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Posted by Chelsea Schlepp

Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.

​Why You Should Choose Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for Cloud ERP
 
You just can’t go wrong with a Microsoft ERP solution. Microsoft has plowed and continues to plow, billions of dollars into developing and expanding the features and functionality of their Dynamics ERP software solutions. All of their ERP systems are state-of-the-art. And if you want to move to the Cloud, you have only to look at the capabilities of Dynamics Business Central to see its depth and breadth. Business Central seamlessly connects your systems and processes - making financial management, sales, service, and operations easier.
 
There are several hot topics that go beyond the basics of your garden variety accounting and ERP software. Name a hot topic and rest assured that Microsoft Business Central addresses it. 
Bloggers are wordsmiths. I’m no exception. I might have switched 2 little words in the title of this blog, and it would have made a big difference. I might have written, “Why Should You Choose Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for Cloud ERP?” Instead, I wrote: “Why You Should Choose Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for Cloud ERP.” The former is a question. The latter is a statement.
 
I chose to make a statement because there are so many great reasons why you should indeed choose Microsoft Dynamics Business Central as your Cloud ERP solution.
 
Let’s take a step back to look at the playing field, and you’ll see that the field is crowded with options. So if you’re in the process of choosing a Cloud ERP solution for your company, you may feel compelled to conduct the traditional due diligence and explore several. That requires online research, creating a list, winnowing it down to a short list, scheduling and sitting through demos, getting input from several members of your team, making a choice, entering into negotiations with a provider, pouring over the contract…
 
In the time it has taken you to make that ultimate choice, you could have already been happily running Microsoft Dynamics Business Central in the cloud. You could have already been reaping the enormous benefits of a world-class Cloud ERP system.
 
Let’s cut to the chase
 
In my opinion, you just can’t go wrong with a Microsoft ERP solution. Microsoft has plowed and continues to plow, billions of dollars into developing and expanding the features and functionality of their Dynamics ERP software solutions. All of their ERP systems are state-of-the-art. And if you want to move to the Cloud, you have only to look at the capabilities of Dynamics Business Central to see its depth and breadth. Business Central seamlessly connects your systems and processes - making financial management, sales, service, and operations easier.
 
Of course, Business Central covers the basics
 
Financial Management – There are no fewer than 23 features and functions included in the financial management module that improve business performance with real-time visibility. See them all!
 
Supply Chain Management (SCM) – There are no fewer than 54 features and functions included in the SCM module that will lead to reduced costs and the ability to make better business decisions due to increased visibility into your supply chain. See them all!
 
Project Management – This module includes Employee Management, Time Sheets, Resources, Capacity Management, Multiple Costs, Estimates, Tasks / Steps, and Jobs – everything you need to keep projects on time and under budget.
 
And then, Business Central goes beyond the basics
 
There are several hot topics that go beyond the basics of your garden variety accounting and ERP software. Name a hot topic and rest assured that Microsoft Business Central addresses it. For example:
 
Security & Compliance. Business Central has a built-in security system that protects your database and the information that it contains from unauthorized access. It specifies what authorized users are allowed to do in the database—such as what data they can read and modify. Using a layered approach, your Business Central application is secured regardless of where it is hosted. Business Central uses advanced authentication and data encryption protocols for your protection and for GDPR compliance.
 
AI & ML. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be embedded in Business Central modules to predict the future based on historical data and behavior. With AI in the HR module, you can predict employee turnover and plan ahead for it. With AI in your accounts receivable module, you can predict late payments and plan your cash flow requirements accordingly. You can also set up a sales and inventory forecast extension that uses AI and ML to predict potential sales and inventory stock levels.
 
Analytical Reporting. One example of the reporting capabilities in Business Central is the charts on the Accountant Role Center for Cash Flow, Cash Cycle, Income & Expense, and Cash Flow Forecasts. They provide actionable insights and business intelligence so that you can make solid decisions about what to do with your cash, when you can do it, and how you can forecast it. After all, cash is king. Right?
 
Editor’s Choice
 
Ever since Business Central was released in 2018, it’s been the #1 choice for our midmarket clients moving to Cloud ERP. It’s also the #1 cloud choice of the InterDyn Artis implementation and support teams. Easy to launch. Easy to configure. Easy to integrate. Easy to maintain and support.
 
