Are you still using an older version of Microsoft Dynamics GP? Wonder what all the buzz is about “workflow” and upgrades? Marketing coordinator Katie Erickson chatted with Dynamics GP consultant Kelly Peek to learn more about workflow and Dynamics GP 2015.
Katie: First, let’s start with the basic question: What exactly is “workflow” for Microsoft Dynamics GP?
Kelly: Workflow itself is approval processes. In Dynamics GP, it provides the functionality to create those workflows and the approval process. Clients use it a lot for purchasing because you have levels where people take purchases and another approves those orders and eventually it goes to invoicing. Purchasing is where I see workflow the most. I don’t work with payroll all that much. I just know what I read and feel like it works really well in that area too.
Katie: What’s the latest version?
Kelly: We’re dealing mostly with Workflow 2.0. There was much more functionality added in 2015 to that version.
Katie: How is it different from previous versions?
Kelly: The approval process expanded for batch approval, payroll expanded and you can send a SmartList through Workflow in GP 2015. I never had to set up an approval process when it first came out so I’m not sure all the limitations of the GP 2013 screen, but I know in GP 2015, there’s a whole step-by-step process. The hierarchy is what’s changed. It’s more enhanced.
Also, the document attachment — that’s the huge piece in GP 2015. You can attach documents in the workflow process. Workflow allows for document attachments like pdfs to flow through the emails to the approvers. For example, you can attach the actual purchase order and let that flow through the process.
Katie: How long does it take to set up a workflow?
Kelly: It depends on the number of your workflow steps. You have to decide if it’s going to go to multiple people and if you have thresholds of dollar amounts that the approver can approve. Workflow allows you to go multiple steps. Setup is anywhere from 5-10 minutes to an hour. The testing — if you have a lot of layers — is what takes time. That’s the nice thing about Workflow 2.0 is that it allows you to have a lot of layers, a complex workflow process.
Katie: How does the setup process work?
Kelly: Normally what we do when clients want to go to workflow is tell them first to get the upgrade in place and set up a test company and work through documentation on their end on the steps they want and who approvers should be and then set up emails. There’s some IT things that need to be done first to make sure the workflow is going to work. They also have to know which kind of workflow they want. Each module has many workflow types, for example, purchasing, journal ledger, purchasing lot with payroll — There’s a lot of steps behind those.
Katie: What do you like best about Workflow?
Kelly: I don’t work with it on a daily basis. I teach clients how to set it up and then we send them on their way.
Katie: What do clients like most about Workflow?
Kelly: You don’t have to be a GP user to be an approver as long as it can flow through email. For example, maybe an approver is a department director who doesn’t get into Dynamics GP. Workflow will allow the approvals to flow through their email and keep it going through the GP process. Also, it works on both levels – simple and complex.
Katie: How can our readers get the latest GP workflow on their systems?
Kelly: The best way is to upgrade to at least 2015 R2. That had the most workflow features. We have a lot of clients still on GP 2010, and people are panicking. Microsoft recently sent out an email about support transitioning down sometime this year. Some clients just wait until panic mode before they start switching. Some clients say, “Hey, it’s the latest and greatest” and they go ahead and do it right away. Some say, “It’s not broken. I’ll just stick with this,” but then they want the enhancements with what they have. Can it be done? Yes, but there are limitations.
Katie: What are the limitations of workflow in previous versions?
Kelly: If you’re on GP 2010, you can’t use workflow at all. You have a batch approval screen and that’s all. If you’re on GP 2013, you won’t have the document attachment process and I don’t think you have the full functionality capability of all the levels that you can add in GP 2015.
Katie: Why do upgrades matter when it comes to using workflow?
Kelly: When I first got to Boyer, I did help a client set up the workflow start to finish. They ran into a lot of problems in GP 2013. They wanted to use a more complex step-by-step process. We had to bring in Microsoft and there was a lot of patches. They probably should have been on GP 2015.
Katie: Is there anything customers need to know before upgrading?
Kelly: When they upgrade, this functionality is available to them. It’s just a matter of enabling it and turning it on.
Katie: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Kelly: Most of the comments from clients — especially if they were already using batch approval in GP 2010 — is that this is much nicer and it’s all in one place so we have a full maintenance screen. It allows you to set up the steps right there.
Katie: What other new features are big in Dynamics GP 2015?
Kelly: Workflow is the main thing. Also web client enhancement, and they added fixed asset year-end close reports, which seemed to be nice for clients. But yeah, I would say the biggest thing was workflow changes and then outside of that, the reporting. In GP 2013, you had to purchase SmartList Designer and now its fully available in version 2015. They don’t necessarily have to buy it separately.
Want to take advantage of GP workflow? Contact us to learn how.