Category: Uncategorized

A Post-COVID World

As of press time today, March 24th, 2020 AD, we are at the precipice of a sea change defined as a profound or notable transformation. America has previously been challenged with great wars, economic meltdowns, attacks from outside and civil war from inside. As a people, we are resilient. We follow good leadership and advice, we lead others and we determine how best to move forward. This challenge may be different as it is global, but the reaction will likely be the same because our resolution is written in our DNA.

A challenge of this scale will likely have a pre-COVID and post-COVID epoch in the minds of not just Americans but worldwide. What does a post-COVID world look like when evaluating the workforce, the digital infrastructure and the way we conduct business. As a foundation, let us understand that it was really not long ago that we spoke of “Disaster Recovery” as a way to mitigate against local or regional disasters that impact business. Disaster Recovery also meant having the ability to transition to a secondary site, having backup IT infrastructure in place and transferring business to these backup sites upon demand.

Contrast this to what we have just gone through, it is entirely different. The office workers of today (those not in direct services, food, hospitality, manufacturing or healthcare) have been informed and instructed to work from home. For some business, this has caught them completely off-guard, totally unaware of even how to accomplish this. The exodus that has happened in the first three weeks of March from the office to the home, has been unprecedented. For businesses who have counted on internal IT infrastructure, on-premises hardware and legacy manners of accessing corporate infrastructure this has been particularly difficult. For them, this has meant shutting down the productivity to a degree that has never happened in business to this scale.

Other businesses who have embraced cloud technology are steps forward from legacy models but most business never planned for the kind of exodus to quarantine in place like we have today. Therefore, although they have the infrastructure in place they have not fully taken advantage of what the tools offer. Without the challenge of a pandemic, nobody tested the environment to ensure that business will continue at the same pace as before.

Now we enter the post-COVID World. What does the future hold for business? As we envision a Post-COVID World, I believe the vision and strategy we have been putting into place (cloud technologies and solutions) are the mechanisms for business to have a true business continuity. This makes the businesses able to react by working remotely through cloud technologies upon necessity.

Looking at the small to midsize businesses that make up a large share of the American Economy, I believe we have the unprecedented need to take what we have learned from this experience and apply it to our businesses. For the good of our businesses, employees and the economy as a whole this will require an “All of Business” approach (borrowing from our government’s response) to accomplish but it is an imperative that has more priority than ever.

We often hear our leaders say “we will emerge from this stronger”. In my experience, I am optimistic that this statement is truer than ever. Let us stay strong, stay healthy and keep of good cheer through this.

As we go through this, please do not hesitate to call me even if it is just to catch up and talk. I know everyone on this list personally, so this is personal. My wish for you is to be well, stay positive and together we will get through this! If there is anything I can do to support you through this crisis, please let me know. The details are in this post.

ERP SoftwareBlog

“You had me at hello” is a blog post I wrote this week on ERP SoftwareBlog. In case you cannot tell, I like to have fun with my writing and as such, you may find some funny analogies, humor and wit… or at least you will see the effort! We are going to continue having fun in telling the Modern ERP story! As the Chief Fun Officer (not a real title but should be) – I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

What do you think is fun in your job? Post and share because, Hey, it’s Friday!!!

ERP, CRM and my Enterprise perspective

A subtle question I get frequently is “What is ERP”? Along that same line, I get the question about CRM (aka Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE) and how it fits into an ERP solution. So, let’s throw it out there: CRM IS ERP! Yes, I said it!

In a recent conversation with a CRM specialist, I brought this up and the sigh of relief was palpable! It took a moment and the CRM specialist said “wow, you are preaching to the choir!”.

How did we get to the point where we think CRM is something different? Well, it began during a time when CRM solutions were made whole-cloth from other publishers like Siebel and Saleslogix and ERP was made whole-cloth from Oracle, SAP and others. Remember the JBOPS? For those too young to know JBOPS was JD Edwards, Baan, Oracle, Peoplesoft and SAP. Fun history, huh?

This changed with integration promises from Microsoft when they released Dynamics CRM and had four on premise ERP solutions to choose from (AX, NAV, GP and SL). These promises were real and we really did do some CRM integrations but they were always very complex and frankly, never fully delivered the bottom-line promise: an Integrated Enterprise Resource Planning solution from Sales through Financials.

Today’s environment is different, though. With a single source provider of solutions, integrated CRM and ERP is real. Well, real enough. There are some challenges ahead and here they are.

First: Does Dynamics 365 Business Central have a CRM System? The answer is yes, to a degree. It depends upon how you are looking at CRM and what you want to do. If it is contact management around customers and accounts, yes. Opportunities, yes. Some opportunity management, yes. However, is it Dynamics CRM/CE? No.

Second: Can you integrate Dynamics CRM to Business Central. The answer there is yes. You will want to outline exactly what the integration flow is and how to interact between the accounting system and CRM. For example, who “owns” the record: sales or accounting? What can a CRM user update? Therefore, there a considerations that are needed to make it fully integrated for you.

Third, there is a common data model / common data service. There is some functionality that is not yet fully online but the foundation is there for a better, more integrative approach going forward. Does this mean it works without concern today? No but with the proper technical and business guidance there can be a better future out there.

If you are curious about how this can apply to you, let us know by booking a free discovery call at our BookTime™ page.

OnPremise Challenges

Whether your ERP (Dynamics SL, GP, NAV or AX) or CRM (Dynamics CE) is on premise or in a data center, there are more manageable ways to move your business forward. Sometimes that server is literally in a closet, down the hall. Sometimes it is hosted in a private and costly “COLO” colocation or traditional private cloud data center. These are just two examples of the pressures felt by business today. The problems magnify when you combine this with the operating models needed to be successful in the future.