InterDyn Artis provides best-in-class experiences that drive digital transformation through shared values and expertise. That’s our mission. Contact us for more information.
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Posted by Tim Fry
By now you’ve been at this for a while. You’ve Googled ERP systems and looked at all the marketing fluff until you’re blue in the face. You’ve been talking to different vendors and based on capabilities you have it narrowed down to a few. Now you need to see what these systems can do. So, you schedule a demo, look at all the pretty buttons and widgets, and come away still not really sure. What happened? How can you make this a more effective process? 

Here's a Hint:
All ERP systems are pretty good at doing financials, creating sales and purchase orders, and invoicing for goods and services. Definitely take a look at these processes, but they are core to an ERP system and by now all the real players in the market do it pretty well. So how can you figure out what sets them apart?

How Are You Unique?
Before you ask your vendors (by now you should have narrowed it down to 2 - 4) for a demonstration, ask yourself what makes your company different? No two companies are exactly alike; there’s something (probably several things) about your company that’s unique. Maybe you have an exceptionally complicated commission structure, or an unusual product that must be managed carefully, or a unique service requirement. Whatever it is, identify it and ask your future partner to demonstrate how they would handle that. 

But...
Don’t be surprised if your ERP partner pushes back on that request. Your scenario may take considerable time to set up, and especially if you’re a smaller company, they may not be able to justify that expense. Be understanding of your partner’s time and be receptive to having a conversation about how they would handle it. They should be able to show you portions of the solution and describe what would be done to make the system perform like you need it. 

Evaluate the Team
Last, take your eyes off the screen and consider the team the partner has assembled. They will be the people you are working with for the next six months to a year. Ultimately their talents and the relationship you will build with them may have more influence on the success of your project than any system. 

Conclusion
Effective software demonstrations are only one portion of the selection process, but seeing the right functionality can do a lot to relieve stress about selecting the right system. Another is making sure you have an honest, reliable partner who will be there to support your company during implementation and in the months and years after. If you’re interested in discussing what makes your business unique, and what InterDyn Artis can do to help you solve those problems, please feel free to contact us.

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Posted by Tim Fry

Let's get straight to it...

1. Have a Clear Vision and Outcome
This is imperative to gain support of your superiors and subordinates alike. Be able to communicate a clear vision of WHY the system is needed and what you will gain from it. An ERP system implementation is a great deal of work and it is difficult for many employees to deal with the change. Having a clear, concise message will help gain acceptance and your people will be more willing to complete the extra work required. Additionally, keeping a clear focus on your deliverables will help keep your project on track and prevent scope creep.  ​
2. Be Involved
You ERP partner is just that: A partner. They are there to guide you and help set up your system intelligently, but ultimately you know your own processes best. Learn the new system as you mold it to fit your processes and take a collaborative approach to the design. Don’t rely solely on them to tell you what to do. And definitely don’t wait until the system is ready for testing before you log in the first time. ​

3. Appoint a Champion and an Implementation Team
Appoint one internal person to lead the implementation. This person should have good technical skills, but they do not need to be an IT expert. More importantly, you should know your company’s business processes inside and out. They should also know your people well and have good interpersonal skills. He or she should have decision making authority. Be prepared that your champion will spend 30-50% of his time on this project. ​

Next, your champion needs to assemble an implementation team. This team should have representation from all major business areas, and know their individual processes very well. The team members need to be able to commit 20-30% of their time.  

4. Document Your Processes and Ask Why
Many companies do not really know their own processes. Processes also change over time, and documentation does not always keep up. Prior to the start of your ERP selection process, take the time to really understand your procedures, and document them. This documentation will help you to select and design the system. 

5. Be Open to Process Change
Find out not only what the process is, but why. 'Because we've always done it that way' is not an acceptable answer! Many times, companies end up with strange processes because of some limitations in their current system. The out of the box process in your new system might be different than what you’re currently doing, but before you go through the time and effort to change it, ask if it will work for you. There may be significant advantages to changing your company’s procedures, rather than changing the software workflow.  

6. Get Input from all User Groups
Include people outside of your implementation team occasionally. Get their input, build buy-in, and find potential problems early so you can work on solutions. Make sure to address the needs of all user groups, even this guy:​

​7. Manage Organizational Change
Don’t underestimate how intimidating change can be for some people. The key is to communicate, communicate, communicate. Talk about the vision and goals of the project. Talk to your least comfortable people; listen to their concerns and try to address them. Be transparent. If there are gaps you can’t immediately address, communicate what the plans are to fix it and when. Schedule plenty of training time for end users. 
 
