Confused about Microsoft Dynamics AX?

It is totally normal. The business solution as been presented with many names these past years, such as:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operation, Enterprise Edition (July 2017)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operation (October 2016)
  • The new Dynamics AX (February 2016)
  • AX7
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, R2, R3
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX v2.5, v3, v4 et V5
  • Axapta

Microsoft Dynamics AX nowadays:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operation, Enterprise Edition is a ERP system (Enterprise resource planning). That product is link with the group of product Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The solution contains more than 26 different modules allowing you to manage your entire business. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operation, Enterprise Edition supports 32 languages including French, English, Spanish, Japanese and many more. Also, it works with multi-currency, multi-company mode and multi warehouses according to your needs. From General Ledger to Production Tracking, the solution gives you the opportunity to manage procurement, sales and marketing, retail, planning (MRP) etc.

From your General Ledger accounts, you can drill down to the details of the inventory, production or sale transaction.

The solution grows according to your needs. You can use only part of the system, one module or group of modules. One thing is certain, any good manager knows that if you start from the General Ledger and that your system allows you to go to the detail of the transaction without making 3 phone calls to have the right information, it is much more productive.

A bit of history:

Every name change represents additional features and better integrations.

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operation, Enterprise Edition: The solution lets you run either in Cloud mode or On-Premise (run on your own owned servers instead of those of Microsoft).
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operation: The solution was only working in Cloud mode on Microsoft servers. It is a part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 product group. This solution contains 26 ERP modules that allows you to manage your entire business.
  • The new Dynamics AX: Microsoft has transferred the SQL Server functionality to SQL Azure. The client functionality has moved to WEB mode. Integration with Excel has increased even more dramatically, as much as the integration with Outlook, Word, Power BI. The name used before the launch of The new Dynamics AX version was more of a product code name that people used to find each other. The initial documentation of Cloud functions was found under this name.
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3: This version is in client-server mode using SQL as database. The solution contains more than 26 modules, in addition to modules that can use mobile devices for warehouse management.
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2: This version is in client-server mode. It contains more than 20 modules.
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: Changing the client mode to add features related to Excel and Word has increase the ease of integration and increase the productivity of users already familiar with Excel. The licensing payment method has been changed from this version. All modules were available but the business was able to open the one they need and open module when they were ready.
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009: This version is in client-server mode. It contains more than 20 modules. The company can decide which modules to install.
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX V5: This is the Dynamics AX 2009 version.
  • AX v4: Many additions and improvements of existing modules.
  • AX v3: Many improvements of existing modules.
  • AX v2.5: Many improvements of existing modules.
  • Axapta: Name from the first version.

What is important to remember is that Microsoft Dynamics AX has always continue innovating. Here are some modules that are part of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and also found in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operation, Enterprise Edition:

  • General ledger
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Budgeting
  • Fixed assets
  • Human resources
  • Procurement and sourcing
  • Sales and marketing
  • Product information management
  • Inventory management (without mobile device)
  • Warehouse management (with mobile devices such as scanner)
  • Transportation management
  • Retail, Call center
  • Master planning (MRP)
  • Production control
  • Service management
  • Project management and accounting
  • Organization administration
  • System administration

Many modules have workflow features that integrates with the functions of the users of the company.

Dynamics AX

 

Hoping to have clarify some points.

For more information contact us at 1 514-871-0470 and request a Microsoft Dynamics 365 representative for Finance & Operation, Enterprise Edition.

7 Questions for Improved Business Processes!

 

This week, we are excited to welcome our new blogger, Eric Labelle, Business Analyst and SalesPad Solution SME at Negotium Technologies. With more than 30 years of experience in the distribution and manufacturing industries, Eric explains to us why, in his opinion, SalesPad is the ultimate tool to help you company grow in efficiency, productivity and visibility of your day to day business.

SalesPad in one picture and a few words …

SalesPad is the trusted choice for businesses that desire to effectively develop and/or optimize their business processes. Among other great features, the solution provides streamlined process automation that greatly improves business profitability through a complete visibility at every stage and for every opportunities that arise.

With this said, let us look at SalesPad and see together if the solution is for you!  If two or more of these 7 situations applies to you, it is likely that you could well benefit from the numerous advantages it offers!

1. Browsing is a complicated matter?

Simultaneously processing your orders is quite a day-to-day challenge!  Handling and managing multiple customer calls is practically impossible. As soon as you are navigating through several screens and pop-up windows to find historic information, prices, status of invoicing or any other data relative to the shipping or stock availability, you experience system slowdown or worst, a system crash. In other words, you feel that you are at the limit of what Microsoft Dynamics GP can offer in terms of efficiency and to respond quickly to your customers demand!

