Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 Support Debugging Tool features you should be using today: Decisions Fall 2011

The Decisions Fall 2011 virtual conference is around the corner, with Dynamics GP Day scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 2011. Please register to participate in the conference. This is a unique, virtual conference experience. No, it's not a boring webinar and surely not the kind of place where you will be ran over by tons of people walking up in hallways and down escalators trying to get to a session room. You can do this from the comfort of your office, sofa, or even your tricked out basement office. There's no excuse - that I can think of anyways - for not participating.

This time around, I will be presenting a topic around - what else! - the Support Debugging Tool: "5 Support Debugging Tool features you should be using today with Microsoft Dynamics GP". What can I say, I love long session titles.

This session is strictly an end-user oriented presentation whose sole objective is to demistify the complexities of the Standard Mode options in the Support Debugging Tool. That's right! No complex scripts, no Dexterity triggers, no XML mambo jambo... just plain simple talk on what's available for YOU the everyday mortal who works with Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Want the advanced stuff? Meet David and I at Microsoft Convergence 2012 in Houston (more on this in another post).

The session will feature 5 simple demoes that will, once and for all, convince you of installing the tool in your environment.

I will also be a panelist at the Microsoft Dynamics GP MVP Roundtable with my compadres, Frank Hamelly, Jivtesh Singh, and Mark Polino. You get to ask us anything Microsoft Dynamics GP and have some fun in the process. Register now!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - Wrap Up

Over the past few days I have presented some of the product enhancements being considered and developed for codename GP "12". Those enhancements are based on 4 core pillars: Simplicity, Productivity, Product Depth, and Innovation.

As we approach the Microsoft Convergence 2012 event, I am sure more of these will be revealed.

As is customary, you can find links to all previously published articles:

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 1 of 4
Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 2 of 4
Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 3 of 4
Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 4 of 4

I encourage you to continue following the Inside Microsoft Dynamics GP blog by the Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Management Team. They are the premier (and official) source for information on all things codename GP "12" and if you have been to the site, you will know that closer to the product release date, you will get a "Feature of the Day" post showcasing new functionality.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 4 of 4

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features - Part 4 

This is article is part 4 of 4 from the series Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features. Some images and content reproduced with express permission from Microsoft Business Solutions, a division of Microsoft Corporation.

DISCLAIMER: These features are subject to change.

In part 3 of the series, we discussed the different enhancements geared towards building up the Microsoft Dynamics GP product depth: enhancements to the GL year-end process, ability to generate Fixed Assets historical reports, and tolerance handling in the purchasing receipt process, are just among the few that stand out.

Of course, the Innovation pillar is mostly dominated by the release of the Web Client, but I will have to add some of the other features that got cataloged in the Product Depth pillar as true product innovations, even though the technologies supporting these innovations has been around for quite sometime.

Product Depth? More like Innovation

If the dynamic conversion of all Dexterity based forms is not an innovation, then I don't know what else qualifies. Take a look at my previous articles on the subject:

Microsoft Dynamics GP "12" Web Client Architecture - Part 2
Microsoft Dynamics GP "12" Web Client Architecture - Part 3

For the complete series on the Web Client, please take a look at my series:

Microsoft Dynamics GP "12" Web Client Architecture Series

To learn more about the Multitenant Services capabilities coming to GP "12", please take a look at my article:

Microsoft Dynamics GP "12" Multitenant Service Architecture

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, November 21, 2011

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 3 of 4

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features - Part 3 

This is article is part 3 of 4 from the series Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features. Some images and content reproduced with express permission from Microsoft Business Solutions, a division of Microsoft Corporation.

DISCLAIMER: These features are subject to change.

If you were taken by the Simplicity and Productivity features, then you will be more impressed with the this new list of features aimed at enhancing the Microsoft Dynamics GP product depth.

Product Depth features

Receivables Management Enhancements

As of the current release, it has always been necessary to enter and apply multicurrency cash receipts as a two-step process. MC Apply in Cash Receipts will now allow you to take a cash receipt entered in originating currency and apply it against an invoice all in the same transaction entry process.

Payables Management

Void of Check Return Applied Credits (return/credit memo) to reusable state - For example, if you have an invoice ($100) with a payment of $50 and a credit memo for $50, both applied to the invoice, you will be able to void the check and have the credit memo become available to either use against the same invoice or apply it to another document - the credit memo returns to an unapplied state. If the original payment was made by credit card, the invoice created for the credit card vendor will also be voided automatically.
Fixed Assets Enhancements

The Fixed Assets module has seen considerable improvements. New also is the Fixed Assets Historical Depreciation Reports. If you have tried to run a historical report, it was not possible and the system would retrieve all the previous depreciation information. Now you can select a specific depreciation date for your report.