Change Management is a big topic, and this was only the briefest summary. InterDyn Artis has over 30 years helping guide companies through the change that comes along with new systems. If you want to learn more about how to manage and lead the people in your organization through this process, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you more information. ​
Want more information? Download our 7 Step Guide to Painlessly Changing Your ERP System.
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By Kurt Voorhies

From the most humblest of beginnings...

​Celebrating 30 years in business is as good of a reason as any to wax nostalgic about our humble beginnings in business and our modest level of success over the years.

InterDyn Artis was founded by two high school friends in 1989 and loosely followed a business plan concocted in the MBA program at Virginia Tech sometime in 1987.  Our original intent was not necessarily as ambitious as starting our own business but rather how to power through a project in our Management Information Systems course and get a decent grade.
The project’s assignment was embarrassingly simple – complete the following thesis with supporting details and sound reasoning: “The greatest opportunity for entrepreneurs over the next 10 years is …”  Keep in mind that this was 1987 when the personal computer was only starting to come into the mainstream in businesses that were historically dominated by mainframes and mini-computers.

​Of course, our proposition focused on automating accounting systems utilizing the power of the personal computer.  Our hard-earned accounting knowledge as young (and inexperienced) CPA’s would also be needed.  Bringing together the bleeding edge of technology (remember, this is 1987) and the staid, old fashioned accountant’s debit and credit green sheets would be at the heart of our value proposition and entrepreneurial opportunity.  But could we make this a viable business?  We were 27 years old, with families and mortgages and didn’t have two nickels to rub together, let alone the funds to start a business.

​Fast forward 2 years to 1989 when we finally made the decision to abandon our well-paying and safe corporate controllership positions and officially take the plunge into full-on, no holds barred entrepreneurship.  We sold our homes in the Washington D.C. area, packed up our families, raided our kids’ college savings accounts (no worries, none of our kids’ college plans were thwarted as a result) and started InterDyn Artis in the glorious and vibrant city of Charlotte, NC.  The rest, as they say, is history.

As you may imagine, there were many, many lessons learned along the way to our 30th anniversary – far too many to recount here.  However, several interconnected guiding principles helped us grow early on and continue to serve us well to this day.  Hire, train and retain employees who are naturally curious about technology, business and view learning as a journey, not a destination.  Search out professionals who are smarter than we are so they can elevate the company to levels to which we’re simply unable.  These employees, in turn, hire smarter people than they are, so on and so forth.  I think you get the picture.

Looking back, it’s been a wild ride at times (think the dot com era) and downright scary other times but such is life as a small business owner.  We made it and, at least in a small way, we’ve enriched the lives of our employees, their families and our many clients along the way.  And all from the most humblest of beginnings…
Kurt Voorhies, CPA
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

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Posted by Paul Haag

Document (Word or Excel) templates in Dynamics 365 allow you to merge CRM data into a pre-formatted document. Details on that process can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/using-word-templates-dynamics-365.

Unfortunately, once you create the template, there’s no straightforward way to download the original template again from Dynamics 365. So, if you decide you want to make a change and can’t find the original document, you must go through the exercise of remapping all the Dynamics 365 data fields.

With the web API and a couple of online tools, though, you can get back up and running.
1. In a browser (not Internet Explorer), run the URL you will need to download the template (replace the highlighted bits with the correct values for your CRM system and template): https://yourtenant.crm.dynamics.com/api/data/v8.1/documenttemplates?$select=name,content&$filter=name eq 'Your Template Name'

2. Take the result and make it a little easier to read by copying and pasting it into a JSON formatter (like JSON Pretty Print).

