Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hybrid development for the Managed Code developer (cont.)

In my previous article I outlined a hybrid development approach for managed code developers that allows for a C# or VB.NET programmer to make use of Modifier and Dexterity as complements to deliver a solution - see Hybrid development for the Managed Code developer.

In summary, a managed code developer could leverage Modifier to effect changes on the core Microsoft Dynamics GP (or any add-on or third party product) user interface, then use Dexterity to create the table definitions and routines that will make those tables available on SQL Server - the added advantage? tables are exposed to Microsoft Dynamics GP security model and are created on the first launch of your dictionary and you can create an assembly for the dictionary to drive table operations from your Visual Studio Tools solution that will not require the use of ADO.NET or even the GPConnNet.DLL file to access the tables. Finally, your Visual Studio Tools code would be used to drive the user interface controls added with Modifier and the table operations (the glue to it all if you will).

In using this hybrid approach, there are a number of considerations for deployment:

The Modifier bit
To deliver the UI changes to your customer, you will need to export a package file - using the Customization Maintenance window - that contains only the modified resource. Since it's possible to have VBA code with your UI changes, you may also need to export any references.

As best practice, export any references as a separate package as they may already be loaded in your customer's environment.

Since you also had to create an assembly for the modified forms dictionary (FORMS.DIC) using the Dictionary Assembly Generator tool (DAG), you need to include the Applications.Dynamics.ModifiedForms.DLL file with your package.

Note: as a best practice, you should generate a modified forms assembly using the actual forms dictionary from your client's environment, plus your UI changes. This will prevent any incompatibility with existing forms customizations when deploying the assembly in their environment. On the flip side, some developers prefer to DAG the clients FORMS.DIC dictionary file on site after the package file has been imported. This may still require to change the references within your existing Visual Studio project to use the modified forms assembly and recompile to create your final DLL.

Deliverable work products from this section:
  • Package File with UI customizations
  • Applications.Dynamics.ModifiedForms.DLL
The Dexterity bit
Since you created a Dexterity dictionary to deliver the table implementation (and any other bit you may have needed to facilitate your development project) you will now have to follow the conventional chunking process for your Dexterity application, YourPROD.CNK.

In addition, you would have needed to create an assembly for your Dexterity dictionary to reference in your Visual Studio Tools project using the DAG utility, yourCompany.YourProduct.DLL.

Deliverable work products from this section:
  • Chunk dictionary file with table creation/upgrade routines
  • yourCompany.YourProduct.DLL assembly file
The Visual Studio bit
As you are familiar with this process, suffice to say your actual VST project that serves as glue to the UI and table operations will need to be compiled into an assembly that will be deployed with the rest of components.

Deliverable work products from this section:


  • yourCompany.YourProduct.Extended.DLL assembly file
So in summary, you will be delivering 5 components with your application. While this may sound like a lot, it makes for a really slick solution. I want to hear from you about hybrid solutions you have created and how you have leveraged each tool.

Take a look at the following related articles for more information:

VST - Amount in Words on SOP Entry window
Developing Microsoft Dynamics GP hybrid integrating applications
Dex - How to get started with Dexterity over at Developing for Dynamics GP

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hybrid development for the Managed Code developer

A few weeks aback, I co-presented a deep dive session with my partner in crime, David Musgrave, at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011 DDGP03 Microsoft Dynamics GP Customization & Integration Tools Review - see Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 3 for more on what happened that day.

During our session, we introduce a Visual Studio Tools sample that left a few managed code developers scratching their heads - a bit. The sample in question used Modifier, Dexterity, and Visual Studio Tools to provide a customization to the Vendor Maintenance window. So let's break down the customization.

The Modifier bit

One of the limitations of Visual Studio Tools is that it cannot modify existing Microsoft Dynamics GP windows to incorporate new controls. In addition, if this particular window, the Vendor Maintenance window, was a third party dictionary resource, frankly, Dexterity won't be the tool to modify the window either - Dexterity cannot modify third party dictionary resources.

In addition, sometimes the user requirements need the customization to be implemented on the same window where they conduct most of their work on, understandabily so, as this simplifies the navigation process. 

