What You Need to Know about Microsoft Dynamics 365

Fortunately, what you DON’T need is a manual. That would be so old school and Microsoft Dynamics 365 is as far from old school as you can get. With Dynamics 365, everything you need to know is conveniently available online. So unless you have a pressing need for door stoppers, you can heave those weighty manuals right into the trash or burn them in your fireplace for a lovely blaze.

Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP capabilities into applications that work seamlessly together across sales, customer service, field service, operations, financials, marketing, and project service automation. If you don’t need all of those applications, no worry. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 you can easily choose and use just the pieces that you actually need right now. The rest will remain available to you as your business, and your needs, grow.

True Cloud

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a true cloud solution. It was conceived and designed as a cloud-based, unified ERP and CRM system. It was NOT an on-premise solution that was later re-engineered for the cloud. Heaven forbid! No, Dynamics 365 is your ticket to the world of Digital Transformation – for digitizing and digitalizing every facet of your business.

This is nowhere more evident than in the newest release when on April 2nd Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central became generally available. Business Central is like the central bus station in a big city. It’s the hub for every conceivable destination. Business Central connects people and processes like never before. It’s a cloud platform for managing your finances, operations, sales, and service in one comprehensive solution with built-in intelligence.

Kitchen Sink

When I was growing up, there was a local ice cream parlor that was famous for its sundaes. You could choose how many and which scoops and toppings you wanted to create your own sundae. Or, you could order the mother of all sundaes which was called “The Kitchen Sink.” I can still picture it!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central includes everything except the kitchen sink. Which makes sense, given that you don’t need a kitchen sink to run your business. I’m going to start a long list of what Business Central allows you to do, but at some point, I’m going to run out of virtual paper:

  • Manage your financials
    • Make informed decisions
    • Connect data across accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory, and customer interactions to get an end-to-end view of your business
    • Chart financial performance in real time with built-in Power BI dashboards
    • Accelerate financial close and reporting
    • Streamline accounts receivables and payables, and automatically reconcile accounts to close and report on financials quickly and accurately, while maintaining compliance.
    • Improve forecast accuracy
    • Refine financial forecasts by modeling and analyzing data across multiple dimensions
    • Customize reports using seamless Microsoft Excel integration
  • Automate and secure your supply chain
    • Optimize inventory levels
    • Use built-in intelligence to when and what to replenish
    • Purchase only what you need with dynamically updated inventory levels
    • Avoid lost sales and reduce shortages
    • Maintain the right amount of inventory by automatically calculating levels, lead time, and recorder points.
    • Suggest substitutes when requested items are out of stock
    • Get recommendations on when to pay vendors, use vendor discounts, and avoid past due penalties
  • Keep projects on time and under budget
    • Create, manage, and track customer projects using timesheets along with advance job costing and reporting capabilities
    • Develop, modify, and control budgets to ensure project profitability
    • Manage resource levels by planning capacity and sales
    • Track invoicing for customers against planned costs on orders ad quotes
    • Make effective decisions with real-time insight on project status, profitability, and resource=usage metrics
  • And now I’m officially out of virtual paper and this blog is getting too long!

There’s so much more to say so the best thing I can for you is point in the right directions. Because as I said from the outset, everything you need to know about Microsoft Dynamics 365 is conveniently available online.

Begin your quest here: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/business-central/overview/
Then continue AppSource, the online marketplace for hundreds of applications that you can add to Dynamics 365 for even more functionality.

And finally, contact International Software Systems for personalized answers to questions that are unique to your business. Laura Peters is available at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250. www.intlsoftwaresystems.com

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What Does Digital Transformation Mean to You as a Microsoft Dynamics GP Client?

What Does Digital Transformation Mean to You as a Microsoft Dynamics GP Client?

If a small, flat square of colored paper can be folded and transformed via origami techniques into a graceful crane, what can Digital Transformation (DT) of your ERP system do for your company?

It bears remembering that the 3-D crane is still just a single piece of paper. And also that no scissors were involved in the transformative process. The square area of the original piece of paper that formed the crane is the same as the square of the crane. In other words, nothing was lost in the process. Indeed, much was gained. The crane that emerged has greater depth and complexity than a sheet of paper.