System Enhancements

Document Attach. Are you tired of trying to fight your way with the Dexterity OLE Notes Container? First I should clarify, the OLE Notes Container will remain an integral part of Microsoft Dynamics GP. After all, there are a number of you using out there. However, now you will have a more powerful tool in Document Attach.

Document Attach

General Ledger Enhancements

GL Year End Close Options. This feature will provide an option to clear out balance for unit accounts.  Currently, unit account balances automatically carry over from the previous year. The year-end process now features a progress bar that will indicate how far you are into the process when executing it. GP "12" will also provide an option to NOT delete budget account with balances.

I hope you are enjoying some of these preliminary features. My next article will discuss some of the product innovations and what you can expect from a technology perspective..

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Friday, November 18, 2011

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 2 of 4

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features - Part 2 

This is article is part 2 of 4 from the series Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features. Some images and content reproduced with express permission from Microsoft Business Solutions, a division of Microsoft Corporation.

DISCLAIMER: These features are subject to change.

Yesterday, in Part 1 of the Series we saw some of the new features in the Simplicity pillar: Select printer at Print Time, improvements in the Fixed Assets calendar setup process, reprinting of check remittances, and the ability to print SSRS reports directly from within Microsoft Dynamics GP, in what seems to be a race to replace Report Writer reports.

Today, we will take a look at some of the features in the Productivity pillar, whose aim is to "enhance productivity from application configuration to frequently performed tasks".

Productivity Features

System Enhancements

Among the features being worked, the Named System Database and Multi-tenant Applications are two of the most important features aimed to change Microsoft Dynamics GP architecture. I have covered these two features extensively in my Microsoft Dynamics Communities column articles:

Microsoft Dynamics GP "12" Named System Database Architecture
Microsoft Dynamics GP "12" Multitenant Service Architecture

Bank Reconciliation Enhancements

In the Bank Reconciliation front, you can expect the new Sub Ledger Reconcile BR to GL feature. If you are worried about your checkbook balance and GL cash account not matching, this new option will present you with reason for the out of balance conditions: a batch not posted, a voided GL entry, etc. This new feature also looks at the Receivables and Payables module.

By adding the checkbook ID as a field, you can compare the checkbook balance to the Cash Account in GL. This new reconcile tool will attempt to match records on transaction source, date, and amount and will report matched transactions, unmatched transactions, and potentially matched transactions, with the capability to drill back to the document and/or journal entry.

You can then save the output file and date when the reconciliation was performed so you don’t need to run the reconcile again. This option has been retrofitted to the other reconciliation processes.

Fixed Assets Enhancements

Yesterday I talked about the Fixed Assets Calendar Setup enhancements. You can expect other enhancements in the Fixed Assets GL Posting process – you will now be able to create batches of fixed assets transaction. As with every other batch in the system, you will now be able to review what is going to post to GL before it is posted, via an edit list.

You can build the batch, insert restrictions - today, you are only able to enter a date range and Fixed Assets pulls everything - such as dates, transaction type (depreciation, transfer, retire, addition) review the batch, make changes, and post. You can post in detail vs. post in summary - the only option available today. Going forward, each distribution line in Fixed Assets will have an equivalent distribution line in GL.

Other enhancements in Fixed assets will entail Mass Depreciation Reversal. This one is much needed as, if you have depreciated 1,000 assets through the end of the year by mistake, you would have to manually back out each of the 1,000 assets. In GP "12", you will be able to perform a mass reversal of the depreciation - all assets at once.

EFT Enhancements

EFT Payables and Receivables will see the introduction of the Bank Administration Institute (BAI). The process will use the current Configurator to setup an EFT file based on BAI standards.

Distribution Enhancements

Purchasing Receivings will now see Tolerance Levels handling for quantities being received. If you setup a tolerance level, any quantities not received within the tolerance limits will automatically be cancelled on the Purchase Order. You will have the option to setup whether you want to do this automatically or prompted.

