Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011 Upgrades

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I was treated to a preview of Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011 last week.  Additionally, I am in the process of implementing this version at two new clients' businesses.  Thus far I have been very impressed with the upgrade.

Unlike the last upgrade which was remarkable from a technological standpoint, .net compliance and the like, but a bit of a disappointment from the end-user perspective, 2011 is exciting from the end-user's point of view.  The features and functionality are greatly improved in 2011.

The following is list of some of my favorites features in Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011:

  • A function to reverse a general ledger batch, or a portion of batch.  According to Microsoft they are engaged in a feasibility study with regard to applying this same functionality to Accounts Payable and Receivables.
  • The ability to co-mingle inventory from order management with project time and expenses entries on a single invoice.  Additionally, inventory can be allocated to project prior to being issued to that project.

In general the ability to account for material within a project is vastly improved in 2011. Any system integrators out there that sell their customers hardware and then  apply labor to that hardware need to look at 2011.

  • Two allocation methods can be assigned to a single project.  This is big news for government contractors.
  • For those of you with multiple companies it will no longer be necessary to log out of one company and then into another.  You can switch companies with the touch of a button.  Additionally, if you were in Voucher and Adjustment Entry in company A and then switch to company B, you are still in Voucher and Adjustment Entry.
  • It is now possible to attach multiple documents to what 2011 refers to as an entity. In other words, multiple documents can be attached to AP vouchers, AR invoices, etc.  These documents can reside on a conventional file server or on a SharePoint site.
  • Menus are role based and can contain Quick Lists to help you prioritize tasks.
  • The Flexible Billings Week Maintenance function has been modified to accommodate virtually any time period.  That is a 30 day month can be comprised of two 15 day time periods, 4 time periods, or for that matter 30 one day periods.
  • A Quick Query functions is included to display and drill down on 2011 data.
  • Improved Business Portal functionality, this in not your father's Business Portal.

For you techies out there:

  • Stored procedures have been added to improve performance.
  • 2011 makes use of Web Services.  Web Services facilitate the integration between systems (e.g., 2011 with Microsoft CRM).  Web Services provide, among other things,  a more elegant means of passing data to 2011 than does Transaction Import.
  • The integration with SQL, Windows, SharePoint, and Project Server is much tighter.

I suggest that you start planning for your 2011 upgrade now.  This is particularly true if you use the project, order management, or inventory components.

The first step is to map the functionality of your current system to 2011.  I suspect that you will find more efficient ways to perform the your business processes in 2011.  You may also be able to diminish your dependence on third party applications and customizations.

Think of 2011 as more than an upgrade.  It is a reason to reevaluate your business processes and an opportunity for optimization.   Additionally,  don't forget to reexamine your information requirements.

Larry Contillo helps companies using Microsoft Dynamics SL in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

by SSi Consulting, a Maryland Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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