A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 21 – Travel From Fargo to My Vacation

reIMAGINE2016Everything on this one started well as the flight from Chicago departed approximately on time, but went horribly wrong from there.x

I got up at 0330 in order to finish getting ready and had a taxi booked for 0400 which arrived on-time. I was at the airport with plenty of time to spare, especially seeing as American Airlines didn’t open the desk until about 0500 (so much for being at the airport in plenty of time).

The plane did depart on time, but because of bad weather, the plane took a dog-leg route due south and we arrived at Chicago 25 minutes late. American Airlines had made the ridiculous decision that Fargo to Louisville via Chicago only requires a 30 minute layover.

This meant I missed the connecting flight, as we arrived at 0815 and doors to the plane closed at 0810, from Chicago to Louisville KY.

I was on standby for a 1215 flight, but told if I can’t get on this the next flight was after 1300 and is not a direct flight. So, instead of a 70 minute plane ride to Louisville KY, I would be on a 3 hour flight to Charlotte and then another 3 hour flight to Louisville, and I had the horrible suspicion that Charlotte might be another really short layover meaning potential to miss the flight.

If I did end up onl the Charlotte flight, I would arrive at Louisville airport at 2100 (or later) instead of the 1030 I should have arrived; if I made the standby then I’d be there at about 1330 instead of 1030.

Well, I did not make the 1215 flight. However, I was given tickets for a 1510 direct flight from Chicago to Louisville.

So this meant I had a four hour wait to see if I’d be on that flight and then another three hour to wait for the flight I was given a ticket for and, as it turned out, that plane has at least two empty seats.

The waiting at the airport, did mean that I had the time to write all of these blog posts.

This huge amount of waiting is what American Airlines describes as “taking great care of me” and which I describe as doing the absolute bare minimum possible.

I initially thought this would get me to Louisville K in time for my booked tour with Kentucky Peerless, but I had not factored in the fact KY is on Eastern Time and Chicago on Central Time, so I arrived at 1730, which was the time the tour was booked to start and not the 1630 I thought I was going to arrive.

So, with the huge delays, it means that the first day of my vacation was a wasted day, thanks entirely to American Airlines.

This is the last post in the series; I am counting everything after this point as being vacation and not suitable for this blog.

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 20 – Post Conference Exams

reIMAGINE2016After volunteering to join the committee creating exam questions, I felt it necessary to take the existing examinations from the Association of Dynamics Professionals. So, my afternoon was taken up by sitting the Implementation exam and then after a ten minute break, the Financials exam.

I’ll find out in a few days, or a week or so, how well I did.

After the exams, I went back to the hotel for food and prepare for my departure early the next morning (taxi booked for 0400; flight departing at 0600).

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 19 – Conference Day 3/Leveraging GP Power Tools

reIMAGINE2016The final session I attended was Leveraging GP Power Tools which was a joint session between David Musgrave and Mariano Gomez; Mariano did the introductions to each section, with David then doing the demonstration.

I’m not as familiar with the GP Power Tools as I should be; I wasn’t that familiar with it’s predecessor, the Support Debugging Tool.

This session was aimed mainly at the deveoper tools, but the guys did have time to cover tools in other parts of the program.

GP Power Tools is sold by David via Mekorma, which is where Mariano works, with three modules being available for purchase separately but any one module and you get a System module included.

Unfortunately, I was unable to say goodbye to the guys as their session ended at 1230 and I was scheduled to take some Association of Dynamics Professionals examinations at 1300 back at the Hilton Garden Inn.

When I am back from vacation, I am going to have to get the latest verson of the GP Power Tools and spend some time going through them as, from what I saw, there are features from which not only Perfect Image, but also our customers, would benefit.

While I was at the conference, I did have an email exchange with one of PI’s Development Consultants where I advised that they would probably find the GP Power Tools useful.

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 18 – Conference Day 3/Troubleshooting Workflow

reIMAGINE2016The second session was on Troubleshooting Workflow and was run by current Microsoftie, Dan Peltier. Dan’s name is one which has shown up a few times when we have logged calls so it was good to meet him.

Dan’s session was spoilt a little bit by virtual machine issues which meant he lost his pre-created examples just before the session started. He did get through everything on the agenda. I’ll be honest on this one; I know workflow well enough (having implemented workflow a few times for clients and written a book about it; which I am currently updating for Dynamics GP 2016) that I half expected not to learn anything new, and if I am honest that was the case.

That said, some of Dan’s explanations were clearer (especially around the and/or clauses of step conditions) than the ones which I have given in the past and which I had included in the first edition of my Workflow 2.0 book; I will need to roll some of these into the second edition of the Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0 book which I am currently writing (hoping to publish by end of October.

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 17 – Conference Day 3/Tips for Creating Integrations Session

reIMAGINE2016The third and final day of the conference was quite a short day with only three sessoins in the morning.

The first of the sessions I attended was Tips for Creating Integrations which was run by a former Microsoftie who now works at eOne. The session did have general tips on what you should be thinking about and asking when creating integrations, but was, as you would expect for a session run by a partner, focused on using their tools. In this case, the tool was SmartConnect.

As a partner of eOne already, SmartConnect was already on my list to take a look at (we currently mainly do SmartList Builder although we also have clients with Extender and SmartView), it was a very interesting session showing how data could be integrated into Dynamics GP from other sources such as Dynamics CRM or a web site and also how the Excel add-in can be used to extract data, and then update Dynamics GP once the user edits the data in Excel.

Much to think about.

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 16 – Conference Day 2/Keynote and Sponsor Barcrawl

reIMAGINE2016After 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).

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 15 – Conference Day 2/Custom Workflow Creation

reIMAGINE2016The 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?).

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 14 – Conference Day 2/Deploying PowerGP

reIMAGINE2016The 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.

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 13 – Conference Day 2/Web Client Troubleshooting

reIMAGINE2016The 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.

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A Diary of reIMAGINE 2016: Part 12 – Conference Day 2/Dynamics 365 for Consultants

reIMAGINE2016The 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.

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