EDI for Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Dynamics 365 Business Central

Many companies that currently process EDI transactions using a legacy translator-- and are considering migrating  to a cloud-based ERP solution such as Dynamics 365 for Operations and Business Central-- face a decision. Should they keep their existing EDI solution, or move to a different EDI platform and vendor?

There are many good reasons to want to keep an existing EDI system, including cost and risk reduction associated with EDI system replacement. However, many organizations find that the cost and risk of keeping a legacy translator far exceeds the cost of a replacement.

Other companies move their ERP to the cloud for cost and a variety of business reasons 

This article is intended to provide the most common shortcomings of translators such as Sterling Gentran, Sterling Integrator, Trusted Link Enterprise, Biztalk and many others as they relate to integration with Dynamics 365 in the cloud. 

  1. Cannot support web services or API’s Depositphotos_4384439_l-2015
    Many translators have limited or no support for web services connections, which is best practice for integrating data to and from Dynamics 365. 
  2. Cannot resolve cross references and produce “transaction ready” data packages. 
    Dynamics 365 expects valid transactions with valid information, such as proper customer numbers, item numbers, units of measures, address locations and numerous data elements. Without invasive customizations in Dynamics, transactions will fail until “perfect”. 
  3. Cannot consume error messages 
    When integration errors occur, the API’s in Dynamics will generate error messages that are critical to the business user. Unless there is a means to consume and report these messages back to the user, troubleshooting is difficult if not impossible. 
  4. Translators are passive. 
    D365 customizations are required to export data files back to the translator – a concept that is often provisioned into legacy ERP solutions via customizations. Needless customizations are frowned upon in the Dynamics 365 ecosystem. 
  5. No Turnaround Data.  
    Data is often sent in EDI messages that must accompany the data that is transmitted back to the EDI trading partner. Unless customizations are created in D365 to store and export that EDI data back to the translator, valid documents are impossible to transmit to the partner. 
  6. No Business Rules. 
    Translators are not well suited for handling complex business rules such as mandating 17 Digit Bill of Lading Values on invoices linked to shipments via Motor Carrier. That logic in most systems is handled by the ERP system – again, requiring more customization. 
  7. No Business or Digital Transformation. 
    Companies that make the difficult decision to replace their ERP solution with a cloud-based Dynamics 365 ERP solution often does so to reduce operating costs, complexity and reliance on manual processes such as data entry to keep the ERP system moving forward. Most companies that try to implement EDI with their legacy translators are fortunate to achieve a comparable outcome, not improve business execution by connecting more of the ERP processes to the outside world such as banks, transportation companies, suppliers and many other parts of their “Value Chain."    
  8. EDI Still Resides in IT. 
    Most legacy translators are complex to manage and operate, and often fall under the responsibility of IT. Naturally, keeping the legacy translator does not improve business user access to critical data that would reduce the need for IT to be involved in day-to-day business/data discrepancies. 
  9. No Help with Non-EDI integrations.   
    Most translators are not well suited to non-EDI integrations and require a second integration platform to be employed. 

Today, the definition of EDI integration best practices has evolved and new solutions are simplifying and opening new opportunities for collaboration with partners in an accurate and cost effective manner. Carefully evaluating EDI options when embarking on the journey to Dynamics 365 can save money by accelerating the process and position companies to increase ROI on their investment in Dynamics.   

Read our executive brief, "Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting an EDI Solution," to learn even more about what to look out for when preparing for an EDI implementation.

Get the "Top 10 Mistakes When   Selecting an EDI Solution" Brief

Dynamics AX, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Partner Resources, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, Dynamics 365 Business Central, Directions North America

I just got back from the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, where I attended Directions North America. The Directions North America conference, held May 5-9, 2019, is the premier Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central event driven by Partners – for Partners, and had over 900 attendees. logo

What originally started as a Dynamics NAV-focused conference 15 years ago has now become a unique event where Dynamics GP, NAV, and Business Central partners from across the US gather. The event offered over 150 sessions, focused on capturing the interest of various audiences. It featured technical workshops, new partner onboarding sessions, product roadmap overviews, and even business building discussions. While Directions is primarily attended by Microsoft partners from across the US, there is extensive representation globally as it’s become a truly an international event.

