Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Cookbook – Ian Grieve & Mark Polino


This was my first book as a reviewer this year. I am in fact a bit too late to write about this gem. As like previous books, this book will remain treasured in my shelf.

The book I am talking about is: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Cookbook.

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The book is written by MVPs Ian Grieve and Mark Polino. They need no introduction. If you are a GP consultant or community member, you should be knowing them. Let’s jump into the review straightaway.

Anybody who would like to buy a book, nowadays, look at immediate benefit that they get from it. We are no more disconnected. For any issue, we have a possible solution lying out there, you just need to reach it. Google it, Bing it (like how Ballmer say), email your peers, tweet it, register your question on relevant forum and you have experts who are happy to volunteer and guide you through your issue.

I am especially proud of my Dynamics GP Community, where almost all the times you won’t be left dissatisfied. You have a question, ask the community and rest assured that somebody would take that extra effort and get you through.

In such an age of unlimited guidance and resources, what makes this book a “GO GET IT” book? Apart from the authors who have got tons of experience and expertise collectively, content of this book is telling for us to treasure a copy.

This book is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Personalising Dynamics GP
  • Chapter 2: New in Dynamics GP 2013
  • Chapter 3: Organising Dynamics GP
  • Chapter 4: Automating Dynamics GP
  • Chapter 5: Harnessing the Power of SmartLists
  • Chapter 6: Connecting Dynamics GP to Microsoft Office 2013
  • Chapter 7: Exposing Hidden Features in Dynamics GP
  • Chapter 8: Improving Dynamics GP with Hacks
  • Chapter 9: Preventing Errors in Dynamics GP
  • Chapter 10: Maintaining Dynamics GP
  • Chapter 11: Extending Dynamics GP with the Support Debugging Tool
  • Chapter 12: Extending Dynamics GP with Professional Services Tools Library

Chapter 1 discusses about how to personalise GP. You have so many ways to personalise your accounting system. There is no one standard way to do that. But with GP, there is a specific set of standard tweaks that will come in handy. I am not touching any single tweak here in my review. No spoilers. If you are a GP consultant already and know something (or more) about GP, you would still won’t go empty handed.

Chapter 2 discusses about what’s new in Dynamics GP 2013. This book is basically a Second Edition to the book Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook written by Mark. Apparently, a followup book like this should discuss about new features compared to old version of GP. This chapter does that precisely. The difficulty in writing a cookbook is to choose recipes that are interesting, appealing and significant to a user. With loads of new features in GP 2013, this chapter picks recipes that will surely be appealing and significant. These are standard ones required by most of the customers.

Chapter 3 discusses about how to organise GP. An accounting system is no small thing. They are big, confusing at times and scattered in terms of accessibility. 100% success of an ERP system is achieved only when we gain users’ confidence. This chapter gives us some recipes to organise GP and thereby gaining more confidence in using it. A simple thing like “User Defined Fields” can give more clarity to either a transaction or a master record. This chapter is full of such simple yet effective recipes.

Chapter 4 discusses about automating certain processes in GP. Time is precious to anyone. Especially when it comes to business, seconds matter. I have heard from lot of frustrated users that their ERP system does not help them do things faster enough. This chapter brings us some recipes that will help a user perform quicker and save time. Recipes range from manual process to totally automated process.

Chapter 5 discusses about SmartList and how it can be used efficiently. I have mentioned several times at many places that SmartList is the best tool to see your data and analyse it. You can do wonders with SmartList. And being a dedicated chapter on SmartList, this one talks about how to bend your SmartList to better extent and get what you want from it.

Chapter 6 discusses about connecting GP to Office 2013. One of the many reasons Microsoft talk about having Dynamics GP as our ERP is it’s interoperability with MS Office. From Letter Writing Assistant to Excel Reports, GP can talk seamlessly to two of the most productive tools in MS Office; Word and Excel. By end of this chapter, you should be well versed with GP data analysis.

