions can arise. Click here to read Rimrock’s tips for a stress-free year-end close.

7 Checklist Items To Ensure A Flawless Dynamics GP Upgrade

As new versions of Dynamics GP are released, older versions eventually fall off the supported list at Microsoft. It is a good time to consider an upgrade to the most current version of Dynamics GP before that happens. Your unsupported version will not automatically stop working but you do run the risk of having compatibility issues with GP and the other applications that support or interact with it. Upgrading also allows you to take advantage of the most current features introduced in the new version of GP. Before you begin an upgrade, it’s important to understand what’s involved. Whether you’ve been staying on top of the new versions or are a few releases behind, here are  7 checklist items to ensure a flawless Dynamics GP upgrade.

 

  1. Understand your upgrade path: If you’ve been staying current on your updates, your upgrade path should be directly from your current version of GP to the newest release. Most customers will be able to make a direct upgrade. However, if you are several releases behind, a two-stage upgrade will be needed. Be sure you have allotted extra time as this can add roughly 50% to the total time required for an upgrade.
  2. Inquire about a test upgrade: If you’re relatively current, don’t have complex integrations and don’t have many companies or locations, there should be no issues upgrading GP. However, if you don’t meet the above criteria, then a test upgrade is definitely recommended. Although a test upgrade does add more cost upfront, it can prove more cost-effective to identify and mitigate risk in a test environment to prevent costly issues later.
  3. Make sure your hardware/software is compatible: This is a pretty standard part of any software upgrade but it’s also something that’s easy for you to check. Just don’t forget to review the specifications for the server you plan to install GP on as well as the workstations for your GP users. You can view the full GP 2018 System Requirements here.
  4. Confirm your third-party add-ons and integrations support the new version: If you’re using Dynamics GP as an independent product, you don’t need to worry. However, if you’re using ISV products or have integrations that rely on third-party tools (ie. Scribe), you’ll need to make sure that they support GP 2018.
  5. Evaluate moving to Azure (aka the cloud): Evaluating Cloud computing makes sense when planning your upgrade.  As part of the upgrade process a new server is usually needed, so it’s a good time to review cloud options, like Microsoft Windows Azure. No matter which option is selected, the upgrade process itself mostly stays the same.
  6. Make sure your backups are complete and recent: This is a critical and obvious step, yet easily overlooked if you haven’t had issues for a while. Before you begin an upgrade, make sure that your backups are current and complete.
  7. Research which new modules and features you want to use: Before you decide to upgrade it is important to review all the new features and offers of the release. Once you have decided which features you want to take advantage of or new modules you want to install, then you can review your existing processes and schedule any necessary training. Click here to see what’s new in GP 2018 R2.

Contact Rimrock to help ensure your company is prepared or to answer any questions you have about upgrading to Dynamics GP 2018R2.

Are You Keeping Up With Dynamics GP Workflow Capabilities?

The accounting team is always looking for ways to become more organized and efficient, and strengthen internal controls. They’re looking to drive efficiency and productivity out of their accounting system and finance department. MS Dynamics GP Workflow is the tool to get the job done!  Dynamics GP Workflow is most commonly used to allow transactions and records to be held for approval.  Those items flow to the appropriate approver(s) based on conditions specified in the setup windows. Dynamics GP 2018 includes 6 new Workflow capabilities that can replace many commonly used manual processes and will have your finance department organized and efficient in no time.