3. This will result in a very long bit of text, but the part you want is between the quotes for the content (example content value highlighted below): {
  "@odata.context": "https:\/\/yourtenant.crm.dynamics.com\/api\/data\/v9.0\/$metadata#documenttemplates(name,content)",
  "value": [
    {
      "name": "Your Template Name",
      "content": "UEsDBBQABgAIAAAAIQAr[content truncated for brevity]==",
      "documenttemplateid": "31418de7-0c19-e911-a97e-000d3a10877d"
    }
  ]
}

4. The “content” is the Word or Excel file, but encoded in a special web-friendly format called Base 64. This can be transformed back into the original file by using a decoder service like the one available here: https://www.freeformatter.com/base64-encoder.html
  1. Paste the content value in the box to decode.
  2. Click the DECODE AND DOWNLOAD button.
  3. When saving the file, change the extension to .docx or .xlsx (depending on if it is a Word or Excel template)
  4. Open the downloaded file.
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Posted by George Delp

Microsoft publishes roadmaps for all the Dynamics 365 solutions here.  For purposes of this article we are going to focus on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Roadmap.  Before continuing with this article, click the link and take a look at the road map.

Here is the list of items on the roadmap:
  • Delivering Most Requested Application Features
  • Modern Client Improvements
  • iOS and Android Device Support
  • Integration to Dynamics 365 Apps
  • SmartList Designer
  • Lifecycle Services for ISVs
  • Lifecycle Services for System Integrators/Implementors
  • Continued Investment in Our Integration to Visual Studio Code

​Confused?  Or do you want more details?  You are not alone.  Let’s break these roadmap items down and explain what they mean.  I will also provide you with links and that provide further details and show you how you can help shape the future direction of the product.

Delivering Most Requested Application Features
​This is not the list of specific features but rather a statement that features and functionality that people are asking for are being worked on.  If you want to see the actual features being considered you need to visit the Dynamics 365 Ideas site.  On this site you can make suggestions and see the status of other suggestions.  You can also sort suggestions by the most popular, hot and new and vote for your favorites.
I dare say that the Ideas site is more informative than the Roadmap site when it comes to knowing what specific functionality is coming.  The interactive nature of the site is a fantastic tool for connecting the user community directly with Microsoft’s development team.
Modern Client Improvements
The Client is how you interact with Business Central, which makes it important.  Business Central has shifted to a web only interface, which is what most modern applications use.  A web interface makes system maintenance and upkeep a lot easier, as you don’t have to constantly upgrade workstations or make users suffer through the joys of using Remote Desktop to access the ERP system. 

​Thick, or traditional desktop clients, did offer hands down keyboard users the ability to work fast if they knew their keyboard shortcuts.  Business Central was lacking in this department in its earlier releases, but Microsoft listened and has been adding a wide range of keyboard shortcuts to help make common data entry tasks quick and easy.  Click here for a full list of Business Central keyboard shortcuts.

I look forward to continued improvements in the Business Central web interface.
iOS and Android Device Support
Not that long ago, Microsoft solutions did not play nice with competing platforms, especially on mobile.  I blame Balmer for that.  That said, I also blame Balmer for the data center investments Microsoft made years ago that are fueling Microsoft’s cloud growth today. 

Anyways, mobile device support has never been better, and it is great to see this listed as a priority.  Apps are available now and improvements to what are already great apps are most welcome.  Go to the iOS App Store or Google Play to see what is available.

Integration to Dynamics 365 Apps
Microsoft Dynamics offers many additional applications in addition to Business Central, including things like CRM, PowerBI and much more.  You can see a breakdown of the Dynamics 365 apps in The Wide World of Dynamics 365.

There is already integration between Business Central and the CRM Sales app and PowerBI has a very capable Business Central content pack.  Look for additional integrations with the other CRM apps and more content for things like Flow and PowerApps as the year progresses.
SmartList Designer
This is the item that I am most excited about.  And the one item I know the least about as it relates to Dynamics 365.

What I can tell you is that SmartList has its roots in Dynamics GP going all the way back to the Great Plains days.  It is an easy to use query and filtering tool that takes about five minutes to learn how to use.  You can use it to find specific transactions, to pull data sets for auditors, to export data to Excel for further analysis, things like that.  They key concept here is that it is EASY.  SmartList Designer allows you to create additional SmartLists for your users to use.
Lifecycle Services for ISVs
Lifecycle Services is Microsoft’s methodologies and tools to help ensure predictable, repeatable and high-quality implementations.  ISVs are independent software vendors that makes addons for Microsoft Dynamics solutions.  In this case the focus is on ensuring that ISVs have a clear plan for product development and deployment that works effectively with Microsoft’s product update and release plans. 

It is good to see Microsoft place importance on implementation methodologies as they help make implementations come in on time, on budget and meet expectations.

