In August, I went on my annual pilgrimage to Fabulous Fargo for the Microsoft Dynamics GP Tech Conference 2018. The event was held at the Microsoft Campus in Fargo, ND, USA on the 20th to 22nd August 2018.
While smaller than previous years it was still well attended and everyone who was there found it worthwhile, both for the technical knowledge and product information provided as well as for the social and networking opportunities.
My journey to the conference was pretty straight forward travelling from Perth to Sydney to Dallas and then to Fargo. It took 30 hours which included about 5 extra hours waiting in Dallas as the direct flight to Fargo only leaves later in the day. As usual I watched lots of movies, slept as much as I could and got fed airline food. As much as I enjoy getting to meet with my friends and colleagues at conferences, the travel to and from the USA is still a necessary evil.
At the conference I co-presented 5 sessions as described in my previous article: #GPTechConf Sessions for Dynamics GP Tech Conference 2018 in Fargo, ND, USA. The sessions were well received and I enjoyed working with Mariano Gomez as well as Steve Endow and Kerry Hataley. Thanks to everyone who attended our sessions. Don’t forget to fill in your feedback surveys.
The Opening General Session included most of the news, here is a run down:
Thanks to our conference sponsors for helping make the conference happen. These included Acom Solutions, Blue Moon, CentrePrism, Mekorma, PowerGP Online, SAAS Plaza, Stoneridge Software, TrueCommerce and wsTools. Each on the sponsors was given a short time to present their solutions.
Chad Sogge and Jodi Christiansen then took us through a high level look at what is coming in the next release of Microsoft Dynamics GP. Firstly, they announced that the next release will be called Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 R2 and will be released on the 1st October 2018.
They also presented the updated product roadmap. It is important to note that the features in the GP “Next” include Top features requested by customers & community. If you want to influence these feature requests make sure you look at the Ideas List on the Experience Dynamics website. See this article for more info: New Site for Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Suggestions.
You can download the PPTX file here: GPRoadmapAug2018
Next Chad discussed the driving forces behind the current development for Microsoft Dynamics GP.
- Bring two worlds together,
- Enhancing core application and platform,
- One Microsoft
- Financial Enhancements,
- Purchasing Usability,
- Sales Optimization,
- Top Feature requests
Intelligent Cloud & Edge:
- To harness machine learning and AI using cloud features (more on this below)
The final part of this section was a quick summary of the main enhancements offered in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 R2 for each of the different series:
- Exclude items from HITB with zero quantities or value
- Transaction level posting through to GL
- Start Date/End Date for pay code
- Shared maximum for benefit and deduction codes
- Monthly and Bimonthly recurring batches
- Disable duplicate check numbers
- Payroll check register FICA totals
- Add Vendor document number to Purchase all in one
- Display Vendor Hold status
- Don’t display inactive checkbooks in Lookups
- Allow partial purchase on a purchase requisition from a PO
- Email PO Other Form from PO Entry
- Print Invoice in Functional from SOP Navigation List
- Sales Transaction Workflow
- New SmartList for Deposits on Unposted Sales Transactions
- Print and email SOP document at the same time
- Additional Sort options in SOP Item Inquiry
- Email Customer Statements from Customer Maintenance
Top Feature Requests
- Hide Business Analyzer for all users
- Increase Dynamics GP password maximum length to 21 characters
- Password expiration notification [Ed: already available in GP Power Tools]
- Mass update inactive from Navigation List – Inactivate Reactivate Temporary
- SmartList Designer Favorites display in navigation lists
- New SmartList for Deposits on Unposted Documents
- Web Client with workflow org accounts now works (June tax release)
Microsoft Dynamics GP Intelligent Cloud & Edge
Intelligent Edge was the big “new technology” take away from the conference. In simple terms Intelligent Edge will use a gateway to connect your current Microsoft Dynamics GP system (on premise or hosted) to the Dynamics 365 cloud. It will replicate key data into the cloud using a one way, read-only process. Once the data is available in the Dynamics 365 cloud you will be able to benefit from all the KPIs, AI (Artificial Intelligence), business insights and access to the Power Platform (Power BI, Power Apps and Flow).
Here is some of the marketing jargon:
- Why Intelligent Edge? High-speed data processing, analytics and shorter response times are more essential than ever.
- Intelligent Cloud: Business agility and scalability: unlimited computing power available on demand.
- Intelligent Edge: Enables real-time processing through intelligence in or near to local devices.
Key Data will include (initially):
- Accounts with beginning balances
- Customers and outstanding transactions
- Vendors and outstanding transactions
- Items and quantity on hand
In summary (keeping in mind that some of the information shown was still under NDA), Intelligent Edge will allow Microsoft Dynamics GP sites to benefit from the tools and reports being developed for Dynamics 365 online. I think this will really help to satisfy the CXO’s of a business demanding cloud data on any device, while still handling the reality of day to day accounting in a complex environment.
A longer term view would be that the gateway tool might allow for some simpler Microsoft Dynamics GP sites to migrate to Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC), assuming that their requirements can be met by Dynamics 365 BC.
The next section was interesting as it was discussing how the community could embrace open source projects. It was presented by Steve Endow MVP who recently created a free GP Transaction Search tool after a forum post complained about the performance of the standard GP window. Steve accepted the challenge and designed a window that can retrieve and display the data much faster from SQL Server. Steve has put this project on to GitHub and invited the community to help improve the tool.
Pennies For Taylor
The next section was used to show a video created by Belinda Allen MVP about Shawn Dorward MVP and his son Taylor. Taylor was involved in a drowning accident and has sustained significant brain damage. He is slowly recovering thanks to his strong character, support from his family and friends and some great medical staff. Please watch this video to see how you can help.
Taylor’s Journey (direct link)
Winthrop Development Consultants (and now a number of other ISVs) have promised to donate 10% of sales until the end of September to PenniesForTaylor. For more details see my article: #GPPT #BPST PLEASE READ: Special promotion for Pennies for Taylor.
The final section was a PowerApps Shootout hosted by John Lowther with Belinda Allen, Mariano Gomez and Kerry Hataley vying for the honour of being the PowerApps champion.
All of the demos were very cool and despite Belinda’s bravado she lost out to Kerry by 4% of the vote after Kerry’s demo included using his laptop’s web cam to scan a bar code of his phone’s screen. Kerry printed out the barcodes and then left them on the hotel’s printer! He managed to win even though he was using a MacBook in a Microsoft office. 🙂
I left the conference with confidence that Microsoft Dynamics GP continues to have a great and exciting future, and can leverage all of the great new technologies coming out of great Microsoft including the Power Platform, Intelligent Cloud and Dynamics 365.
Looking forward to catching up with everyone at the next conference: GPUG Summit 2018 in Phoenix, AZ, USA.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.