Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fourteen... ahem Nine Things I Hate about Dynamics GP plus One Thing I Hate about Management Reporter

Last year, I first published my Article, 10 things I hate about Dynamics GP. With the introduction of Dynamics GP 2015, I must update my list. No longer can I complain about the weak integration of Active Directory with Dynamics GP.

Thanks to the diligence of Microsoft, we can cross another issue off my list, With the previous improvements, introduced in Dynamics GP 2013, this release takes another one of my "Top Five" issues off my list. For those keeping score at home, that is four "Top Five" issues, resolved in the space of 24 months.

Dynamics GP 2015 now integrates with Active Directory and Azure. Work flow has been improved, and numerous other functional improvements were introduced.

I want all who read this to understand this post for what it is, a list of MY frustrations with Microsoft Dynamics GP and Management reporter.   I have been implementing and supporting Dynamics GP, by choice, since 1996.  Like many consultants, Dynamics GP is not the only solution I have implemented and supported.  I have worked with satisfied clients on Macola, Intuitive, Solomon and Platinum.

I freely share my list with potential clients during demonstrations in an effort to set expectations correctly.  I also suggest potential clients ask for a similar list from the people performing the demonstration of competing products.  As it turns out all other software is perfect, zero defects, nothing they can do better, just ask them - we all know, no software is perfect.

If you would have asked me for this list, when I was a fledgling consultant, my list would have started with Btrieve error 20.  A couple of years ago the top item on my list was the Year-End Close window.  Here's an interesting and important observation about my list, it is ever-evolving.   

Great Plains and ultimately Microsoft have managed to consistently resolve the issues I find most objectionable.  Sometimes solutions are a long-time coming, like having to choose your desired printer prior to printing a report, which previously checked in at number four on my list. Other issues, I never knew I had, until an improvement was introduced like SmartLists.

My list follows...  You will note some of the list has been struck through - these are items Microsoft resolved with the release of GP 2013 and 2015.  So, without further adieu here is MY list of 10 9 Things I Hate About Dynamics GP and 1 thing I hate about Management Reporter:

  1. Year-End Close window is (was) poorly designed; No Progress Bar, No Confirmation, No Options.
  2. Required Fields Error.  On save, GP should shift focus to the problem field or list required fields with NULL values.  It does not.
  3. There is no Account / Sub-Account relationship in Dynamics GP, so users must create every possible posting account combination.
  4. Desired printer must be selected before print.  Standing ovation on announcement leads to awkward moment.
  5. Expansion of some GP windows sometimes give you 4 more inches of Grey Border, instead of more columns of data.
  6. Expansion of the SmartLists window was poorly executed.  User could not suppress navigation tree, stretching the window produced little benefit.
  7. Discard Changes option is not universal. You open a transaction, review and close it.  GP asks you to save it, but you don't remember changing anything. What do you do now?  Delete the transaction?  Save an undesirable change?  How about a third option, no matter where you are in the system; Discard Changes?
  8. Weak Active Directory Integration.  Management Reporter, Web Client, SSRS Reports all use Active Directory. Dynamics GP still uses SQL Authentication.
  9. Dynamics GP has two Bill of Materials Modules. These modules have different features, functions and tables and are completely incompatible going forward.
  10. State Payroll Reporting has been left to Greenshades, a third party.  Every US business reports to at least one state.
  11. There is a disconnect on some Modular Voids. Transactions that originate in other modules must be voided in these originating modules to maintain accurate accounting records in Microsoft Dynamics GP. If you use Bank Reconciliation to void a transaction that was entered in another module, you receive a warning message that suggests that you void the transaction in the other module. You may continue through this message. However, the original transaction remains in the module in which the transaction was created. Reference KB858473
  12. Standard Navigation's departure from palettes to multi-level chained navigation.  Ah, the good old days.  I look back fondly on the days when one could navigate to Tools > Setup > System > Security and a palette containing all Security related menu options would open (User, User Access, User Security, etc.)  This palette could be pinned down, so you could move effortlessly between these related windows.  Now, it takes four levels of navigation to get to these options, and there is no easy way to transition between these related windows.  If you don't remember this feature, you can't miss it.  You really had to be there.
  13. Report Writer could use a Face Lift. Well-trained folks are all powerful with this tool, novices are typically lost.  There has to be a happy medium.  Easy to use, and incredibly flexible.  And don’t get me started on why a customer needs to buy a third-party solution to replace a default report with an SSRS version.
  14. Management Reporter Data Mart has to be recreated too frequently. I feel too many issues with Management Reporter are resolved by recreating the Data Mart.
As you can see, my list is really 13  14 Things I (used to) Hate About Dynamics GP.  To keep the list at 10 Things I Hate About Dynamics GP I have added one more nagging issue to my list, albeit an issue with Management Reporter and the Data Mart integration with Dynamics GP.

P.S. One of the best things about Microsoft Dynamics GP has always been the enthusiastic partner channel that works tirelessly to fill the gaps in what always ever will be an imperfect system.  In many ways this asset has made it possible for Microsoft to "take its time" while managing significant change.