Jack Boyer: Erik, you’ve done support with Microsoft when you lived in Fargo and now you’ve been consulting on Dynamics GP for 10 years. What to you are the most exciting improvements you’ve seen over the past 2 version Dynamics GP 2010 and Dynamics GP Version 10?
Erik Vigesaa: I would say the word templates in GP 2010 is one feature I can see most users benefiting from. The ability to auto email PO’s and Invoices as a PDF right from GP is a great new feature. GP 2010 R2 also added some nice mail merge functionality to make the email subject and body more personal for the recipient of the email.
Workflow is another area that I like. In GP 2010 the Action Steps are a nice addition. Now you can have users validate that a report has been printed before a Workflow Step has been approved. Or a user has verified that a W-9 form exists for a vendor before that vendor can be setup in GP.
From a technical perspective the installs for Web Services and Workflow have really improved in GP 2010. There is much less manual configuration involved and these products can be installed and up and running in a much shorter timeframe.
JB: Dynamics GP has always had nice integration tools from the time we picked up the product with Version 7 of GP in 2002. What improvements have you seen in this area?
EV: eConnect and Web Services are very nice improvements to importing data into GP. While eConnect does take some assistance from a developer the flexibility and speed of the tool makes importing data a much quicker and easier experience for the end user. Then there are products out there like SmartConnect from eOne Solutions that add a user interface to eConnect. This interface gives users an experience similar to Integration Manger, but leverages the speed and power of eConnect.
JB: You’ve been our leading expert on Management Reporter. You’ve taught classes on both FRx and Management Reporter. What is your opinion so far when you contrast FRx with Management Reporter?
EV: I am very impressed with the initial release of Management Reporter. I think there are still areas that need to be improved, but overall it is a nice solution. The transition from FRx to Management Reporter is a fairly smooth one for clients since the user experience is so similar. The dimension flexibility in Management Reporter is a nice option that allows for greater reporting flexibility without the need for a tree. One issue I would like to see resolved with Management Reporter are some performance problems we are noticing with clients using very large reporting trees. I think once this gets cleared up, we will see more and more people ready to make the switch.
JB: Tell us about your efforts to document implementation decisions that clients have made with your assistance. Has there been feedback either positive or negative from clients about the value they receive with this type of detailed documention?
EV: I think the greatest benefit an implementation document provides is the opportunity for everyone to get on the same page before we start implementing the software. You will not always be perfect and there will be changes along the way, but it is nice to lay the foundation of how GP is going to be used by the client. Most of the feedback I have received is that the document is very helpful. There have been times where the client did not understand what was stated in the document and as it turned out, we did not initially understand the client very well and had to re-visit the topic. The recommendation document helped to clear the air and make sure we understood the issues before it was too late.
JB: What makes a document useful to a client versus “over their head” and have you seen both types of documentation done on a client’s behalf?
EV: I am guilty of writing documents that have been too detailed and have caused more confusion for the client then adding any real benefit. I think the key is to keep it clear and concise. In the case of implementation decisions less detail seems to be better. The client is absorbing a lot of information and documenting every single setup screen just does not seem to provide much value. Focus on the key areas and explain those decisions better. We do not need to state that maintaining General Ledger History is going to be enabled. Everyone wants to maintain GL History.
On the flip-side however, when writing a work order or change order I find more detail is better. I think sample mock-ups of reports and sample screen-shots of custom windows are a great way to make sure both parties understand the scope of the project. I was also taught at Great Plains, when writing Knowledge Base articles, to write under the assumption your audience has no experience with GP. This forces you to remove assumptions and write in a clear manner, which I think benefits everyone involved.
Thank you Erik. I hope this information is useful to the Dynamics GP Community out there. I appreciate your time, and experience.