SOP and POP Drop Ship for Serial/Lots items – GP "12" will allow you to track serial/lot numbers from vendors. Users will have the ability to enter the serial numbers for any product being drop-shipped, unlike current released versions of GP. If you have a SOP invoice linked to a PO then the Serial/Lot will come across onto the SOP invoice.

As you can see, there are tons of enhancements in all of the above modules. GP "12" is geared towards solving some of the complexities in business processes that were a bit neglected in current releases.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features Series - 1 of 4

Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features - Part 1 

This is article is part 1 of 4 from the series Codename GP "12" Preliminary Features. Some images and content reproduced with express permission from Microsoft Business Solutions, a division of Microsoft Corporation.

DISCLAIMER: These features are subject to change.

I am only repeating what I have heard so please don't shoot the messenger. With GP "12" to be released "sometimes next year" - and yes, December 31, 2012 is still within that time frame - there may still be features on the following list that may not make the cut. However, it was fairly clear that the boys and girls on the Microsoft Dynamics GP development team in Fargo are working their rears off to get the feature list to a state where they feel pretty comfortable, meeting the demands on the shopping list.

Straight out of GPUG Summit's closing session, comes some of the top features being worked on, based on the traditional 4 pillar goals:

4 Core Design Pillars
Each pillar allows the engineering team to showcase a list of features that will support the objectives behind pillar.

The PM Reprint Check Remittance, for instance, will allow users to re-print the check remittance without having to generate the check.

Improvements have also been considered for the FA Calendar Setup feature. In this case, the Fixed Assets calendar does not have to match the fiscal calendar. You can now have multiple calendars, for example, having an asset depreciate on a fiscal year for tax purposes, if tax year and fiscal year are different, and depreciate calendar year for financial reporting purposes.
The Journal Entry History Inquiry will see enhancements too. In today's world, the existing window only looks at the open tables. The plan for GP "12" is to have it look at both open and/or history.

In the reporting area, you will be delighted to know that you will now be able to choose a printer at print time. This feature was only 20 years in the making, but it's finally here! Hey, I remember like if it was yesterday, when Windows True Type fonts became a standard part of Report Writer reports. Before that, we only had 4 fonts to play with. Challenge: name the 4 fonts available prior to the introduction of True Type fonts.

SSRS Simplicity

In addition to the printer at print time, one of the most awaited features is the ability to print SSRS reports from right within Microsoft Dynamics GP, this is, you will no longer need to wait for the Internet Explorer browser to load Report Server to display the report and will rather see the report from within GP as if you were looking at a Report Writer report in the report layout window... ah, and before I forget, Report Writer will eventually be phased out as the predominant options to render reports.

I don't know how this plays with all that Word Template functionality released fairly recently, but I am sure a lot of you will jump on one feet in happiness knowing that you no longer will need to suffer through the tortuous process of customizing a report. My instinct tells me, that Report Writer will mainly subsists as a data delivery mechanism for XML files needed for your beloved Word Templates. If history and memory serve me well, Microsoft rarely gets rid of a working function within its products, except it becomes as annoying as the Office Paperclip Assistant. Now that I come to think, Report Writer is got to be up there for a lot of you.

I will continue tomorrow with the Productivity pillar.
Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap Update - Welcome codename GP "15"

Exciting times to be in the Microsoft Dynamics GP world! Web Client on the horizon, cloud computing in the not so distant future, tons of enhancements in codename GP "12". Now that I come to think about it, kind of make GP 2010 sound a bit obsolete, but wait? GP 2010 just got a refresh a few months ago. Oh, well!

If you keep up with my blog, you probably have seen my previous articles on the GP roadmap. For your benefit however, here are the links:

The Evolution of the Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap
Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap Update
Microsoft Dynamics GP roadmap

Now, I unveil for you the new roadmap which includes codename GP "15"

Roadmap as of November 2011 (GPUG Summit)
This roadmap update was unveiled at the GPUG Summit 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Note that codename GP "15" includes a Rapid Time-to-Value focus for the middle market, which probably means you will see some improvements in the implementation and deployment cycles of the product, a carry over topic from codename GP "14". One has to imagine that given the changes in the core product architecture, deployment would become a focus going into the future.

As usual, if anything new comes up I will let you know about it - as long as I am not bound by my NDA.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Navigation List Builder not redeploying changes to a previously saved list

During the Drill-Down Builder and Navigation List Builder training session (for class materials, click here) I held at GPUG Academy Training Day 1 in Las Vegas, prior to the GPUG Summit, I found that Navigation List Builder had an issue redeploying changes done to a previously created and saved navigation list. In reality, this issue came up days before when I was preparing the class, but I really did not give it much thought and attributed the problem to an 'environmental' issue on my machine. The Microsoft Dynamics GP version is 2010 R2 (11.00.1752).