Chapter 7 discusses about some (among many) hidden features in GP which can be so useful in tuning GP. Why are these hidden? Are they not visible to users? Not in that context. It’s hidden because it’s there all these times, but not being stressed upon. We won’t know how important they are till we actually use it. This chapter explains these features in it’s precise context so you know their exact importance. There are many such features in GP. I wish we would get to see a Third Edition Cookbook soon from Mark & Ian.

Chapter 8 discusses about improving GP with hacks. No no, not literal hacking. GP is secure and nobody can *hack* it as it is. When we talk about GP hacks, we are basically talking about how to get *into* GP and make it more efficient. Read this chapter to learn more about this. I am not going to discuss even a single recipe here. No spoilers. But trust me, this chapter gives you some best hacks to make GP smart and efficient.

Chapter 9 discusses about preventing errors in GP. That’s a nice chapter. Resolving errors is one way of addressing issues. Preventing some of the common errors is totally the smartest way of addressing things. You don’t let issues come to you. Anticipate them and kill them well before they arise. You can save a lot of support fees, believe me. More than anything, less number of error messages in GP means more confident and relieved users are. I again insist on this; if you want your GP implementation to be 100% successful, you MUST gain users’ confidence in GP.

Chapter 10 discusses about maintaining GP. GP is just another software and like all others, it requires periodical maintenance too. From taking necessary backups, to performing SQL DB tuning, to troubleshoot issues without much disturbance to users, maintaining GP is very important. This chapter explains some recipes to handle many such situations.

Chapter 11 discusses about Support Debugging Tool (SDT). Developed by David Musgrave and his team, this tool is a consultant’s Swiss Army Knife. Learn more about this tool on the link provided in the beginning. This chapter, though, summarises some important usages of this tool and how it extends GP’s functionality.

Chapter 12 discusses about Professional Services Tools Library (PSTL). From simple requirement such as changing a customer ID or vendor ID to complex requirement such as duplicating a company’s data, PSTL addresses all. This chapter focusses mainly on those which are day-to-day requirement.

I mentioned exact same words in my previous two reviews. And I am not going to shy away to write same words here: Ian and Mark have put their sincere and precious efforts in writing this book. More than writing a book, it’s the intention to share their experience and expertise with all of us. A book from them is surely going to be useful without doubt.

Go for it. Get one copy and taste their experience. It’s surely going to make a world of difference in the way you interact with an amazing product, that is Dynamics GP. Those who wish to buy this book can do so by clicking on the link provided at the beginning of this review OR by clicking on the book logo.

To the authors, Ian & Mark: Ian, I had told you (in the month of June if I remember correctly) that I would be writing about this book. I could not do that till this day. I hope you would forgive me for that delay :-). Brilliantly written book. I am using many recipes from this book, so I know at first hand how useful this book is for us, consultants.

Mark, we all owe you a lot. What more could I say! This book, especially, has become my reference guide from the time I got it; honestly speaking.

I am just hoping to see another Cookbook soon; this book is simply not enough. :-)

Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reporting (Second Edition) – David Duncan & Chris Liley


My second book as reviewer is Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reporting – Second Edition written by David Duncan and Chris Liley.

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This book is second edition to their famous Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Reporting. So those who have read this book before would see the new book as an upgrade. And that’s quite obvious as this book covers more on reporting features that are now part of Dynamics GP 2013.

The book is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Meeting the Reporting Challenge
  • Chapter 2: Where Is My Data and How Do I Get It?
  • Chapter 3: Working with the Builders – SmartList and Excel Reports
  • Chapter 4: Report Writer and Word Templates
  • Chapter 5: Utilising the SSRS Report Library
  • Chapter 6: Designing Your Analysis Cubes for the Excel Environment
  • Chapter 7: Utilising Analysis Cubes for Excel for Dynamic Reporting
  • Chapter 8: Designing Financial Reports in Management Reporter
  • Chapter 9: Viewing Financial Reports in Management Reporter
  • Chapter 10: Bringing it all Together
  • Appendix: Comparing the Dynamics GP Reporting Tools Against Different Reporting Challenges

Chapter 1 discusses about challenges faced by a report developer and how to get prepared to meet them. If there is one thing that’s changing constantly at Dynamics GP front is how we visualise the data that is entered in GP day-to-day. Financial statements, revenue analyses, stock analyses, multi-dimensional analysis of your business and then there is big data which you might want to link with your own business. This chapter provides food for your thoughts on Reporting overall.