If this is you, we can begin your journey here with the Modern Self Assessment

Once you finish the Modern Self Assessment, book some time with us with our BookTime™

Digital Disruption

Digital Disruption is ubiquitous in today’s business environment. Business is being tasked with getting as close as possible to their customers and that is where we can offer you Digital Transformation Consulting Services.  Across your enterprise, each of your chief officers have different concerns and demands.  Therefore, we are able to bring all facets of the organizations abilities together to achieve maximum leverage from you IT Solutions.

If this is you, we can begin your journey here with the Modern Self Assessment™!

Once you finish the Modern Self Assessment, book some time with us with our BookTime™ Page!

Compare and Contrast – Dynamics SL and Dynamics 365

Dynamics SL and Dynamics 365… What is the change? 

Why is this an improvement?

Foundation — foundationally, Dynamics SL is an older technology utilizing Microsoft SQL Server databases, Windows Client Technology, written in VB.net and utilizing kernel technology written in C++.  Some of this technology was written when you (the reader) were just a child!

New Foundation — Dynamics 365 is built upon Microsoft Dynamics NAV in the Microsoft Azure Cloud.  This foundational change builds upon the decades of legacy Dynamics NAV functionality and wins with Web Client technology as a robust user interface. Unlike Dynamics SL, the technology has evolved and kept up with the technology demands of the market.

Management and Maintainability — unlike putting Dynamics SL in a hosted environment, Dynamics 365 is built in a fully managed Azure instance which means that you never worry about backups, business continuity or downtime.

Functional Differences — Naturally, there are differences in the application such as:

  • Role based functionality tied to security — although available in Dynamics SL, this has never been implemented quite functionally for customers. In Dynamics 365, this is inherent within the solution, out of the box. However, for the NAV sophisticates out there, you can switch to the non-role based environments!
  • Chart of Accounts — come across as Chart of Accounts in Dynamics 365
  • SubAccts become Dimensions which augments the functionality you are currently used to in Dynamics SL.  Further, Dimensions can be used significantly more in PowerBI and Microsoft Flow.
  • Master Data (Vendors, Customers, Items, Projects, etc.) these become the same basic structures in Dynamics 365.
  • Reporting — no more Management Reporter! The Modern Solutions are to utilize Account Schedules in Dynamics 365 and also leverage Jet Reports (from Jet Global) or PowerBI for reporting and analytics. PowerBI is integrated throughout.
  • Data Migration — out of the gate, we have proven tools and methodologies to bring across Master Data and Open Balances. We continue to build out more sophisticated data models to provide you with a solution that when leveraging Microsoft’s PowerBI, Artificial Intelligence and Flow, you can more fully take advantage of the data.
  • Services — this is where it gets real exciting. Consider that your migration from SL to Dynamics 365 will not be the same kind of engagement you have experienced in the past. Our service model is to provide you with remote expertise which allows us to leverage the best talent without geography being a barrier.
  • Support — continuing to support you is key and Modern ERP is here with 24/7 support coverage, escalated case management and continuous improvement solutions.

Compare and Contrast – Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365

Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365… What is the change?

Why is this an improvement?

Foundation — foundationally, Dynamics GP is an older technology utilizing Microsoft SQL Server databases, Windows Client Technology, written in Dexterity and utilizing technology written many years ago. Some of this technology was written when you (the reader) were just a child!

New Foundation — Dynamics 365 is built upon Microsoft Dynamics NAV in the Microsoft Azure Cloud with a Modern User Interface. This foundational change builds upon the decades of legacy Dynamics NAV functionality and wins with Web Client technology as a robust user interface. Unlike Dynamics GP, the technology has evolved and kept up with the technology demands of the market.

Management and Maintainability — unlike putting Dynamics GP in a hosted environment, Dynamics 365 is built in a fully managed Azure instance which means that you never worry about backups, business continuity or downtime.

Functional Differences — Naturally, there are differences in the application such as:

  • Role based functionality tied to security — although available in Dynamics GP, this has never been implemented quite functionally for customers. In Dynamics 365, this is inherent within the solution, out of the box. However, for the NAV sophisticates out there, you can switch to the non-role based environments!
  • Chart of Accounts — come across as Chart of Accounts in Dynamics 365
  • Segmentation becomes Dimensions which augments the functionality you are currently used to in Dynamics GP. Further, Dimensions can be used significantly more in PowerBI and Microsoft Flow.
  • Master Data (Vendors, Customers, Items, etc.) these become the same basic structures in Dynamics 365.
  • Reporting — no more Management Reporter! The Modern Solutions are to utilize Account Schedules in Dynamics 365 and also leverage Jet Reports (from Jet Global) or PowerBI for reporting and analytics. PowerBI is integrated throughout.
  • Data Migration — out of the gate, we have proven tools and methodologies to bring across Master Data and Open Balances. We continue to build out more sophisticated data models to provide you with a solution that when leveraging Microsoft’s PowerBI, Artificial Intelligence and Flow, you can more fully take advantage of the data.
  • Services — this is where it gets real exciting. Consider that your migration from GP to Dynamics 365 will not be the same kind of engagement you have experienced in the past. Our service model is to provide you with remote expertise which allows us to leverage the best talent without geography being a barrier.
  • Support — continuing to support you is key and Modern ERP is here with 24/7 support coverage, escalated case management and continuous improvement solutions.

You can use our BookTime™ online feature to work with our consulting team to provide you with a follow up to the Modern Self Assessment™ or any number of other services. With our online booking, you can choose from any available dates, times and services offered. Our pricing is transparent, flexible and easy to understand. We will confirm your booking automatically and provide you with a Microsoft Teams Meeting Room.