Why Your ERP Provider Should be Your Trusted Business Advisor

Well implemented ERP systems are the lifeline of successful businesses.  Their reach should be vast, the data should flow quickly and they should push insightful performance metrics to stakeholders in a timely manner.  Getting your ERP to meet these lofty objectives is a challenge that many businesses face.

When we think back on the many projects Joesoftware’s team has completed, we see common threads woven through the best projects and we seek to repeat these positive outcomes as often as possible.  One of these success threads is the relationship between our team and our customer.  As we analyzed the culture of our best projects, it became obvious that these were very complimentary relationships based on mutual respect, open, honest communication, a focus on achieving a unified goal and an awareness of the complimentary expertise each party brought to any discussion.  The result of this culture manifested itself in many ways and always ended with innovative solutions.

Unlike other vendors, your ERP partner should be one of the few companies welcomed into your inner circle of trust.  Similar to your board of directors, accountant or lawyer, they will be exposed to the most intricate details of your business ranging from your financial health to employee remuneration and business policies.  You will be openly sharing some of your secrets such as competitive advantages and internal weaknesses to mention a couple.  As the project advances, their knowledge of the nuances of your business will grow and their ability to match system functionality to business challenges will increase.  As your project evolves, the level of trust between the parties needs to be mindfully nurtured and is best accomplished when both parties see it as an intentional objective rather than an unexpected benefit.

Once the initial implementation is finished and trust is established, the best companies recognize and leverage this symbiotic relationship.  Business leaders realize they have gained access to highly specialized and experienced resources who have intricate knowledge of capabilities of their software systems that is complimented by operational and financial insight into their company.  Using these specialists selectively on teams provides a perspective unmatched by any internal resource at a fraction of the cost of adding similar skills as a full-time employee.  Decisions become more robust when they are considered by a team with diverse, complimentary expertise and your ERP partner is a simple addition.

This approach may seem obvious when considering options to change payables processes for increased efficiency; however, it is equally valid when discussing union negotiations to provide perspective on magnitude of complexity on each proposed contract change, to provide insight into team readiness/implications on prospective new business activities or to assist with infrastructure vendor selections.  As someone who has broad insight into your business, information systems and IT best practices, your ERP partner can provide unequaled value when you see them as one of your trusted business advisors.

Transforming your ERP from Good to Great!

When taking on a new project, you don’t always understand the scope until you jump in.  Remember the first time you watched a program on how to reno a bathroom?  You saw the end-product and it looked so simple.  Weeks later you were stuck and frustrated with a barely functioning bathroom amidst debris and unfinished details.  This is a great metaphor to the way an ERP implementation can feel, and customers often wonder why.  There is so much behind the scenes preparation and planning that goes into every implementation.  “People need to understand that a great ERP implementation is strategic and should be viewed as an ongoing business activity to truly get the best value”, says Gord at Joesoftware.  When companies start looking for a new system they are often looking to solve some immediate pain points.  They see some slick features during a demo and get excited about the possibilities but fail to get to the finish line.  This blog post is intended to help understand the evolutionary nature of an ERP so you can turn Microsoft Dynamics GP into an oasis of information flourishing with insight.

 

1 Seeding

It all starts with an air of optimism and anticipation when you decide to undertake the project.  You jump in only to realize you may have bitten off more than you can chew.  Picking a competent contractor allows you to benefit from their expertise; however, they don’t fully perceive your vision for the final product.  You point out your immediate pains and some major features you desire, and you anxiously await your new bathroom to appear in a few moments.  As the project takes flight, you are excited until you realize the extent of the reno.  Suddenly, your house is turned into a construction site with dust and supplies everywhere, and people all over the place.  Your world has been turned upside down, but somehow you manage to get through it.  Some months later you have a finished bathroom that fixed your major pain points, but it’s not what you expected.  Your finished product looks quite different than the one you saw on TV.  It has everything you asked for but somehow the wow factor just isn’t there.

 

When you implement an ERP system, it can feel like that bathroom reno.  As the project starts everyone is excited for the possibilities ahead but in no time this feeling evaporates.  Your business struggles with the stress of running the day to day processes on the old system while learning how to run the new system.  Your staff feel inundated with a million decisions and details.  After months of implementation, the new ERP system is finally up and running and most of your major pain points have been solved but your team is exhausted and you don’t see any bling.  As you reflect on the process, you can clearly see benefit but rather than feeling excited you are just relieved to be back to processing transactions again.

 

2 Cultivating

Sometime later, as the memory of renovation pain fades you start to assess where you are at, questions like, “Am I really that much better off?” and “Why am I not ecstatic?” cross your mind.  You have achieved a bathroom that is functional, but now you have new peeves.  As the emotion subsides and you think critically, you can clearly see a few details you simply overlooked at the time.  The bathtub faucet is in the wrong corner to see the sun set and the door brushes the towels off the rack when it is opened.  You realize that through the change you have introduced new, unintentional annoyances.  You can choose to live with the annoyances or you can push to overcome them as the effort and cost is low but the value is high.  Once you have this mindset you begin to believe the time, effort and money was worth the trouble.