Vendor Maintenance with customizations
The only way to bridge the gap between the aforementioned tools limitations and the user requirements is to use the Modifier tool. Modifier will allow a developer to deliver the controls needed by the user within the desired window. In turn, by using Modifier, we are ensuring that the changes can be displayed to the user on an "as needed" basis through the implementation of standard Microsoft Dynamics GP security.

However, by adding the controls to the window, the information selected by the user still has nowhere (yet) to be stored.


The Dexterity bit

By using Dexterity, we can implement the table metadata information that will allow the data selected by the user from the newly added controls to be stored. This will require a brand new Dexterity dictionary to be created.

If you are a Visual Studio developer you may still be asking, why can't I implement the table and storage mechanism in SQL directly. The answer? Of course you can! However, by using Dexterity, you are able to expose your table to Microsoft Dynamics GP security model as well as simplifying the calls by using standard range methods in Visual Studio Tools.

In addition, if you need to make special calls to existing Microsoft Dynamics GP programatic objects (functions, procedures, etc.) which may require you to create wrappers, you can do so from Dexterity and perform the calls from Visual Studio Tools.

xmpVendorMaster table definition
On a more mundane note, Dexterity will create the table auto procedures and automatically add the DEX_ROW_ID identity column that will allow the runtime engine to control row level locking for you. By implementing your table in Dexterity, you are also providing a failsafe mechanism against deploying incorrect table structures or a different version of the table. If you are familiar with Microsoft Dynamics GP, you will know that the SQL Server tables must strictly match the metadata definition stored in the dictionary.

However, we still don't have a glue for the UI changes and table storage and retrieval - commonly known as CRUD operations.

The Visual Studio Tools bit
Because the UI does not know of the table or the table of the UI, you must now implement the Visual Studio Tools portion to attain the final pieces. But first, you must do a few things...
 
In order to expose the controls added with Modifier to your Visual Studio Tools project, you must create an assembly for the modified window. In order to do so, you must use the Dictionary Assembly Generator tool (DAG.EXE).
 
In addition, exposing the table you created in Dexterity will also require you to DAG your Dexterity dictionary. Once you have generated both assemblies, you can then reference them in your Visual Studio project.

Solution Explorer
Once you have the code necessary to drive the interface and store the data, you can then build your assembly. The overall architecture of this solution is as follow:
 

Customization Architecture
 
You can download the code for this sample by visiting the Convergence Atlanta 2011 materials post below:
 
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Presentation Materials

Tomorrow I will talk about how to deploy this solution.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 R2 is hot off the press

Microsoft has made GP 2010 R2 available prior to the original launch date of May 1, 2011. The product can be downloaded from CustomerSource or PartnerSource.

For a look at a summary of the changes and improvements in this release, check out the What's New document. This release is available as a new DVD image as well as a Service Pack 2 patch for existing Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 installations. The Fix List and Install Guide is also available for download.

Note: Registration Keys for New Customers will not be available until the May 1, 2011 official release date. Also, the Word Template Generator is a new product for this release and is currently only available from PartnerSource.

The links below are for the Product Release and Service Pack pages:

PartnerSource


Product Release Downloads for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Word Template Generator for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 R2
Service Pack, Hotfix, and Compliance Update Patch Releases for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Workflow for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for eConnect for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Integration Manager for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Workflow for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Personal Data Keeper for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Dexterity Development System Releases for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 (Available soon)

CustomerSource


Product Release Downloads for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Pack, Hotfix, and Compliance Update Patch Releases for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Workflow for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for eConnect for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Integration Manager for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Workflow for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Service Packs and Hotfixes for Personal Data Keeper for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
Dexterity Development System Releases for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 (Available soon)


For those of you already running the Support Debugging Tool and thinking to apply the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Service Pack 2 as part of the R2 release, you will be pleased to know that the current build 14 release of Support Debugging Tool will run just fine with your Service Pack 2 upgrade.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

A Peek Behind the Convergence Eval Curtain - Follow Up

MVP Mark Polino just released a really nice post about what goes on behind the speaker's curtain - see Convergence 2011: A Peek Behind the Eval Curtain. I thought I would pick up where he left with my own insight on the subject.

