Recent ISC Software Webinar: Automation in Microsoft Dynamics GP

ISC Software SolutionsIn our most recent webinar, we took a look at Automation in Microsoft Dynamics GP. In this webinar, we covered how automation can be used in Microsoft Dynamics GP to improve efficiencies and accuracy of data. If you want to catch up on this, or any other, webinar, you can do so here.

In this blog post, I am going to recap the webinar and cover the highlights of how automation can be used in Microsoft Dynamics GP to improve efficiencies and improve data accuracy:

  1. Introduction
  2. Integration
  3. Scanning
  4. Approval
  5. Posting
  6. Reporting
  7. Conclusion

Introduction ^

Where possible in this webinar I highlighted standard, or Microsoft supplied, features or additional products where they are available. However, in many cases the standard functionality does not allow for full automation. This is an intentional design choice made when Microsoft Dynamics GP was first created back in the md-90s. The company who created Great Plains, the original name of Dynamics GP, was intended from the very beginning to be extensible with the intention that there be a thriving third-party marketplace for add-ons.

This is the current situation; the core Dynamics GP system has strong core financials and distribution modules, but wider functionality is provided by third party (Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who have a variety of add-ons and complimentary products which provide the functionality required or automating processes. In each of the areas, there are usually a number of products available from several vendors, but I have selected one in each area. usually an add-on which I have used with several clients across a number of years and which has received positive reviews.

Before implementing one of the solutions, I'd recommend reviewing the functionality it includes, the functionality of competing products and making your own decision about which will best fit your requirements.

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Implementing Post Master Enterprise: Extending Post Master Enterprise

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

The Audot-Detect rules covered in the last post are sufficient for those cases when workflow is not being used or when the auto-detect rule can be configured using the Batch Number. I've worked with a few clients to implement Post Master Enterprise now and there usually comes a point when the in-built rules are not sufficient.

However, Post Master Enterprise can be extended to allow more complex auto-detect rules including selecting only batches approved in workflow (as a side note, I've discussed this with Envisage and for workflow batches they are looking at including this as a standard feature in the Auto-Detect window). Post Master Enterprise has been developed to call pro and post SQL stored procedures which can be used to insert batches in the pending table.

The pre/post stored procedures are deployed by Post Master Enterprise during the installation, but don't include any functionality. The first time we did this, Envisage supplied some standard code to submit a batch into the pending tables and I extended that with my SQL function to return Workflow Status to pick up only those batches at a status of Final Approval.

This approach could be taken to select batches based on any criteria (such as user who posted, posting date or even specific GL accounts).

Implementing Post Master Enterprise: Create Auto-Posting Rules

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

From the settings menu select Auto-Detect.

Rules are created separately for each batch source and require four settings:

  1. Company allows you to choose the company in which the rule is to be applied.
  2. Batch Source is the type of transaction, which, in this example, is General Entry.
  3. Filter I have set to Contains.
  4. Value is the value in the batch id to check for; I have opted to set this to AUTO so only batches containing this will be auto posted.

I have also enabled the Schedule Auto-Detected Batches for weekdays between 0800 and 1800.

Auto-Detect

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Implementing Post Master Enterprise: First Run

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

With the Windows service configured we can move onto running Post Master Enterprise for the first time.

The first thing you need to do is configure it to run as administrator. Do this by right-clicking on the shortcut, selecting the Compatibility tab and mark the Run this program as an administrator:

Post Master Enterprise Properties

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Implementing Post Master Enterprise: Configure Windows Service

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

With Post Master Enterprise installed, the next step is to configure the Windows service as Automatic (Delayed Start); this will ensure that SQL Server is running before Post Master itself starts; this does, of course, assume that Post Master is being installed on the SQL Server which is not a requirement.

Launch the Services control panel applet and open the properties for the Post Master Enterprise for Dynamics GP service.

Change the Startup Type to Automatic (Delayed Start):

General tab of Properties

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Implementing Post Master Enterprise: Installation

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

Once you have the prerequisites sorted out, launch the Post master setup utility. On the Welcome step, click Next::

Welcome to the Post Master Enterprise for Dynamics GP Setup Wizard

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Implementing Post Master Enterprise: Prerequisites

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

The prerequisites for Post master Enterprise are fairly straightforward.

