In conversations with organizations from various industries, we have noticed an increasing awareness over the last twelve to eighteen months of the limits of legacy ERP and CRM solutions. Even for companies that had invested in Dynamics ERP solutions several years ago, the advances in SaaS and hybrid solutions from Microsoft seem to be sparking new interest.
But evaluating new ERP or CRM investments is as important and demanding as ever. We have been refining the ways we help our clients do their homework on Dynamics 365, and have identified the most important areas that any executive or line of business manager needs to account for. What follows is a list of the details that any systems integrator should be able to help you understand.
We will be diving into these themes in more detail, both from a customer and service provider perspective, at our December 1st Dynamics 365 evaluation event, hosted by Avantiico and Microsoft at the Microsoft Training Center in Irvine, CA.
Our most successful Dynamics 365 clients did not make the mistake of underestimating the importance of setting the right evaluation criteria and then diving deep to really understand out of the box options in combination with trusted third-party solutions. Some of the most common evaluation points where a deep dive is critical include:
– Module breakdown
– Reporting tools: OOTB Power BI content packs, integration to third party reporting systems, Excel integration, etc.
Microsoft has done a huge amount of work to make the Azure cloud an easy choice for organizations of all sizes. But the reality is that many enterprise application buyers still live in a hybrid world and will for many years to come. On-premises, private hosting, and public cloud all offer their own strengths, and the truth is that establishing the optimal architecture requires dedicated expertise.
We work with cloud experts at Microsoft and our infrastructure partners, and they frame the decision process around what is the best fit for our clients whether it be fully cloud, hybrid or on premise deployments.
The Dynamics 365 Lifecycle Services (LCS) platform is a competitive differentiator for Microsoft that can be easy to overlook. Unlike other vendors’ “quick start” tools, LCS is comprehensive. The greatest value, thanks to the step by step process, is its ability to guide our clients through a reliable, detailed process and keep us all in the loop as to where the project currently stands at all times.
LCS also plays a part in managing licensing options for D365 ERP clients. In a subscription-based ERP environment Microsoft gives us new ways to optimize ERP spending through advanced analytics. These tools have led to real savings for customers.
Every enterprise software purchase decision should factor in industry-specific needs. We encourage our clients to press vendors and service providers for answers to the hardest questions related to their own businesses and to their industries. Events like the upcoming evaluation day at Microsoft Training Center Irvine is just such an opportunity. Because while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful ERP, our experience with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise has demonstrated that it can suit a growing range of needs.
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With the release of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition July, 2017 update, configuration data packages were introduced that allow users to quickly download best practice data from Life-cycle Services to quickly create an initial “golden” data build.
While these data packages are useful for creating demo data, they can’t be used to move data from one environment to another during a project’s implementation phase. Enter: configuration data templates.
Configuration data templates are predefined lists of data entities that can be used in these data projects, already sequenced in the correct order. These data templates contain the same data entities that are included in configuration data packages, but can then be used from the data management workspace to move data from one environment into another. Configuration data templates can help implementers ensure that all entities for a specific task have been selected, and that they are sequenced in the correct order.
Default data templates can be downloaded into a user’s data management workspace, and used to create templates of entities. The default templates can help users to easily create a list of data entities to support common areas of data for migration purposes.
In this post, users will learn how to load default data templates, modify , and use them to export data as data packages, and then import data into another environment.
This post assumes that users are running at least Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and operations, Enterprise Edition, platform release Update 10 (August, 2017) or greater.
To view the entities associated with a default template, that template must first be downloaded. To download a default template, an implementer will need to open the data management workspace, click on the templates tile to open the templates area, and using the enhanced view, they will need to load default templates.
There are several default templates that are available to be downloaded, and an implementer can download one, some or all of the default templates. Once the default templates have been downloaded, they are available in the template area of the data management workspace.
When a template is loaded from a default, the level in execution and sequence number have already defaulted, so that the data will be imported in the correct order. With addresses, for example, States must be imported before Cities and Cities must be imported before zip codes (or postal codes). By loading the default templates, these sequences are already defined.
Now that the default template has been imported, some modifications may need to be made. The implementer will then review the entities included in the template, and update the template as needed by removing, adding or re-sequencing the data entities. Once any desired changes to the template have been completed, the data for the template’s entities can be exported.
To export data from a template, the implementer must first create an export project, which they will then add the template entities to. The export project is then used to export the data.
Entity data should be exported as a data package. Data packages can be loaded into Lifecycle Services, which can then be used to deployed multiple times, into multiple environments. An export definition group can be configured to automatically generate a data package. If the option is not selected during the setup of the definition group, the data package can still be generated after the export is ran.
