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Monday, July 29, 2013

Retiring this blog

I wanted to write everyone today, to announce I'm retiring this blog starting in October of this year. It's been an amazing eight years of writing and covering the Dynamics Ecosystem. At least coverage from my perspective of the Dynamics world. In doing so, I've been honored to have received a Microsoft Dynamics AX MVP award for both 2012 & 2013.

This blog started out as my extended brain, a place where solutions could be kept to the early days of Axapta 3.0. Fighting with the COM connector was one of the first post.: Axapta 3.0 Business Connector (COM+)

I went from a customer specific role into the partner side with the start of this blog. It's seen many changes over the years, and different entry types. Completing my first interview, changed the focus of the blog into more than just being an extended brain. It became an outlet of coverage, write-ups, how-to's, bugfix, thoughts, concepts and more.

It's been a really interesting journey with the focus I've had around keeping the content flowing for this blog over the years. It for sure drove me to learn more and more, and with the build up around Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 - the content became super focused around helping the community-at-large understand issues and how to put in place the new paradigms that came along with this release of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

On the implementation side of things, I've seen the shift away from the "Cowboy Consultant" days, through to a more mature project implementation methodology.

From this blogging experience a more connected community started to arise. This included Microsoft and the Dynamics portal, MSDynamicsWorld.com, the Top 100 DynamicsWorld.Co.Uk and so forth. Other fellow peers, like Joris, Jon, Joel, Dick and the others - whom all have shared the content we each help bring to form the whole of the Dynamics community.

It is with this understanding, this appreciation for the community, that I'm making the choice to step aside from the role this blog has in the larger Dynamics Community. It's been a humbling and really rewarding experience, to put it plainly.

I will continue to write, but more on the business intelligence side of the things. You can find me at the ImplementingGreatIdeas.com. I will have a very focused purpose on this new blog, that will still include Microsoft Dynamics AX. Again, the focus will be however for BI & Analytic's. Really helping customers putting their data to work for them.

Though this is not my very last post on this blog, I felt it was needed to be stated now. This came from my lack of ability to continue to post entries as often as have been able to in the past. Thank you! Thank all of you who read my ramblings over the years and challenged me. Thank you to my fellow peers for going that extra mile in trying to help foster a community - whom's main goal was, and remains - to bring value to our customers.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Going beyond BI for Mobile Users

I hope everyone is doing well today! I wanted to write about an exciting new series I'm starting, over at the Implementing Great Idea's blog from Sunrise. Here is a shortcut to the start of this series: Mobile BI and Beyond.

From the post.:
"When we say mobile BI, we are talking about dashboards and specific reporting analytics that are for a company, division, department, etc. When we are talking about beyond mobile BI, we are saying that through the same platform you can easily create feature rich data experiences that go well beyond reporting and analytics."

I will complete the series, that starts my writing focus for business intelligence, on the implementing great idea's blog. I will continue to write here as well, but in a highlight, and to continue and add my own voice for a bit more in the Dynamics Community.

Make sure to check back soon and book mark the new blog! Til Next Time!
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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

BI & Reporting - The Sunrise Approach

I hope everyone is doing well this fine day. I know it's been a little while since my last post and for good reason. Being back at Sunrise Technologies, my focus has been around the gearing up and forming of a new practice that focuses around business intelligence & reporting.

I wrote a lot of creating a system of engagement, in something that takes a companies data and goes beyond the normal transactional system of record. That really puts a companies data to work for them. Further, going beyond Dynamics AX and what typical scenario's would drive a company into needing more than what comes as part of the stack offering for a total BI story to be crafted.

With that in mind, this all has been a build up to the recent news that was released last week. Sunrise Technologies Announces New Business Intelligence Offering

From the post.:

"Sunrise Technologies, a leading supply chain consulting organization providing Business Intelligence and Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, today announced the addition of its MicroStrategy Business Intelligence (BI) practice. By partnering with MicroStrategy, a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms, Sunrise Technologies will also offer the MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Platform™, the MicroStrategy Mobile Platform™, and MicroStrategy Applications™ to its customer base.

The Sunrise Technologies BI practice provides solutions that empower users across all levels of an enterprise with greater insights that lead to better business decisions. Sunrise Technologies’ customers will be able to leverage fast, easy-to-use, self-service analytics as well as a broad range of MicroStrategy functionality to identify trends that will help them to seize growth opportunities and stay ahead of the competition."

With this, we now have a complete offering that can be targeted to craft a true BI story for clients. Let me make something clear here and now. Business Intelligence is not a tool. Too often, companies will purchase a product and feel like they purchased "BI". This is far from the truth. Real business intelligence lies in the understanding of a companies data. This understanding then leads to the "right tool for the job" at hand.

What does this mean then, relating to what I'm referencing? It's not a SharePoint vs. a MicroStrategy dashboard. It's not an Analysis Services cube vs. a MicroStrategy cube element. These are all tools, that help complete a total story. What we are bringing is the options from both frameworks. Meaning in short: MicroStrategy extends what the Microsoft stack starts.

Now its true there are scenarios that will have an end tool path of one or the other. That is exactly to my point, and how we approach BI & Reporting projects. First a true diagnostics of the current situation and reporting needs. Understanding the data which in turn leads to the making the right choice of tool for the companies BI & reporting needs.

To find our more, check out our home page for the business intelligence practice: Sunrise Business Intelligence Solutions. Further have a a great set of resources that can give further insight into what could be possible in crafting a BI story for your company.:

With this, we now have a complete offering that works for the typical Microsoft Dynamics AX customer, or those that need scale beyond, for the cloud and mobile empowered! This is the start in introducing the approach and offering that I will continue to expand upon in the coming months.

One final note for this post, that is I'm honored to have been awarded for the 2nd year Microsoft Dynamics AX MVP from Microsoft. It amazing to look back on these near eight years of writing and contributing to the Dynamics ecosystem and see how far it has grown. It's a true honor to be listed along side my fellow MVP peers. Til Next Time!
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Webcast of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 & Personal BI

Well I hope everyone is doing well this fine Tuesday. We are very close to the summer equinox and that means the longest day of the year! I love summer time, it's full of fun times, water activities as well as opining for the beach!

With that, I wanted to post a link to the recent webcast I lead via MSDynamicsWorld.com. The link to the web cast can be accessed from the following resource.: The Power of Personal BI with Dynamics AX 2012: PowerPivot and Power View

Now there is for sure one point that I need to clarify from this webcast. Specifically the question was asked around what version's of SharePoint & SQL Server are needed in order to enable specific aspects of what we reviewed during the webcast. When looking at this from a Microsoft Office Excel 2013 perspective, then the topic of SharePoint & SQL Server version for that matter in what was shown, is not relevant. Meaning, it does not affect what you can do with Excel 2013 in context to what was covered.

However when we look at enabling PowerView from SharePoint, launched within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 then we need to better understand what versions of software do impact what functionality. Thus we have the above pictured diagram from Microsoft. It shows that indeed we do need more than standard versions of MOSS & SQL Server for different levels of functionality, including that last part of the webcast around PowerView & SharePoint.

I hope that this is helpful to people. During the session we have a lot of great questions, and feedback. Keep in mind, this is not edited but is a full capture of the entire webcast itself. Finally, I encourage you to send me any questions around this and just think about how Personal BI can help craft a reporting story for your company! If you would like to know more, you can contact us here.: Sunrise Contact Page.

Well that is all for now. I know that I'm behind a bit in getting some of the previously targeted topics posted. It's a sign of the current times, with being busy. It's good to be busy, and so there will be plenty to cover soon. Til Next Time!
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Friday, June 07, 2013

AX 2012 R2 & The Power of Personal BI

I hope everyone finds themselves doing well this fine summer Friday. Always something about Friday's, and specifically those where the sun stays out and beckons us back to our childhood days. With that, I wanted to post today and bring to your reading attention an upcoming virtual event. It's free and you can attend right from your desk. This event is being hosted by MSDynamicsWorld.com a long time sponsor of this blog.

