Weekly Dynamic: Windows in Advanced Security

Richard from FMT Consultants was kind enough to point this tip out in the newsgroup but I thought that I would elaborate.

When using Advanced Security, sometimes you want to see what window you are adjusting rights to. Well, it’s pretty easy but first you need to turn the feature on.

  1. Open Advanced Security (Tools->Setup->System->Advanced Security).
  2. Click Options.
  3. Check the “Double-Click to Open Window, or Report

Now when you double click on a window or report the item will open so you can see what you’re setting security for.
For example, drill down on By Menu, Transactions, Financial, General (Transaction Entry). Double Click on General (Transaction Entry) and the Transaction Entry window will open.
This feature was available in 8.0 and is present in 9.0 (I don’t know which version it was added in so try yours. Maybe someone can enlighten me.)

My One Post Convergence Gripe – No CPE!

Hopefully someone at MS will read this. I have one post Convergence gripe. Microsoft didn’t offer Continuing Professional Education (CPE) at Convergence this year. Even worse, they didn’t communicate whether or not it was offered. No one at registration, attendee services, etc. had any idea. I got a different story from everyone. I blogged about it here and I’ve gotten comments like this one from Ken Hunt:

I was told at the registration desk, and was extremely annoyed, that Microsoft had not filed for CPE approval this year and would not be offering CPE for this Convergence. If a Microsoft staffer is reading this, I would appreciate either a confirmation or correction of this information. Also, if you are not offering CPE, that is something that needs to be prominently highlighted in your literature for Convergence; this would affect my decision on whether or not to attend (Note: CPE had been offered in all previous Convergences I attended). I was left with the feeling that Microsoft had pulled a “bait & switch” routine on me.

So maybe I can help clear up for MS why this important. A lot of us are accountants. We’re not conference junkies. Those of us who need CPE are usually balancing a heavy workload with the educational requirements. We have to pick an choose how we spend our time to get those credits. In the past, Convergence was a great way to improve our tech knowledge on financial systems we use and get CPE. There will be people like Ken who won’t come without CPE. If you’re dealing with financial folks, it’s the price of entry. But if you’re not willing to pay that price, TELL US UP FRONT. Yes, I’m yelling for that little part. It’s good to yell once in while.

Weekly Dynamic: Version 9 Home Page Tour

One of the most dramatic new features in 9.0 is the Home page. The Home page is part of Dynamics GP’s emphasis on Roles Based computing. Similar to when Explorer (now Smartlists) was released, the Home page has pretty good functionality but I hope it will be expanded on in the future. My only concern is that by calling it the Home Page, it will get confusing in conversation. GP changed “Explorer” to “Smartlists” for just this reason. Too many explorers! Now, on to the tour.

The Home page opens when you start GP but View->Home or CTRL+ALT-H will reopen the home page if you close it. The Home page displays different views based on your Role. For example, an AP clerk will see AP related items by default. Also included is a link into Outlook to display your Calendar and Email. Tasks still come from Tasks in GP, not your Outlook Tasks. There are some basic Outlook formatting options available, essentially turning on and off the calendar or email and setting how many calendar days to display.

The basic Home page is a two paned view and similar to the Outlook items, Dynamics Tasks and Reminders can be turned on/off and set up. The Task List is pretty straightforward and the Reminders are a limited set of items from a typical watch list. Things like Overdue Invoices and AP Due. You can turn reminders on and off and set the number of days around the reminder. Finally, you can create custom reminders which are driven off of Smartlists and even limit the records for say the 10 highest overdue accounts. Since it’s easy to create a smart list and easy to build reminders, this looks like a great dashboard tool. Business Alerts have not gone away and don’t seem to be integrated into reminders so now there appears to 2 options for reminding you.

Also available is a Reports option allowing you add a link to a report and it’s associated option. This allows you to fire off common reports right from the home page. One oddity, I had to close and reopen the home page to get my added report to show.

