Technology these days is moving at such a rapid pace that most Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions have a hard time keeping up. I was talking with a construction company recently about their ability to share project information with the clients they are working for – information that would (should) be in their business management solution. They implemented their ‘niche’ market system 7 or so years ago, and indicated that this functionality wasn’t available. This specific company and several others that I work with who implemented a solution years ago always want to know how and when did this invaluable functionality become available.
To answer the “when”, it would have been around the first release of Microsoft SharePoint in 2006. The “how” follows Microsoft’s vision of ease of use of all their applications. You might recall WordPerfect, a word processing application. Users of WordPerfect had a hard time completing the simplest of tasks like printing a document. Users required a template to show them that to print a document they had to press Ctrl+Shitft+F12. In other words they had to be an everyday user/expert to use it. With the release of Word, although not having necessarily all the functionality of WordPerfect, casual users could simply type a document and print it by clicking a printer icon. No expert or power user status required! Now, an executive, who may have previously dictated a letter to be typed by an assistant, could easily manage to type his own letter/communications.
In the same context, when an executive needed a report, the previous scenario saw him asking the accountant for a financial report. In the current scenario, either the executive has a secure website he can access to see all the reports he needs, or an email is automatically sent to the executive with the necessary reports.
This type of functionality has since been expanded to other employees of the company that need access to data in the accounting/business management system in order to make informed business decisions, but who aren’t traditional users of the accounting system. With Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) or AX (Axapta) it’s now possible for light/casual users to easily access the information they need, and most importantly see it in a way that is meaningful to them and the role they play within their organization. It’s one thing to have access to information, but if as the consumer of the information, you can’t decipher what it’s telling you it’s like you don’t have it. It simply has no value or meaning.
The ability to share information has now gone beyond the “4 walls” of an organization. Companies of varying sizes, industries, and complexity leveraging the power of Dynamics GP or AX have the ability to share specific information, in a secure fashion, with suppliers and customers, thereby enabling them to better manage those business critical relationships.
Timely access to business data in a format that is meaningful allows executives, employees, customers and vendors to make quick, informed business decisions. It’s really that simple and a reality today for hundreds of companies who have made the decision to invest in Microsoft Dynamics.
By Encore Business Solutions, the largest Microsoft Dynamics Partner in Western Canada.
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