One of my students saved his navigation list to the wrong series and deployed the list. All things worked, except the navigation list was showing up under the Financial bar, instead of the Sales bar where it should have been saved to initially.

Navigation List Builder - list saved to the wrong series
Upon realizing the miscategorization of the list, the student returned to Navigation List Builder to make the proper adjustments and set the navigation list appear under the Sales bar. Easy feat, right? Sure was! After saving the changes to the navigation list, the typical deployment window flashed.

The student then proceeded to click on the Sales navigation bar and did not see the navigation list he had created. He then clicked on the Financial navigation bar and nothing showed up. In essence, the list was gone.

Returning to Navigation List Builder, we could retrieve the List ID we created. However, after adding a few new columns and saving to redeploy, we were not able to see the list on the Sales navigation bar. Finally, after a few trial with no success, we decided to delete the navigation list and recreated with the same name, this time, saving to the Sales navigation bar (as originally intended). This time, the new list displayed just fine.

There are a few more things we did not test, so consider this a limited scenario. Other things that could be tested include saving a navigation list to the correct bar, then return and add some changes after the initial deployment, though I suspect this problem would have manifested itself in the support archives pretty quick.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, November 14, 2011

GPUG Summit 2011 Las Vegas: Materials now available

If you attended any of my training classes or sessions, you will be glad to know that the training and presentation materials are now available from the Learning Resources page on this site. Please feel free to download.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

GPUG Summit 2011 Las Vegas: Wrap Up

This was my first GPUG Summit (and my first GPPC as well) and I have to say I was utterly surprised by the level of organization, the training topics, the quality of the sessions (over 140!), and the spirit of the attendees. Frankly, except for the share number of people who attend Convergence, this event felt like any top class conference I have had the opportunity to participate in.

As is customary, this post will provide a summary of (most) links where you can find information on GPUG Summit 2011 Las Vegas, just in case you were not able to attend the event or missed any of the previous posts. So let's get started:

The Dynamics GP Blogster

GPUG Summit 2011: Getting there
GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 1
GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 2
GPUG Summit: Day 1
GPUG Summit: Day 2
GPUG Summit: Day 3

The DynamicsGP Blogster on Facebook

The Dynamics GP Blogster

The Dynamics GP Blogster on Twitter


DynamicAccounting (Mark Polino)

GPUG Summit Recap Part 1

GP2TheMax (Frank Hamelly)

Things Learned at GPUG Summit 2011

Finally, if you attended the Summit you will by now realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself after these events is begin expanding your professional network. It helps to know people who know people, who know people and will facilitate getting around those difficult business issues you may be facing.

Next destination... Microsoft Convergence Houston 2012 at GPUG DayONE 2012 See you soon!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Sunday, November 13, 2011

GPUG Summit: Day 3

Day 3 marks the end of the GPUG Summit 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The day started with an early 8:00 AM session, IT15: Administering Microsoft Dynamics GP Like a Pro with the Support Debugging Tool. The presentation was pre-recorded by David Musgrave with MVP Mark Polino and I in the room as facilitators and co-presenters. We had a chance to patch in David to say hi to the attendees. After the intro, we checked out David and began playing the video for the attendees. Unfortunately, due to the poor audio quality, and after 4 walk outs, we were forced to stop the recording.

Mark and I then decided to present the session live and were able to show some of the key features of the Support Debugging Tool. However, time was very short due to the fact the we needed to make up ground for the bad audio.

NOTE: Let this be a note of apology to everyone who attended our session. While we made all efforts to test the audio before hand and our judgement deemed it legible at first, clearly the end result was inadequate for the presentation.

After the session, I came across Andy Hefer, President of Dynamic Communities. Andy was able to arrange a photo-op with the wives of the Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs  in attendance. This was all based on an idea for an article my wife ran by Andy the day before. In addition to the photo-op, the ladies will be featured in the GPUG Magazine as part of an interview - I must confess... I have a feeling this is a very bad idea!

Backdrop for our photo-op at Caesars Palace

The photo-op took place at 10:30 AM and we had a really good time, with laughter and the usual jokes.

