Is your Digital Transformation the Christmas present you thought you wanted and got, but it sucks?

Digital transformation is one of the hottest topics when it comes to IT lately. In a recent CIO article, 7 Digital Transformation Myths, several business and IT people were interviewed, including Dan Doggendorf, VP of business operations and CIO for the Dallas Stars NHL hockey team. He says to avoid a digital transformational fail, you should take the advice author Stephen Covey has about “beginning with the end in mind. Otherwise, you’re just spending money on new cool toys. It’s the Christmas present you thought you wanted and got, but it sucks.” 

Has this ever happened to you? You were dying for a Hatchimal but were disappointed after you opened it on Christmas morning? Ok, maybe not. Or the Xbox One X…ok, that sounds pretty awesome.

The article goes on to say that a successful digital transformation can deliver significant rewards. But these common misconceptions can undermine your company’s ability to achieve desired results. These are the most common myths:

Myth No. 1: Digital transformation is an IT function

I agree that this is a myth. We recommend that our clients involve more functional and operational business units than just IT in a digital transformation. To truly transform your business, you must have buy-in from all departments.

Myth No. 2: True transformation is a blue chip’s journey

We have solutions for businesses of all sizes and find that even the smallest company can successfully transform their business with Microsoft Dynamics.

Myth No. 3: Digital transformation is about reducing the workforce

People are nervous that they will be replaced by machines with all of the machine learning and IoT that’s out there now. But, as it says in the article, I think companies are seeing the opposite: The more automation and data analytics that organizations put in place, the more human beings are needed to drive the algorithms and understand what’s happening in complex buildings or manufacturing plants.

Myth No. 4. Digital transformation is all about the technology

The article says that a digital transformation is not just all about the technology, but invest[ing] in building the right culture, and also in the transformation of the IT function, including new skills and partnering opportunities.

This is where you must think about new and better ways to delight your customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Service empowers sales, marketing and customer service with insights to personalize relationships, predict customer needs, and increase sales.

Sales-630X472

Myth No. 5: Executive buy-in is a sure thing

You can’t always count on executive buy-in, and if executives are not fully on board with your project, it won’t be successful. Involve executives in digital transformation meetings from the get-go.

Myth No. 6: Digital transformation brings IT-business harmony

It’s not always harmonious when business people and IT people are in the same room. That’s what we are here to help with. SBS Group has a streamlined approach that ensures everyone is operating from the same blueprint, helping you realize business value faster.

Myth No. 7. The digital journey ends at implementation

Often companies believe go-live is when their digital transformation ends, and this simply isn’t true. Without regular check-ups, training, and re-training, there is a danger of low user adoption and a wasted IT budget. SBS Group’s E3 system integrates strategic planning, ERP and CRM, Business Intelligence and Analytics together, enabling the entire organization to create, communicate, measure and manage plans, objectives, and initiatives at the organization, team, and individual level.

I hope that you don’t fall into the trap of these digital transformation myths this holiday season. Let us know if you have a concern about any of the seven above and we can help. Join us for one of our upcoming webcasts where we talk about how Dynamics 365 can help.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions. From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions. Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

ASC 606 and IFRS 15: Are you Ready for New Revenue Recognition Rules?

We don’t want to add more to your to do list as things get busy around the holidays, but this is important! By now you’ve heard about the new rules governing revenue recognition for companies that will go into effect on January 1, 2018 for public companies, and January 1, 2019 for private firms. To recap, listen in to our podcast where I speak with Microsoft about the details.

ASC606 Overview

The Accounting Standard Codification 606, or ASC 606, made its debut in May 2014. It is an industry-neutral revenue recognition model designed to increase financial statement comparability among companies and industries. The objective is to decrease complexity involved with the current models for revenue recognition.

As a result, the new unit of account for revenue recognition is the obligation of a good or a service at the time it is delivered.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which administers Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the U.S. (US-GAAP) has issued ASC 606, and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which administers International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) used in most other countries, has issued IFRS 15. Both will enforce similar, fundamental changes to the revenue recognition process for any company that depends on complex contracts in their dealings with customers.

How do I know if my company will be impacted by ASC 606 and IFRS 15?

Businesses that have multiple components (e.g., product, services, warranties, etc.) in a single contract are the most impacted. If your firm permits changes to active contracts (e.g., adding a sports package to your cable TV contract), they are impacted. If the timing of when your firm pays commissions differs from when the products and services are delivered, then your firm is impacted. Cellular phone companies, software firms and many other kinds of companies will be impacted – some far more so than others.

 

 

Not Managed by Microsoft Dynamics out of the Box

Microsoft Dynamics does not manage these new standards out of the box. Companies running Dynamics GP, NAV, AX, or 365, must take all of their revenue outside ERP, process these complex calculations to figure out what they can recognize today versus what is deferred, and then bring those back in as manual journal entries. Before you start using Excel for this, consider using AXIO for Enterprise Firms, and Progressus for Small to Medium-sized Firms in addition to Microsoft Dynamics.