There were several key takeaways, including:

  1. Microsoft is doubling down on its commitment to the Dynamics 365 Business Central marketplace. In April 2019, Microsoft announced plans to update Dynamics 365 twice a year, which they reinforced at the Directions conference. The Microsoft team was represented and was the largest single partner attendee at the event,. Over 60 resources conducted meetings, support efforts, and planning sessions for the partners in attendance. 
  2. Partners are energized with the direction of Dynamics 365 Business Central. Microsoft announced 100 new improvements to its latest version of Dynamics 365 Business Central, based on direct feedback from both partners and customers. The next release in October 2019 will focus on driving reduced friction with ISV integration, improved UI focus, and enhanced migration tools. Microsoft is listening to what the channel needs and is building out a platform for success that the partners are excited about. 
  3. The partners are really seeing success with a focus on leveraging ISVs to fill gaps. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has historically been a solution that encouraged customization directly within the ERP. With the new architecture of Dynamics 365 Business Central and its focus on being a cloud-based solution, partners are leveraging ISV solutions to fill in functionality/capability gaps. The trend is to now move away from highly customized ERP deployments, and to instead take advantage of best of breed solutions that can complement the already extensive functionality available in the system.

All 3 of these trends are great news for Data Masons Software and its Vantage Point EDI solution.  The marketplace is ripe for customers who are now anxiously investing in Microsoft technology. The Dynamics partner community is seeing success and investing even more in driving solutions into the Business Central solution set. And with the need for a highly flexible and scalable solution that can offer world-class EDI capabilities built specifically for the Microsoft Dynamics community, Data Masons Software is well prepared for success.

If you're a Dynamics partner, please get in touch with us to learn how we make EDI simple for Microsoft Dynamics clients.

Set up a meeting with Bill Moffett

Microsoft Dynamics Community, EDI for Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Summit EMEA, EMEA

Nearly 2,600 IT professionals visited Amsterdam during the last week of March 2019 to learn about the last ERP upgrade they’ll ever need to implement - Microsoft Dynamics 365. Those currently running Dynamics 365 will all be running the same version by the end of 2019. After that date, Microsoft will roll out continuous improvements via periodic updates, thus adding more value to this already impressive ERP platform. This message was communicated during the Microsoft keynote presented by: 

  • Cecilia Flombaum, Worldwide Lead Business Application Partners 
  • Kees Hertogh, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Business Applications Group 
  • Muhammad Alam, General Manager, Business Applications Group 

The concept of a “final Dynamics 365 upgrade” has numerous benefits and at the same time some challenges. A balanced message was delivered during numerous breakout sessions led by subject matter experts from Microsoft, Microsoft partners, and Dynamics users. Attendees also gained knowledge about technology and solution partners that can solve a wide array of business challenges spread at the exhibition area, sponsored in part by Data Masons. SummitEMEA2019_2

Every company using Dynamics can benefit by upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365. In general, some of the key benefits include 

  • Eliminate large periodic upgrade projects. Historically, companies faced Dynamics ERP upgrades every few years because products no longer met their business needs, or to take advantage of new technology that could improve the business. In some cases, ERP upgrades are disruptive, and the costs of recreating or upgrading customizations in a new platform are high. Avoiding heavy lifting could eliminate downtime and costs. In addition, a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform like Dynamics 365 provides businesses with many benefits including improved application management, high availability, lower cost of overall ownership, application mobility, and a modern user experience and improved development environment. 
  • New capabilities with every update. Microsoft is developing software at a rapid pace to add new features and functionality, with the goal of systematically meeting business requirements with standard software. Microsoft’s release schedule is April and October, along with monthly cumulative updates. The April 2019 release touts 350 new capabilities and 6 new applications to complement ERP, CRM, and Power Apps. 
  • Embraces partners. Value Added Resellers (VARs) play a major role helping customers upgrade and keeping them updated.  Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) such as Data Masons can now more readily deliver innovative software capabilities that customers can implement much more quickly than in the past. At the same time, Microsoft is enhancing the partner program to help VARs improve their delivery skills. ISVs now have better integration options to meet customers’ business needs.   