I had a final session at 1:30 PM, IT19: Ask the Experts - Microsoft Dynamics GP Development Tools. Frankly, I had no expectations of anyone turning up for this session, since it was a part of the group of last sessions for the day, with a relatively heavy topic. However, and to my surprise, I had close to 15 people showing up. Attendees to my session were very much in tuned with the Web Client and wanted to know about the preparations and adjustments they will need to do to move their code forward to codename GP "12". Little did I know the session would be this dynamic and exciting and I thank everyone who attended for their interest, giving the time of the day at which the session was held. Also, thanks to Dave Dusek, Escalation Engineer Microsoft

Following my session, it was time to attend the GPUG Summit closing session, GEN20: Dynamics GP Product Strategy and Vision, scheduled at 3:00 PM. This was a very exciting session with Kim Peterson, GPUG Director providing a recap of the Summit and getting a bit moved as attendees thanked her for a very well organized event.

It was time for Pam Misialek, Product Manager Microsoft to put the final touches. Pam provided analogies between the product strategy and vision with North Dakotan birthday parties, and in particular a couple events around her family experiences. Pam highlighted how Microsoft Dynamics GP accomodates the old school ways of doing business, but at the same time moving forward to fit a world governed by technologies such as Instant Text Messaging and Social Networking in a world that's increasingly mobile. She then proceed to demo some of the features that will be available in codename GP "12".

Pam Misialek, Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Manager at the GPUG Summit closing session
Couple features that drew applauses were the ability to select a printer at print time and the gradual phase out of Report Writer in favor of SQL Server Reporting Services reports. Pam went into some details explaining that SSRS reports will run from within Microsoft Dynamics GP and not externally as it happens today.

It was time to say goodbye!

To wrap up the day, my wife and I went to watch comedian David Spade at the Venetian Hotel at 9:00 PM, who was in town for 2 days. Following the act, we returned to our hotel, Caesars Palace and decided to go to PURE night club for a couple hours.

David Spade at The Venetian Hotel
 Back to the room, we spent a great deal of time packing our suitcase and getting ready for our trip back to Atlanta.

Following this post, I will publish the traditional wrap up post with links to download the materials for the sessions I presented at the Summit.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Friday, November 11, 2011

GPUG Summit: Day 2

Day 2 marks the day I get back on stage.

The morning started out very slowly, with most of the time spent at the Mekorma Connections Cafe, catching up on emails and projects I am currently working on back in Atlanta. On the way to the Cafe,  I couldn't help but realize how there was no one around. That's good, because it seems GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit, #GPUG) attendees are definitely getting the best out of the conference and maximizing their time. Also, it would suggest that a number of partners have already left town from the now defunct GP Partner Conference (twitter: #GPCC) event which wrapped up day before yesterday.

Upon arrival at the Cafe, there was a second round of book signing with our community authors - see GPUG Summit: Day 1 for a picture of the authors. Fellow MVP Mark Polino was as usual taking care of business and had some folks approaching him for his signature.

MVP and Author Mark Polino

Following the book signing, my wife and I headed outside of the Conference Center for some breakfast and were back to continue catching up on emails. I decided to give my slide deck a second pass just to make sure my timing was correct for the upcoming 3:00 PM session, GEN13: Where do the experts turn for answers?

I had the opportunity to attend Mark Polino and John Lowther's session, GEN12: The Worst Mistakes you can make with Microsoft Dynamics GP. This session was fun and clearly a reminder of the things you should not do, unlike all other sessions stressing the things you should be doing.

After Mark's session it was showtime. I headed over to my presentation room, got my computer setup and waited for attendees to show up. Surprisingly, I had some 20 attendees in the room with lots of questions on where to find resources on GP. Interestingly enough, most attendees were acquainted with the blogs, but are still slow to adopt other resources like Microsoft Dynamics Communities and the Partner Online Technical Community.

After my session, it was time to attend the Microsoft Town Hall meeting with members of the Product Management team and Microsoft Customer and Partner Management team.

Audience settling in for the Microsoft Town Hall meeting
During the session, attendees - Customers and Partners - asked the tough questions and at times put the panelists under the spotlight as it relates to features in upcoming releases, especially those related to Manufacturing and Project Accounting. The panelists reminded the attendees of the importance of Microsoft Connect as a tool to submit requests for product features.