Finally there is the Metrics section. Metrics are presented graphically and include items like Gross Profit, Payables Aging, etc. Unfortunately, you can’t currently create custom metrics and you can only view one metric at a time. You can however, pick several metrics that you want to make available and scroll through the Metrics from the Home Screen.

In addition to all of these options, the Customize This Page link lets you rearrange the locations of items within the home, page, add/remove items and adjust the update timing

All in all, the Home Screen is a great first step and it will be nice to see how it evolves.

Update: Char Gust was kind enough to add some info to this post. “One quick note — Business Alerts can now be set up to show in your Home Page as a reminder. This was a new 9.0 feature. ” – Thanks Char, I missed that one!

Convergence Quick Takes

After this I’m off to the airport and home to sunny Orlando. Here are my rapid fire quick takes:

  • Great focus on community. Doug’s closing session brought it all together.
  • If you blog it, they will come. I can’t tell you how many people said they saw me on the screen, or subscribed to the blog, or hunted me down to say hi. So what are you doing to get listened to?
  • Make the sessions shorter. 1 1/2 hours is too long. Focus them to 45 min. with 15 minutes of Q&A. An hour is just about right and the questions are always great.
  • I want Kimberly Tripp for the SQL stuff next year. Nobody does SQL tuning and tips like she does. But you’ll need a big room. She’s a great speaker. Bring her in and I’ll pick up one of her meal tabs.
  • Why isn’t Dwight Specht an MVP? He’s forgotten more about GP than I ever knew, and at one time, I thought I knew a lot. How do I nominate him?
  • Robert Scoble needs to have the Fabulous Matt G on Channel 9. I sent Scoble an email and he’s up for it. How do I get these two guys together? Satya? Doug? Bill? Somebody fly Robert to Fargo.
  • The instructor led sessions were a hit. Long lines, tickets, sold out performance. I did check and as of yesterday, there were no reports of scalping. Maybe thats how I can pay for Convergence next year, hmm…

What I heard from people:

  • San Diego, Orlando and Vegas are the top 3 suggestions for the future of Convergence
  • The speakers in the sessions were of all over the map in terms of quality – focus hard on that.
  • The busing between hotels worked, but it’s really convenient if you can come down from your room and straight to a session. Yeah I know, that’s easier with a 100 or a 1,000 people.
  • Everyone was impressed with the size of Convergence this year.

I’ll probably have a few more thoughts on the plane and post-convergence wrap up, but all this blogging is wearing me out. I’ll be back to a more reasonable once or twice a week when I get home. Please don’t take any of these comments as negatives. This was very good Convergence, we just always want more because that’s what customers do!

Burgum Banged One Out of the Park

Doug Burgum hit one out of the park today. No Marco Polo, no flocks of birds. We got to see the real Doug. He talked about how his background and childhood have have shaped the values of Great Plains and now Microsoft Dynamics. Doug successfully linked the small town dynamics of Arthur, North Dakota to the community being built around Dynamics. I had a hot dog with Doug once at a Tech Ed. He’s a nice guy and that really came out today. Maybe Bill should take a lesson from Doug!

Satya Nadella showed off all the community things I blogged about just a minute ago. Thank God somebody is finally pushing Newsgroups, Suggestions and MVP’s. Satya you are right on point! Give us an expanded ability to follow the newsgroups via RSS! Yeah, I’ll add it to the suggestions.

Satya also showed off the sandbox, snippets of shared code for Dynamics. Unfortunately, there’s no SNAP items yet for GP, so I’ll have to keep watching it over time.

Update: I corrected Doug Burgum’s home state from Montana to North Dakota. I knew that but apparently there was a bug in my mental code. I’ve applied the service pack and fixed this post.

Live Blogging Doug Burgum

I’ve come to like hearing Doug Burgum. I find his talks entertaining. Not always enlightening, but he tells a good story. My first experience with Doug was the infamous Marco Polo speach in 2000 I think? I still don’t remember the point, only marvelling at how far out of the way he went to make it. Has Microsoft tamed the wild Burgum? We’ll see how he does today.