We wish you the best of luck with these new standards. Please let us know if you have any questions, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Migration is Not Just for Birds: 5 Reasons to Migrate from PeopleSoft to Dynamics 365

It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 years since Oracle acquired PeopleSoft. Since then, PeopleSoft customers made the choice to stay with Oracle or move to a competing cloud alternative – but some companies are still using PeopleSoft. Are you one of them?

Support Until 2020

The support extension provided by Oracle through 2020 cannot hide the fact that PeopleSoft is mainly based on an architecture developed a couple of decades ago. The majority of PeopleSoft customers will have to determine whether they are well served by a product whose data design harks back to the mainframe.

Sticky ERP

Why do companies stick with PeopleSoft or other legacy products? That’s a good question. It may be because enterprise software is particularly sticky. Companies don’t change their ERP systems because the number of enterprise users are in the thousands, requirements are complex, implementation takes longer and costs are much higher. Therefore, expecting hundreds of large global companies to switch overnight to a new ERP system was never realistic. One thing is clear: doing nothing will become increasingly costly and will adversely affect your business.

Oracle Difficult to Implement

PeopleSoft customers can migrate to an Oracle product, and there is a popular misconception that it’s easy for PeopleSoft customers to migrate, but it’s simply not true. PeopleSoft and Oracle are based on radically different architectures and deployment models, and implementation can be costly and time-consuming.

Five Reasons PeopleSoft Customers Should Migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365

  1. Easy to Use and Maintain

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise, (formerly Microsoft Dynamics AX),  offers a rich array of functionality to serve the needs of a wide variety of enterprise companies in a variety of industries. Built using industry-standard tools and database, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is easy to implement and maintain.

  2. Price and Total Cost of Ownership

    PeopleSoft is costly to maintain. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is less expensive for initial licensing, implementation, and on-going maintenance. It is a better value proposition overall, and chances are it integrates with a lot of your other existing systems.

  3. Increased Productivity

    Dynamics 365 is designed to work like Excel and Outlook. With the vast array of open database tools from Microsoft and a host of other sources, Microsoft Dynamics 365 data can be readily queried, mined, extracted and interfaced with analytical applications, trading partner systems, third party applications, and productivity tools.

    The Microsoft Dynamics 365 user interface is role-based, meaning each user has a home screen that is tailored to provide easy access to the activities and functions that they use every day – boosting productivity.

  4. Cloud Services

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to take advantage of cloud services, scale globally, run agile operations and connect employees by enabling real-time access to insights on any device.

  5. You’ll love the Human Capital Management

    Fans of PeopleSoft love it’s human capital management (HCM) capabilities. Well, I’m here to tell you that the HCM functionality within Dynamics 365 is stellar, and getting better all of the time. Dynamics 365 for Talent enables exceptional experiences across employee attraction, engagement, development, and retention.

The time is now to migrate to a less expensive, easy to use system that will have your users singing its praises. Let me know if you have any questions about a migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365 from PeopleSoft or another legacy product.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

What Additional Project-driven Solutions can Strengthen your Microsoft Investment?

You’ve already made quite an investment in Microsoft technology. And it can be confusing to determine what else works for service and project-driven company like yours. To accelerate your digital transformation, you need a new type of business application. One that breaks down the silos between CRM and ERP, that’s powered by data and intelligence, and helps capture new business opportunities.

In our webcast last week, we covered 10-12 different Microsoft software solutions that can strengthen or round out your Microsoft solutions. We talked about a few different ERP options as well as small and large project management solutions and some really cool apps included with Office 365.

We help you determine how to meet the unique needs of your organization with a modern business platform that makes it easy to tailor and extend Dynamics 365 applications—with little to no code development. Quickly build apps, automate workflows, and bring additional data insight into your business with the Microsoft business application platform.

If your company provides professional services and relies on delivering successful, profitable projects, then you should check out the recording.

Here are a few products and tools you can expect to see:

* Microsoft ERP Comparison: Dynamics 365, Dynamics SL and Dynamics NAV

* Microsoft CRM and PSA Simplified: Dynamics 365 for Sales and Project Service Automation

* Microsoft Office 365 Hidden Gems: Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Yammer

Don’t worry. We didn’t forget Excel…we know how much you love it!

If you thought Excel was the only tool in the Microsoft arsenal capable of managing projects, you’re going to be surprised.

Recorded Webcast: Microsoft Mash-Up

This is the second in a series of webcasts targeting project-driven companies. This  1-hour recorded webcast pulls a variety of solutions together for project-driven companies, including ERP, Sales, Marketing, Project Management and Business Productivity. Check out upcoming events.

