Meeting with the GDL team (Belgian Dynamics Community)

On the 15th of May, we had our first "real" information evening organised by the Belgian Dynamics Community. And an interesting one! Something a lot of consultants within the NAV community in Belgium (and I guess not only in Belgium) was asking or waiting for. A meeting with the team within Microsoft which are responsible for the localized functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Big applause to Microsoft Belgium (An Van Gysel) for this opportunity.

We hosted this event at Tradiplan. A special thanks to Rodrigue Dion. He managed to get us this very nice looking location for this evening.

During the evening, I decided to write some kind of "summary" for my blog. Actually, for me, the most challenging thing to write this blog post was "typing as quiet as possible" .. people were listening so intensely that everyone could hear me typing (sorry guys Indifferent - *** juttu!). Also, for me it's always a challenge to write about functionality, being a technical "nerd" myself... .

Anyway ... Let's go ...

Who is GDL?

Global Development Localization

. The team within Microsoft that tries to implement the "legal" requirements for a country, with the goal that everyone within that country can do the legal reporting out-of-the-box with the product.

The GDL team has got 4 pillars:

  • In-country: Program Management
  • Regional hubs: development
  • Regional hubs: testing
  • Regional hubs: documentation

With "In-Country" I mean that there is a "team" available per localized country within the country. With "Regional hubs" I mean that one hub is responsible for multiple countries / localizations.

Furthermore, if we're talking about localisation, then we're talking about development of features (legal requirements) as well as translation in the language(s) of that country.

Then, An started talking about the "GDL Virtual Team", which she explained by an example. How does it go?

  • Program manager in the country gets an alert (by PAM, Partner, governement, whoever...)
  • Virtual team: Program Manager + Developer + Tester + Buddy reviewers. So, a virtual team is composed for handling this feature.
  • Program manager writes functional specifications,signed off by every member of the virtual team.
  • Developer writes design documents and tester writes test document. Everything is signed off by the team
  • Developer does the customizations, testes tests, Program managers sends CLOC (huh?)
  • Program manager verifies translation, writes release notes, sends to release team
  • Modification is released on partnersource
  • Program manager communicates to PAM, TSAM, which communicates to partnerrs

This is normally done for 3 versions: the next version, the current version, the previous version.

What are the "top" priorities?

  • Firx criticl bugs (doen by sustained engineering)
  • Deliver tax/legislation changes on time
    • We call these regulatory features
    • Formerly known as CDCR's - Critical Design Change Requests
  • Ship new releases (NAV, AX, ...)
  • Add competitive functionality and address "backlog" of legal requirements

We saw on the graph that Belgium is (besides Italy) the most "busy" country on that ... Mosts CDCR's of all countries in Europe, so most legal changes.

I'm not going to bore you with all the new upcoming functionalities (actually, I would like to, but I missed some of them by talking to my neighbour Smile), but one of them was definitely interesting: IBS6. OK, probably only in Belgium, but integration with Isabel right from NAV (as long as the client of isabel is open) sounds nice, doesn't it?

Also SEPA is coming. SEPA = Single Euro Payments Area. So, the GDL team is working to integrate this in NAV as well. If you would like to know more about SEPA ... Google it Wink. All I can say is that the ultimate objectives are:

  • A euro area in which all payments are domestic;
  • Within the SEPA, customers will be able to make cross-border payments as efficiently and safely as is the case with domestic payments today;
  • If they so wish, using a single payment account and a single card;
  • Foster competition on EU-level to reduce processing times and costs;

Deciding not to write too much about SEPA got me quite some "free" time. Didn't know she would go so deep into it. Anyway, it was interesting to see the roadmap (wishlist and reality) and the impact of a big feature like this.

Last I noted down of what is going to be added - or should I say removed - in Belgium: the"disk" declaration option of VAT-VIES ... have to be removed. From 01/01/09 this is not allowed anymore.

Next very important point on the agenda was ... How can we (the community) influence this? A new "group" will be created by the community and Microsoft, called "Parnter Advisory Council" - PAC if you will.

What is the purpose?

  • To have a forum where the GDL team can talk to partners under a NDA discussing:
    • Legal requirements;
    • Market requirements - help to prioritize market needs to build more competitive features;
    • Most important improvement to be done per product (to increase CPE, to increase our win rate);
  • Analysis of using existing functionality

    (do partners use standard localization feature or they develop their own add-ons)

  • Discussing not only "what", but also "How". Suggest optimal solutions for problems
  • To gain quantifiable evidence to support or disprove the current findings;
  • To gain a strong relationship with key partners accross the market
  • Feedback!!

All this in the format of a round table. An open line discussion, one or two times a year, per product. It will only be a small group of Dynamics Product Specialists. No sales, no marketing ... But skilled consultants!

I can only say: waw! This is a great initiative. This means the people that knows best will be involved and can give input to this.

A great opportunity for us to conclude the session with. Good job, folks!

Here are some pictures:

The preparation and rehearsal by host Ludo and presenter An:

Yep, Roel was there again as well Smile

The crowd

The presenter An Van Gysel:

David liked the catering:

   

   

   

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