OFF-TOPIC: Batch Print Multiple Files in Mac OS X Without Opening Them – Jesse Chapman @jessechapman


One of my users use Mac OS X Mavericks and his major concern was to batch print files in a folder without opening each one of them. He somehow (?!?!?!) trusted my expertise in Mac OS to find a solution.

My best friend, Google, came to my rescue again. I got this gem of a post by Jesse Chapman (sorry Jesse, I tried getting a profile page of yours, but could only get your twitter page) on his blog wait, really? that saved my day.

Read it here: How to batch print multiple files in Mac OS X without opening them.

Though the post is for Mac OS Snow Leopard, it still works charmingly on Mavericks. Thanks a bunch, Jesse.

Upside; I am now considered an expert in Mac OS by at least one Mac user in this world :-DDownside; I may get more support requests with Mac OS :-P.

But hey, I am not even complaining.

VAIDY

Delete a Company in Microsoft Dynamics GP – Compatible With GP 2013


We have a SQL script named ClearCompanies.sql, which is available on Customer Source or Partner Source. This script removes all references to those companies that are not available in SQL Server, but pretty much exist in GP records.

It’s an all important script for all implementers, developers and consultants. Now this script has been updated to cater for also GP 2013. I had not used this script for a long time, so never realised it till today. This is particularly important as GP 2013 now support multi-tenant architecture (multiple GP System DB on same SQL instance).

You can download this script from here (provided you have a Customer Source / Partner Source account): ClearCompanies.sql.

VAIDY

Where Have #MSDYNGP Product Printable Manuals Gone?


I am not sure how many of us actually refer to GP user manuals; the ones that come in PDF format and contain module functionalities. But I do, religiously. When I came to know that they are not available offline anymore, I was a bit upset. After a bit of traversing here and there, I have finally found the location of them.

Take a look at below screenshot, which compares GP 2010 Printable Manuals menu and GP 2013 Printable Manuals menu:

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Apparently, when you click on that “Documentation and resources for Microsoft Dynamics GP” link from GP 2013 Printable Manuals window, it takes you to this webpage:

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And click on Documentation and resources for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 (highlighted above with RED box), you will be taken to following link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj673201(v=gp.20).aspx.

From there, locate Printable Guides [GP 2013] as shown below:

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Once you click that, you will be taken to following link from where you can find all your module manuals: Printable Guides.

Biggest hassle is to click on each link found on this page, being taken to another page and from there download the PDF and it literally kill us. If they are available offline already on GP applications folder, like how it used to be before, it would have been awesome.

Never realised that Microsoft would put them all online and not plant them on our GP application folder anymore. Strange strategy.

VAIDY

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 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

Where is my Custom Reminder window to add reminders to my GP home page?


I was reported with a very vague issue: user could not create a custom reminder from a smartlist. He received an error message as follows:

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Basically, below is the window which user is trying to open:

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Ideally, you would think that this window is a part of Microsoft Dynamics GP dictionary. But it is NOT. It is a part of Smartlist dictionary.

But trick here is, you cannot see this window listed on when you try to assign this window a particular Security Task using Security Task Setup window. Then, how? How would I give access to this window?

After around an hour or so, with several script logs and profilers misleading me, I found one interesting statement on SQL Profiler trace, that was executed when the user tried opening that window:

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Exactly after this SQL statement, the above error message was thrown at the user. Which means, I must focus my troubleshooting efforts on this table; DYNAMICS..SY10000. This table is simply called User Security.

When user tried to open Custom Reminder window, system checked this table and see whether this user has got access to a window whose resource ID is 1452 in dictionary 0 (which is nothing but product Microsoft Dynamics GP) inside company ID 1 (which is my production GP company).

I was always thinking about something in Smartlist (which is, without any doubt), but system was checking something else in a different dictionary altogether. I wanted to see the window in Microsoft Dynamics GP dictionary which is of resource ID 1452. Opened the DYNAMICS.DIC on Dexterity and checked it, only to realise with disbelief that it was referring to following window:

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I did not understand first. Why would it check something totally irrelevant from what user wanted to open? Why would it check access to this window, when opening a window in different dictionary? I have no answer to these questions.

But I just thought I would take a chance. I checked this user’s security task setup and found that Reminders window was not assigned. I assigned that window for this user as shown below:

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Tested whether he could open Custom Reminder. To my utter disbelief, IT DID.

So, if somebody is facing same issue and has already lost almost all your hair, here you have, a solution that would bring upon peace.

VAIDY

Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of On-premise vs. SaaS – Derek Singleton @ Software Advice


This is a guest post, authored by Derek Singleton at Software Advice.

As Cloud technologies continue to evolve, more and more software buyers are seriously evaluating software as a service (SaaS) solutions against on-premise offerings. While there are many factors that influence which deployment model is best for any particular business (e.g., ability to manage IT internally and speed of deployment) the cost of the system is often a key factor. But comparing the true cost of a Cloud-based system against an on-premise system can be time-consuming and is often a complex undertaking.

For instance, most buyers understand that on-premise licenses are typically purchased with a large, upfront investment and SaaS licenses are purchased for a relatively cheaper subscription price. But many forget to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their investment. That is, they don’t look beyond the licensing costs to consider how other factors such as the need to customise the software and integrate it with existing applications can influence the TCO of their software purchase.

Even then there are intricacies like maintenance and support and training requirements that can make creating an apples-to-apples comparison of the TCO on-premise and Cloud software difficult. If you’re not a seasoned veteran in modelling all these costs, comparing them can become overwhelming.

To help buyers ballpark the true costs of each software model, I recently created an interactive TCO calculator at Software Advice–where we help buyers with software pricing–that buyers can use to compare SaaS against on-premise software over a 10-year ownership period.

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The calculator models annual and cumulative costs over this time period and shows buyers at which year of ownership the TCO of a SaaS system will equal that of an on-premise solution, based on user inputs. Although the data comes pre-populated with an example case, users can override every value to see the impact that changing any particular value will have on the TCO as a graph at the top of the calculator automatically refreshes after each update.

While the calculator is useful for getting you in a ballpark, it’s important to note that any business will still have to perform their due diligence to come up with an accurate figure that reflects their unique needs and situation. And there are several influencing factors (e.g. organic business growth) that no general calculator can accurately model. In any case, it’s worth checking it out to get an idea of which system seems right for your business. Check it out here.