Chapter 2 discusses about how GP stores your data and how easily and efficiently you can access them. This one is, in my opinion, very crucial chapter for any GP report developer. Unless you know how GP is structured and how data is stored, you can never become a successful report developer. To quote the authors themselves: Knowing where to begin is a critical first step. This chapter shows us exactly that.

Chapter 3 discusses about SmartList Builder and Excel Reports Builder. Two most amazingly simple yet efficient tools to create any report. Excellent chapter again.

Chapter 4 discusses about Report Writer and Word Templates. Report Writer, in my opinion, is a very underestimated tool. I am sure David Musgrave would pat me to have said this. Knowing this tool would most definitely help any GP report developer to harness their knowledge on GP data and structure. Word Templates were introduced some time back and meant to be alternative to Report Writer reports. So knowing them also would be better.

Chapter 5 discusses about SSRS reports that come with GP. If your are a SQL developer and you are asked to develop some reports on GP, SSRS is THE best reporting tool. Know the data and you are on. Brilliantly written chapter.

Chapter 6 and 7 discusses about Analysis Cubes for GP. If you require multi-dimensional reports on GP data and want to know how to develop them, these chapters are for you.

Chapter 8 and 9 discusses about Management Reporter, the replacement of FRx, but much more an advanced technology. These two chapters take you step by step in understanding MR and how to design reports.

Chapter 10 summarises whatever been discussed on all previous chapters.

Appendix gives you a view of all reporting tools that are discussed in a simple yet informative table. And this book is certainly not complete without this table. Amazing piece of information one could ask for.

David and Chris have put their sincere and precious efforts on writing this book. Their expertise on reporting is going to be a guiding force through this book to all of us.

This book is published by Packt Publications. Those who would like to buy this book can do so by clicking on the link provided at the beginning of this post OR by clicking on the book logo.

To the authors, David & Chris: I thank you both for this great book and accepting me as one of the reviewers. It’s very difficult to talk about the greatness of this book in one single post, but I guess I have done my best. It’s going to be my reference on anything about GP reporting. Thanks again.

VAIDY

Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Implementation – Victoria Yudin


Over the past year, I got the privilege of being a reviewer of books written by Dynamics GP Experts/MVPs. I wished writing about these books once they got published, but it never happened till now. Here we go.

To begin with, this post is my views of an all important book:

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Implementation

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This book is written by Victoria Yudin, founder of Flexible Solutions, a GP expert and an MVP (an award that she holds on to for past 9 consecutive years). She’s been an ultimate inspiration to entire GP community and it simply makes sense to buy this book the moment you realise that it’s been written by her.

In addition to that, what makes this book so valuable is the content without doubt and the way implementation concepts are structured and explained. Following is the way the entire book is structured:

  • Chapter 1: Application Structure & Licensing
  • Chapter 2: Planning – Business Requirements
  • Chapter 3: Planning – Dynamics GP System
  • Chapter 4: Planning – Infrastructure
  • Chapter 5: Installation of SQL Server, Dynamics GP and Integration Manager
  • Chapter 6: System and Company Setup
  • Chapter 7: Module Setup – General Ledger, Bank Reconciliation, Payables and Receivables
  • Chapter 8: Module Setup – Inventory, SOP and POP
  • Chapter 9: Populating Initial Data
  • Chapter 10: Training, Tools and Next Steps
  • Appendix: General Ledger Account Categories

Chapter 1 discusses in detail about application structure and licensing of GP. A lot has been changed with GP 2013 in terms of licensing. Microsoft has moved some of the important modules to respective original developers. You may not know that from this book, but you would completely understand how new Perpetual Licensing now work and how to plan your requirements (with regards to modules) in advance. 

Chapters 2 – 4 discusses in detail about how to PLAN your implementation; from visualising your requirements to the infrastructure that you would require.

