Microsoft Dynamics GP is a very versatile software that can accommodate the needs of any business. There are times however, when organizations want to enhance the capabilities beyond the standard functionality that Microsoft Dynamics GP has to offer. These enhancements can be achieved in many ways. They could be created through standard Microsoft Dynamics tools such as modifier and VBA. They could be addressed through the use of 3rd party modules written by Microsoft Solutions partners that have developed solutions to meet specific needs. They could be achieved through custom written applications created to address specific tasks to meet the desired goals of an organization.
So how do you decide what type of enhancement your business needs?
Define the desired goal and outputs for the enhancement
When enhancing the functionality in Microsoft Dynamics GP many things should be considered. To start, the first question should be: What is the desired result the organization is looking for and what outputs are required. This creates the optimum goal and allows us to summarize the objectives that need to be reached in order to reach those goals.
An example of a customization recently completed for one of my customers was a way to minimize the overpayments and credits owed to the organization from their vendors with a negative balance. In this case the amount of overpayments and credits being held by vendors was quite excessive and needed to be addressed.
Define the objectives required to meet the goal for the enhancement
Objectives can be defined as activities that enable the organization to achieve the primary goal. Objectives may be tracked via metrics, reports, and processes to track and address the goal. The objectives should be clearly defined and achievable.
In the same example of my customer’s enhancement, in order for the organization to reach their goal of reducing their outstanding payments and credits, the organization defined the following objectives:
- Create a report to advise on the amounts owed of their overpayments and credits for each vendor.
- Automatically distribute the reports of overpayments and credits on a regular interval to constantly monitor the vendor activity and balances.
- Communicate with the vendor to collect the amounts owed or use the credits in order to reduce the amount owed.
Define possible alternatives to meet the goals and objectives for the enhancement
Once the primary goals and objectives of the enhancement are defined to meet the goal, then the next step is to determine how we can meet those goals and objectives. A few questions should be asked prior to taking the customization route:
- Does a module exist in Microsoft Dynamics GP that can fulfill the goals or objectives?
- Does a third-party application exist that can achieve the goals and objectives?
- Can a customization be created to address the goals and objectives?
- What is the cost of each alternative?
- Is it really plausible?
In the example, it was determined that the data was being stored in Microsoft Dynamics GP that tracks the amounts and balances, but a formatted report and process to address the stated goal and objectives was not available. It was determined a customization would have to be created.
Define the process used to fulfill the goal and objectives for the customization
Once the decision has been made on whether a customization is required, the process flow of the customization should be defined. The process flow is to determine how the goals and objectives can be achieved. It basically defines the who, what, and how.
Back to the example, the process defined to address the overpayment and credits issue was as follows:
- Assign individuals to vendor accounts to track and follow-up on the overpayments and credits provided to each of the vendors.
- Create a report to advise on the vendors and amounts of their overpayments and credits for each vendor and supply specific reports to the responsible individual.
- Automatically distribute the reports of overpayments and credits on a bi-weekly interval to constantly monitor the vendor activity.
- Follow-up on the information by the assigned individual to address the overpayments and credits by communicating with the vendor to collect or use the credits in order to reduce the amount owed.
Define the data required to create required reports and metrics for the customization
Now that the processes are defined, we need to look at what data should be collected in order to reach the desired outputs. We then look at Microsoft Dynamics GP to determine what data already exists in the system that can be utilized and what additional data is required that does not already exist.
Using the example, the data needed to create the report and metrics that we needed to capture for the vendor information in order to create the report distributed to the assigned parties were:
- The vendor name
- The vendor contact information
- The amount of the current balance
- A list of open invoices
- A list of open payments
- A list of open credits
Putting it all together and Define the process for the customization
Utilizing the information gathered from above, you are ready to define the details of how the customization will operate and begin the process of creating the customization.
In the example, it was determined we would create an SSRS report that captured the accounts payable information from Microsoft Dynamics GP for each vendor that had a negative balance on their account. We used a user defined field on the vendor card to store the name of the assigned individual and sorted the report by individual.
When the report was verified, we then created an SSRS data driven subscription that created independent reports based on the user defined field on the vendor card and saved the results as a PDF to a folder on the server. The report was scheduled to run twice a week on predetermined days.
With the reports created by the SSRS data driven subscription stored in a folder, we then configured dbmail to be run on the SQL server to allow the automation of sending the created PDF reports to the appropriate individuals. We then setup a task in the SQL Agent tool on the SQL server to run a script to capture the PDF created by the SSRS data driven subscription on a regular bi-weekly interval and send it out to the appropriate individuals.
As the customization is developed, milestones should be created to validate the results to ensure we are on the right track. Further, once the customization has been completed, it should be tested and verified to confirm the process, reports, and metrics work as required. The customization should also be validated against the goal and objectives to ensure they meet the desired goal.
In the example, we picked several milestones to track the progress of the customization. The milestones we chose were at the following points:
- After the SSRS report was created, we verified the report data with the data stored in Microsoft Dynamics GP to confirm the data was correct.
- After the data driven subscription was created and running, we verified the results to make sure the PDF was created and a single report was issued for each assigned individual.
- After the SQL Agent task was created, we tested the email process to confirm the emails were sent in the appropriate interval.
- After the customization was completed and in production, the reports and process were monitored to confirm the process continued to function as required and the process was achieving results that reduced the amount owed for overpayments and credits.
If this sounds like something your business needs, give KTL Solutions a call. We’re here to help you with any customization solutions that you need to ensure your business runs efficiently. Contact us today to request pricing, receive support from a consultant, and request a demo.