In our recorded webcast, we demonstrate how our clients are utilizing multiple Microsoft solutions to improve project profitability, employee productivity and customer engagement…without breaking the bank. Let me know what you think about the webcast, and send any questions that you may have my way.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Configuration of Data Templates for Seamless Data Import/Export in Dynamics 365

The Data Management Framework of Dynamics 365 For Finance and Operations – Enterprise Edition provides advanced data management capabilities which makes the overall data export and import really seamless easy, for both standard Dynamics 365 data entities as well as any custom entities that you might have development for your business requirements. This framework provides a easy to use front end interface for your data export and import management, so that a regular pro users of Dynamics 365 can interact with it, without requiring advanced knowledge of development and database.

In this post today, let us discuss about one of the features of this Data Management framework called the “Data Templates”, which will help you accelerate the data configuration and export/import management in your Dynamics 365 Implementation.

data-config-templates

So, what are these data configuration templates ? One of the things you would have always done in every D365FO (Dynamics AX earlier) implementation, is probably use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of setup and master data configuration checklist and their sequence of import. While this works, it also requires extensive manual tracking, supervision and may lead to lot of human errors and mistakes.

Data configuration templates in D365FO are basically a predefined list of data entities for each module area, which are sequenced , so the data import will be processed in correct order automatically. This reduces human error in the data import sequence, save a huge amount of time in data import/export.

The templates are sequenced using Units, levels and sequence numbers (will discuss more on these below), and predefined dependencies between data entities. For example, before you import/upload your customer master data, you need to make sure all the number sequences formats, customer groups, payment terms etc. are imported prior to that. The data configuration templates addresses this and takes care of sequencing.

Let us now understand what is underneath these data templates and how these are managed in D365FO.

  • Microsoft started releasing these predefined data templates with the July 2017 update and these are right now made available directly within D365FO. Navigate to System Administration > Data Management Workspace > Click Templates tile and click the Load default templates button. This will load all the default templates which are made available by Microsoft.

 

load-default-templates

Note: In future, these will be made available in the shared asset library of LCS(Lifecycle Services), just like other assets such as the Power BI report models, Software deployable packages etc. 

  • You can use these out of the box templates, modify them to meet your business requirement, or you can even create your own templates and define the entities under it. For example you might have customized D365FO to meet your business needs and you might have created various custom data entities for this. So you can create your own templates and include those entities.

custom-data-template

 

  • How are these entities sequences within a data template for processing? The “Execution unit”, “Level in execution unit” and “Sequence” fields under the Entities tab of the templates defines how the entities are sequences for processing.
    • Execution Unit: Entities that have different units are processed in parallel.
    • Level in execution unit: Entities that have the same level within an unit are processed in parallel.
    • Sequence number: With the same level, entities are processed according to their sequence numbers.

Note: At some point in future, Microsoft will make it possible for the sequencing to happen automatically when you add entities to a template and will they will try to provide templates for every standard D365FO configuration and setup.

unit-level-and-sequence-numbers

 

  • The Module, category and Tags represent the entity category or classification for better understanding. Module represents the actual module name of D365 to which the entity belongs, Entity category shows if the entity is related to setup data, reference data or master data and the tags shows additional information tags.

module-tag-and-category

  • There are other miscellaneous features on this templates so that you can export and import templates, Open the list of entities within a data template in Excel to make changes to Units, levels, sequences, module, tag etc., or you can even create the templates from a data project.

other-misc-features

Now, let us see how we can use these data templates (Predefined or custom created) in an actual Data project for export or import.

  • Navigate to System Administration > Data Management > Click Import tile.

demo-template-import-data-project

  • Enter a name for the project and click Save. Now click “Apply Template” button. You will see all your data templates that you can select and add them to the data project. You can add more than one data template. Let us say I want to use the GL-Shared data template to load all the data for the GL shared area. I can select that and select preferred source type (EXCEL, CSV etc.) and click OK button.

select-data-template-on-data-project

  • Notice here that all the data entities that were part of the GL-Shared data template are automatically loaded and all the level and sequencing of these entities is also inherited from the template setup. Now, you can just upload the excel/source data files for all these entities and schedule the data project to run. It will run and automatically process the entities in the correct sequence as per the definition in the template.

This is certainly a huge time saver and you don’t have to select individual entities and import them one by one remembering their sequence.

data-entities-loaded-in-dp

  • Similarly, you can use the templates for exporting too, so that system will automatically provide all the source files for each module, depending on the data template you selected in the project.

export-using-template

  • As an example, I have exported the same GL Shared template in a data project and it exported all my relevant data entities with more than 500 records within few seconds.

data-entities-exported

  • I can now download these packages and see the data on the files. See screenshot below.

data-package-export

exported-data

I find this feature very useful and this will help save significant time in data export/import and will also enable users who are not experts of the system to seamlessly export and import data for all required modules by leveraging these templates. This is also a great step towards standardizing data configs as much as possible, so that customers don’t have to reinvent the wheel in every implementation.

That’s it for this post. Stay tuned !!

Thanks // Sandeep

Sandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics AX enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft dynamics AX ERP. He has experience working with the new Dynamics AX (AX 7), AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2 and more.

 

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