To learn more about how to find apps from ISVs available for Business Central read What is AppSource and Why Is It Important?
Lifecycle Services for System Integrators/Implementors
Systems integrators and implementors are the ones who help companies select and implement Dynamics 365 solutions.  Implementation tasks often include things like provisioning, configuration, data conversion, report customizations, integrations, training and ongoing support.

As with the ISV item, it is nice to see Microsoft place a great deal of importance on having a consistent, structured approach for the implementation of Dynamics 365.
Continued Investment in Our Integration to Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is what my developer friends call “modern development tools.”  Continued investment in this area means enhanced capabilities to create extensions that are compatible with the cloud-only environment and should help with the upgradeability of customizations. 

This is good to see.  One of the major benefits of cloud-based ERP is not having to upgrade, ever again, since the system is automatically and continuously updated.  But with this came restrictions and limitations on customization capabilities.  Investment in this area will help to make sure that we have the best of both worlds, the ability to customize to meet unique requirements in a fashion that allows for the continuous upgrade process inherent in cloud solutions to work without issue.
Conclusion
The breadth of the roadmap makes it clear that Microsoft is investing heavily in Business Central.  Microsoft releases major updates to Dynamics 365 Business Central two times per year, in the spring and in the fall.  You can see the details of the releases here.  To see the specifics for the Spring and Fall 2018 Business Central releases here are the direct links: ​As a reminder, make sure to review the Dynamics 365 Ideas page and vote for what you want to see, or make your own contribution if what you need is not listed!

Questions? Feel free to contact us!
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Posted by George Delp

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a wide range of business applications.  When most people think of Dynamics 365, they think of the traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  They are, of course, a huge part of what Dynamics 365 has to offer, but there is so much more.  Here is a quick rundown of the Dynamics 365 universe.
Customer Engagement Applications
Customer Engagement can be thought of as what is commonly referred to as CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, and includes the following components:
  • Marketing – A marketing automation solution that integrates with Sales.  Marketing includes expected capabilities such as lead scoring and email tracking. It also includes event management, online surveys, LinkedIn integration and web portals.
  • Sales – Sales is all about lead, account, contact and opportunity management.  Tight integration with Outlook makes tracking your appointments and emails easy.  Sales also includes the ability to set up marketing campaigns so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your sales efforts. 
  • Customer Service – Customer Service is great for inbound support call centers and help desks.  You can create cases, record interactions, create contracts with service level agreements (SLAs), maintain a knowledge base for easy issue resolution and manage and monitor productivity using dashboards.
  • Field Service – More service!  Think of Field Service as Customer Service’s blue-collar cousin.  Field Service is centered around work orders instead of cases and includes scheduling, communication and dispatch tools to help manage your mobile service agents.  You can also track customer assets, schedule preventative maintenance, track inventory, track time and generate invoices in the field.
  • Project Service Automation – Project Service Automation, or PSA, helps organizations manage and deliver project-based services.  Project planning, estimating and scheduling are core capabilities.  You can also forecast and allocate resources, enter time remotely for billing back from the home office and use interactive dashboards to help monitor all of your projects.
ERP Applications
ERP applications are the backbone of an organization’s information systems.  They provide the core transactional functionality that businesses need.  All of the Dynamics ERP solutions work well and integrate with the Dynamics CRM offerings.
  • Finance & Operations – Finance and Operations, or FO, is Microsoft’s Tier 1 ERP offering.  It is the spiritual successor to Dynamics AX (Axapta) and offers a wide range of functionality covering everything from financial management to manufacturing and everything in between.  It is intended for large, multi-location if not multi-national organizations.
  • Talent – Talent is an offshoot of Finance & Operations Human Resources module and is intended to help companies better manage their staffing through the streamlining of record keeping and process automation.  Talent can be used standalone from Finance & Operations.  Talent covers the full spectrum of the employee life cycle from hire to retire and offers tools to especially help with the talent acquisition process.
  • Retail – Retail is another offshoot of Finance & Operations and like Talent, can be used standalone without Finance & Operations.  Retail is all about point of sale and unified multi-channel commerce and is built to handle the requirements of large, multi-location retail organizations.  Channel management, loyalty programs and advanced analytics are some of the standard features included with Retail.
  • Business Central – Business Central is the small, medium and corporate (SMC) ERP option.  Where Finance and Operations implementations easily get into the millions, Business Central implementations are most often in the low to mid hundreds (of thousands).  Business Central is based on Dynamics NAV, which was based on Navision.  Business Central offers a complete suite of rich functionality, including Financial Management, Warehouse Management, Manufacturing, Projects, Service, Human Resources and Customer Relationship Management.
Complementary Applications
Some of the apps listed here require one of the Dynamics ERP and CRM applications and some of the can work stand alone. In any case this is where Microsoft pushes the edge of technology.  This is the must-read section of the blog.
  • Gamification – Included with Sales Enterprise (there are two versions of Sales, a basic version and one that includes all of the cool addons like Gamification), Gamification helps to foster a healthy, competitive environment for your sales team.  You can create multiple types of games, broadcast leaderboards on TVs around the office, and in general, have a lot of fun!
  • Social Engagement – Social Engagement helps you monitor social channels so that you are aware of what is being said about your company and have the tools to respond and communicate to your customers effectively through various social channels.
  • Voice of the Customer – Voice of the Customer is a survey tool designed to be used with the CRM apps.  It lets you create surveys that your customers can take on their phones, tablets or computers and tallies and stores the data with their records in the applicable CRM application.
  • Artificial Intelligence – Artificial Intelligence, or AI apps are offered for Customer Service (Customer Service Insights), Social Engagement (Market Insights) and Sales.  Customer Service Insights uses natural language understanding to group your cases into topics to provide insight into emerging trends.  Likewise, with Market Insights, Microsoft AI will analyze what is being said, group things together and help you identify trends that require attention.  Sales AI offers capabilities like predictive lead scoring and relationship analytics, such as identifying who knows who across your database.  Introductions and referrals make a sales person’s life so much better. AI is a very powerful tool worthy of its own blog.
  • Mixed Reality – You can also think of this as augmented reality.  Using a device such as a Microsoft HoloLens, a field service tech could put on the device, work on a piece of equipment with which they are not familiar, share what they are seeing with an expert at the home office (or anywhere in the world really), and get guidance on how to proceed, including real time hand written diagrams, technical documents, etc.  All while having two hands free to perform the task at hand.
  • PowerApps – Earlier I mentioned that all the ERP and CRM applications work well together.  This is because everything works with something Microsoft calls the Common Data Model.  The Common Data Model establishes a reference framework for everything a business might need, from customer records to invoices to time sheets.  Using this Common Data Model Microsoft applications all have a consistency that allows for easy integration.  PowerApps allows you to design forms and applications that access the Common Data Model, and therefore can access the Dynamics CRM and ERP applications.  You can also use PowerApps standalone.   For example, you can create forms to enter data, update data and view data.  PowerApps forms are responsive, meaning that you can design a form once and have it work on desktops, tablets and phones.  PowerApps often allows you to bridge the gap when an out of the box solution meets only 90 to 95% of their requirements.
  • Flow – Where PowerApps is about entering, updating and viewing data, Flow is a workflow engine that pushes data around.  At a high level it is a trigger based tool where if A happens then do B.  Like PowerApps, you can use Flow with Dynamics 365 applications or stand alone.  An simple example Flow would be to monitor Twitter for references to your company, and when Flow sees one, to send you an email alert.
  • Business Intelligence – What we are really talking about here is Power BI, Microsoft’s very flexible data analysis and reporting tool.  All of the Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications are designed to work with Power BI “out of the box”, often with Power BI reports embedded right into those applications.  What I like most about Power BI is the capability to create custom visualizations.  Any possible way that you might imagine visualizing your data, chances are you will be able to do it with Power BI.  Geographic heat maps have always been one of my favorites as I love to see where across the country we are having the best sales.  Check out this listing of 175+ Power BI visualizations available for download on Microsoft AppSource.


This list is not 100% complete and everything here is subject to change, but it should provide you with a solid understanding of everything that is available in the wide world of what we call Dynamics 365.  

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
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Posted by Shawn Dorward

Since the release of Dynamics GP 2013 R2, Microsoft has been reinventing Workflow and adding new Workflow functionality to each subsequent release.