Many companies have already elected to upgrade to Dynamics 365 from earlier versions of Dynamics. These early adopters of Dynamics 365 provided valuable firsthand experience of best practices for upgrades and that information was shared by a variety of speakers.  Some of the messages included the following points: 

  • General readiness. It’s been over a year since Dynamics 365 has been released to production, and there is plenty of feedback for Microsoft to work through. For example, some companies are reluctant to give control” to the Microsoft cloud. Instead, they deploy on premise, which unfortunately keeps some heavy lifting” tasks inhouse. Others had high expectations for standard software to cover the business needs but had to make more customizations than anticipated. Partners and ISVs also encounter bottlenecks in deploying software to the cloud, or degraded ISV/ERP performance in specific business process scenarios.  
  • Business process migrations. Companies have unique processes, and previous Dynamics ERP versions were customized to support the business. Understanding what was previously done, and determining if the customization must be redone, is a typical consulting effort a VAR can perform for a company. The challenge comes in the number of customizations and rewriting the customization in the new Dynamics 365 framework that restricts access to core code but enables the extension thereof. For example, core code extensions need to be submitted to Microsoft to work them into a release. One can conclude that the more customizations historically made, the more time and effort will be required to complete the upgrade. 
  • Speed of change. Partners will need to stay on top of the new software capabilities, quickly determine how customers can benefit from it, and establish a commercial model with customers to support the ongoing changes. It is unlikely that the current slow approach of agreeing changes will lend itself to speed required to deliver benefits to customers. Concurrently, customers will need to become more agile to adopt the changes, and creative on compensating partners that help them. 

The upgrade to update the paradigm shift has benefits and challenges for companies. Microsoft is increasingly demonstrating that it will not stand still in innovating products and removing obstacles for future adopters.  

As a certified Microsoft partner, Data Masons has an established approach that can help customers make this shift faster, starting right now. 

Our approach is simple.  

  • Eliminate all ERP customizations historically required to support EDI or non-EDI integration. 
  • Up to 25% (estimate) of historical customizations can be removed from the upgrade process. 
  • Updates can be made without impacting EDI or non-EDI integration. 
  • Changes required to maintain integration compliance is covered in the subscription fees.
  • Continuously develop capabilities that simplify EDI for the business and its users. 

If you want to know more, please ask for a consultation by clicking the button below, or emailing us at dmsales@datamasons.com.

Contact Larry Velez, General Manager, EMEA

Dynamics AX EDI, Dynamics AX, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Summit EMEA, Certified for Microsoft Dynamics 365

On the 24-26 April, over 1,300 people attended the annual Dynamics Communities user summit in Dublin, Ireland.

This was the first time the Microsoft Dynamics AX, D365, and CRM user community came together to network and partake in over 260 keynotes and sessions. Data Masons was a silver sponsor at the event with a stand and presented 2 sessions. (You can watch on-demand versions of the sessions here.)

The keynote sessions emphasized how Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM software accelerates digital transformation.  Several customer examples were provided, and the recent spring release of D365 is full of new features and functionality to enrich the transformation journey.  Microsoft announced that major software releases will occur in the spring of every year, followed by a minor release in the summer. A very popular demo was Power Apps, which allows companies to develop custom apps for mobile devices without any software development.

We really appreciate the ‘no software development’ statement because it’s what we do for EDI. This message seemed to resonate very well with nearly over 100 visitors to our sessions and sponsor stand at the event.

In our conversations, we learned about companies putting a lot of time and energy into planning, and execution of the AX to D365 migration. These companies are also aware that they need to rebuild the EDI interfaces because the solution used with AX will not work with D365. This is because Microsoft changed the interface to get data in and out of D365, and the ability to develop EDI functions in D365 are slim to none.

Companies from retail, chemical, food and agriculture, and various types of manufacturing were enquiring about a simpler and fast approach to EDI.  A great majority of the conversations were in the automotive sector that require planning and forecasting, and other logic that is not standard in AX or D365.  For example, a DELFOR planning forecast could be arrive daily, and from this forecast you need to decide what to ship, update the internal materials plan, and ensure the quantities shipped on either end is the same.  We also learned that Audi is asking companies to replace VD4905 to VDA4984 by the end of 2018.

It was a great experience to meet with so many like-minded people, and share with them our EDI Made Simple approach.  We’re looking forward to ongoing conversations with our new community contacts, and we hope that Irish Luck continues for the community with successful ERP and EDI implementations.

