After the Custom Workflow Creation session, there was time to catch the shuttle back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes and then catch another shuttle to Downtown Fargo for the conference keynote and then a sponsor pubcrawl (or barcrawl for the Americans).
The keynote was followed by Mark J. Lindquist (a motivational speaker, singer and actor amongst other things). I was expecting this to be absolutely cringe-worthy, but Mark was an entertaining speaker who got quite a few laughs from the audience (I am willing to admit I may have smiled occasionally).
After this, there were five partners who had events at bars around the downtown area (none more than five minute walk from the remainder).
I bounced through a few of them and ended up at the Pickled Parrot for a while with Njevity (they have two MVPs), before catching the 2300 shuttle back to the hotel. While day three was a short day, I was aware I had a very early start on Thursday).
The final session of the day I attended, was on Custom Workflow Creation. I was interested in this session, as we need to create some new Workflow Types. One which is needed, is a Workflow Type of EFT Bank.
The Vendor Change Workflow Approval is good, but does not do anything when the EFT Bank Details are changed and this is a major requirement for many of our clients in the UK.
The session showed how the new Workflow Type is created, tables updated, buttons added to windows and I took the opportunity to discuss wider requirements such as the need to update code elsewhere to respect the new Workflow Types created.
The changes for new Workflow 2.0 Types must be done in Dexterity.
There is a lot of scope for creating new Workflow Types in addition to EFT Bank Details such as SOP Transactions, Bill of Materials, and there my mind goes blank. Been in this airport too long.
The session on custom workflow creation was one of my favourites due to my interest in Workflow 2.0 (did I mention I am doing a second edition of my Workflow 2.0 book?).
The fourth session was a short one, just before lunch. It was Deploying PowerGP by NvevityTo Go. In the session, Chris Dobkins showed the web portal they have created which allows Dynamics GP tenants to be deployed in 5 minutes. He showed that it did only take this long, by asking for someone in the audience to give him a company name which he then used to deploy the tenant and logged into it.
It was very impressive and sets a high bar for anyone looking to compete. The web portal they have is very slick and easy to use.
Very impressive work from John Lowther and others.
Looking at the 30 minute presentation/demo Chris did , Dynamics GP as a SaaS offering from partners looks eminently possible. There will be a huge amount of complexity behind the scenes making it all work correctly, but it is doable and gives the full functionality of an enterprise scale ERP.
The third session I attended was Web Client Troubleshooting by Mariano Gomez. I attended this session for two reasons; firstly, it was Mariano; and secondly, I was looking for more tips on troubleshooting the web client.
Much of what he covered was stuff I already knew from my work with the web client, but there were a handful of utilities he covered, with which I was not familiar. For me, this made the session more than worth while and the areas he covered which I do know, it is always good to have your thinking reaffirmed.
The second session was one with somewhat controversial content, the Dynamics 365 for Consultants session. This session was opened by Errol Schoenfish and then handed over to Chad Sogge for the demonstration section. Dynamics 365 does look fairly swish, but I do wonder where we’d fit it our offerings.
Yes, the Cloud is not just coming, but is also here now. Dynamics 365 would appear to be pitched at the bottom end of the ERP market; a market which can be met by a hosted Dynamics GP implementation while Dynamics GP also retains it’s ability to scale upwards as required. Perfect Image has a client with over 250 concurrent users, and Njevity spoke of one with 400 plus concurrent users). It is viewed by some people as the next Office Accounting; remember that? Yeah, not many do.
At Perfect Image, we have a small number of clients who have gone for web client only implementations of Dynamics GP and I have been looking into providing what would basically be a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offering. It turns out there are US partners out there who are far ahead of us, not only in thoughts about it, but actually implementing it, such as Njevity. I am lead to believe MVP John Lowther was responsible for much of their work (more on this in the next post) along with their wider team.
So, while having a cloud offering is required, this is something which can be offered by partners using Dynamics GP, rather than taking on a functionality limited cloud only offering. At the moment, it is limited not only in functionality of features, but also in how it can be extended; it is a vary rare implementation which does not require some customisation or development of something somewhere; which you cannot do in D365.