Let's start by saying that Microsoft Dynamics Convergence is the biggest stage on the planet for us speakers and presenters in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM world. The amount of time that goes into preparing our sessions, assembling presentations, handouts, and demos, and making sure we are ready by the time the event actually happens is ginormous. In our case (David and I) it's at the tune of more than 3 months and with a 12-hour difference - we are invited more than 6 months in advance, IF and when we get invited. For those of you who think we just show up on stage, there is no such thing. We actually have to earn our stripes to be in front of you every year.

So how do we earn our stripes you may ask?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is to introduce topics that are always relevant to the community or act upon the ones that are requested by you. In our case, there's been much interest in the Support Debugging Tool and Development Tools for the past 3 years now (if you also consider the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference), that we have become the defacto presenters for these tracks.

The second thing is to make sure that we can actually deliver... and here comes the catch 22. Delivery can only be measured by your evaluations. So it takes A LOT of convincing, a lot of good ol' politics (in the good sense), and a good track record with the Microsoft Dynamics community to get on stage the first time around.

Once selected as speakers, we begin working on our presentations for the event. I have to be honest here... David and I always look forward to beat Mark Polino and become The Number One Microsoft Dynamics GP session and the top Convergence session, if at all possible. So yes, 1/100 of a point does count in that pursuit.

As Mark mentioned in his post, this is all in good spirit and the only one benefitting from this fierce competition is you, the attendee. Now, take our collective competitiveness and multiply it times 120. That's how many other speakers and presenters are looking to beat everyone else across all 4 products + CRM. Every single one of us walks into the speaker room just hoping to see our names in the top 10 sessions of the ENTIRE event. Yes, those fancy flat screens are not there to catch up on Days of Our Lives, but rather to see how we are doing overall.

Speaker Room
Like Mark, we strive not only to deliver good presentations, but to hear back from you. Hearing back from you allows us to correct, fine tune, adjust, make changes for IF and when we are invited again. So your comments are important. Here are some of the ones that bring joy to our lives and relieve some of the stress:

"Excellent beyond excellent. Great dynamic between the presenters and the info was beyond useful, wish I would have had this 6 months ago on a project. Thanks for this class!"
"These two should go On Tour...........at first you get worried that their comedy act will delay getting the facts out but somehow they manage to not only give you what you need but even more before the session expires. EXCELLENT"
We don't know who you are, but you sure know who you are, so if you are reading this thank you, thank you, thank you for your input.

We also suffer from the odd comments that makes us scratch our heads too:

"Too much information trying to be pushed out for the time allotted. Speaker talked the whole time while going through slide and the demos were just screen shots no real demos."
Too much information? Talk through slides? Demos were screen shots? If you are familiar with David and I, you will probably know by now that we only used a summary version of our 150+ presentation slide deck and love to deliver lots of information and demos instead. This is why you paid money to come to the event to begin with! So buddy, there's no such thing as too much information when it comes to Convergence.

We also tend to get the one comment that makes us do what we do even more and better:

"I know many people like these presenters, but personally I find them to be a bit over-the-top and too much in love with themselves. They obviously know their stuff, but their ego's get in the way of me enjoying the session to be honest."
I have never (ever) claimed to not have an ego and much less not being in love with myself - ask David or Michael Johnson! Yes, if you want to be on THIS KIND of stage and perform at this level you do have to know your stuff and I am frankly not ashame of either. Attendees want to know that you are a confident person who they can come up to and ask a question that have been tormenting them for months, but better yet, they want to know that they can get an answer on the spot.

That's why I am invited in the first place, but then again, comments like these are very far and in-between.

As for the ego part, the next time you see us, don't be surprised if we are being chauffeured in a limo to our session room. Did I mention Microsoft putting us up in the presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton?

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to schedule Dynamics GP to automatically log in and run an Integration Manager integration - revisited

With my newly found stride, thanks mostly to Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011 and the number of interesting questions I fielded during the event, I thought it was time to revisit the issue of scheduling Integration Manager integrations as part of our deep dive session, DDGP03 Microsoft Dynamics GP Customization & Integration Tools Review - see Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 3 for more on what transpired that day.

If you have been a follower of my blog for sometime now, you will recall that back in January of 2009 (ok, I don't expect you to remember this) I posted an article on the subject - see How to schedule Dynamics GP to automatically log in and run an Integration Manager integration. In short, the article looked at using the Windows Task Scheduler to launch a batch file, which in turn would launch Microsoft Dynamics GP, which in turn would use a macro to log into the system, then run a previously created shortcut to run the integration...in summary, a very complicated set of steps if you ask me. This method also presented a problem for users running Windows Server 2008 and above, since the Windows Task Scheduler no longer supports desktop interaction, which is required by the macro system to execute a macro.

Fast forwarding one year and almost half later, and I still get this question regularly: How can I schedule an Integration Manager integration?

Here is my new secret...

I use a (non-Microsoft) product called System Scheduler Professional by Splinterware. It turns out that System Scheduler has no ties to the Microsoft Windows Task Scheduler - none whatsoever! In turn, it allows the product to do some really cool things like running as a service application which is just exactly what's needed if you are going to schedule stuff when locking down your computer before leaving for the day is a must.

System Scheduler - Event Setup

System Scheduler allows you to setup an event or a list of events to be executed and even more cool, it allows you to send key sequences to an application with a complete help file that illustrates what's possible. In older systems (like Windows XP) you can even set it up to unlock the computer and lock it as part of the list of events. Due to restrictions in the way Windows 7 is built this is not possible, but still, not needed if you consider that System Scheduler can run as a service under the LocalSystem account or a named account.

System Scheduler - Advanced Options
You can download the product with the link below:

System Scheduler Professional by Splinterware.

The Professional version allows you to try it out for 30 days before you need to register it. It is really very simple to use and if you had had any exposure to Windows Task Scheduler then this should be a breeze. Now, instead of the complex steps mentioned in the previous article, you can schedule Microsoft Dynamics GP to launch with the typical parameters and use a macro to log you in (if not using Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 to remember the user and company for you). Once GP is up and running, you can use a the SendKeys function to lunch IM (or IMRun) and execute the integration of your choice.

As it turns out, you can also have a multi-event schedule that first launches GP then launches IM with the integration as a parameter. Please try the tool out and let me know what you think.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Monday, April 18, 2011

Resetting Security Roles and Task with the Support Debugging Tool

This is my first after Convergence post and I have to say, I came away with enough questions from attendees to fill the blog for the remainder of the year. One such questions came from someone attending the interactive discussion session on security, IDGP04-R2 Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Security in Microsoft Dynamics GP - see Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 Morning Closing Session (Cont.) for more on what transpired that day.

The individual in question wanted to know if there is a way or method to "reset" all Microsoft Dynamics GP security roles and tasks to the out-of-the-box defaults once these had been changed. After thinking about it for a bit, there is effectively a way using the Support Debugging Tool.

Step 1 - Export the security tables from a brand new installation of Microsoft Dynamics GP
In a brand new installation of Microsoft Dynamics GP, install and use the Support Debugging Tool's XML Table Export feature to create a SECURITY profile ID, including all the security tables as shown below.

XML Table Export - SECURITY profile ID
 Step 2 - Optional: Clear the destination system's security tables

You can then create a script using the Support Debugging Tool's SQL Execute that will clear all the security tables in your destination system, as shown below.

SQL Execute - Clears security tables
By saving the script ID we can reuse the code as many times as needed or for future resets. Note also, that I have used the Dexterity table notation in the DELETE statement as I already had the names in the XML Table Export window.

Step 3 - Import the records exported in step 1 into the destination system

Finally, we can use Support Debugging Tool's XML Table Import feature to reset security and reload the defaults from the XML file exported in step 1. Note that I have marked the Overwrite Table Contents option, which would render step 2 not necessary. However, having step 2 reduces your chances of forgetting to select this checkmark.

XML Table Import
I have attached the SECURITY profile ID and the RESET_SECURITY script ID at the bottom of this post. I am also including the exported security tables XML files with the default security tasks, roles and assignments. Remember that you can choose a reduce set of data to export or remove tables that you may not want to import. It all depends what level of granularity you are trying to achieve.

Downloads

DebuggerInfo.zip - contains SECURITY profile ID, RESET_SECURITY script ID, and default security roles, tasks and operations for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Wrap up


Well, another year, another Microsoft Dynamics Convergence, my birthday is past, and David is now home. It's amazing to think just a few days aback David and I were hosting a GPUG session and presenting 2 topics over 3 days, and all the work that went in to making our sessions a success - thanks to all of you who attended!

As is customary, this post will provide a summary of (most) links where you can find information on Convergence just in case you were not able to attend the event or miss any of the previous posts. So let's get started:

The Dynamics GP Blogster (this site):

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day -4
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day -3 & -2
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day -1
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: GPUG DayONE
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: General Reception
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 2 morning
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 2 afternoon
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 3
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 Morning Closing Session
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Houston 2012: Day 4 Morning Closing Session
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 Morning Closing Session (Cont.)
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 afternoon
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Evals Reminder
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Presentation Materials

Also, keep tuned to The Dynamics GP Blogster on Facebook for more pictures around Convergence that did not make it to the blog.

Developing for Dynamics GP (David's site):

Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Getting There
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Preparation
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 1
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 1 cont.
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 2
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 2 cont.
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 3
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 4
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 4 Guest Speaker
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 4 cont.
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Getting Home
Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Wrap Up

The good thing is, most of the blogging community was present at Convergence and had an opportunity to capture some of their experiences too:

Belinda, The GP CSI (Belinda Allen)

DynamicAccounting.net (MVP Mark Polino)

The Dynamics Confessor (MVP Leslie Vail)

Dynamics GP Land (Christina Phillips & Steve Endow)

gp2themax (MVP Frank Hamelly)

The Virtual Convergence site is up and you can now relive and download the presentations you attended.  I know I did not attend a lot of the sessions that I would have liked to attend, so I will spend a few days going through these.



Finally, there are a few things at Convergence you just don't do, dancing being one of them - see Dwight Specht's post, Don't dance at Convergence for clear examples as to why this is a bad idea. However, I have to say that my cohorst David Musgrave has the moves. Thanks to MVP Leslie Vail and Sheila Jefferson-Ross we now get a window into David's abilities. This video should be going viral pretty soon.







See you all at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Houston 2012!

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Presentation Materials

The materials for our presentations are now available for download. Click the link for each session to retrieve the zip files containing all the summary slides (used to present), the extended slide decks, and the Microsoft Word documents detailing each topic presented. Remember... we worked really hard to provide the samples and documentation included with our sessions. If you have any comments on the materials, please feel free to add them to this post.


The Learning Resources page on this site has been updated to include these presentations too.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Friday, April 15, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Evals Reminder

Hope you had a great time at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011 and that you made it home safely. Now that you have had some time to catch up on your emails, please visit the Convergence website to fill out the evaluation forms. Your input is the only venue we have as presenters to improve our content and delivery.

Remember that Convergence is also helping the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) organization by donating $5 USD for each form submitted.

Eval Reminder slide
Also, if there's any topic you would like to see included in future Convergence events, please include in your overall event eval.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 afternoon

Day 4: April 13, 2011

After the awesome closing speach by Malcolm Gladwell and the interactive discussion session on Security, we came across Pam Misialek, who was just out of a meeting and also on her way to lunch. .
Mariano Gomez and Pam Misialek
Little after catching up with Pam, we saw John Lowther walking down the corridor and caught up with him as well. As you can expect, we all were dragging feet by then, but managed to keep up the good spirit for the rest of the afternoon.

Mariano Gomez, Pam Misialek, David Musgrave, John Lowther
On our way to the Meal Hall, we stopped to say hi to Greg Willson and Patrick Roth who were manning Support in the Community and Learning Center area. We also ran into fellow blogger Yulia Smotrova and MVP Leslie Vail. Yulia was on her way out to the airport to grab her flight to New York City.

David Musgrave, Yulia Smotrova, Mariano Gomez, Leslie Vail, Greg Willson
After lunch, David and I were quick to the Sydney Marcus Auditorium to see fellow MVP Mark Polino presenting his session, CSGP06-R2 Getting More Out of Microsoft Dynamics GP: 50 tips in 50 minutes. I have to say I truly enjoyed Mark's session as there are still these little things that escape me, even working with the product for so many years.

MVP Mark Polino
Next, we returned to the Community and Learning Center to decompress for a bit before our session. The hour break went by pretty quick. I had a chance to catch up with fellow IntellPartners', CEO Ted Mauldin who was talking to a few people.