 

2. You lack visibility?

Your managers, sales representatives and marketing staff have little to very poor access to inventory transactions information! The capacity to analyse trends, to monitor your customers individual activities and follow the performance and inventory of your products is compromised throughout your organization. 

Overseeing and managing every stage of distribution, SalesPad Desktop is the ultimate tool for distribution and manufacturing companies. Process orders more accurately and efficiently, while having full visibility into each step of your workflow. Simplify the lives of your customer service and sales reps by putting information at their fingertips with powerful Excel®-style searching.

 

3. You spend way too much time managing your inventory?

Although you have a good inventory solution in place, it does not enable you to take informed and intuitive purchasing decisions.  You spend a lot of time verifying and correcting the physical position of your storage just to fill your orders.

SalesPad is a complete warehouse management solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP. Operating on a iOS® or Windows® mobile device equipped with a scanner, users can perform all essential inventory transactions while DataCollection automatically updates Dynamics GP in the background. As a result, orders go out the door correctly, inventory is accurate, and your operations are fully synched.

 

4. Mobility is an important aspect of your business?

Managing your sales data, information pertaining to your customers and actual inventory is not as efficient as you would like.  You need to stay connected to your system data at all times.

Managing your sales, customer and inventory data while on the go will never be as easy as this! SalesPad Mobile gives Microsoft Dynamics GP and SalesPad Desktop users the power to manage customers, inventory, and sales documents from the convenience of their iPhone®, iPad®, or Android™ mobile device. Whether traveling, on-site, or away from your workspace, SalesPad Mobile enables you to stay connect to your business.

 

5. Using shipping solutions?

How is that working for you?  Does it offer a smooth and completely integrated process or do you need to manually transcript all of the information a second time in another window?  Following the actual shipping process, the shipping information such as the shipping and freight costs are not automatically entered in the customer sales documents.  In other words, the shipping information is simply not generated automatically through the invoicing process.

With ShipCenter, SalesPad enable you to increase accuracy and efficiency in your shipping operations Monitor and manage sales orders to ship products quickly and reliably. Easy to install and configure, process shipments directly, integrating UPS WorldShip® and FedEx ShipManager® with Microsoft Dynamics GP and/or SalesPad Desktop. After shipping with preferred carrier, shipping information, freight amounts, and tracking information are automatically written to the appropriate fields in the sales documents. Orders are then forwarded in workflow and managed through the invoicing process.

 

6. You run credit cards transactions?

Are you concerned by the PCI compliance requirements?  How is the integration between your Point of Sales (POS) solution and your cloud based transactions?

SalesPad offers a unified payment solution. PayFabric® is a cloud-based, card-present payment-acceptance platform and storage hub by SalesPad partner Nodus® Technologies, Inc., that is easily integrated with SalesPad Desktop. Designed with an innovative and secure storage algorithm and validated with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), PayFabric alleviates many major challenges of PCI compliance by integrating points and transaction data into the cloud.

 

7. You process orders through EDI?

Are you still entering your orders, sales, notices and invoices manually with your commercial partners?

Powered by SPS Commerce®, SalesPad EDI connects to the leading cloud-based network for omnichannel retail operations.  Users can eliminate manual entry of purchase orders, sales, notices, and invoices with trading partners. SalesPad EDI takes the complexity out of electronic data interchanges, and breaks down the barriers of connecting to vendors. SalesPad Desktop’s intuitive, rule-based workflow in conjunction with SalesPad EDI provides a complete control of your sales order and fulfillment processes when selling through your trading network.

 

Do you recognize your situation through these 7 questions?

If so, SalesPad could well enable you to save up to 30% on the acquisition cost of new Microsoft Dynamics GP licences. With this said, as each enterprise is different, it is necessary to evaluate each situation on its own. Tell us about your project. Communicate with one of our Negotium Technologies representative today!

Manage SharePoint Online new experience using a Powershell script

Business Context

One of our customers recently asked us to disable SharePoint’s new experience for his Office 365, but only for a given set of sites. By default, this new experience is activated for the entire site collection.

Key Information

  • Did you know that the activation and disabling process of the new experience can be done directly from the SharePoint Admin Center? See Figure 1 below. Changing this setting from the Admin Center affects however every lists and libraries from all site collections.