 

6 Workflow Capabilities from Dynamics GP 2018:

 

  1. Reminder Emails for Workflow: Using the reminder functionality, set up a GP workflow to create a reminder email in the event that someone forgot to complete an approval.  You can reuse existing messages and modify with comments for the reminder.
  2. Copy Workflow Step: Allows you to select and copy a workflow step to another workflow. This simplifies the messaging and approval process, allowing companies to avoid repetition in creating a workflow.  This is great time saver!
  3. Reporting for Workflow: Visibility into the workflow process with additional fields in workflow reporting including filters by workflow type, workflow approvers, workflow status and approval date. The reports also include the workflow comments as an option. This is a great tool for tracking workflow.
  4. Additional Fields in Payables Transaction Workflow: Five additional fields including: Vendor Account, Vendor Master Comment 1, Vendor Master Comment 2, Vendor Class ID, and Payment Priority.
  5. Additional Fields in PO Workflow: Add more detail to the automated messages for PO Requisition or PO Approval and include relevant fields in the message like the account description.
  6. New Workflows for New Accounts, Receivings Transactions and Purchasing Invoices: New workflows have been added to control the addition of general ledger accounts, purchase receivings transactions, and purchasing invoices. The workflow for general ledger accounts can be initiated from any area of the system for any new accounts, or for any accounts that are in a workflow state.

 

There are so many benefits to using Dynamics GP Workflow. As part of our role as a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner, we love offering tips & tricks and updates about Microsoft Dynamics GP. Sign up for our newsletter or contact our team directly. We’d love to hear from you!

Microsoft Releases Dynamics GP 2018 R2

As promised, Microsoft released Dynamics GP 2018 R2 on October 1 with many exciting new features. The feature-filled release will help assure new and existing GP users that Dynamics GP continues to deliver great added value to companies.

Here are a few of the features in the new version:

Partial purchase on PO and email PO other form – This allows a partial purchase on a purchase order when you create the PO from a purchase requisition. In addition, you can email the PO other template from purchase order entry.

Option to Hide Business Analyzer for all Users – Administrators can now hide Business Analyzer on both the Home Page and on Navigation List pages with these two new options: Display Business Analyzer on Home Page and Display Business Analyzer on Navigation List pages. These are universal settings to make it easier to turn off the feature if companies are not using Business Analyzer. Individual users can still choose to turn on Business Analyzer using customize options.

Allow/Decline Duplicate Check Numbers – Formerly available in the Payables checkbooks only, a new feature has been added to GP 2018 R2. The new feature extends the option to allow/not allow Duplicate Check Numbers to Bank Transaction Entry, Payroll Manual Checks and Miscellaneous Checks. If you don’t check this option, duplicate checks are not allowed in these three windows.

Monthly Recurring Batches: Use Last Day of the Month – Over the years, GP has continued to automate repetitive tasks, helping users to get more done in less time. Monthly recurring batches have been around for a while in Receivables, Payables, and Inventory, but users a problem when it came to dealing with varying month length. Based on feedback from users, Microsoft has added a new checkbox called ‘Use last day of the month’ for Monthly and Bimonthly batches. When marked, it will automatically set the posting date to the last day of the month. If you set up a batch posting date of April 30 and check ‘use last day of the month,’ the next posting date would be set to May 31. If the box is left  unchecked, this would default to May 30.

Email customer statements – Now you can email customer statements directly in the customer maintenance window. There is a new email option in the ribbon that automatically sends the statement to the email address that’s been set up for the customer.

Increase Dynamics GP password maximum length and a password expiration notification – The maximum length for the password has increased to 21 characters. In addition, you’ll receive a password notification seven days before your password is set to expire.

Vendor document number added to purchasing all-in-one view – The Purchasing All-in-One View offers users an easy way to view purchase orders, receipts, invoices, payments, and credit documents. However, until now, the GP document number was required, something most GP users don’t have on hand. The new release allows users to view and sort related documents using the more-commonly used vendor document number and the GP document number has been added in the payments and credit documents columns for easy reference.

Click here for a full list and description of all the new GP 2018 R2 features.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your current version of GP or for any upgrade questions. Our experienced consultants are always available to help.

 

Still on GP 2013? Why it’s time to upgrade!

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 is like your old car that’s falling apart but still gets the job done – it is only a matter of time before it’s a necessity to upgrade. GP 2013 has reached the end of its lifecycle and you’ve now lost some of the software’s most important features.

Mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 ended on April 10, 2018. Here are 7 reasons why it’s time to upgrade:

1.      Your data is at a greater risk for security breaches since you won’t have access to security patches and hotfixes.

2.      You lose the tax table and year-end updates features.

3.      You are no longer able to update your 3rd-party software programs to their latest version or get support from the software vendors.

4.      You will lose compatibility with new servers and operating systems.

5.      Your access to Microsoft tech support won’t be what it used to be. Should you have any major issue with Dynamics GP, like data corruption, Microsoft won’t be able to help fix it.

6.      It keeps you compliant. By upgrading, you remain compliant with current tax laws and accounting best practices.

7.      Anytime, anywhere access – The redesigned web client allows you to access Dynamics GP from the office, on the road, at home and anywhere in between on a PC or mobile device.

 

Delaying a GP upgrade can really cost you in the long run. In delaying your upgrade, your business is at risk for more issues including tax regulation problems and security threats.

An additional benefit to upgrading is that you have robust workflow capabilities, including document attach across the windows you use most often. You also have access to new enhancements, features, and functionality once you finally upgrade! It’s time to trade that old car in and allow your business to thrive.

If you have any questions about your current version of Dynamics GP, or if you are considering an upgrade at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

5 Benefits of Using Microsoft Power BI

Access to actionable data is the key to being competitive and reducing work stress. Over time, and as a business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage data that is being generated regularly or on an ad-hoc basis. The problem is compounded when companies operate using disconnected systems, and decision makers are forced to make decisions based on partially correct data. For this reason, business intelligence solutions are now the tool of choice to effectively analyze and publish critical data that not only support decision making but help to monitor the health of your business.

Power BI, Microsoft’s business intelligence tool, allows enterprises to easily visualize and analyze their data. Power BI works with Dynamics GP and is a cloud-based software where users do not need any specialized training in order to generate reports or views. It is simple to use and quick and easy to implement.

Here are 5 benefits of Power BI:

1.     Integrates seamlessly with existing applications.
Power BI integrates with Dynamics GP, as well as your other existing business systems, allowing you to adopt analytics and reporting capabilities.

2.     Easily create personalized dashboards.
The most valuable feature of Power BI is the information dashboards, which can be customized to meet the exact need of any user’s role. Dashboards and BI reports can be embedded in the applications to provide a unified user experience.

3.     Publish reports automatically and securely.
Power BI helps you to setup automatic data refresh and publish reports allowing all the users to have access to the latest information.

4.     No performance issues.
Because Power BI resides in the Microsoft cloud environment,  memory and performance constraints are eliminated.

5.     No specialized technical support required.
Power BI provides strong inquiry and analysis for most users so you don’t need specialized technical support for anything other than advanced use cases.

For more information about Power BI, or for all your Dynamics GP questions, please contact us. We are always happy to help!

 

Employee Spotlight: Saadia Zakki

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Saadia Zakki, our Project Coordinator. Saadia was born and raised in Pakistan. She spent 7 years studying and working in England before moving to Toronto in 2012. Prior to working at Rimrock, Saadia worked in various administrative and Project Management roles in several industries from Business to Food and IT services.

In her spare time, Saadia loves music, painting, baking and long nature walks.

Read on to find out more about Saadia:.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?

It’s just been over a month now and I am loving it here! Wonderful team to work with. I love the work life balance that Rimrock offers.

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?

We had some friends in Leominster (South Wales, UK) and I loved visiting them. They had a lovely 18th century cottage at the bottom of the hills. It was always refreshing to take a break from fast paced city life and rediscover my own self.

Dream vacation spot is Bali!

 If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

A Fire Fighter.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?

I would like to cast myself as ME 😊

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?

None! I hardly get any time for these with two little young ones.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.

I am a good cook! (I think…..lol)

More Information or a Demo