What’s more, you can unfold the crane and transform that same small, colored square of paper into any number of little animals, as well as boats, hats, boxes, hearts … Origami experts have even been known to create reasonable facsimiles of well-known figures such as Icarus and King Tut.

Sooo….

What Does Digital Transformation Mean to You as a Microsoft Dynamics GP Client?

The point I’m trying to get at here, relative to Digital Transformation is this: With a solid foundation such as Microsoft Dynamics GP, you can easily digitalize your ERP system without compromising the trusted foundation you’ve been using for years. And you would have so much to gain from that transformation.

Whether you move from on-premise Dynamics GP to GP in the cloud, or from Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics 365, some of the benefits of this Digital Transformation are:

  • Eliminate hardware and infrastructure costs
  • Eliminate server maintenance costs
  • Reduced IT spend
  • Increased security
  • Increased uptime
  • Automated back-ups
  • Reliable disaster recovery

Moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the additional benefits of increased connectivity and integrations. Dynamics 365 natively connects:

  • OneDrive
  • Outlook
  • Excel
  • PowerApps
  • Microsoft Flow
  • Office 365
  • Skype
  • Power BI
  • Cortana Intelligence, and
  • Azure Machine Learning

Even more features and greater functionality will be available in the forthcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central on April 2nd.

Digital Transformation is here to stay. Take that journey with us at International Software Systems. Contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

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In Case You Missed this Rare Joint Interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Bill Gates

In the past 43 years since Microsoft was founded, there have only been 3 CEOs. That in itself is a pretty rare statistic. Bill Gates reigned from 1975 to 2000. Steve Ballmer ruled from 2000 to 2014. And then came Satya Nadella in 2014.

Three men, 3 personalities. And yet, we can all probably agree that they were and still are great visionaries. To govern a forward-thinking company like Microsoft, what all 3 possess is a passion for innovation.

Let’s cut to the chase and read about the September 2017 interview with Gates and Nadella by Seth Stevenson in The Wall Street Journal.

© Maciek Kobielski for WSJ. Magazine

You can read the full interview here.

Sure, they discussed technology – past, current, and future. But what struck me the most is that they are both enamored with the concept of empathy. Here’s what they had to say.

Satya Nadella: “Being hard-core and driven is as essential today as it ever was. But there needs to be humility. The reason why I use the word empathy is because the business we are in is to meet the unmet, unarticulated needs of customers. That’s what innovation is all about. And there’s no way you’re going to do that well without having empathy and curiosity.

Bill Gates: “I’ve come to value empathy more over the course of my career. Early on… It was very hard-core. … I think as this industry has matured, so has what’s expected of a CEO. Satya has a natural ability to work well with lots of people, to tell people they’re wrong in a nice way and to let feedback come through to him more than I did.

Perhaps this struck me the most because empathy is an important part of my value system. If I can’t understand and empathize what my clients are going through in their lives and businesses, then I can’t do my job.

It certainly sounds like Microsoft is in good hands with a man like Satya Nadella. I’m proud to be a Microsoft Dynamics Partner. To be part of a company that’s always on the leading edge of technology. A company that is incorporating empathy into its culture.

Read more about International Software Systems and our Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 practice. Then contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250. www.intlsoftwaresystems.com

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Wholesale Distribution Is Undergoing a Digital Transformation

Fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT), digital transformation is growing and spreading, like a wildfire whipped by the wind through a dry terrain. No industry is exempt from the allure of digital transformation. Some have embraced it more than others. But no matter what industry sector we might choose to look at, the benefits and challenges are the same.

In many ways, the challenges actually turn into the benefits. For example, the challenging need for increased data storage capacity becomes a solution for increased storage capacity. The need for faster speed becomes a solution for faster speed. Once each challenge is resolved, the organization benefits exponentially from enhanced performance, connectivity, cost reductions, and better tools for system management.

Companies in the wholesale distribution sector have long been looking for ways to improve their Supply Chain Management (SCM) and logistics. As more and more of their supply chain and logistics partners move their systems to the cloud, distributors are reaping the benefits of increased visibility along every segment of their supply chain as greater connectivity is facilitated by the cloud. Some call this trend “hyperconnectivity” and it’s a boon for distributors.