Microsoft Town Hall meeting in course. Left to right: Bill Tattan, Pam Misialek, Chirs Lerum, Mark Albrecht, and Brian Meier, moderated by Kim Peterson
Things turned a little heated when the topic switched from product features to the panelists questioning the audience on their knowledge of the "Unleash your full Potential" program. This program was launched by Microsoft to help customers increase their utilization of their existing system functionality to help their business. Customers complained that partners did not inform them about the program and in some cases didn't make them aware of existing promotions.

In turn, partners fought back by letting customers know that communication is a two way street and that they need to reach out when in need of new functionality. Some partners reminded customers that there is a fine line between being perceived as always selling something, versus working with customers to understand what else they can implement to complement their initial implementation.

My personal take is this: if you are a customer, you must work with your partner beyond your initial implementation to assess the maturity of your organization as it relates to the Microsoft Dynamics GP features you are using today. In turn, partners should have an honest dialog with customers about their capabilities and how they can help effect the changes needed by their customers. Both customers and partners should recognize their limitations and seek assistance from other organizations who can help closing the gaps.
After the meeting, I went back to my room and headed out to dinner to the Stratosphere Hotel with my wife. We both had a great time looking down to the city from the Top of the World restaurant, located on the 107th floor.

View of Las Vegas from the Top of the World restaurant
The Summit is almost coming to an end, so stay tuned for more.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Thursday, November 10, 2011

GPUG Summit: Day 1

The GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit) officially starts today! The morning started with the traditional pastry and coffee breakfast - ok, there were also a variety of juices to go along. I managed to sit at a round table with a few Microsoft Escalation Support folks and fellow MVPs Frank Hamelly and Mark Polino.

MVPs @ Work: left, MVP Frank Hamelly; right, MVP Mark Polino
Minutes later, Kim Peterson, GPUG Director kicked off the GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit) with some overall statistics on attendance and industries. Suffice to say, the numbers are pretty impressive: 500 attendees from over 14 lines of industries, heavily represented by middle market organizations (11 - 49 users).

Kim Peterson on stage, recognizing the GPUG Board members
 GPUG sponsors were also recognized with folks from MetaViewer and Rockton Software taking the stage to talk about their products. This is when all hell broke loose! Mark Rockwell took the stage and reminded attendees why they should be using the GP Toolbox... BY SINGING!

Note: please do not confuse Mark Polino, MVP and author of the Dynamics GP Cookbook, with Mark Rockwell, author of the Dynamics GP Toolbox! Not that I am vouching for Mark Polino's singing abilities either, but I think he knows his limits.

The keynote speach was delivered by career coach Carolyn Baana, former Microsoft Support Commercial Services regional director. Carolyn's speach focused on the importance of setting long-term goals, fueled by short-term achievements toward the end goals.

Kim Peterson and Carolyn Baana
I also had a chance to catch up with Bob McAdam and Zubin Gidwani, who had just a few minutes aback received the GPUG All-Stars award - then again, Bob already knew he was a superstar even before he was confirmed to be one.

Bob McAdam and Zubin Gidwani
Back at the Mekorma Connections Cafe, I had a chance to catch up on emails and take a break from the hectic pace here at the conference. I also had a unique opportunity to talk about personal matters with MVP Mark Polino and get to know a little bit more of the man behind the Diet Mountain Due. Mark's wife, Dara joined in and reminded me how lucky she was to marry a geek. Dara is also surprised by the Diva status her husband has achieved in the Dynamics community.

Following the stint at the Cafe, I decided to attend a session on Microsoft Dynamics GP Upgrades: Approaches and Techniques, hosted by Microsoft's Kelly Youells - for a picture of Kelly, see yesterday's post GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 2. The session was jammed packed with useful tips on how to upgrade your Microsoft Dynamics GP system and all the "gotchas" and considerations to move from previous versions to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 - there was an attendee whose company is still running version 8.0. Kelly outlined the importance of keeping an eye on the upgrade paths and version numbers and presented various resources online where this information could be found.

It was time for lunch at the Expo Hall. The place was packed! They were 4 food stations dedicated to Summit attendees, each running a very long line. After circling around a bit, it was time to get in line and grab some food. On the way out, I returned to the Mekorma Connections Cafe to sit down and enjoy the meal, joined by Pam Misialek, Product Manager Microsoft Dynamics GP and Jay Manley, Sr. Product Manager Microsoft Dynamics GP, where we had a chance to discuss some of the details behind codename GP 12's web client.

