By James Neal, AccuNet Vice President
Another good Convergence came and went this April. Convergence? What is it? It’s the Microsoft Dynamics Customer event where over 10,000 Dynamics customers and partners converge to learn more about the direction of the products, new features and functionality, meet with vendors of most of the 3rd Party product and, most important of all, meet with other users to discuss how they get the most bang out of the products they own.
I’ll try to do justice to some of the highlights of the event – it was a good one! As a matter of fact, it was the largest Convergence ever. In my mind it was also one of the best – the ability to interact with other users and partners was great. There were parties, informal and formal meeting venues – there was never a shortage of people to talk to. My favorite activity – Lunch! (and not because of the food, which is surprisingly good). At lunch you have to sit with people you don’t know. You get to meet people from all over, learn a little about what they do and make some good connections. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting at the lunch table well after the food was gone.
Four days filled with learning and some fun. There were sessions on specific uses of the system like “50 tips in 50 Minutes” that points out things you can do with SL that you may have forgotten or may never have known. For instance, did you know the uses of the various function keys in the SL screens?
- Access Online Help Files
- Edit a field in grid view or enter a absolute/relative formula in a date or period field
- Look up possible values for a field, or access a calendar for a date field.
- Switch between form and grid view
- Clears the value in a field
- Set a date field to today’s date.
- Enter and display notes
- Puts focus on the Microsoft Dynamics SL™ Tool Bar
There were sessions on how to write reports, produce and edit financials, use Project Controller and Project Server together – there were a lot of sessions!
New this year – User Group Day! The first day of Convergence this year was presented by the user groups of the various products. Content requested by the various users and presented by user group selected speakers filled the day with practical sessions like “Fat Finger Fixes for Financials” and “Crystal Reports vs SQL Service Reporting Server: A side-by-side Comparison” the information was presented in by people who have been through it. With the success of the User Group Day, I think this will be a permanent addition to the schedule.
I was able to bring back quite a bit of SL specific news also – Version 8 is coming in the first half of 2011. With new features like Project Specific Inventory, Business Portal on SharePoint 2010, and new web services for data integration, this promises to be a big release.
Most notable added features for SL:
Enhances Document Management – In version 7 Docushare added the ability to store documents for Projects, Vendors, Customers, and some transactional data like Invoices. SL 8 will have more transactions supported by the Docushare model like General Ledger Journal Entry. A full list of enabled transactions will be available as we get closer to release but the emphasis is definitely there on connecting documentation to transactions.
Improved Security and Interface – For instance, the ability to have a screen open in one company and have another screen open in a different company, added ability to export the detail grid areas in most screens to Excel, or the ability to add reports to the transaction screen – ever wanted to print a batch report or aging for a customer without going out to the ROI screen?
Project-Based Inventory – In the current and prior versions of SL users could purchase inventory to a project but it would be immediately expensed to the project. Now the inventory can be “reserved” for the project and can be returned if not used. This is a great feature for those companies who buy inventory specifically to a project but may end up with some left over supplies that need to go back to stock or back to the vendor.
New Role-Based Dashboards – The ability, on a dashboard, to see items like overdue AP, AR, and approval information all tailored to your role.
If you’re interested in more details about SL 8, take a look at the Statement of Direction .
AccuNet is working to become one of the Beta partners for this new release so we can get a look early and let you know what applies to you.
Next year you should think about coming out – it’s a great opportunity to make the most of your investment and have some fun! Read a customer highlight here.