When creating an export definition group, implementers should consider if they want to create one definition group with entities in it from many template, or if they will export data from each template as a separate export. If the source environment has many companies, it may make sense to create definition groups that contain many modules (and therefore many templates), as opposed to multiple export groups. To export a company, it is a cleaner approach to only export one or two sets of data per company, as opposed to 20 per company. Note that when creating an export (or an import) definition group, an implementer can assign the applicable legal entity. This can help to ensure that the data being exported or imported is being done from the correct legal entity.
When creating the export definition group, the implementer can use the enhanced view to enable the loading of entities from an existing template. Multiple templates can be loaded into the same export definition group.
Once an implementer has exported the data from the source environment, they can import it into a target environment.
To import the entity data from a saved template that was downloaded as a package, the implementer will click on the data management workspace, and click on the import tile. The import definition is given a name. By using the enhanced view, the implementer can easily see the list of entities being added with the upload and add the data package that was exported.
The sequence for adding a data package to a definition group is done by adding the source data format first, identifying if the staging tables should be skipped or not second, and then by uploading and adding the package data file.
Default templates are a helpful way to get started on the path of data migration, as they provide module-specific collections of entities, that are already sequenced in a way that eases the burden of an implementer.
For more information about Data Migration Templates, this is a great resource: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/data-entities/configuration-data-templates
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Yeehaw! Are you as excited as we are for the D365UG / AXUG Summit in Nashville?
Join us at Booth #473 for the chance to win a brand-new Microsoft Surface Pro or a free Assessment for moving to Dynamics 365 (Valued at $10,000)! All you have to do is follow these 3 easy steps:
1. Visit Booth #473 in the Expo Hall
2. Take a selfie with our timeline of Dynamics AX
3. Tweet or post it with #DynEvolution and #D365Summit
We will also be holding sessions geared towards upgrading and licensing from legacy versions of Dynamics to D365 held by Alex Kwitny (Technical Architect at Avantiico, a Microsoft MVP, specializing in AX system architecture) and Deborah Wittich (Client Roadmap Advisor at Avantiico, specializing in licensing, business and technical roadmapping, and Dynamics 365). We will break these sessions down by Version:
Our expert team will be standing by to answer any product or service questions you may have about migrating and licensing for the various versions across the Microsoft Dynamics Suite, or just stop by and say hi!
Deborah Wittich will also be presenting at the conference: Security – AX2012 Licensing to D365 on Thursday October 12th @ 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM. This session will inform attendees how their current AX 2012 licenses can be applied to Dynamics 365. She will also review the new licensing model in Dynamics 365 and the associated subscription entitlements you will receive.
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Channel and Industry Veteran Chuck Walker Joins Avantiico
We are proud to announce Chuck Walker has joined our team. Chuck brings many successful years of balancing ambitious client business goals and delivering predictable Microsoft Dynamics solutions and long-term client satisfaction. With his consulting and deep industry experience he looks forward to assisting clients in the quest for utilizing Microsoft Dynamics 365 and improving our businesses using the leading product stack for ERP and CRM solutions.
Chuck has been an executive in the Microsoft Dynamics channel dating back to 1998 and the early days of Axapta. His client focused approach was the driving force for growth and success for several organizations including Columbus IT, Iteration II, RSM/McGladrey, Collins Computing and Arbela Technologies. Chuck has been involved with companies ranging from $50 Million to $1.5 Billion in annual sales. His commitment to his clients remains the same, regardless of size and business goals.
“We are both proud and excited to announce Chuck Walker joining our team of experts,” said Lauge Mathiasen, Chief Executive Officer at Avantiico. “Chuck’s past success and track record of helping clients reach their business goals using Microsoft Dynamic solutions combined with our Microsoft services and leading industry reputation is a great offering for all our current and new clients.”
“I have always respected Avantiico’s approach to serving their clients with their industry specific expertise around manufacturing/distribution, professional services, retail/e-commerce and public sector,” said Chuck Walker, Director at Avantiico. “I am looking forward to successfully assisting in their continued fast-growth, industry leadership and to continue providing the groundwork for digital transformation of many organizations both domestically and internationally.”
We invite you to join us in Nashville, Tennessee this October 10th-13th at Booth #473. If you would like to find time to meet with any of our experts please contact us at Info@Avantiico.com for more information.
Avantiico is an international Microsoft Dynamics 365, AX and CRM Partner that provides business solutions for peace of mind. For over 10 years, Avantiico has delivered intuitive capabilities, honest guidance and dependable support for large and international companies with high-performance requirements and complex global operations. With offices in San Diego, Irvine, Seattle, London, UK, and Copenhagen, DK their team can deliver services across 9 time zones and works with more than 10,000 end-users world-wide. Avantiico leverages the Microsoft Cloud to provide the right solutions, from Dynamics to Mobile Apps, at the right time with the ability to scale at a moment’s notice. To learn more about Avantiico, visit http://Avantiico.com.
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