 

Typically, this phase in an ERP implementation occurs after a few years.  Your company has been functioning on the new ERP system, but things just aren’t as you imagined.  As time goes on, you start to notice some new quirks.  It is crucial to explore these to make sure you are getting the most out of your ERP.  You are efficient at operating the system, but now you are wanting more.  You can clearly envision how the system could transform your business because you have become knowledgeable about its capabilities and you better understand how to work with your implementer to get meaningful results.  Your implementation partner has become more intimately aware of your business nuances. Both parties can contribute ideas for meaningful tweaks.  Your system now has a few years of data to trend on and leveraging this information can create better business processes that empower growth.  At this point you start to become excited again as you fully appreciate the capabilities and possibilities for your company.

 

3 Harvesting

Finally, as you reflect on your reno, you can truly sit back and enjoy the bathroom you created.  Your vision has evolved over the process and every detail has purpose and precision that effortlessly compliments your priorities.  When your bathroom needs an update, you can see how a few small adjustments will make the bathroom just as relevant then as it is now.  Your bathroom now resembles the one you saw on TV.  Regularly updating the paint colors or the towels adds significant change to the space, while keeping the costs low. These minor tweaks have substantial value that allow you to update your space with ease.

 

After a few iterations of the Cultivating phase, you feel invigorated by your ERP.  Although the breadth of change has diminished, the need to step back and seek improvement should not change.  Your business has evolved whether in activity, size, geography or service lines, and any of these can create new system bottlenecks.  Your ERP maker understands the potential of new functionality to enable your business; this is the trademark of the most profitable companies.  Your expectations continue to evolve, although in this moment your overall satisfaction is high.  During this phase, you should periodically check back in with your implementer to do a BPO (Business Process Optimization) or an analysis of your ERP to ensure it is still efficient.  These regular minor tweaks and updates keep your system relevant.  As your company grows, changes and evolves, it is important to allow your ERP to evolve with it.  This approach allows your system to support and drive your business longer.  It is in this phase where you have the ERP system you were shown in the demo, and you feel like you received the best return for your time and effort.

 

Falling in love with your ERP is easy.  The success is a direct outcome of strategic evolution.  If you think an ERP is a one time or cookie cutter exercise, you won’t be happy with the results and your ERP will limit your success.  If you treat ERP improvement as an ongoing business activity, it becomes a tool to re-envision your business and one that drives competitive advantage.  With continuous reviews of your system you can guarantee your ERP will continue to empower your business, and you can guarantee you will love your ERP.

Dynamics GP 2016 Release

As of May 1, 2016, the new Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 is now available and hosts some tremendous new features.  One of the most distinct benefits of this release is the new Web Client which has eliminated Silverlight to power the GP interface and have moved to HTML 5.  This move greatly improves the web client user experience and now allows it to operate in multi-browsers (IE, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge) and across most devices (iPad, Android, Windows). The other rationale for this significant shift is that cloud performance is greatly improved, which continues to clear strategy for Microsoft across all their business lines.  And for benefit of Canadian clients, it was confirmed that Canadian Azure was opened on May 10th.

 

Dynamics GP 2016 Whats New

Some of the feature improvements for Dynamics GP 2016 are significant and for some users, a long time coming.  Take for instance the scanning feature, which previously only allowed single pages, can now scan multiple pages. Another one specific to Canadians, is that Scotia Bank EFT format has been added as a default EFT file format. Workflow continues to be an important area of improvement with more options for condition management and reassignment notifications. The other area of significant development is with Business Intelligence (BI), as they have enabled Power BI reports to be added to home pages and as well, have made it possible to use Open Data (OData) protocol.

 

These are of course just a few of the highlights of the Dynamics GP 2016.  To find a more complete list, just click on the white paper What’s New in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016.

 

The question our clients should be considering is whether you should be upgrading to 2015, moving to 2016 now or waiting for next version of 2016 which we expect in the fall.  These are great questions and we at Joesoftware are here to help you navigate that decision, so just contact us.

Mid-Year Tax Update

Dynamics GP mid-year tax update for Canadian Payroll is now available for versions 2013 and higher. The tax tables have updates for British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.  If you have any employees paid through Dynamics GP payroll and reside in one of these provinces, you should be installing the update as soon as possible. For more information, download the full 2016 Tax Update document.

If you are a Penny user, this Dynamics GP update does not have any affect to your Penny system. Contact us if you are in need of implementing your mid-year tax update, and we will schedule it immediately.

Mid-Year Tax Update Canadian Payroll for Dynamics GP

Mid-Year Tax Update for Canadian Payroll Document by Dynamics GP

Penny V5.0 is coming soon….

Your friends at Joesoftware have done it again! Times are changing and so is your Penny self-service solution. After extensive input from our valued user base, Joesoftware has proven once more why we are a leader in innovative thinking. Penny is looking better than ever with new features from top to bottom, enhancing all the functionality you have come to know and love.

There will be more exciting news to come as we count down to our release in Spring 2016 so keep checking back for highlights of new features and enhancements including:

  • Improved workflow flexibility
  • Additional security levels
  • Redesigned leave requests

Penny extends your Microsoft Dynamics GP Canadian Payroll solution by providing employee self-service, allowing for ease of tacking, submitting and approving time. It reduces errors, improves efficiency, empowers your people and reinforces corporate policy.

Let Penny’s time saving capabilities benefit your organization in a way like no other! If you have any questions or want to inquire about the new features of Penny or any other product Joesoftware offers, feel free to reach out to the sales team at sales@joesoftware.com.