In the 21st century, we have bid farewell to many, if not all, of the limitations of 20th-century computing power. Memory, storage, and speed have increased exponentially, enabling real-time informed decision making based on real-time analytics. Challenges can be identified and resolved before they become problems. Business processes can be optimized. Forecasts will be more accurate. And the door has been opened for predictive maintenance. Some call this trend “supercomputing” and it’s another boon for savvy distributors.

The technology behind digital transformation allows distributors to envision a brave new world, with:

  • Smarter robots
  • Smarter 3D printing
  • Smarter products
  • Smarter machines
  • Smart vending
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Drone deliveries
  • Revolutionary service models
  • Automated maintenance models

The sky is literally the limit due to cloud computing and especially hybrid cloud deployments. Early adopters are already gaining a competitive edge. So a word to the wise for distributors who have not embraced digital transformation: Execute a digital strategy now, because today every business is a technology business.

Are you ready to embark on a digital journey?

Contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250. www.intlsoftwaresystems.com

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Hop on the Bandwagon with Skype for Business

Here’s some great hype for you. Not since the invention of the wheel has there been an innovation like Skype to turn the wheels of business.  … Yes. I made that up. But let’s look at what Skype can do for your business and then you can tell me if my hypothetical hype could be true.

Let’s begin with a very abbreviated Skype history lesson.

  1. First released in 2003
  2. Purchased by eBay in 2005
  3. Purchased by Microsoft in 2011

And a bit of trivia for all of the etymology buffs out there. The name for the software is derived from "Sky peer-to-peer," which was then abbreviated to "Skyper." However, some of the domain names associated with "Skyper" were already taken. Dropping the final "r" left the current title "Skype," for which domain names were available.

Perhaps Skype’s most endearing feature is its versatility. Skype calls, video conferences and Instant Messaging (IM) can be accessed from:

  • computers
  • tablets
  • mobile devices
  • the Xbox One console and
  • smartwatches

via the Internet and to regular telephones. What’s more, there is Skype for:

  • Windows
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Mac and
  • Linux

Further, over the last 2 years, Microsoft transitioned Skype from peer-to-peer service to a centralized Azure service.

Skype supports both emoticons and Mojis. Plus, an option to call contacts on Skype through Siri voice commands.

Are you loving it? Are you thinking about what Skype, the ultimate platform for professional collaboration and meetings, can for your business? Have you concluded that the hype about Skype is true?

You can get more details by contacting me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And visit us at www.intlsoftwaresystems.com.

BTW, Skype for Business comes with Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium.

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Just Released! Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 in All its Glory

We’re rolling out the red carpet for the December 1st release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018. It was indeed a glorious day for Dynamics GP customers. New releases always come with a host of new features that put a smile on everyone’s face.

Microsoft GP 2018 is new and improved! It adds to the comprehensive, core functionality you need and enhances the core application, user experience, and platform. Here are just a few of the enhancements you’ll enjoy in the new release:

Comprehensive Doc Attach
GP 2018 introduces the next evolution of Comprehensive Doc Attach on most master record windows, inquiry windows and transaction entry windows. Specifically, the Document Attach icon has been added to the Receivables Transaction Entry window and the Transaction Entry (General Ledger) window.

And there’s more! Because the Document Attach icon has also been added to the following windows: Employee Inquiry, I-9 Form, (Fixed) Asset Inquiry, Vendor Inquiry, Customer Inquiry, Project Inquiry, and PA Project Inquiry.

User Experience
GP 2018 improves the user experience by giving users easier and faster ways to get to and find the data they are looking for to make decisions based off the information stored in Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Optimize Financials & HRP
The Financials and HR/Payroll experience in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 has also been optimized.

Workflow
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018, the capabilities of Workflow have been extended. In addition to new workflows such as GL Account and Purchase Invoice, workflow capabilities like copy step and reminder emails have been added.

Power "Suite" Evolution
The Power Suite now supports Paging and Filtering in OData Services, Support OData V4 and finally, what users have all been waiting for, the GP Power BI Content Pack!

Stay tuned for even more news about Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 because this is the just the tip of the iceberg.

Got questions? Contact us for the answers. You can also contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

We’re on the Web at www.intlsoftwaresystems.com.

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Experience Is the Best ERP Teacher: A Proverb We Live By

Nothing can replace experience. And nowhere is this more true than in the sphere of accounting and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software implementations. Book learning, classroom learning, seminars, YouTube videos – they’re all fine and dandy. But until you have actual experience implementing software, it’s all still theoretical.

At International Software Systems we stake our reputation on experience, implementing Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) accounting and ERP software for 25 years. For sure, over the years we’ve added newer product lines, such as Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business, Microsoft Power BI, and most recently Microsoft Dynamics 365.

We’ve made it our business to quickly gain experience is these newer products. Because we know from our 40 years of owning and running successful businesses, that indeed experience is the best teacher. The only way to learn is by rolling up our sleeves and digging into the nitty-gritty of implementing those software products.

That’s how we find out where the pitfalls lie, whether it’s an anomaly in the software program itself or an integration issue. These are not problems that can be taught. These are issues that we learn about through experience.

Our job, and again we should note that we stake our reputation on this, is to complete every implementation on time and on budget. Oops is not an option!

We’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years. Here’s what they’ve said about their experience working with International Software Systems.

“… Great Plains, coupled with the ingenuity of International Software Systems, delivered a product that exceeded our expectations in both conversion and day-to-day functionality.”
Kevin Moradian, CFO, Fire Sprinkler Systems, Inc.

“Our company was in the middle of the transition to Great Plains when the outside service company we were using walked away from the job. We called International Software Systems; Laura made the transition seamless.”
Lee Ann M. Engel, Controller, Design Tec, Inc.

“… Best of all, Laura Peters made the installation process a breeze. She is readily available and checks in our progress frequently …”
Cheryl Jordan, Omega Cinema Props, Inc.

Looking for a Microsoft Dynamics partner who will exceed your expectations? Contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

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Top 12 Reasons to Invest in Microsoft Office 365 for Your Business

The best reason of all is that you can take Microsoft Office 365 with you anywhere, even in the pocket of your favorite jeans. That’s because it’s in the cloud.

There are numerous plans available for the purchase of Office 365. For purposes of this article, we’re going to take at the look at the highest level plan that’s designed for businesses: Office 365 Business Premium. Why? Because that plan showcases all of the functionality available and it only costs $12.50 per user per month with an annual commitment.

In a nutshell, here are the Top 12 reasons to invest in Microsoft Office 365 for your business (click to tweet):

  • You can take it with you anywhere, and all of the following Office applications are included:
  • Office
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • Publisher; and it also includes all of the following services:
  • Exchange
  • OneDrive
  • SharePoint
  • Skype for Business
  • Teams

OK, so that the nutshell. Now let’s dig a little deeper. I think we all know what Office, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are, so let’s skip those (as well as a few others) and move on to some of the features you may be less familiar with.

OneNote: It’s hugely popular and if you don’t already use it, OneNote is sure to become a favorite. OneNote is a program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network.

In OneNote, users can enter typed text via a keyboard, create tables, and insert pictures. Or, users can write anywhere on a virtually unbounded document window by just clicking. Another great feature is that OneNote saves data automatically as the user works.

OneDrive: Store photos and docs online. Access them from any PC, Mac or phone. Create and work together on Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents. Use your phone, tablet, or computer to continue what you started — wherever you happen to be. Any changes you make will be updated on all your devices. Stay productive when you're off the grid. You can access your files without being online, which means you can always have your most important files with you.

If something happens to your device, you don't have to worry about losing your files or photos – they're in your OneDrive. And OneDrive is encrypted using SSL.

Skype for Business: Skype for Business (previously known as Lync) connects people everywhere. It provides professional collaboration and meetings- all integrated with Office. With Skype for Business, you can simplify your infrastructure with one platform for calling, conferencing, video conferencing, and sharing. On a Skype call, groups of people can work as if they were all in the same room. You can also use Skype to live stream a meeting.