The only way to add extra functionality is to write an app for it to Microsoft’s guidelines and publish it to the Dynamics 365 app store; I can’t see a single client paying for something which then ends up in an app store. I’d also expect Microsoft to reject the majority of this type of development as not being suitable as it would be too focussed on one clients needs.
I will be taking a more detailed look when Dynamics 365 launches in the UK.
It is also worth noting that while I mentioned Njevity above, there are other US partners who are in the clou space as well such as RoseASP and WatServe.
Okay, another delayed post, as at the end of day two, there was a sponsor pub crawl in Downtown Fargo, so I didn’t get a chance to do a post. (I’m going to stop saying they’re delayed, as it is obvious that they are.)
I had quite a busy day on day 2 with a lot of sessions.
The first session, I was attended was Developing All-In-One Document Viewer. This session showed how they developed the All-In-One Document Viewers. One point the presenter stressed, was that there had been no new additions to Dexterity to allow these windows to be created; it was all done using standard functionality.
It’s very interesting how it was done, as these windows look and behave most unlike the other windows in Microsoft Dynamics GP.
The short version of this, is that there are other controls laid over the usual scrolling window controls to hide the 3D effects and a temporary table used to control how many records are displayed. Tricksy.
As a side note, I took my life in my hands for this session and sat next to David Musgrave (he’d tried to poison me earlier in the week).
(as an aside, there is about to be a flood of posts done as I catch up; I’ve had four-and-three-quarter-hours stuck here in Chicago O’Hare airport, and have another 2-5-3 to go.)
Well, the reason that I did not have time, was that there was a cocktail reception at Microsoft following which eOne held a party at Shotgun Sally’s. This is a bar pretty much just around the corner from the ClubHouse Hotel where I was staying.
Perfect Image are partners of eOne (we sell a lot of SmartList Builder and have clients with Extender and SmartView), so I felt obliged to go along. It was a good night where I got to talk to a lot of people and met quite a few who I knew from online (Jon Rivers and Pam Misialek included).
As part of the evening, one of the eOne guy’s did a beard/head shaving for charity. He apparently hadn’t been clean shaven for 30 years and has 28 year old children, so they’ll be seeing something they haven’t seen before.
The deal was, if $1,000 was placed in the bucket for charity, his wife would come down and shave his beard and the rest of his head (excepting the moustache). That sum was easily reached and it was confirmed later that the partners present that evening had donated a total of $2,500 with more added the next day taking the total to over $3,500.
My apologies, I don’t recall which charity it was, but in addition to US Dollars, they also received some Pounds Sterling (and Canadian Dollars from others).
First day was good, there were a number of good sessions.
Errol Schoenfish did a section in the introductory session on Dynamics 365 and what this meant for Microsoft Dynamics GP as there have been concerns expressed by the community. His repeated line was “Dynamics GP goes on”. There is a roadmap for Dynamics GP going forward into the future with continued investment.
We also heard about what was coming in the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 R2 release in the Autumn/Fall; I’ll do some posts about those features later this week.
I then attended the Developing for the Dynamics GP Web Client which was informative, if sometimes a little over my head. I’m a consultant and it was aimed more at the developers; it did still give me a better understanding of what our developers are doing.
My MVP count is now up to 6 and will not go higher as there are only seven of us here. The final one I met was Christina Phillips.
I met a lot of people with some Community notable ones being Pam Misialek and Jon Rivers.
A group of us went out to dinner last night and I got to add another MVP, Lesle Vail to the list of MVPs I have met.
There was about 14 people there in, but never met.total, some of whom I knew and had met earlier in the day, with Jay Manley, formerly of Microsoft and now of Mekorma, being the one who I had spoken to online previously, but never met.
With the first day of the conference about to start, there should be plenty more people to meet.
Before now, I had only met Tim Wappat, so it is good to add some more names. Especially when you consider I have never met any of my fellow MVPs.
So far today, my MVP count is at four (and should increase later this evening):
- John Lowther who came in for a chat while I was setting up for my pre-conference training session on Workflow 2.0
- Belinda Allen who was setting up for her training session in the room next door; I popped through to see her when I was finished setting up.
- Mariano Gomez and David Musgrave who came in together to see me during the first break in the training.
I also met Jen Kuntz (who was helping Belinda with her session) at lunchtime, which was good as I have spoken to her online multiple times.