I must say, the more I hear about the web client, the more I am excited about the prospects for the Microsoft Dexterity community of developers - wait for my new In my humble opinion column, "Web Client? Dexterity developers rejoice!", putting the final touches to it.

At 3:00 PM PT, book signing began. This was a fun event featuring community authors Mark Polino (Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook), Chris Elmore (The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation) and Richard Whaley (Accolade Publications).

Mark Polino, Chris Elmore, and Richard Whaley
My wife was coming into town, so I return to my room to drop off my computer bag and I was off to the Las Vegas International airport to pick her up. Back at the hotel, she got settled and it was time to party... GPUG style!

GPUG was hosting the now popular Rock n' Rave event. Simply, it was very spectacular. And what would be a party in Vegas without Elvis? Now, I have seen my fair share of Elvises around, but this guy was good! The music was right, and needless to say, people were shaking it.

What would be a party in Vegas without Elvis?

It was also MVP time! Rarely, you would have a chance to have 3 Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs in one spot -- with their wives. MVP Frank Hamelly was at the party with his wife Sheila, MVP Mark Polino attending with his wife Dara, and me, with my wife Marina. We had a chance to get the ladies together, only to have our inflated egoes popped. This was after all a bad idea, now that I reflect on it.

Little known fact: Mr. Polino may be MVP to the rest of the world, but at home he still has to take the garbage out and pickup the dog's poo. I don't have a dog, but you still get the picture.

Dara Polino, Mark Polino, David Eichner, Marina Dzyura (Mrs. Gomez)
With sessions ahead, it was time to call it a night. Wife and I went to dinner and had a great time catching up, but sessions are ahead of me.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 2

Today marks the second day of training sessions at the Great Plains User Group (GPUG)  Summit (twitter: #gpsummit). The day started with the traditional early morning. However this time, I had to make it to the classroom at 7:30 AM to test my machine, projector, and VPC image, before students had a chance to sit.

I was scheduled to deliver a class on Data Migration and Integration Techniques which would cover anything from pitfalls to the core steps to get data from point A to point B, while showing how to use one of the integration tools in the process. Class ran relatively smoothly, except for a few lock ups with had with the VPC images.

By midday, it was time to get some lunch. GPUG had a special lunch for class instructors, so I had the opportunity to catch up with fellow MVP and business partner, Frank Hamelly, who was also delivering training this week - to be honest, it was the first time since Sunday that I had seen Frank, this is how crazy it is out here.

MVP Frank Hamelly and I at the Instructors Lunch
Lunch was over and it was time to continue training. My class was originally scheduled from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PT, but by concensus, the schedule was cut to 2:00 PM. The class attendees were very receptive to the topics and participated during the session with real life examples of data migration and integration projects they were currently working on.

This is a picture of my class:
Data Migration and Integration Class - from left to right: Marty Lingg (Pacific Northern Gas), Michelle Vecqueray (St. Michaels University School), Joyce Vanjura, Thomas Bosquet (Franklin Pud), Liz Koon (Snoqualmie Casino), Steve Gillson (Bladetech), Craig Jacobs (Affinity Gaming), Monique Whitaker (Affinity Gaming), Wade Petty (Mortgage Contracting Services)

Following the training session, we had a speakers meeting in the Forum Ballroom, where I had the opportunity to meet Online Technical Partner Forum support engineers Kelly Youells, Christine Galea, Terry Heley, and Sarah Purdy.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Support Escalation Engineers
From left to right: Kelly Youells, Christine Galea, Terry Heley, and Sarah Purdy
I had a chance to sit down with Kelly and exchange a few conversations on a KB article update and to report a bug in the Navigation List Builder feature in SmartList Builder - more on that in a future post.

After receiving the last minute pointers for our speaking engagements from Kim Peterson, GPUG Director, I went down to the Expo hall. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised by the level of organization of this event. Clearly, a lot of time went into the logistics of getting this part of the Summit right.

Summit Expo Hall
I had a chance to check out a few products and catch up with a number of partners and friends. I had a chance to view the latest developments from the eOne Integrated Business Solutions team: SmartConnect and its ability to import data from any source into any destination - not only GP!; previewed the new SmartView product, which can only be described as the alter ego version of SmartList; and Node Builder, a complete solution to facilitate eConnect extensibility.