SharePoint

 Fig. 1: Screenshot of the New Experience activation/disabling option in the SharePoint Online  Admin Center

  • Should you wish o go back to the Classic Experience for the entire site collection, it can also be done by clicking on the option ”Return to classic SharePoint”. See Figure 2 below.

SharePoint

Fig. 2: Option to return to the Classic Experience

  • You would like to apply your options to only a subset of your sites? No problem. This action can be done on a more granular level by managing it at the lists/librairies level. (See Figure 3)
    1. Go to the document Library, then to the list setup option
    2. Click on the link “Advanced Settings”
    3. Under the section “List experience”, choose the desired option among the offered choices:

SharePoint

Fig. 3: Setting up of a new experience at the list/library level.

  • New Experience before/after view of the library
Before After
SharePoint SharePoint

 

Disabling at the site collection level

Prerequisites

Option 1

  1. Open a Powershell console (SharePoint Online Management Shell)
  2. Paste the following code. The script below will enable you to disable the new experience for the site collection https://[tenant].sharepoint.com/sites/siteurl

SharePoint

Option 2

There is also another way you can disable the new experience with Powershell. Just follow the instructions here provided by Microsoft: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Switch-the-default-experience-for-lists-or-document-libraries-from-new-or-classic-66dac24b-4177-4775-bf50-3d267318caa9?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Disabling of the new experience

SharePoint

NOTE:

If you have previously apply:

  • the classic experience at the list/data library level, or
  • the new experience at the administration console level of SharePoint online; and
  • if you launch the script to activate the new experience, the new experience will not be reactivated for this list/library. You will need to activate the new experience again at the list/ library settings level.

Going back to the SharePoint Standard view

Every time you click on the option Return to SharePoint Standard view yo go back to the classic experience, a cookie will be generated to safeguard this information: splnu

To quickly return to the new experience, simply delete the cookie!

SharePoint

Useful Links

Best Practices Checklist for Disaster Recovery Implementation in Azure

Introduction to Azure Site Recovery

If you are familiar with Microsoft Azure, you probably have heard or read about Azure Site Recovery (ASR). It is Microsoft’s disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution to keep your VM’s safe in the cloud or use it as a migration tool to Azure.

Flexibility

You can use ASR with Hyper-V, VMware and physical servers. You are in control of the machines that need to be replicated and you choose which policy you choose to apply. The replication traffic goes through port 443 which means you don’t need a VPN to copy over the data. You will, however, need a VPN with Azure to forward the failover traffic to the machines in Azure.

Best practices checklist for DR implementation

  1. Conduct a risk assessment for each application, because each can have different requirements. Some applications are more critical than others and would justify the extra cost to architect them for disaster recovery.
  2. Use this information to define the RTO and RPO for each application. (see RTO and RPO definition below)
  3. Design for failure, starting with the application architecture.
  4. Implement best practices for high availability, while balancing cost, complexity, and risk:
  5. Implement disaster recovery plans and processes.
    • Consider failures that span the module level all the way to a complete cloud outage;
    • Establish backup strategies for all reference and transactional data; and
    • Choose a multi-site disaster recovery architecture.
  6. Define a specific owner for disaster recovery processes, automation, and testing. The owner should manage and own the entire process.
  7. Document the processes so they are easily repeatable. Although there is one owner, multiple people should be able to understand and follow the processes in an emergency.
  8. Train the staff to implement the process.
  9. Use regular disaster simulations for both training and validation of the process.

Recovery time objectives

The RTO refers to the targeted amount of time determined by the business that is needed to be back up and running after a disaster or disruption happened. The more the application is critical, the lower the RTO should be.

Recovery point objective

The RPO refers to a point in time that is the acceptable amount of lost data due to the recovery.

recovery point objective

The ASR service is now available in the Canadian regions. You can check the services that are being offered in each region at the following link: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/regions/services/

Dont hesitate to contact our experts for help with your infrastructure projects. Negotium offer consultations to help you identify potential gaps and inefficiencies in your organization’s operations that hinder user productivity and competitiveness or put your data at risk. Contact Negotium Technologies for more information!

Useful links :

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/site-recovery-overview

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/site-recovery-best-practices

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/site-recovery-components

Ensure your eCommerce success with these 6 questions!

This week, we are thrilled to introduce you to our guest blogger, k-eCommerce, our strategic partner for eCommerce solutions for Microsoft Dynamcis.

With more than 15 years of experience built into their eCommerce solution, k-eCommerce explains why some online stores succeed while others fail.

