Dynamics AX EDI, Dynamics NAV EDI, Dynamics ERP Integration, Convergence 2015

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If you’re looking for an EDI for Microsoft Dynamics solution, one of the most critical conversations you can have is with existing EDI customers to understand what they did right, what they’d change if they started the project over again, and how their EDI integration project has ultimately (and hopefully continues to) benefit their company, their customers and trading partners.

This year at Microsoft Convergence 2015 we had the unique pleasure of having two well respected customers in their industries join me on stage. Tom Hicks and Cara Renfroe presented their experiences and thoughts on best practices necessary in the successful deployment of integrated EDI with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX respectively.

EDI Integration with Dynamics NAV: Steiner Enterprises/Mitchell Fabrics
During his presentation, Tom Hicks, President of Steiner Enterprises, emphasized the importance of first selecting an organization that is 100% focused on EDI integration for Microsoft Dynamics. During the evaluation process he learned that in business models where multiple organizations participate in the support of EDI compliance, translation and integration of EDI data, basic questions required multiple parties to be respond. Tom said, that when speaking to Data Masons he received answers immediately and did not require involvement of multiple parties to get those answers”. He felt that a single source provider model provides the best outcome since that provider understands the end-to-end business process and can implement more efficiently and provide better long-term support.

Tom also shared his research into the true cost of ownership when evaluating different technology models. He noted that some providers had seemingly low upfront costs, but when looking at transaction fees, support costs, customizations and future costs for upgrading Dynamics NAV these could add significant increases in cost and time resources, therefore had to be carefully considered when calculating ROI.

Finally, Tom discussed the pros and cons of embedded solutions that introduce customizations into NAV that are at odds with Microsoft’s push to the cloud and continuous product releases (Cumulative Updates) that make customizations very difficult to support.

Omni-Channel EDI Integration with Dynamics AX: Blackhawk Networks
Cara Renfroe, Blackhawk’s ERP Functional Director shared the importance of flexibility and the ability to support changing business models on a Global Scale. Blackhawk Networks is delivering groundbreaking prepaid gift cards, cell phones, call cards and technology solutions through omni-channel distribution. The nature of Blackhawk’s market defining products and groundbreaking technology solutions require the definition of new business processes with their retail and online partners.

Cara noted that trying to create an embedded EDI solution would have been quite cumbersome and difficult to meet the emerging business practices being defined during and after implementation. “Much of the business process logic we needed was handled by Vantage Point which could be implemented quickly due to its design.” Trying to manage the varied needs of our global retailers, third party logistics and display contractor suppliers embedded within AX would have taken much more time with much more risk. Additionally those customizations would be a significant impediment and expense to future AX upgrades. Staying current and on supported releases of Dynamics AX without downtime is crucial to Blackhawk’s success.

Learn more about Data Masons, Vantage Point EDI, and our industry specific EDI solutions.

Dynamics AX EDI, Dynamics GP EDI, Dynamics NAV EDI, Dynamics ERP Integration, Convergence 2015

OPne Door_SummitsAs Convergence 2015 wrapped, we learned that the next two events are on the calendar: Convergence 2015 EMEA, November 30 - December 3 and Convergence 2016, April 4 - 7, 2016 in New Orleans. We also understood that our attendance plans may shift to adapt to the evolution of Convergence. Microsoft’s go-forward strategy will position the event for business with a broad view of Microsoft product in the context of larger trends in technology, business and economics.

Microsoft North America President Judson Althoff’s focus on the evolving Convergence strategy accompanied his recommendation to Dynamics users that they attend future Dynamic Communities’ User Group Summit events. I sat down with Andy Hafer, Dynamic Communities CEO, to get his viewpoints on the scenarios and specifically, what the impact this evolution may have on ISVs.

“With Convergence evolving to showcase Dynamics in addition to a range of other products like Office 365 and Azure, Dynamic Communities is also updating its outlook on the future of its Summit events,” stated Hafer. “While we will continue to count on Microsoft to offer Dynamics-specific content during Convergence, given the broadening of the scope, we can certainly anticipate that the ratio of content will go down.”

The User Groups have always emphasized Dynamics-driven content applicable to all roles within Dynamics customers, including end users and middle managers, and the Summit events are no exception. Hafer commented that the Summits will continue to operate as a peer-to-peer conference that welcomes Microsoft’s continued support of their customers through the Summits.

"The evolution of Microsoft’s event strategy puts newfound opportunity and responsibility on the User Groups for their Summits and other programs to fill in a key element of the landscape,” continued Hafer. And this responsibility not only falls on Dynamic Communities, but ISVs supporting the User Groups will take on a larger role as well.

ISVs that leverage Convergence as a key marketing program each year will experience more decision-makers roaming the Convergence expo hall relative to before. And as the density of Dynamics customer traffic goes down, ISVs will face a greater battle for mind share and visibility at the event. To regain their position within the user community, ISVs will find that the value in supporting and sponsoring the user group Summit events will intensify.

“Summit has always relied on key members of the partner and ISV community to deliver solid content. As we anticipate Summit attendance increasing, the value for sponsorship and participation in general, will be much more rewarding for ISVs committed to engaging the Dynamics user community,” added Hafer.

ISVs will also benefit from the connection with Microsoft leadership that will be in attendance at the Summits. Dynamic Communities is currently engaged with Microsoft to discuss the creation of key “real estate areas” at the Summit events where Microsoft will have dedicated time for announcements, product launches, road map discussions, etc. Overall, Dynamic Communities expects a larger Microsoft presence, specifically from the support and product teams, given the Summit events will serve as one of the primary points of contact with their Dynamics customers.

AXUG, CRMUG, GPUG and NAVUG Summits are scheduled for October 12-16, 2015 in Reno-Tahoe, NV. These events mark a pivotal point in the relationship and role that ISVs play within the Dynamics user community as we navigate the evolution of both the Convergence and User Group Summit events.

Register Today to Attend a User Group Summit!

 

 

Dynamics AX EDI, Dynamics GP EDI, Dynamics NAV EDI, Dynamics ERP Integration, Convergence 2015

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ATTENDING CONVERGENCE? JOIN US WEDNESDAY, 3/18 @ 12:30PM!

What You Do and Don't Do When Implementing EDI for Dynamics is a Game Changer. Choosing the right method for integrating EDI into Dynamics is a critical decision that has a big impact on your ERP investment, including ROI and the success of future upgrade plans.

Dynamics users have identified a Simple Dynamics EDI Integration Strategy that provides direct connect capabilities with trading partners, out-of-the-box support for 50+ documents, and integration of non-traditional file formats such as XML. They've tested other EDI technology approaches, which gives them a unique perspective on the impact of ERP customizations, data transmission options, support models, EDI outsourcing & more.

Join Us, Cara Renfroe of Blackhawk Network and Tom Hicks of Steiner Enterprises to learn the:

  • Value of NOT customizing the Dynamics ERP Platform
  • Do’s & Don’ts of implementing an integrated EDI solution
  • What to expect when implementing an EDI system

Add this session to your Convergence calendar.

Convergence 2015

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Didn't we just get back from a FUNtastic Convergence 2014 and now we're already talking about the next? That would be a "YES." Mark you calendars for Convergence 2015, March 16 - 19, in Atlanta! "In Atlanta" sounds oddly familiar, doesn't it? Well why not, Atlanta served as a wonderful host for this year's event and we're all looking forward to heading back.

There are only a few things for you to do at this point:

1- Mark your calendar

2- Sign up for event email alerts

3- And you guessed it, add #CONV15 to your list of Twitter hashtags to follow.

Stay tuned for registration details as they become available!