Day 2 of the GP Technical Conference 2017 was on August 9, 2017. I’m writing this recap while at the airport on a flight delay (irony!), catching up on what I intended to blog each day this week.
My previous posts on this series are:
Making Financial Data Come Alive with Power BI
The first session of the day for me was presented by MVP Belinda Allen. This was a departure from her other Power BI presentations in that she wasn’t focused on how to use Power BI “the tool” but rather what you can do with it in terms of visualizations. I enjoyed the content, where the discussion was more centred around how to have conversations with clients about Power BI opportunities.
She showed different samples she had to give us ideas on types of reports that can be useful in different client situations and high-level discussion on how to start with them. I like seeing examples as it helps give me ideas which in turn helps me have these conversations with clients.
GP Re-invented - PowerGPOnline demo
Next up was another ISV time slot and I sat in on nJevity’s demo of PowerGP Online. I arrived a bit late but what I sat through was impressive. What they have done with building out some tools to compensate for things that aren’t available within the web client are pretty cool. Check it out for yourself at PowerGPonline.com.
Advanced Jet Express
My next session was around advanced Jet Express, presented by both Jet Reports folks and Belinda Allen. I’ve been pretty vocal in the past about previous presentations from Jet, where it was heavy on “marketing” and light on “content” so I was pleased to sit through this one and get a lot out of it.
This again was a 90-minute session so there was plenty of time to get into details. Belinda presented for probably the first hour and it was fantastic. She loves Jet, as evidenced by the enthusiasm in her presentation. Having missed most of the prior Jet Express presentations due to the presentation style, I was excited to see the functionality and how easy it really is to use. Because of the session length, I was able to take quite detailed notes to be able to reproduce some exact replicas of some of what she showed during her session and I look forward to digging into this tool in the future.
The bottom line that I took away is: you can do a heck of a lot with Jet Express the free version and that’s the best place to start with your clients. There are lots of opportunities to build out sample reports, have a library and use them as starting points for client implementations. Belinda really emphasized using Account Categories and built our her reports that way in order to have easily-savable templates that could quickly be used at other sites without needing to know their chart of accounts structure.
Michael Hoffman from Jet talked a little bit about Jet Professional next and then Ron Summers talked about the advanced features in Jet Enterprise. In a brief summary, some of the non-free things that you would want Jet Pro or Enterprise for would include:
- Drill down within Excel
- Accessing reports from anywhere on the web
- More report management and publishing options
- More options for ad-hoc reports other than simply using pivot tables
- NL functions for lists, advanced filters etc.
- Jet Data Manager (Enterprise)
Integration Best Practises - CRM and other data sets
My last morning presentation was presented by Mark Anderson from eOne Solutions. He’s the guy who was also doing the 2-day SmartConnect boot camp I missed earlier in the week, and having sat through this presentation, I can’t wait to get into a future boot camp session. The format he chose to present was very interactive where we hypothetically were importing from CRM to GP and walked through various things that should be considered in the planning and building of integrations including things like:
- Who owns the data, and for each piece (customer, trx, items, sites, payment terms etc.)?
- Do updates need to go both directions or only one way?
- What triggers an integration to start, to end, to update?
- How frequently does it need to run?
- What is the underlying process around it?
There were so many things, most of which seem like common sense when you spell it out in those kinds of formats but obviously we don’t always think them all through when we do have integrations to design.
Integration Creation: eConnect, Web Services, SSIS
My first session after lunch was also integration related and presented by two Socius consultants: Sean Scott and Rob Mitchell. I didn’t find this one as useful as the previous one but there were some good things discussed nonetheless:
- Using eConnect pre and post logic and thinking about conditions, in case you have multiple integrations that use those procedures that the custom logic shouldn’t apply to.
- Tips for finding eConnect information on your own install (hint: look in the install directory)
Blue Moon Jeopardy
This was another ISV time slot and it was a fun one, from the folks at Blue Moon. They set up a Jeopardy game, with everything except the countdown music. It was refreshing as it wasn’t super “salesy” and the crowd enjoyed the trivia. Everyone nailed the “This North Dakota Governor used to own Great Plains Software”! Otherwise we were a little weak as a group at the North Dakota trivia.
Project Tracking Panel
The last session of the day was a Project Tracking panel, which quite honestly few people seemed to be sure of what that meant. I think many had “Project Accounting” in mind, not “Project Management” but it was more of the latter. There were 4 panelists and it was an informal discussion of various topics including what software people use, what techniques people use to keep projects on track etc.
The evening event this time around was not a pub crawl and there was no keynote speech at the Fargo Theatre. It was a single venue social event sponsored by PowerGP Online (nJevity). The weather happened to be quite crappy that evening around the time we were getting back to our hotels for either dinners or heading downtown so I opted out. I had wanted to go downtown, find a good place to eat, and wander the downtown afterwards, perhaps making a brief appearance at the Pickled Parrot then going back to my hotel. Since it was pouring rain, that wasn’t a great idea!
I went for dinner with a group of 9 other consultants and ended up sitting at a pure MVP table with Mark Polino, David Musgrave and Rod O’Connor. It was a great evening with lots of interesting discussions, mostly talking about projects we’ve been working on at home (lots of BBQ and backyard photos shared around) and then books we’re reading and/or books made into movies we love or hate. Nice to have discussions that weren’t about GP for a change.
After dinner, the rain had stopped so I walked back to the hotel and chilled in my room while most of the others went downtown to experience the Pickled Parrot.