I also had a chance to check out the new products from Integrity Data and was especially impressed by their U-LINC product, a very powerful workflow builder for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Continuing my tour around the Expo hall, I came across the guys from the Microsoft Dynamics Community team, which shared some of the upcoming improvements to the Community site, dubbed Community 3.0. Currently, the team is working on developing various usability labs that they expect to unveil to a select group of beta testers.

Microsoft Dynamics Community Team
From left to right: Mariano Gomez, Andy Leapaldt, Arlin Fisher, Eric Parsons, Nick Hoban
After talking to the Community team, we were joined by MVP Leslie Vail and went to dinner were we discussed various aspects of our personal lives and motivations to do what we do to improve the life of users and partners in the Community.

While I have already been here in Las Vegas for the past 2 days, I must say that the Summit is just getting started. I am definitely still feeling the effects of the timezone change and 2 training classes I have under my belt. Tomorrow, the Summit goes into full gear with the keynote session, various breakout sessions, and activities organized for attendees. I not schedule to speak until Thursday, so I expect tomorrow to be more of a transition day for me, awaiting for my wife to arrive in town.
Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, November 7, 2011

GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 1

Today marks the beginning of optional training classes at the GPUG Summit (twitter: #gpsummit) in Las Vegas, Nevada. My class in particular runs from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM - more on that later.

The morning began pretty early for me (3:30 AM PT, 6:30 AM ET) due to the change of timezone, so I figured instead of wasting time rolling in bed, I would get up and do a final review of my slides to make sure I had incorporated the last minute updates that went out this past Friday and even yesterday. By 6:30 AM I was ready to get in the shower and go grab some breakfast.

Partners having breakfast and getting ready for the Conference

Over at the Octavius Ballroom in the Conference Center, I decided to crash the GP Partner Connections (twitter: #gppc) keynote session, with Mark Rockwell opening for Microsoft's Anders Spatzek, Director of Customer & Partner Services and Programs.

Mark Rockwell (Rockton Software) getting ready to introduce Anders Spatzek
Anders explained all the different changes in the Solution Provider Agreement (SPA) and the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) program and  and how they affect partners currently doing business with Microsoft. The picture is clear: if you did not meet your SPA requirements (directives issued since 2009) by the end of October you are at risk of no longer being able to place orders with Microsoft - SPA requirements included a certification component, plus a revenue target component.

MPN requirements revolve around achieving Silver or Gold competencies in ERP and/or CRM - the same applies to other Microsoft product families - and maintaining the right number of certified individuals and customer references to satisfy the program requirements.

Anders went into the details of the Master VAR program and how it can be seen as a way for partners who are not going to make the cut after the SPA requirements go into effect, to continue doing business with Microsoft. At the end of the presentation, ISVs and VARs had a number of pointy questions for Anders, a clear reminder that not everyone comulgates with the concept.

After the session, I met up with John Lowther to catch up on a number of items, while getting acquainted with the classroom for my upcoming training session. I did all the necessary projector testing and made sure the VPC image was working properly. Once all the testing was completed, John and I headed downstairs for some lunch.

The main event's room is almost ready for Wednesday
Back to the classroom, I sat back and waited for the time to wind down and began training at 1:30 PM PT as scheduled. Things went pretty smoothly with the class and the attendees, with no issues experienced by any of my students. Congrats to the GPUG team for making the experience enjoyable for everyone! Training ran its course until 4:45 PM, then we floor was opened to questions.

Drill-Down Builder and Navigation List Builder class attendees. From left to right, Bill Crabble (CS&S Consulting), Bruce Wilkins (Flagstone Management Services), Margie Newton (Great Plains College), and John Lowther (STA Home) 
It was then time to go get some food after a long day of activities and find a space to just decompress. GPPC (twitter: #gppc) was hosting a little buffet, so once again, I decided to crash the event with John.

GP Partner Connections (GPPC) Buffet
The afternoon got a bit busy and I ran across Kevin Racer and Brian Roney, both Senior Development Engineers at Microsoft. Kevin is one the engineers working on the Web Client project and Brian is a lead developer on the Dexterity team and the Web Client as of late. The good thing about talking to much smarter people than one appears to be, is the ability to be listened attentively, so I took the chance to run some Silverlight initiatives of mine to both of them and get some feedback in return on the things I can try out.

Kevin Racer and Brian Roney
On my way out, I came across Sheila Jefferson-Russ and MVP Leslie Vail. A few conversations later, and I was ready to get back to my room to get ready for my next day training session on Data Migration and Integration Techniques.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC