Archive for the ‘Blogs I Follow’ Category

SQL view to verify unposted SOP transaction totals in Dynamics GP

Over the years we have seen a number of situations where a sales transaction total will be calculated incorrectly. It does not happen often and we’ve never been able to reproduce this on demand, so it’s very difficult to track down the cause for this. I have also seen a number of newsgroup posts talking …

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SQL view to verify unposted SOP transaction totals in Dynamics GP

September 12, 2014 · Victoria Yudin · No Comments
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Synchronizing any folder on your system with OneDrive

David Meego - Click for blog homepageIn my last post: Backup regimes and synchronizing folders across your network, I discussed my method of backing up data from four folders off the root of the drive across my network and how I use the free SyncToy 2.1 tool from Microsoft.

So in this post I wanted to take it to the next level.

 

Introducing the Cloud

Here is the next bit of the puzzle…. Cloud storage. Everything so far has been based on local hard drives, but I have OneDrive storage and wanted to use that at least for My Documents and the Music and Pictures from my Media. This would make those three areas of my data available from anywhere I had an internet connection including my Windows Phone.

I am using Office 365 to provide Microsoft Office to the family (it allows 5 machines). It also provides 1TB of OneDrive storage per user.

When OneDrive is installed (or comes with Windows 8.1) it sets up a single folder in the user folders and will Synchronize anything in that folder with OneDrive storage in the cloud.

So how can I get OneDrive to synchronize with my folders C:My Documents, C:MediaMusic and C:MediaPictures as well as the existing data (such as OneNote files and the phones camera roll).

One article I read on the topic, said to Pause Syncing by right clicking on the OneDrive icon in the system tray and then move the desired folders into the OneDrive folder and then resume Syncing. However, that MOVED the folders into a user folder: Exactly the thing I was trying to avoid by using folders off the drive’s root folder. It would also break all the SyncToy configuration that I already have in place. So that is no good.

I wanted a method of mapping a folder from the data I want synchronized to the OneDrive folder.

Using a shortcut to the folder did not work as OneDrive just backed up the .lnk file. Most of the mapping techniques I found either mapped a network drive to a drive letter, or mounted a drive into an empty folder (the method I used with the micro SD card).

By then I found this article (and later this article) with the method I was looking for. It contained the command a “directory junction” on the Window NTFS File system. While the folder can point to a different location, OneDrive sees it as just another folder and will sync it as normal.

mklink /J  “C:UsersOneDrive” “C:

Note: You will need to change the and placeholders. For older machines, you might find that the OneDrive folder is actually still called SkyDrive.

I used the %USERPROFILE% environment variable and a little bit of batch file logic to create a batch file which will create the links for me on demand. 

I have attached the two batch files (one for the My Documents folder and one for the MediaMusic and MediaPictures folders) to the bottom of this article.

 

Notes 

Here are some guidelines that I think will make the OneDrive approach to synchronization work better.

  • Don’t try to use both OneDrive synchronization and SyncToy synchronization at the same time for the same folders.
     
  • I suggest moving your data out of the folder you are creating the link to, so the folder is initially empty. Then on each machine linked to the same OneDrive account, run the mklink command and wait for OneDrive status to say “Files are up to date”.
     
  • Then you can copy the files into the folder on one machine and let OneDrive upload them to the cloud storage. Then OneDrive on the other machines should bring the files down again. This should avoid the issue where OneDrive creates duplicates of the files when it finds files already existing.
     
  • If you have a lot of data, you will be using a significant amount of your internet allowance (unless you are unlimited) to send and receive all the files to multiple machines.
     
  • If your internet speed (especially upload speed) is slow, this process can take a long time for the initial upload and downloads.

 

Hope you found this information useful.

David

PS: After finding the process too slow and getting too many duplicated files, I decided to stick with my SyncToy method for the My Documents folder as it was faster and more reliable.

PPS: I am still uploading my Music and Pictures to a secondary OneDrive account that I don’t use as a primary account on any machines. This is creates a “cloud” backup, but will not be synchronized to any other machines.

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Synchronizing any folder on your system with OneDrive

September 12, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
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Integration Manager Log Report Failure | azurecurve

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Integration Manager Log Report Failure | azurecurve

September 11, 2014 · Ian Grieve · No Comments
Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 93

Project Accounting + Multi-currency + Inventory Items = No Worky

Just confirmed via Microsoft support today that if you’re using Multi-currency in your Project Accounting projects, you cannot add the Inventory Item Cost Category to the project if the project currency is different from the company Functional Currency.  This is due lack of multi-currency capability in the inventory module.

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Project Accounting + Multi-currency + Inventory Items = No Worky

September 11, 2014 · Frank Hamelly MCP-GP MCT MVP · No Comments
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Open letter to Jeff Edwards, Microsoft Dynamics Partner Strategy

Mr. Edwards,

I read your lines in response to MVP Mark Polino’s article No upside to Microsoft’s decision to kill Dynamics GP exams on MSDynamicsWorld and I really hope you get to my article Why the end of Microsoft Dynamics GP exam certifications is bad news for customers at some point for an along-the-lines perspective on the issue.

Nonetheless, my objective here today is to offer some direct comments and frankly to keep an open line of communication (there’s probably nothing to debate) on the subject of the retirement of ERP certifications – primarily Dynamics GP which is my area of expertise.

Counter-argument 1:
On the shift to the Cloud – We are not saying it is Azure/O365 in place of GP, we are saying GP AND Azure/O365. The integrated solution provides true value to customers and differentiation for our partners. Issues like use tax, approval workflow and cash flow projections are absolutely critical, and they are improved by the use of GP working together with O365.

I happen to be, probably, one of the most tech savvy MVPs in the Dynamics GP pool of MVPs, with over 15 deployments on Azure along with Office 365 and even Azure Virtual Network to On-Premise network integrations. In fact, I have written a number of articles featured on this site on the subject of cloud and ERP deployments and continue to be one of its biggest proponents.

The real benefit of ERP cloud deployments – at least for my clients – is time-to-execution. After all, being able to complete an implementation project on average 4 to 6 weeks earlier than your typical on premise deployment has its merits and allows companies to quickly realize a ROI, not having to worry about the infrastructure on which their solution will be deployed. When you really get past this fact, the second biggest driver to a cloud deployment is the expertise of the individuals that allowed the client to realize their solution much quicker: BUSINESS APPLICATIONS SPECIALISTS. Let’s not kid ourselves, ERP systems are unlike any other type of technology in the market. You simply cannot take a Windows Server guy and make him/her a manufacturing specialist or a project accounting or tax specialist. It just doesn’t work! Despite all the arguments stating “certifications don’t make experts”, a certification, current or otherwise, is still a vehicle used by customers to understand NOT THE LEVEL OF EXPERTISE, but the LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING of any given individual on a particular business application subject. For example, if my client perceives my certifications to be strictly technical, then they have a right to question my functional abilities and vice versa.

Counter-argument 2:
On your statement that the Dynamics team does not own the expense of their exams. We certainly wish this was the case, but it was not. We had complete budgetary and P&L responsibility for all the exams we created. As stated, we looked at our budget and the current skills and needs in the channel and decided more training, available online, covering more of the integrated Microsoft solution, was a better use of our budget and would have a more positive impact on both our Partners’ business and customer success.

Respectfully, I sense a degree of contradiction in this argument. I fail to understand how rescinding the certifications directly improve building “current skills and needs in the channel“, and furthermore how can it not have an effect your own bottom line (more on that later). If Microsoft’s goal now is skill-building and targeting of specific needs, the better alternative, in my humble view, would have been to work with said channel to understand how the certifications needed to change or improve in response to your own goals, all within the budget you had. There are various entities who would have gladly worked with Microsoft – for free, even – to ensure the certifications were adequate and sufficient enough, namely Dynamic Partner Connections, the GP User Group (GPUG), and the always willing Microsoft Dynamics GP MVP group. Strangely enough, the collaboration model I described seems to exist and work well for other Microsoft divisions. For example, the SQL Server team is one that works closely with special interest groups and MVPs to ensure the certification is a benefit to the community of SQL Server professionals.

How are you going to ensure that more online training is being assimilated by the channel when your stated intention is to have a “more positive impact on both our Partner’s business and customer success“. After all, you cannot control what you can’t measure, correct? The bottom line is, Microsoft have the mechanisms in place to ensure the assimilation of other technologies – to use your example, Azure and Office 365. If your goal is to ensure partners are driving customers to the cloud and cloud-based solutions, that’s what the partner channel competency program is for. Ironically, partner competency in a specific technology vertical is intrinsically tied to individuals within the organization attaining certifications in those very areas.

