Top 3 ERP Trends in 2014

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Cloud ERP Gains Ground

The cloud has been advancing steadily into the enterprise over the past years. However, many ERP users are still hesitant to move their business into the cloud.


As SaaS ERP emerges, enterprises seem to eagerly cloud-enabling their offerings. In the meantime, new organizations come on stage claiming their offerings are "true cloud" or "more cloud" than others. Thus, there is nowadays a misunderstanding in the market about what is considered as a "real cloud" solution, which makes the buying decision even more difficult for potential customers.


"As companies that have not traditionally been cloud ERP clients turn to the cloud, competition in the market will increase," said Andrew King, Managing Director of WebSan Solutions Inc. "This will require customers to carefully evaluate cloud ERP vendors across specific industry benchmarks before purchasing a new cloud solution."

Business Intelligence

In 2014 Business Intelligence will be a must, since large and small organizations continue to look towards BI tools in order to benefit from data and maximize their investments in Enterprise Resource Planning solutions. Users are constantly looking for accurate and comprehensive information through visually appealing dashboards. In turn, by having real –time access to relevant data, companies can use this information proactively to make business decisions more effectively.

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Report Writer Tricks #2: Importing Modified Reports Without Kicking Out Users

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It's a Friday afternoon, 3pm, going into a long weekend. You are already going to hit traffic heading up to the cottage if you leave now, however it won't be as bad as in a couple of hours. You just finished a modified SOP Blank Invoice Form and would like to import it into your client's production environment. As you click the import button in Customization Maintenance, your heart starts to race as you cross your fingers and pray that the REPORTS.DIC file is not locked by any users....and you get the "Unable to open customizations dictionary" message. The afternoon sun will have to wait until tomorrow.

When importing customized reports through Customization Maintenance, users accessing the reporting dictionary will need to log out of Dynamics GP to have the report import successfully. This can be a pain and a scheduling nightmare for users and yourself alike. "There has to be a better way!" Well, luckily, there is. If you have access to the REPORTS.DIC file found in the "Microsoft Dynamics/GP/Data" directory, then you can import the modified report straight from this dictionary file using Report Writer (this is assuming that you developed the report in a test environment and would now like to push it through to production). To do this, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Copy the REPORTS.DIC file from your test environment to a local or network shared drive that is accessible from the production server.

Step 2: Log into the production environment with 'POWERUSER' access and launch Report Writer (Microsoft Dynamics GP menu >> Tools> Customize >> Report Writer).

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Time Off Requests

With the May Long Weekend just a couple days away, many friends and coworkers are taking time-off to be with family.  WebSan has recently release a new Time-Off Request module to our TEX (Time & Expense) Management System for Dynamics GP.

The Time-Off Request module is a new optional add-on allowing staff to request paid or unpaid leave for vacation, jury duty, etc.  Non-working days (typically weekends), holidays (i.e. Christmas, Easter) & time-off reasons are configurable by company.  Employees can then send requests to their manager for approval which automatically integrates into their time sheet submission.  A company-wide calendar is maintain for viewing & enhanced time-off reporting is now available with this added functionality.

[caption id="attachment_1159" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Time Off Calendar"][/caption]

For more information about WebSan's TEX Portal or Dynamics GP services, please contact Adam via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project & Account Manager with WebSan Solutions Inc.  A Microsoft Dynamics Silver Partner and a CDN top 100 solution provider for 2012.

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Web Based Dynamics Reporting

Need access to your Dynamics GP data on the go?  Not able to manage your team while outside the office?  Access your Dynamics GP data from anywhere using the WebSan TEX Portal.  With two layers of security, staff can view GP Reports from anywhere they might be.  Now your staff can have access to the information they need, whenever they need it!

For more information about WebSan's TEX Portal or Dynamics GP services, please contact Adam via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project & Account Manager with WebSan Solutions Inc. A Microsoft Dynamics Silver Partner and a CDN top 100 solution provider for 2012.

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Big Data and Business Intelligence (BI)

Nowadays business professionals have access to a vast variety of technologies and sources of information. Big data is growing fast as organizations devote technology resources to tapping the terabytes of data flowing into their organizations and externally in social media. Thus, a major challenge has come up recently: how to leverage Big Data analytics and improve business performance by using current Business Intelligence (BI) practices?

The current thinking around big data and business intelligence tends to be built around a very simplistic model. You acquire lots of data, in all kind of formats, from a myriad of sources, apply some business intelligence and get your answer to the above question. However, executives thinking that a big data dive is all they need to exploit conclusions are mistaken. While big data might be getting ahead of itself in enterprise promises, you need to think about the skills you have in your company and develop the relevant data skills to adapt to this new model. At the same time, BI kills the need to develop, administer and analyze this huge amount of corporate data. Therefore, big data and BI can be integrated within the business context for better, faster decision making.