The Power of Community

People Ready. Community. Those were the themes for Convergence 2006. Community requires participation. You don’t interact with your children or your boss once a year, why should Microsoft only get your feedback once a year? It’s important to let Microsoft hear from you at more than just Convergence. I’ve heard your questions in sessions, I know you’re not shy. I’m guessing you just don’t know how to make yourself heard throughout the year.

So how do you do that? 2 options are:

1) Newsgroups
2) Blogs

Newsgroups – the Great Plains newsgroups are easy to use. You can find them here. Newsgroups are great for asking questions, getting advice, and finding support. You can also make suggestions for Microsoft on features and vote for or against suggested features. When it comes to Dynamics, every year is an election year. Go Vote!

Blogs – Blogs create community. They are typically one voice with lots of opportunity for response. In a simple metaphone, imagine a newspaper opinion piece with unlimited letters to the editor and a chance for other papers to respond with their own editorials, each with unlimited letters to the editor as a response.

Read a blog. Heck read mine. Start a blog. Give me your ideas. Tell me I’m off base. Tell Microsoft they got it right or they missed the mark. Just don’t sit there silently!

How do you start? Take a look at the links on the bottom left at convergencebloggers.net or take a look at these:

Blog Readers: My MSN, Google, My Yahoo!, Bloglines, Newsgator. I know you’ve heard of some of these.
Blog Creators: MSN Spaces, Blogger

Look, this is pretty simple. Microsoft will listen to their customers. If I’m the only customer blogger at Convergence again next year, I get a disproportionate voice. I’m ok with that, my needs will get met. You, however, will have to shout louder to get heard. So speak up!

Convergence Lessons: Pace Yourself!

I finally wore out this afternoon and skipped a session to spend some time in the Expo during a quieter period and just recharge. Texas is big, this convention center is big and the blisters on my feet are big.

Vendors, however, have to be happy that people are lining up to get into the Expo as soon as it opens. It’s a nice big expo this year with lots of vendors. And if you’re not filling out evals, you better hurry. I keep winning prizes for filling out evaluations.

GP9 Inventory

There are some nice things in GP9 and 10 coming for inventory. Stock Counts seem to be unchanged but there is better visibility around Cost Adjustments. 2 stage transfers are available now with field service but may be in the core for v10.

Some of the holes from previous versions have also been filled in. Cost adjustments GL’s can are now created automatically instead of just getting a recommendation to key an entry.

Hey, that’s Bill Gates!

For those not paying attention previously, I’m at Covergence, Microsoft’s ERP and CRM annual conference. Bill Gates just finished his keynote. I didn’t live blog the keynote because my seat was too tight to pull out the laptop.

Other people will cover the specifics, you should be able to get the whole speech off the web. I wanted to give a few impressions. I’ve never seen Bill live, but I’ve heard him speak remotely so I had an idea what to expect. He was pretty heavily scripted but some of the new devices he showed off really got oohs and aahs from the crowd. Things like a touchscreen big screen with web parts, huge, very cool, desktop monitors and a table that functions as an extened screen and interface for a mobile device. Toys create buzz, even for accountants.

We did see that some of the desktop parts coming to Windows Vista will include financial parts tied to Dynamics. So you can have maybe, sales data, live on your destop in a little window without having Dynamics running.

I hoping for a little more of the real Bill during the Q&A. We got a little and it was bit odd. He talked about his daughter’s desire for a bunny and how they used the web to steer her away from a bunny and to a better “Pet Experience”. I’m not sure if he was trying to be funny but but it freaked out a few people near me. Kids have pets, not “Pet Experiences”. Parents have “Pet Experiences” when the dog throws up on the bed but I don’t think that’s what Bill was going for. It did come out in some other anecdotes, that his kids humble him. Kids seem to have that effect, as do pets.

All in all I think we got a speech in the new trend of talking to a broader audience not just the one in front of you.