Polino is also correct in stating that we do pay for these exams which should offset to some degree the cost of producing them. If cost was a concern for Microsoft, why not raise the retail price of the exam as opposed to simply doing away with them? After all, those of us who really value the Microsoft Certified Professional program and achieving a certification to prove to our clients that we’ve put in the sweat would have gladly paid for them. As an anecdote, we had been offering vouchers to our consultants for upgrading their certifications to the most current product release before news of cancellation hit the streets. I would also venture to say, that most responsible partners offer some form of incentive to their consulting and delivery teams, monetary or otherwise, to maintain existing and attain new certifications that can only benefit the partner organization – what’s that word again? Competency!

Counter-argument 3:
With the expansion of the solution, I would argue it is not easier to become a partner…. We did try to make it cheaper by dropping the cost of unlimited online training from $6,000 to $1,000. As far as a flood of new, untrained entrants, we instituted a requirement for a business plan and proof of investment for any partner signing up. This must be approved by the US Partner Director. New partners coming into the eco-system have dropped by 70% over the last two years, as was our intent. The new partners that do get in offer unique value and are committed to training their people to deliver value to customers

I find it very interesting that you mention a “business plan and proof of investment” as a mechanism to vet new entrants. In one of my management classes in the MIS/Technology Management program I graduated from, I learned that business plans and funding are only the starting point for any business and that most companies fail where it matters most: sales and execution.

As I am sure you are aware of, there are partner organizations that can sell and there are partner organizations that can execute or deliver. Rarely do you find the one organization that is very good at both. Mea culpa!

If there is a silver line here, you have now opened up the floodgates to the return of the boutique consulting firm. After all, large partners can now focus on selling, selling, selling (which is got to be at the top of the list of drivers behind this move) without the added pressure of maintaining a pool of certified individuals just to keep up with some SPA requirement. Less partners, less administration, more revenue, more to the bottom line… I get it!

The flipside of that coin is larger partner firms tend to outsource the delivery to boutique firms specializing in implementing. Case in point, 80% of my organization’s business derives from professional services delivered on behalf of these larger firms, so I may not fit the bill of a traditional revenue partner on your books. The bottom line of this already lengthy explanation is, Microsoft and its larger ERP partner organizations need SOMEONE to deliver such implementations so customers can smile, and Microsoft and, conceivably, the selling partner can perceive those coveted and profitable maintenance plan renewals and margins, respectively.

Then, why not give us the small guys a chance to continue differentiating ourselves in the ecosystem? After all, I would want to believe that your large (selling) partners also have a vested interest in seeing their entrusted customers’ projects being done by individuals who have at least gone through training and completed a product certification. I will say it again, I’M WILLING TO PAY MORE if that’s what it takes, but consider bringing back those certifications for the greater good of the community of customers and partners.

I promise I won’t hold my breath on seeing any of my humble views being entertained at any level within Microsoft, but hope you at least get a chance to read them.

Sincerely,

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
Intelligent Partnerships, LLC
http://www.IntelligentPartnerships.com

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Open letter to Jeff Edwards, Microsoft Dynamics Partner Strategy

September 10, 2014 · Mariano Gomez · No Comments
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Backup regimes and synchronizing folders across your network

David Meego - Click for blog homepageOn my computers at home I have a backup and synchronization regime to ensure that each computer has access to the files I want (even when offline) and that there is no chance of losing any data in the event of a disaster.

In this post, I will explain my regime and some of the tools and tricks I have learnt. While I am sure others will have their own systems and might not agree with what I am doing. I hope you find this information helpful and maybe something in this post will save your data one day.

Note: This system was set up when I was running Winthrop Dexterity Consultants from home and is probably a little over the top. After you lose data a few times, it does not seem over the top anymore.

 

My Configuration

Basically, I store all my data in 4 folders:

  1. C:Backups
     
    This folder contains backups of any content created by me that is not a document. For example: Development projects, Exchange/Outlook files, Websites, etc.
     
  2. C:CD_Temp
     
    This folder contains all the install files for tools and utilities that I like to use as well as drivers for my machines: Files I want to be able to access, but not created by me.
     
    Its name is a legacy of the fact that I used to burn each sub folder to a CD, so I could carry it around with me. Now I just carry the files and folders I want on a USB Drive.
     
  3. C:My Documents
     
    This is where all my documents are created. I don’t use the default user folders as they cannot be shared so easily across users and machines.
     
    In Office options, I change the application’s default save folder from C:UsersDavidDocuments to C:My Documents.
     
  4. C:Media
     
    This folder has sub folders for Music, Pictures and Videos and contains all my media files. I don’t use the default user folders as they cannot be shared so easily across users and machines.
     
    I manually add the appropriate folders to the Windows Libraries so the windows apps can find my media.
     