Chapter 5 discuss in detail about how to install all applications required for your ERP environment, from the database that is SQL Server till the tool to integrate your initial data, that is Integration Manager.

By the time we finish reading first 5 chapters, purpose of this entire book is almost realised. 3 chapters are dedicated only to discuss Planning your implementation and that, in my opinion, is what matters in any implementation. You know your requirements very well and you have a finalised plan, you are 75% done with your implementation already.

Chapters 6 – 8 discusses in detail about how to setup and configure your GP with all core modules’ (System, Company, GL, BR, RM, PM, IV, SOP, POP) setup covered. Though, each ERP implementation is different depending on specific business requirements, concept of how and where to setup what remains same throughout.

Chapter 9 discuss about how to populate initial data onto your new GP environment. What amount of data and for what modules, depend on your own business requirements. But what is covered in this book is more than enough to give you the confident start to your new ERP. Integration of core masters (GL, Customers, Vendors & Items) and transactions (GL, RM, PM & IV) is explained.

Chapter 10 explains and emphasise the importance of otherwise mute topic; Training. I am not sure how many implementation team out there give importance to training the users. My mentors used to tell me; you win an implementation only when you win the customer and you win your customer only when they get comfortable and confident about their new ERP. Now catch here is, you may not necessarily agree to what is discussed in this chapter, simply because there is no hard and fast rule on how to train users. But having been in this industry for more than 20 years, met lot of customers and done many implementations, Victoria’s thoughts will surely add value to what you already know.

This book is an excellent reference material for those who are going to be part of a GP 2013 implementation. Go for it. Click on the book logo (or the link given just above that logo) to buy this book from Packt Publications.

As a totally pleasant coincidence, Ian Grieve has written his review about this book on his blog, AzureCurve. And I am in total agreement with his views.

To the author, Victoria Yudin: You have been an inspiration and a mentor to so many of us. A book from you is always going to be wealth of information. I feel privileged and proud to be one of the reviewers of this book. Thanks for constantly inspiring me to continue with what I do.

VAIDY

Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications – Book By Leslie Vail


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UPDATE: Author of this book, Leslie Vail, has got a post on her blog (Dynamics Confessor Blogspot). Link now added here to her own post: Published at last! Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications.

I had the privilege to be a part of the technical reviewing of this amazingly informative book: Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Applications.

This book is penned by one of the most experienced GP personality and multiple times MVP, Leslie Vail. Packt Publishing has published this book.

I strongly recommend this book to all GP developers/consultants who would like to know how to develop anything with regards to Dynamics GP; be it a new feature addition, a feature modification or just a cosmetic enhancement.

Thanks Leslie Vail for this wonderfully written book with every single important concept being covered.

VAIDY

Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – Free eBook


That’s a great news for those who would love to know more about Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

Microsoft Press has released a FREE EBOOK detailing SQL Server 2012. And it has got 288 pages full of information and it’s free and we have several options of the file type; EPUB, MOBI & PDF.

Get your copy now and know what it is in Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

VAIDY

Packt’s Microsoft Dynamics Mayhem


Packt Publications has once again given us an opportunity to get desired Microsoft Dynamics books at staggering discounts.

The list of books are quite handful. You do get favorite Microsoft Dynamics GP books (Cookbook by Mark Polino, Reporting by Liley & Duncan & Implementation by Victoria Yudin); all are awesome books for any GPian.

Visit Packt’s page to learn more about this and get benefited: Microsoft Dynamics Mayhem.

VAIDY

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 – Reporting (By David Duncan & Christopher Liley)


I just added one more treasure on my kit, in the form of a new book called Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 – Reporting, written by David Duncan (I.B.I.S.) and Christopher Liley (I.B.I.S.), published by Packt Publishing.

I have started reading this book from today and hopefully in a week, I will be able to grab hold of the vast set of chapters.

To give you an overview of what is there inside this book: The book covers everything “reporting” in GP. From Report Writer reports to Smartlist to Excel Reports to SSRS to Analysis Cubes to Management Reporter. Every single thing about GP Reporting.