The break was short lived with David and I having to go to room A-305 for our session, CSGP014-R2 Administering Microsoft Dynamics GP Like a Pro with the Support Debugging Tool. We opened our session with a number of songs being played off David's laptop. This was a good starting point as many attendees were already on their last ounce of energy.

The session began with our (now) traditional introductions. From there on, everything went very well, managing to keep people awake, though I have to admit we were both dragging feet as well. For all of you who sticked it out until the end, David and I truly appreciate your kind words and support.

The professors at work (and having fun!)
The session ended on time, but we still managed to spend the next 15 minutes answering questions, despite being completely drained.

Q&A - way past our session's time
We made plans to go to dinner at the Omni Hotel. On my way there, I caught up with the eOne Integrated Business Solutions team from Australia. These dudes also looked like they could use some sleep themselves. Low and behold, there was Pam Misialek too! We all discussed briefly the outcome of our ran through Convergence and said our goodbyes.

The eOne Solutions Team crashing after a long week (and Pam Misialek, but this is not what you are thinking)
After a couple drinks at the bar, we moved to the McCormick and Schmick's restaurant at the CNN Center. The truth is, this was everyone's last effort to get some R&R time before leaving the event for the day.

David Musgrave (Microsoft), Joyce Vanjura (Fuddruckers), Mike McDowell (Stay-Home Healthcare), MVP Leslie Vail, Jorge Cortez Monroy (Taylor Shellfish), David Eichner (ICAN Software), John Lowther (Stay-Home Healthcare), Ted Mauldin (IntellPartners), Mariano Gomez (IntellPartners)
We had a great time, but it was now time to say goodbye. David, Ted, and I headed out of the CNN Center. I dropped off Ted at the North Springs MARTA station from where he picked up his car. David will be staying with me for the next 2 days, debriefing and evaluating our sessions.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 Morning Closing Session (Cont.)

Day 4: April 13, 2011

Where do I begin...

Minutes earlier, we were finding out about Houston having the honor of hosting the next Microsoft Dynamics Convergence event. If this was exciting, and if seeing the YEA kids performing was exciting, then I couldn't imagine what the last minutes would bring.

Doug then introduced guest speaker, Mr. Malcolm Gladwell, Staff Writer for The New Yorker and best-selling author. Now this was a real treat! If you haven't heard about Mr. Gladwell, his body of work often deals with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences and makes frequent and extended use of academic work, particularly in the areas of psychology, and social psychology - see Wikipedia entry.

Malcom Gladwell, Guest Speaker
Mr. Gladwell's speach centered around how technology can aid in the decision making process. To illustrate his point, he brought to light research conducted in sports around teams holding home court advantage. Research conducted throughout diverse professional sports showed that 62% of the time teams with a home court advantage went on to win their match against the visiting team.

By the numbers however, home teams had no apparent advantage over the visiting team and showed no superiority. The research looked into the distance traveled by visiting teams, whether the local weather played a factor in visiting teams performance, or the crowd had an effect on players, and a number of other elements.

Finally, research concluded that the major game influencer for teams with home court advantage were the referees - though, Mr. Gladwell was quick to point out that the vast majority of referees do their job with integrity. Referees are influenced by the size of the crowd. Research conducted in soccer, showed that in soccer stadiums where there was a track field separating the crowd from the actual soccer field, the officiating calls were much more accurate and had little to no influence on the game outcome. However, in stadiums where there's no track field, referees would favor the home team in a larger percent of their calls or would whistle less calls in favor of the visiting team.

Malcom Gladwell
So, how does technology assist with the decision making process:

1. Technology can make decision making transparent. As humans, we are not good in explaining our decision making process. Technology helps in fact checking and correcting bias.

2. Technology can help in simplifying decision making. Human judgment fails when the number of variables increase. When the plainfield clarified judgment is restored. Overall, human judgment is fragile and succeptible to bias.

3. Technology protects from disruption and corruption by restoring fairness. Technology enables judgment.
In the case of sports, Mr. Gladwell noted that research showed that when the MLB instituted the strike zone box device to show whether umpires were making the correct calls or not, that umpires themselves were less prone to make the wrong call against the visiting team leveling out the plainfield with the home team.