Automating sales orders, expanding market reach, increasing revenues and lowering overhead costs make selling online a clear solution for companies looking to grow or streamline the ordering process. But opening a web store takes planning, along with a robust eCommerce strategy. One key factor separating the projects that succeed from those that fold in less than a year comes down to asking the right questions before you break virtual ground.

Here are the critical questions that you need to ask before opening an online store, according to k-eCommerce:

What are you selling? And how much?

If you have an extensive product offering or handle a high volume of transactions per day, you should avoid the solutions that limit either the number of products in your catalog or the number of transactions you can process. You’ll also need more bandwidth, so you should consider a dedicated server for hosting.

Will you be selling locally? Nationally? Internationally?

If your company does business out of state or in multiple countries, you may need a platform that can support multiple languages and currencies. You’ll also need to have the proper logistics in place for shipping.

How will you manage sales tax?

Taxes can be a nightmare. Intricate local tax laws often make it difficult to calculate sales tax accurately. Savvy online merchants simplify by taking advantage of automated tax services like Avalara or Thomson Reuters, integrated to your eCommerce solution.

Will you accept credit card payments?

Most online stores do, and if so you’ll have to be PCI-DSS compliant to reduce the risks associated with data breaches. If you aren’t and a breach occurs, it can severely damage your business.

Do you have an ERP or CRM?

ERPs make running your enterprise much easier. But without an eCommerce platform integrated with Microsoft Dynamics to automate your web store, you’ll manually have to keep track of orders, payments, inventory, and customer information.

ERP-integrated systems seamlessly tap into customer data, order details, product catalogs, pricing and inventory, effectively putting your web store on autopilot. When you update this information in your ERP, it updates automatically in your web store, too, leaving you with just one point of maintenance and ultimately saving you time and money.

B2B? B2C? Both?

Whether you’re a manufacturer, retailer, or in wholesale/distribution, building a web store for your target customer is key. Branding, theming and responsiveness will vary depending on your site’s objectives. You might need a solution that can support multiple stores or multiple sites. For example, B2B businesses often require client-specific catalogs and diverse invoicing setups.

The bottom line is, no two web stores are alike. Answering these questions will help you decide what kind of store you’d like to build. But with the power of an integrated system, the possibilities are endless.

If you’d like to talk with an eCommerce expert and get a better sense of the right solution for you, we’d love to hear about your project. Contact your Negotium Technologies representative today to discuss what the k-eCommerce solution integrated with Microsoft Dynamics can do for you.

Quality Assurance: Automated Statistical Analysis

A few months back, we wrote a blog article on the history and continuous development of the integrity, agility and automatization of the quality assurance processes at Negotium Technologies. While this project greatly helped us assure the quality of our code, raise the satisfaction level of our customers and the working conditions of our team members, it also brought up a few interrogations, such as:

  • What is the best way to ensure that the quality of our code is constant?
  • How do we help our managers be in the know of the technical debt of a project without having to actually review the code in depth?
  • How do we ensure that our developers raise the quality of their work without having the technical manager review each code line?

Automated Statistical Analysis

The answer to all these questions is actually quite simple.  The solution resides in Automated Statistical Analysis.

The Automated Statistical Analysis enables you to use a set of rules that will verify the structure of the code to detect errors. The Automated Statistical Analysis points out code errors to the developer and provides metrics to the manager for a quick and complete view of the quality of the code. Thanks to the provided analysis, developers can improve the quality of their work and learn first hand from their mistakes making them more efficient et performant in time.

The advanced hypothesis put forward by the Automated Statistical Analysis solution is that if the code is of a good quality and the functional testing has been done thereafter, in theory, it is « impossible » to deliver bugged solutions, or at least, it is much less probable that you would deliver bad quality code to your customers.

The Automated Statistical Analysis with SonarQube

At Negotium, we have chosen « SonarQube », an open management platform, to analyse and measure code quality. The Automated Statistical Analysis program is ran on the branches master and “develop” against the build created following each “commit” sur les “branches master” et « develop ».

Here is a view of what the manager would see :

  • Global annotation of the quality of the code
  • Insight on resolution time

Automated static analysis

Here is a screenshot that shows what the developper sees :

  • Details of the issues found

Automated static analysis

That sums up this very helpful and productive solution. If you would like to obtain further information on how to build and execute the Automated Statistical Analysis program, follow my blog articles. Note that the following articles are however much more technical. Enjoy!