However, the book does not talk about two things:

1. Crystal Reports and the way you can access crystal reports from GP quite understandably because Crystal Reports is NOT supported out of the box by Dynamics GP. It can be used with the help some 3rd Party solutions, such as GP Report Viewer (from Flexible Solutions) or even a simple code piece written by any Consultant who knows GP, Crystal Reporting and .NET coding.

2. FRx, as this is already been replaced by Management Reporter. There is of course a section in this book where the difference between FRx and Management Reporter is explained.

I shall be writing a review of this book in a week’s time (hopefully). Just could not wait to tell you all that this book really going to be a great treasure for those who wants to understand how effectively GP data can be visualized and analyzed.

Until next post.

VAIDY

Packt Publishing Celebrates Dynamics Month – May 2011


Packt Publishing, the publishers who published some of the famous books such as Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook (authored by Mark Polino) and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Implementation (authored by Victoria Yudin), has now come with a great idea: Celebrate May 2011 as Dynamics Month.

This comes after they have added one more Dynamics GP book, which is Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Reporting.

And of course, it’s not just a celebration. It’s about some really interesting exclusive offers when you buy these books. Trust me, there are some great books out there for your grabbing. Those who have not availed previous opportunities in reading these books that are treasured and revered by many, this IS time. Go for it.

VAIDY

Victoria Yudin’s Book – Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Implementation – My Humble Views


To Victoria:

1. Congrats Victoria for coming up with such a treasure. It’s your sheer excellence written all over this book.
2. Thanks so much for sharing your abundant experience in GP.
3. All the best for a great year 2011; for this book to be fast selling one among Dynamics GP books, for this book to be on all Consultants’ hands and for much more books from you to us.

What’s special about this Book?

This book stands out from other “How to implement … blah blah” books on several factors:

1. Content – It does not dive into each and every trivial step involved in a TYPICAL implementation. Instead, it takes you thru’ some of the unimagined concepts including; GP Application Structure, SQL Server interaction with GP Application, GP Application Technologies, et al.

Very importantly; Recommendations on how to form your Implementation Team (Customers & Implementors), Planning Infrastructure for GP Environment, Studying Business Requirements practically, et al.

2. Structuring of Content – What’s the use of a book having a great content, but lack in the flow of it? This book teaches many out there on how to structure your thoughts on a book.

This book practically walks us thru’ a GP Implementation. It starts with telling us What’s GP 2010 Application is all about and ends with Training & Add-On Tools for GP 2010; without forgetting to take us thru’ Integration Manager for Initial GP Data Integration. NOPE, it does not teach us how to use Integration Manager to the detail of each and every Field Mapping involved. But it gives you ample knowledge in what you must expect with respect to Basic & Necessary Data Integration in GP2010.

By the time you finish reading Appendices, you would feel like you have personally implemented GP on a Customer’s site. No exaggeration when I meant it, absolutely.

3. Victoria’s Experience – I bought this book for just one single reason: Victoria’s Experience. It’s just not mere luck or coincidence of her grabbing hold of Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for a record 7th Straight year.

It takes immense efforts to write a book, which must make sense to appropriate audience. It takes time, energy, thoughts, efforts and almost everything that you possess. This in addition to what you MUST do as part of your day to day job. And pulling off such a book, is great. Simply great.

4. Audience of this Book – This book is intended to anyone (I insist, ANYONE) who wants to sincerely implement Dynamics GP 2010. All we have to possess is some SQL Server knowledge to understand the Application Interaction and some Accounting Basics. Even if you are a newbie to Dynamics GP 2010, you can proudly announce the world that you have learned GP 2010 Implementation, after sincerely reading this book.

If I am an experienced Consultant / Implementor, and I feel like Ahh come on, why do I need a book? I have already done more than 10 realtime implementations, then trust me, I do have something in this book to learn. And I won’t complain after (reading it).

Where to get this Book?

Get yourself this book from Packt Publications, link: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Implementation – By Victoria Yudin.

Note:

Most importantly, remember to thank Victoria for sharing her experience and expertise with us. This book surely is a treasure for all of us.

VAIDY