Keep in mind, though, big data can make or break a company. Integrating advanced analytics for big data with business intelligence systems is an important step toward gaining full return on investment. That is, BI systems and advanced analytics can be highly complementary; the latter ones can provide the deeper, exploratory perspective on the data, while BI systems provide a more structured user experience. In addition, BI systems’ richness in data visualization and reporting can be vital to making advanced analytics actionable.

The first step to understanding big data is collecting all of your data into powerful, integrated solutions. The second step is to identify correlations with your data to make improvements in your operations and find new opportunities. Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Intelligence (BI) module provides people with the insight they need to take quick action and pursue opportunities. What is more, using a single software solution, like Microsoft Dynamics GP, will make it easier for you to find and use the important business data you need to drive your business forward.  The more efficiently you use this data, the faster you can respond to new opportunities.

At the end of the day, while big data is a hot term, it doesn't mean much unless you can complement them with BI systems and expand their power. Thus, big data can be very helpful if you can wade through it to obtain meaning, i.e. they always have to make sense. It's not enough to gather accurate and timely data. Professionals need powerful and user friendly BI analysis tools to help them understand context and trends. You need to focus on evolving your BI approaches and integrate them with big data analytics to fuel faster and more accurate decision making. In this way, you will be able to gain a competitive advantage by understanding how big data can supplement the outcomes already achieved through “traditional” BI.

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Microsoft Dynamics 2013 Released

The long awaited Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 was recently released right before the holiday season.  The latest version has a number of new features which we have previously discussed in this blog, the most important of which is greater flexibility in terms of deployment.  Also included is RapidStart Services, a tool designed to speed up implementations while lowering project risk.

Contact WebSan Solutions Inc today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 2013.

Microsoft Dynamics 2013

Adam MacIntosh is a Senior Project Manager at WebSan Solutions Inc, a Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner offering implementation & support services for large & small firms in a variety of industries.

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Homepage Metrics

Happy Canada Day!

For those enjoying a little R&R today, imagine this was your every day!  To get achieve that, you would need to start building some automation into your business processes.  The first step you can take is by ensuring your reporting is easily & readily available.

Homepage Metrics offer out-of-the-box reporting that covers all GP modules.  There exists an extensive list of potential reports one can use.  These are automatically integrated to ones Homepage for easy & quick viewing.

Try adding some Metrics to your Homepage today by selecting the pencil icon / edit button on the Metrics heading.

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Reporting on Microsoft Dynamics GP

A lesser-known method for reporting on your Microsoft Dynamics GP data is through Solver’s BI360.  BI360 is an Excel-based business intelligence tool that offers out-of-the-box integration with Dynamics GP for reporting, budgeting, and dashboards.  It offers several key benefits to users:

  • Familiar Environment – BI360 is an Excel add-on, which means all of your reporting is designed and displayed in the same Excel environment that you are already accustomed to.
  • Simple Design – No SQL knowledge is required to design your own report or budget in BI360.  It’s a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows almost anyone in your organization to develop customized and effective reports quickly.
  • Integration – BI360 automatically integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics GP environment and pulls data from GP in real-time when generating reports, so you never have to worry about synchronization.
  • Easy Distribution – not only does BI360 give you an easy and effective medium to design and view custom reports, but also allows you to easily distribute static versions of your reports to non-BI360 users.

In a nutshell, BI360 is a simple tool that provides powerful Dynamics GP reporting in a familiar environment – what more do you need?

By: Rahim Jiwani, Application Specialist, WebSan Solutions Inc.

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Evaluation Tools

In 1983, Quaker Oats purchased Gatorade, transforming it from a multi-million dollar business into a multi-billion dollar business.  Fast forward a decade & Quaker decided that another drink manufacturer was primed for the same growth.  This time, Quaker eyed a takeover of Snapple, a popular fruit beverage.  After paying a large ransom for the Snapple business, Quaker did not see the returns it had forecast.  The Snapple brand fizzled as Quaker resources were washed down the drain.  Eventually, the Snapple brand was sold at a $1.4 billion loss to Quaker.

What went right with Gatorade that went so wrong with Snapple?

The measurement tools that Quaker used to evaluate Gatorade were both accurate & appropriate.  However, in the decade that past, these same evaluation tools were not updated.  Quaker applied the same methods & metrics to the Snapple brand that they did to the Gatorade brand.  However, in the decade that had passed, these tools were no longer the most appropriate.

