One of the things that has seemed fairly straightforward among our Microsoft Dynamics clients is this:  The larger the client, the more customizations they need and want.  One of the differences we’ve also noticed over the years is that the clients with fewer customizations tend to stay more current while clients that have had us add new custom modules. custom reports, and customizations to existing forms have tended to lag due to the assumed cost and disruption of upgrading.

Many of our Dynamics SL clients that are north of 100 million in sales are beginning to upgrade now.  One client is one billion in sales with several years worth of customizations that they did themselves.  Many are only partly interested in staying current due to the impressive performance increases users saw between SQL 2000 and SQL 2005 in their move all the way to SQL 2008.  Most are upgrading due to the impressive array of improvements that Dynamics SL 2011 is delivering.  I’m not going to lie-I’m happy that many of these more challenging upgrades waited six months.  A version with as many improvements as Dynamics SL 2011 offers tends to have issues.  In practice, the only major issues we have seen with this upgrade, even before the service pack came out, have been around performance on underpowered hardware.  Dynamics SL 2011 was well tested and is performing well.

If you use the distribution modules and the project modules, you will be happy with the improvements.  A line item on a sales order can now create a project and task if you have allowed someone permissions to do this.  In the past you had to stop entering your sales order, create the project and task, and then go back into your sales order to complete.  If you did not do this, then only the time you billed to the project-not the sales ordered products would appear in your project analysis because the products’ costs and revenues could be missing (if you didn’t have permissions or time to set up the project and task).

One of the main improvements is that every user that has upgraded so far has loved has been Quick Query.  Our Dynamics GP product offers “Smartlists” and has for years.  Smartlists within GP and QuickQuery now within Dynamics SL do the same things-they let you get your data out of data jail without needing a Ph. D.  in Crystal Reports or SQL Server.  Both tools let you use the same name of the field in your query without having to know what table the data is in or what the very technical database name is for the field.  Users have loved it.

Those of you that have used Dynamics GP and changed jobs and switched to Dynamics SL-you miss your Smartlists don’t you? The Dynamics SL community was missing an easy to use query tool but has one now. Just like Smartlists, Quick Query allows you to create your own queries without help as the tool has been made so simple that it does not require that you know database table or field names.   It’s easy and useful.

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This example shows Quick Query data viewed from prior years data-before Quick Query even existed.

 

It says a lot for a new version of software any time its user base begins to adopt early a new version.  Dynamics SL 2011 has earned the massive number of clients upgrading to this newest and nicest version.  For a more complete list of reasons people are upgrading from Dynamics SL version 5.5, 6,  and 7 up to Dynamics SL 2011, please download this What’s New in Dynamics SL brochure.  Certainly the impressive link to Sharepoint is one that everyone will love.  From each operational report screen, you have the option to push the report to a specific Sharepoint location.   This is great for non-Dynamics SL users that don’t need an entire ERP user but do want to see the invoices on their projects for example.