The event is next Friday, June 14th starting at 11:00 AM EST. The following is a description from the event.: (register here)
"The real value of business intelligence (BI) comes from crafting a story based on an organization's data. For the manager, analyst, or individual contributor, BI typically begins with desktop tools like Microsoft Excel. With the right skills and know-how, personal BI can become the gateway to a robust BI initiative at any organization.

Join Microsoft Dynamics AX MVP and BI expert Brandon George of Sunrise Technologies for an examination of Microsoft PowerPivot & Power View with Dynamics AX 2012 R2. The webcast will look at how these tools can empower both functional and technical resources at the individual level to discover new insights and improve operational outcomes. Learn how to put data to work and further build towards organizational BI needs from personal BI artifacts."

The event represented above, is specifically around Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 & Personal BI. I've wrote a lot about this topic in the past, and so I think its very important to reference such resources in regard to this upcoming event. The following is such a list, that I think would be helpful to anyone who is wanting to attend, or already signed up to do so.

With the above resources your well on the way to understanding what will be talked to and covered in this upcoming event. I would highly encourage you to attend it, as I'm planning for it to be engaging! Speaking of engaging, that is the whole goal we after. All of this, every bit of it builds to the point of creating a System of Engagement. Where we can truly help turn users, into fans!

Well that it's for now, I will be back to posting next week with some really interesting stuff. Anyone want to go on the wild ride of predictive analytic's? It's like stepping into a quantum time machine! Well it's really more about understanding & owning your companies data assets. That's whats coming soon, so check back next week and make sure to attend next Friday's virtual event!

Finally, if you would like to know more about putting your companies data to work for you. Then make sure to reach out, and contact Sunrise Technologies so we can help craft a BI & reporting story for you! Til Next Time!
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Seeking new BI talent

I hope everyone is having a blessed day! I wanted to reach out to the community at large today, to let everyone know we are hiring at Sunrise! That's right, our new BI practice is looking to fill urgent, permanent positions. If your wanting to take your career to the next level, looking for that next challenge, to be apart of a work family, then contact me at: Brandon.George@SunriseConsult.com.

Why consider building out your career in BI:
  • BI projects present a change of pace—they’re typically shorter, more focused.
  • They typically require travel—but less of it since the requirements gathering phase is more limited in scope and duration
  • It allows people to retain their hands-on marketable AX skills, while taking their Stack skills to the next level. Meaning a focus on Office+SharePoint+SQL Server.
  • Use your skills, and develop new ones that will help put customers data to work for them. Truly helping them create Systems of Engagement.
  • It affords the challenge of a new technology to add to your personal “toolkit” of skills, with our soon to be announced extended BI offering

Why Sunrise?:
  • We have an excellent reputation in the AX space and with our customers
  • We’re a debt-free company
  • We’re focused on doing things well in very focused areas—instead of trying to be all things to all people
  • Our sales people are former implementers so they actually know our products
  • We have an industry-leading compensation package combined with financial stability of a well-run organization
To find out more about Sunrise, visit our web site: SunriseCnsult.com. It's an exciting time, as we continue to expand our practice and continue to focus on helping our customers implement their great idea's. This focus extends into the BI, and helping our customers putting their data to work for them! Til Next Time!
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Spotlight: Top Reasons Companies Implement an Automated Data Collection Solution

Companies choose ADC because their industry demands it, either by regulation or voluntary standards compliance. With our research we found the top reasons companies choose an ADC solution:

Implement Industry Regulations – think of food and beverage traceability initiatives and Pharmaceutical ePedigree requirements:
  • The recent Food Safety Modernization Act Section 204 is dedicated to enhancing tracking and tracing of food and recordkeeping
  • PTI or the Produce Traceability Initiative is Voluntary. Tracing starts in the field, when the produce is removed from the field and put in the carton.
  • One RF-SMART customer packages produce, they use RF-SMART to capture carton number in the field and throughout their entire process, satisfying the PTI.
  • The ePedigree for pharmaceutical is a record in electronic form containing information regarding each transaction resulting in a change of ownership of the given prescription drug, including returns
  • We have several Pharmaceutical customers coming to us to satisfy the new ePedigree requirements

Empower your Warehouse Team – We all like to be able to make decisions and be accountable, RF-SMART’s ADC will make you workers feel empowered
Reliable Information- Is everyone in your organization able to rely on information they pull from their ERP or do they worry that it is not accurate or timely Capture Metrics – Providing important Key Performance Indicators, such as Inventory Velocity by location and Picking Performance by worker is possible with ADC. Selection of an Automated Data Collection solution must use real time validation, and real time updates to the ERP system. If it is architected with a redundant database no one will know which system to believe. Soon everyone will be second guessing the system.

There is nothing that keeps a CFO awake at night like not knowing if the information they are relying on to make major decisions is valid, accurate and timely. For these reasons RF-SMART is architected to use only the Dynamics AX database so there is a single source of truth. All data resides in the AX database. RF-SMART leverage Dynamics AX business process to provide top-notch warehouse management functionality validating against AX in real-time and all updates occur at the point of the activity.

Touch it once. If I can capture at the point of activity I can trust the input the first time. For Example: Many times we find an as-is process like this: Print the pick list; distribute to the workers in the warehouse; the workers use the paper to find the items and then mark the quantities, batches, serial number, and locations. The paper is turned into the packing/staging station.

Some of you may not have considered Automated Data Collection as a tool that can be used to empower employees but it can do just that. By using RF-SMART workers can be guided through their daily task. An example is to guild a worker through the warehouse to pick sales orders. The worker can be guided, by highest priority, through an optimum route, to pick orders. And since RF-SMART offers real-time validation they will be notified if the data is valid, not only in content but in context. For example, the location is validated as a valid location for the warehouse and then the item is validated not only as a valid item but that it has inventory in the specified location. AX setup such as location blocking, optional dimension settings, batch dispositions, expiry dates etc. will be validate at the moment the worker touches the inventory, stopping the worker before a mistake happens.

Imagine how valuable preventing the use of expired or quarantined inventory for a Food and Beverage manufacturer is! Workers also can make decisions on the spot, because useful information is provided to them while they do their task. They can’t just write down what they have done and the pass the paperwork on, blaming someone else for mistakes. They are totally accountable. And that makes them feel good. They are autonomous!

Workers can review the progress of the transaction they are performing on mobile devices only when they need to, thereby keeping the mobile device screen crisp and clean unless they need to refresh their memory. To allow workers to make informed decisions at the point of activity, almost every field in RF-SMART has a lookup. And best of all, today you can let your workers BYOD (Bring your own device). Now instead of just texting on the smartphone, they could use it to do a quick inventory lookup or maybe you have a warehouse supervisor and a store manager that wants to work on their RF-SMART dashboard from their own device.

That is not a problem; good mobile solutions are not constrained by devices. RF-SMART is ahead of the trend, we are not constrained by device and we have many customers using multiple devices, such as an industrial device in the warehouse and a smartphone for a supervisor.

Now that is empowering a worker!

Reliable information is important and is probably one of the reasons that you have or are implementing AX. Why would you want to have business process that put the integrity of AX information at risk? It is important that your employees, whether in the warehouse or in the boardroom, trust the information they use.

I would like to thank RF-Smart for being such a supporter of the Dynamics Community at large, and further being a sponsor of this blog. That's all for now but check back soon as I continue to add more post around Dynamics AX & BI. Til Next Time!
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