Evaluation mechanisms are constantly being updated.  What works today might leave you behind tomorrow.  Quaker found this out first hand.  If companies want to continue to thrive, they must be constantly tweaking & evaluating the tools they use to evaluate their business.

Microsoft Dynamics GP leverages ever evolving Microsoft technologies in order to provide the best reporting options possible.  Users can access reports in many different formats.  Business Alerts can send automated emails to any staf member when exception criteria are met or at specific intervals.  Emails can be configured to include attachments, including lists of applicable information.  Users can have similar automated Reminders open on their screens when specified criteria have been met.  This allows for fast & automated management by exception.

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What you gain from Business Intelligence (BI) in Microsoft GP

A CEO plays one of the most important roles in a business and has a tremendous amount of responsibility. So some people may say, “I would never want to be a CEO, it’s just too much”. But I say, “If you increase your business intelligence using Microsoft GP, it is a breeze.” Now you’ll have more knowledge to:

Make better business decisions

  • You don’t have to solely rely on advisors, consultants and employees because you have educated yourself about what’s been going on in the company.

Use a tool you are already familiar with to reduce operational costs

  • With more than 200+ built in Excel reports it is easier to observe changes in the company and react to market conditions rapidly.

Achieve your budget and forecast targets more consistently

  • Productivity improves because budgeting will be more accurate and planning will be more organized.

Be notified about key changes in your business rapidly

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SSRS - Creating BI Reports for your Dynamics GP Data

If you're a business owner and frequent user of Dynamics GP, you might think, "I have a lot of data in my Dynamics GP system. I need to analyze my data, extract a new knowledge from it and make decisions based on this analysis. I want to see  the KPI of my business in real time mode to drive my business better. I want to have a tool which will help me see hidden trends in my business and industry...". If you already have these thoughts, there's good news - the Business Intelligence technologies (BI) will help you.

Basically, you need to have three things:

  1. The data warehouse. It is a special data base which has a star-schema data model (info cubes). Also, this database is in read-only mode for users and it is optimized for reporting and multidimensional analysis.
  2. Extraction, loading and transformation  process (ELT) which loads your data from OLTP system like Dynamics GP to your data warehouse. Generally speaking this ELT process "cleans", transforms and loads your daily operation data from Dynamics GP into your data warehouse.
  3. Tools to create analytical reports and KPIs based on data from your data warehouse.

There are alot of BI tools which can help you to create a whole process of these 1-2-3 steps. However, if you have ERP based on MS SQL Server (i.e. Dynamics GP - you have a simple way of studying the system and pretty powerful BI tool right out from the box! It is SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS) which actually is the part of MS SQL Server installation.

So, let's see what SSRS can provide you:

  • Simple access to your Dynamics GP database and use it as a data warehouse, you just need to write a bunch of SQL-statements and SSRS will transform on the fly the results of these queries to BI reports
  • Loading and analyzing data from MS Analysis Services which is more powerful solution to build data warehouse from Microsoft
  • Special tool for building in drag-n-drop mode you BI reports - Report Builder 2.0 It is free and can be downloaded from Microsoft site
  • Creating beautiful graphic dash-boards with KPI's in Report Builder 2.0
  • Different filters for your BI reports
  • Access to your reports, dash-boards and KPIs via Web, you can see all your BI stuff just in your internet browser
  • Generating your BI reports in off-line mode and sending them via e-mail on a schedule. (Do you want to see some daily reports every morning in your inbox? No problem, SSRS will do it for you. Just create your reports in Report Builder, then publish and schedule them)
  • Integration with your MS Share Point portal, yes you will be able to build reports and analyze data right in your portal
  • Built in export of reports to Word, Excel, PDF and TIFF-format

MS SQL Server Reporting is very simple for installation and studying. You could get BI tool and start analyze your data in Dynamics GP in two or three days. Simple, powerful and ready for use right out from the box.

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SaaS Dynamics GP and Business Intelligence

We've recently partnered with an organization that provides nothing but business intelligence tools for Dynamics GP, NAV and AX.

The fact that we've partnered with a BI company is, in itself, not all that remarkable. The remarkable piece is that we offer it as part of our Hosted Dynamics solution! It's very reasonably priced on a per user/month fee and works exactly like the on-premise solution!

Technology for business intelligence solutions have come a long way (MS Silverlight and Excel 2010) and Hosted Dynamics GP is bringing some serious capabilities to the table for business intelligence.

Not to say that the existing reporting tools in Dynamics GP aren't great (SQL reporting services, Smartlist Builder, Report Writer, Management Reporter), but to really take your organization to the next level, you'll want to take a serious look at a Business Intelligence tool.

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