​Often times, GP Users are not on most recent version of GP and I am often asked – “What workflows do I have available to me in my current version?” ​I put together a list of Workflows along with their release version, for your reference (and mine LOL).
​GP 2013 R2
  • Purchase Order Approval
  • Requisition Approval
  • Timecard Approval
  • Timesheet Approval
GP 2015 RT
Everything above, plus:
  • ​GL Batch Approval
  • Receivables Batch Approval
  • Payables Batch Approval
  • Vendor Approval​
  • ​Employee Skills Approval
  • Direct Deposit Approval
  • W4 Approval
  • Expense Report Approval
GP 2015 R2
Everything above, plus:
  • Payables Transaction Approval
  • Smartlist Approval
  • Allow Document Attachments to some workflows
GP 2016 RTM
Everything above, plus:
  • Word Templates for Batch Approvals
GP 2016 R2
Everything above, plus:
  • Navigation Lists were added
GP 2018 RTM
Everything above, plus:
  • GL Account Approval
  • Purchasing Receipt Approval
  • Purchasing Invoice Approval
GP 2018 R2
Everything above, plus:
  1. Sales Transaction Approval
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Posted by George Delp

​QuickBooks is without a doubt the most widely used accounting software in the world.  And with good reason.  It is cheap, easy to get set up and running and hundreds upon thousands of accountants know how to use it.  But, as businesses grow, they often outgrow QuickBooks.  Here is a list ten reasons to consider something like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central over QuickBooks.
1. Multi – Multi anything really, multi-company, multiple locations, multiple currencies, multi-national, you name it.  The moment your business becomes a “multi” business, QuickBooks tends to struggle and the spreadsheets start to come out so that you can get the reporting that you need.

2. Upgrades – Business Central is a true cloud solution.  Once you buy it, you will never have to upgrade again.  The solution is maintained and constantly upgraded for you behind the scenes by Microsoft.  Any customizations or integrations you may have are all designed in such a way that they are not affected by this process.

3. Audit Trails – One of the things people like about QuickBooks is the ability to go back and change data.  It makes things easy.  That might be fine if you are the owner and only user, but in a multi-user system you are just asking for trouble.  Business Central has all the internal controls your accountant will love built right in.

4. Cloud – Anytime, anywhere, any device access is what you get with Business Central.  While QuickBooks does offer a cloud solution, it is quite limited compared to their Enterprise offering.  You get the full feature set of Business Central in the cloud including financial management, supply chain management, manufacturing, service, jobs and customer relationship management. 

5. Office 365 – Business Central lets you work right inside of Outlook for Office 365.  Create and send purchase orders, respond to customer inquiries, and more, without so much as a single alt-tab to your accounting application.

6. Scalability – Business Central is powered by SQL Server running on Microsoft Azure.  It is powerful and has virtually infinite scalability.  You will never have to worry about system responsiveness or hardware upgrades ever again.

7. Data Caps – Business Central offers unlimited storage in the Microsoft Azure cloud.  Never worry about having to delete last year or having to start a new company because the current one is full.

8. Reporting – Business Central has Power BI built right in.  If you don’t know what Power BI is, Google it.  I mean Bing it.  It is awesome.

9. Integrations – This ties in to the multi theme a bit, but deserves its own spot.  Business Central includes a rich set of customization and integration capabilities.  Web services, XML, flat files, you name it, Business Central can talk to it.

10. Customization – Business Central offers the ability to customize and configure the system to meet your needs.  Users can show, hide and reorder fields to make their screens to the point and easy to navigate.  And with extensions you can add fields, functionality, pretty much anything you might need.


If you have any question or are interested in Business Central, let us know. We're happy to help!
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Posted by George Delp

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is Microsoft’s cloud-based ERP targeted towards the small, medium and corporate markets.  Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft’s office productivity suite that is targeted pretty much everybody.  One of the questions we often get is “Should I, or why should I, use Office 365 with Dynamics 365 Business Central?”.

​Here's why...

​The main reason you should combine Office 365 with Business Central is productivity.  The Business Central Outlook plugin allows you to access customer and vendor data without leaving Outlook.  That means no alt-tabbing or clicking through windows to get to the accounting software to look things up.  It can save A LOT of time.

​Here are some specific examples:
  • If a customer sends you an email, you can open, directly in Outlook, the Business Central add-in, which will recognize the customer and open their customer card.  From the customer card you can see their history and drill down on, and open, historical documents.  You can also create a sales quote and send it to the customer without ever leaving outlook.
  • You can also do the same thing with vendors, see their vendor card, historical documents and create and send purchase orders and invoices.
Have questions? Let us know!
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