We could elaborate further on Skype and continue talking about some of the other Microsoft Office 365 applications and services. But this post is already long enough.

Microsoft Office 365 is one of the many products that International Software Systems offers. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a taste of what Office 365 can do for your business. The next step is to contact us.

You can also contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.

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Great Plains Software Is Still Alive and Well: A Rose by any Other Name...

You guessed! The quote about arose is from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

The full quote is “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s a frequently referenced part of the play in which Juliet argues that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival's house of Montague. In other words, it does not matter that he is named "Montague." The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.

And so it is with the ever popular Great Plains Software, an accounting and ERP software system that hasn’t been officially called Great Plains since it was acquired by Microsoft in 2001. And yet, it was so popular, that many users and even partners continue to refer to it as Great Plains.

The name today is Microsoft Dynamics GP, Here at International Software Systems, we’re proud to have been a reseller since well before Great Plains became Dynamics GP. It’s been our core business since well before that, too. And, per the Shakespeare quote, it not only smells as sweet, but sweeter yet.

Why? Because Microsoft, with its deep pockets, has literally poured money into the product, adding more and more functionality until Dynamics GP came of age as one of the strongest horizontal ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems on the market today. As was the case with Great Plains, Microsoft Dynamics GP clients are fiercely loyal. They’d rather fight than switch.

And International Software Systems has remained loyal, too. We recognize the need that Dynamics GP fills as a holistic midmarket ERP solution. Easy to learn. User friendly. Easy to configure. Flexible. Scalable. Absolutely delightful.

Yes, the virtues of Microsoft Dynamics GP are many. Just ask our deliriously happy “Great Plains’ clients.

… Great Plains, coupled with the ingenuity of International Software Systems, delivered a product that exceeded our expectations in both conversion and day-to-day functionality.
Kevin Moradian, CFO, Fire Sprinkler Systems, Inc.

Our company was in the middle of the transition to Great Plains when the outside service company we were using walked away from the job. We called International Software Systems; Laura made the transition seamless.
Lee Ann M. Engel, Controller, Design Tec, Inc.

… Best of all, Laura Peters made the installation process a breeze. She is readily available and checks in our progress frequently …
Cheryl Jordan, Omega Cinema Props, Inc.

… International Software Systems implemented a software upgrade that was so smooth that we did not experience any business interruption.
Robert Adec, Controller, Fish Co.

Looking for a “Great Plains” partner who will exceed your expectations? Contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.


The Designated Path from QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics 365

I call it the path to success!

Why? Because, if you’ve outgrown QuickBooks, if QuickBooks is no longer meeting your needs, then Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the way you can get ever so much more from your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. And if you’re not already in the cloud, now you will be. After all, cloud ERP has become the platform of choice for savvy businesses. It’s more secure, more flexible, and more cost effective.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 was built as a cloud ERP solution. It was not re-engineered to work in the cloud. That differentiates Dynamics 365 from most other ERP systems that started out on premises and were later offered as cloud ERP applications.

What’s more, Microsoft Dynamics 365 was designed, among other things, to be a step up for QuickBooks users.

And that’s why, if you’re currently running QuickBooks, International Software Systems (ISS) wants to chat with you about your future operational capacity.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP capabilities into applications that work seamlessly together across sales, customer service, field service, operations, financials, marketing, and project service automation. It’s holistic.

Then … combine Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 offers cloud service plans for e-mail and social networking through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, SharePoint and Office Online, and integration with Yammer, as well as access to the entire Microsoft Office stack.

Then … add Power BI into the mix. Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout your organization. Connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data prep, and drive ad hoc analysis. Produce beautiful reports, then publish them for your organization to consume on the web and across mobile devices.

And you now have a complete cloud system that will serve you into the foreseeable future.

Who We Are

Since 1992, International Software Systems has sold, implemented, and supported technologies that serve small-to mid-market U.S. and international clients.

Our list of satisfied clients who come to us for distribution, service, EDI, job costing, and other services continues to grow as does our staff, a team of dedicated consultants with extensive training, experience, and certification on all of the products International Software Systems offers.

Let’s Chat

You can reach me at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com at my office 714.379.0545 or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.

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