Firstly, a client install of Microsoft Dynamics GP is required; this can be used by users, but you'll need a launch file which doesn't include the products on the incompatible list and if there are any .NET add-ins from the list, a separate install, rather than a separate launch file, will be required.

Secondly, a dedicated Microsoft Dynamics GP user account with permissions to post the batches required. In their documentation, Envisage recommend using an account with the POWERUSER* role, but I would not recommend using an account with those permissions; a role containing only the batch posting for the types you will be posted, is a far more secure option.

Thirdly, a Domain account to use to run the Windows service.

Implementing Post Master Enterprise: Incompatible Modules

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

The installation notes for Post Master note that there are known incompatibilities with some first and third party Microsoft Dynamics GP products which can interfere with the start-up or processing of Post Master.

If the below products are installed, a separate launch file or even installation of Dynamics GP will be required:

  • Professional Service Tools Library (listed in the launch file as Technical Service Tools).
  • Report Scheduleer, but only if reports are scheduled.
  • Rockton Auditor
  • Rockton Toolbox
  • Extender Enterprise
  • OlympicSystems.ProjectCost.AddIn.dll
  • Regal Software RegalPay
  • CRG Reformatter

There are also suspected incompatibilities with several other products (I've had to remove Fastpath from the installation I use for Post Master):

  • Dynamic Zip
  • eExpense Integrator
  • RM Mass Apply
  • Fast Path

Implementing Post Master Enterprise: What batch types are supported?

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

Post Master Enterprise can post many, but not all types of batch. For the standard Microsoft Dynamics GP modules, the following batch types are supported:

  • Assembly Entry
  • Clearing Entry
  • General Entry
  • In Transit
  • Invoice Entry
  • Payables Transaction Entry
  • Payment Entry
  • Purchasing Invoice Entry
  • Receivables Cash Receipts
  • Receivables Sales Entry
  • Receivings Transaction Entry
  • Sales Transaction Entry
  • Inventory Transaction Entry
  • Inventory Transfer Entry
  • Payroll Manual Checks
  • Payroll Computer Checks

Although, please note the following:

  • Recurring batches are not supported.
  • Batches containing Analytical Accounting information can be posted, but the AA reports must be disabled first.

The following Project Accounting batches are supported:

  • PA Inventory Transfer Entry
  • PA Timesheet Entry
  • PA Employee Expense Entry
  • PA Equipment Log Entry
  • PA Misc Log Entry
  • PA Billing Entry
  • PA Revenue Recognition Entry

Some Interfund Management and Binary Stream Multi-Entity Management batches are supported; WennSoft Job Cost transactions are supported although an additional subscription license is required.

Implementing Post Master Enterprise: What is Post Master Enterprise?

Envisage Software SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing Post Master Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics GP from Envisage Software.

Post Master Enterprise automates the posting process in Microsoft Dynamics GP which can provide for efficiencies by:

  1. Eliminating the need for users to perform the repetitive task of selecting batches to post.
  2. Reducing the need for users to check for batches to post.
  3. Automatically complete the final step of posting a batch created through an integration.
  4. Ensure inventory and account activity is promptly updated.
  5. Minimise system load by allowing posting to be scheduled out of hours.
  6. Control when different types of batches are posted.
  7. Automatically post batches after Workflow approval.

There are three versions of Post master available from Envisage Software with each version building on the capabilities of the lower version:

  1. Standard
    • Automatically post batches.
    • Schedule out of hours.
    • Multiple different batch reporting options.
  2. Enterprise
    • Runs as Windows service meaning:
      • No Dynamics GP client needs to be running.
      • Automatically starts with Windows.
  3. Multi-Instance
    • Parallel post multiple batches for improved performance.

When selling Post Master to clients, I have never sold the Standard version; the Enterprise version is far more useful as it runs as a Windows service and will automatically start with Windows, reducing the need for a user to log onto Windows and into Dynamics GP. For larger clients, I have sold the Multi-Instance version where there was a lot of companies which would require concurrent processing.

With the Enterprise version, you can specify posting of multiple types of batches across multiple companies, but the processing will be strictly sequential.

Whether you opt for Enterprise or Multi-Instance will depend on the number, frequency and time sensitivity of posting. The initial install for both versions is the same, with some additional steps to enable the muli-instance processing.

Over the next posts in this series, I will be installing and configuring the Enterprise version of Post Master.