Instant replay, allows NFL referees to have a private time to review a play, bringing and restoring fairness to the game.



Malcom Gladwell and Doug Kennedy - Q&A
 After the Closing Keynote Session, David and I got a run through the Expo Hall to take a picture of the Rockton Software crew. You can tell the Rockton crew had quite a bit of fun the night before. We snapped a picture and quickly left to go to the interactive discussion session, IDGP04-R2 Tips & Tricks for Maintaining Security in Microsoft Dynamics GP.

The session was manned by Bob McAdam, Andy Snook with the subject matter expertise of Microsoft's Terry Blazer. As the session went on, David and I became facilitators for the bits and pieces that came up on the Support Debugging Tool.

Mariano Gomez (IntellPartners), David Ahalt (MonaVie), David Musgrave (Microsoft), Andy Snook (FastPath), Bob McAdam (Tribridge), Terry Blazer (Microsoft)

The session, IDGP04-R2 Tips & Tricks for Maintaining Security in Microsoft Dynamics GP, ended with lots of questions from the attendees and got us excited about our 4:30 PM session to follow, but lunch time was upon us.



Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Houston 2012: Day 4 Morning Closing Session

Day 4: April 13, 2011

After the phenomenal opening minutes earlier, it was time to know which city would have the privilege of hosting the next Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2012 event. Doug Kennedy announced that Houston, Texas would claim this honor.

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Houston 2012 Intro Slide
Doug introduced Danielle Moon, Project Coordinator at NOV Tuboscope who immendiately outlined the Top 5 coolest things about Houston and why the city makes perfect to host the next Convergence.

Top 5 Coolest Things About Houston
So now that you know, mark your calendars and begin making preparations for Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Houston 2012, which will run from March 18th to March 21st, 2012, and will be hosted at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Convergence Houston Dates and Venue
Of course, there's no Texas without its cowbows, so Doug was presented with a hat for the occasion, all the while he prepared to introduce the final act of the morning.

Doug Kennedy wearing a cowboy hat
Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 Morning Closing Session

Day 4: April 13, 2011

By the time you read this post, Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011 will already be something of yesterday. Many of you will already be home, thinking of spending a relaxing weekend with family and friends or simply catch up on some sleep.

My day started with a bit of a rush trying to get to the closing keynote session in Hall B5 where David had already reserved me a seat upfront with the GPUG elite, but on my way, I couldn't help to see the amount of people already checking in their bags to get out of town. Also, this showed how organized this event was from the very beginning.
Airline Bags Check In

Still, I was pleased to know I wasn't the only one running late - not an excuse, but some comfort nonetheless.

Attendees heading to closing keynote session
As I entered the hall and sat next to David the Nick Brophy band was already setting stage for the closing session.

Nick Brophy band
The closing began with the Danger Game. Three attendees were selected to shoot down a stack of soda cans with just a rubberband and their fingers.

Convergence 2011 Danger Game

The host explained the rules to the game participants and off they went with knocking down the cans by slinging the rubber band.

Danger Game in motion
When the game was over, Vice President of Microsoft Dynamics Partners, Doug Kennedy, came out to talk about the success of this Convergence event and provide some highlights and interesting facts.

VP Microsoft Dynamics Partners, Doug Kennedy
As I looked at the facts, i realized how hard it is to rationalize the magnitude of this event. It's pretty easy to say 9,000 people attended the event, but you really can't wrap you head around the amount of things that need to happen behind the scenes to make something like this happen. Also, you can't imagine how you, as an individual, impact the numbers below on the picture.
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011 Fun Facts
One of my favorite parts of the closing session was - as I am sure it was for many of you - the introduction of the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) organization and the announcement that Microsoft Dynamics Convergence would be donating five dollars ($5 USD) to the cause for each evaluation turned in by each one of you.

Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) intro slide
The YEA's main mission is to help kids develop and tranform their world through art. And they had quite a presentation of their own too! The show was fantastic with phenomenal vocals and coordinated and well synchronized dance. Everyone in the attending crowed cheered and clapped for minutes at a time once the kids were finished.

Youth Ensemble of Atlanta's presentation

Because of the excitement and all the activities, I will continue narrating all the events that took place throughout the day in three more posts, so stay tuned.
Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/