    Hint: On my Surface Pro tablet, I have added a micro SD card which I use to store the Media folder on. It is drive D: on the machine. However, I created a blank folder C:Media and then using the Disk Manager (Computer Management >> Storage >> Disk Management), I right click on the drive and select Change Drive Letters and Paths and Add the C:Media path to mount drive D: as though it is the C:Media folder.  This is a great way to expand storage on a tablet for files which are write once, read many (WORM) times files. 

Now that you know how I have my data stored, we can discuss how I back it up.

 

My Hardware 

Each of my computers has an extra drive. In a couple, that is a secondary internal drive and in the others it is a USB external drive. Note that this drive needs to be a separate physical drive and not a partition on the same drive. If it was a partition and the drive failed, you would lose both the original and the backup.

I also have a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive, which is the central storage and the link between each of the machines on my network. This is a NetGear 4 bay NAS device which currently has two mirrored 2TB Drives in it. With two free bays, I have room to expand when I need it. It you don’t have a NAS, select a machine which is always at home and share the folders so it can become the central link.

 

My Synchronizing Regime

Using the wonderful SyncToy 2.1 free tool from Microsoft, on each machine I set up synchronization for the four folders (above) between the matching shares on the NAS and to the local extra drive on the machine.

By running SyncToy on each machine every week or so, any changes made on any machine are synchronized up to the NAS and onto the extra drive. To get all machines and drives synchronized normally takes running SyncToy once on every machine to move all changes to the NAS and then running it twice more on each machine to bring the changes from the NAS to the local drive and then from the local drive to the external drive. While this is a manual process, it does not take long.

On one of my machines I have an extra external drive which is also synchronized with SyncToy. This drive is swapped regularly with an identical drive that lives at my Mother-in-law’s house. She backs up her system with a similar SyncToy arrangement I set up for her. This means that my data is offsite and her data is also backed up and offsite. I would highly recommend buying two large external drives so you can set up a swapping arrangement with a good friend or family member.

Using this arrangement, you will never lose much data, even if you have drives fail, machines fail or worse a disaster hits your house.

  

So here is a summary of the tips:

  • You can add other folders to your Libraries for Music, Pictures, Videos so you are not limited to the default user folders.
     
  • You can mount flash drive storage so it appears as part of your main C: drive.
     
  • Backup or synchronize your data to a separate physical drive.
     
  • Use a central machine or NAS drive to allow all machine to synchronize to a central location.
     
  • Take a backup offsite. Swap an external drive with a friend or family member.
     
  • Use SyncToy to only copy the changes made. 

 

Hope you found this information useful.

David

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Backup regimes and synchronizing folders across your network

September 10, 2014 · David Musgrave · No Comments
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Product ID and Product Name

The table below lists the various products that are commonly available on the Dynamics GP install DVD media. I got this list originally from the Dynamics GP worksheet prepared by Microsoft.

Product ID

Product

0

Dynamics

1

Dexterity

258

Project Accounting

309

Fixed Assets

346

Manufacturing

414

Human Resources

949

Field Service

1042

Interfund Management

1045

Revenue Expense Deferrals

1058

Cashbook (Bank Management)

1150

Scheduled Installment

1157

Collections Management

1235

Safe Pay

1428

Electronic Reconcile

1493

SmartList

1632

Cash Flow Management

1838

Technical Service Tools

1878

Excel-Based Budgeting

1911

HRM Solution Series

2150

Payment Document Management

2199

Business Activity Statement

2277

Purchase Order Enhancements

2416

Control Account Management

2547

Enhanced Commitment Management

2788

Enhanced Intrastat

2992

CopierSeries

3096

VAT Daybook

3104

Advanced Security

3180

Analytical Accounting

3258

Encumbrance Management

3278

Report Scheduler

3830

SmartList Builder

4067

ML Checks

4421

Grant Management

4522

Payroll Integration to Payable

4612

Advanced Go Tos

4621

Analysis Cubes for Excel

4933

Certification Manager

4955

Employee Health and Wellness

5597

HITB Report

5967

Fixed Assets Enhancements

5982

Export Financial Data

6499

Dynamics Online

6831

Date Effective Tax Rates

7131

Canadian Payroll

8811

Direct Debits & Refunds

If you look in the ‘upgrade’ section of Customer/PartnerSource, a worksheet is available that includes the products and their various build numbers.

Until next time!

Leslie

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Product ID and Product Name

September 9, 2014 · Leslie Vail · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Blogs I Follow Total Views: 88