Finally, we’d like to invite the D365/AX community to join us for a live webinar held with MSDynamicsWorld.com on EDI Integration Best Practices for Dynamics 365/AX on 5 June, 2018 at 12:30 GMT/14:30 CET.  Register here.

Dynamics ERP Integration, Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Certified for Microsoft Dynamics, Certified EDI for AppSource

It’s the beginning of a new year and you may have either just gone live with your new Dynamics 365 environment or are well into your implementation. This implementation is just part of a corporate-wide initiative to improve operational efficiencies, maximize employee productivity and increase customer satisfaction. However, now it’s time to address your customer’s EDI mandates and requests, but you have no idea where to begin.

Selecting the right EDI solution can be a daunting task, especially when EDI is not a core competency within your company. Nothing can impact a new EDI project more aggressively than choosing a solution based on assumptions or “facts” not thoroughly researched, only to find out later that the solution you selected cannot support all your company’s needs and/or Trading Partner’s requirements. It’s an all too common occurrence, but by understanding some basic principles you can eliminate unexpected surprises, reduce risk, and maximize the overall performance of your new EDI solution.   

Learn more about EDI best practices for Dynamics 365. Download our paper, Dynamics 365: A Radical Change for AX

Here are a few items you should consider when selecting EDI software for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for full automation and integration:                                  

  1. Choose a provider that specializes in EDI for Microsoft Dynamics
  2. Choose a comprehensive EDI integration platform that is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Certified
  3. Consider future scalability and performance needs for potential new EDI Trading Partners
  4. Evaluate and understand automation needs to eliminate manual processes
  5. Consider the importance of having complete visibility into historical document lifecycles
  6. Consider future Dynamics 365 version upgrades and what impact that will have with EDI
  7. Understand the ongoing costs needed to customize a tool(s) to meet ongoing compliance requirements
  8. Understand the ongoing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when factoring in transactional fees

If you’re interested in learning more about EDI best practices and more detailed information to consider when selecting EDI software for Microsoft Dynamics 365, download this paper, “Dynamics 365 - A Radical Change for AX: Critical Information for Companies Upgrading Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 for Operations”.

Download the "Dynamics 365 -   A Radical Change for AX" Brief

Dynamics 365, EDI for Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Certified for Microsoft Dynamics, CfMD, Certified EDI for AppSource

EDI and eCommerce Platform Has Met Microsoft’s Highest Standard for Partner-Developed Software Solutions AppSource:

Data Masons Software, LLC., the leading provider of integrated EDI and XML solutions for Microsoft Dynamics customers announced today that Vantage Point EDI, the first EDI and eCommerce platform listed on AppSource, is now also Certified for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations. Certified for Dynamics 365 indicates the solution has met Microsoft Corp.’s highest standard for partner-developed software. By successfully meeting all certification requirements, Vantage Point EDI now carries the distinct Certified for Microsoft Dynamics logo.

The Vantage Point EDI and eCommerce platform delivers an all-in-one solution to EDI for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations without customizations. The platform is available for immediate deployment in one of three possible environments, 1) in the Data Masons’ public cloud, 2) private cloud and 3) on-premise. The flexibility to deploy their EDI in a manner that best suits an organization’s business needs is a great benefit. Coupled with Data Masons’ huge library of existing connections and compliance maps, Data Masons can help Microsoft Dynamics customers quickly turn EDI into a competitive advantage through reduced overhead costs and rapid partner onboarding. 

“The certification of Vantage Point EDI highlights our continued commitment to the Microsoft Dynamics platform which we believe to be the premier cloud ERP solution available. Vantage Point EDI enables Dynamics 365 for Operations’ customers to meet the significant challenges of integrating their entire supply chain activities into Dynamics 365 without invasive ERP customizations,” states Glenn McPeak, Principal. 

Solutions that are Certified for Microsoft Dynamics are those that have demonstrated the highest level of development quality and compliance to best practices with Dynamics 365 for Operations. Additionally, customer evidence of successful implementations of the solution is also required and indicates the certified solution works well in real world environments. These solutions can be found on Microsoft’s AppSource, an online marketplace by Microsoft Corporation for enterprises to find and use SaaS solutions from trusted solution providers those that are Gold Certified with a validated solution.

About Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer-relationship and supply-chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Data Masons
Data Masons specializes in EDI Made Simple® for Microsoft Dynamics and Macola customers by offering advanced, turnkey EDI & XML solutions. Certified for Microsoft Dynamics, Vantage Point EDI provides an end-to-end EDI processing platform with seamless integration and predictable ownership costs for cloud or on-premise environments - all without expensive and disruptive ERP platform customization. Data Masons' compliance services, product flexibility, extensive EDI and ERP integration knowledge, and partner-driven experience have made Vantage Point EDI the winning choice for high-performance business document integration at more than 1,500 customers.

Dynamics AX EDI, Dynamics ERP Integration, EDI for Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 For Operations

Get the answers to your EDI for Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Operations questions!

Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 customers have options when it comes to EDI or XML integration solutions. But without the right preparation and expertise, the effort can be riddled with expensive and complicated errors.

On Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 10am AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) join MSDynamicsWorld.com and Data Masons as we help you to understand the right questions to ask to make sure you're heading down the right integration path for your company:

  • Should you customize Dynamics AX/365 or embed custom code to handle your requirements?
  • Do prepackaged external applications work?
  • Is a SaaS or an on-premise solution a better way to go? Can you have both?
  • Do you really have to pay document fees?
  • How do Dynamics updates impact your EDI process?

We'll cover these critical questions and more in this informative session. Come away from the event with information that can turn EDI and eCommerce into a strategic advantage at your organization.

Register for the Webinar   "EDI Made Simple for Dynamics AX/D365"

  

Microsoft Dynamics Community, Dynamics ERP Integration, Dynamics 365, EDI for Dynamics 365, Microsoft Appsource, Dynamics 365 For Operations

Data Masons' Vantage Point EDI Solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations is the First Dedicated EDI and eCommerce Integration Solution to be listed on Microsoft AppSource

Data Masons Software, LLC., the leading provider of Integrated EDI and XML solutions for Microsoft Dynamics customers, announces the availability of its Vantage Point EDI for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations solution in Microsoft AppSource, an online marketplace by Microsoft Corporation for enterprises to find and use SaaS solutions from the company and its partners. Data Masons delivers the first dedicated EDI solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 to be certified on Microsoft AppSource.

“For the past 17 years Data Masons has dedicated our development efforts on supporting the EDI and eCommerce integration needs of companies that utilize the Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP and NAV ERP platforms. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations is a breakthrough cloud-based ERP platform and we are proud to deliver our next generation EDI processing platform for Dynamics 365. Our long-standing alignment with Microsoft’s go-to market strategy means we have the solution set and expertise to support Dynamics 365 around the clock and around the globe. AppSource is the marketplace for Dynamics 365 and being the first dedicated EDI solution available will certainly help drive new opportunities for our valued partners.  Additionally, we will enable companies running Dynamics AX using customizations to handle EDI inside AX to shed those customizations and accelerate their migration to Dynamics 365 for Operations” stated Glenn McPeak, Principal, Data Masons Software.

The Vantage Point EDI Platform delivers an all-in-one approach to EDI for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations without customizations. Available for deployment in the Data Masons’ public cloud, private cloud and on-premise, our customers have the flexibility to deploy their EDI in a manner that best suits their business needs. Combined with Data Masons’ huge library of existing connections and compliance maps, the company helps Microsoft Dynamics customers worldwide quickly turn EDI into a competitive advantage.

Data Masons offers education on EDI for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations in an Executive Brief, "Dynamics 365 - A Radical Change for AX: Critical Information for Companies Upgrading AX to Dynamics 365 for Operations." In this brief, Data Masons shares the vastly improved integration options that have been introduced in Dynamics 365 and compares them to the legacy technologies that were deprecated from the Dynamics AX era.

About Data Masons

Since 1996, Data Masons has specialized in EDI Made Simple®, offering advanced, turnkey EDI & XML solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365, AX, GP and NAV. Data Masons' Vantage Point EDI solution provides a complete EDI processing platform that enables users to become more competitive through tight EDI integration and ongoing compliance - all without the need for expensive and disruptive ERP platform customization. Data Masons' compliance services, product flexibility, extensive EDI and ERP integration knowledge and partner-driven experience have made Vantage Point EDI the winning choice for high-performance business document integration at more than 1,500 customers across North America. Additional information about Data Masons and its solutions is available at http://www.datamasons.com and follow the EDI conversation at #EDImadeSimple.