Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Case Study

I had a Case Study done by Microsoft several months ago, here is a link to it:


Moving Data From Dynamics SL to MS Office - Part 1

Not to sound trite, but probably the most common method of moving data from Dynamics to the MS Office Suite is just the old fashioned manually copying the data.

I have 2 screens and it's amazing how often I use this method. I open Excel in 1 screen and Dynamics in another and then I just manually copy the data into Excel.

It's not eloquent, nor is it difficult, or even esoteric; but it works in the real world.

For instance, there's lots of times I need the correct spelling of an employee's name in a document. Open the document, open Dynamics, and just type the correct spelling. It works.

So as we begin to build a toolbox of ways to get data from Dynamics SL into the MS Office Suite, oftentimes manually copying the data is the preferred method.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dynamics SL User Group Meeting

I'm back. It's been over a year since I've posted something on this blog, but now I've got a good reason to start posting again - I'm looking for work!

Last Week I attended the Dynamics SL User Group Meeting Sponsered by Synergy Business Solutions. If you've never been to one of these meetings, I recommend that you go (if for no other reason: FREE LUNCH).

Synergy had 5 of their luminaries including Donna Hurst, Cindy Smith, Margo Dame, Michael Camp, and Rob Lloyd. It was great to put names with faces. In addition Microsoft had Jigisha Deb and Eldita Ginger. So if you weren't there, you missed an opportunity to meet some prominent personalities in the Dynamics community (not to mention, they're all great people).

The group expressed interest in learning about some of the following topics:

Integration between Dynamics SL and Excel
Upgrading to Version 7.0
Feature Pack 1 vs. SP 1&2
Moving Customizations from 6.5 to 7.0

We touched on all those topics except moving data from Dynamics SL to Excel. So stay tuned to this blog, where I will try to expose some of the ways to get data into the MS Office Suite.

Donna Hurst talked about Application Server and it's uses. (Note to Donna, don't demo live software). All I can say, if you have Application Server (which I don't), you should be using it.

We also looked at the Convergence Live site at:

I'm warning you, it takes a little while for this site to load, even with a smokin' hot internet connection.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Automatic Report Delivery

Does anyone know of the best way to automatically export different SSRS reports to a single PDF file on a daily basis?

Question from the SQL Server Reporting Services Forum

For all of you that would like to get a report delivered automatically to you by e-mail, then this tip is for you. In SQL Reporting Services, you can subscribe to a report.

All you've got to do is navigate to the report you want to review in Report Manager, and then click the Subscription button and fill out the details. It's that easy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How I customized Dynamics SL (and made my life easier)

If you want my opinion, SQL Reporting Svcs (SRS) is the great salvation of Dynamics SL. With SRS, you can do almost anything.

Dynamics SL does a lot of great and wonderful things right out of the box. GL - works wonderfully. AP - pays vendors just like you want it to. AR - Ok, we wish it would go break the knees of those that owe us money (but 2 out of 3 ain't bad).

Also, Dynamics does a great job of warehousing data. If you've got information, Dynamics will be happy to put it you SQL Database and save it forever (or until your server crashes without back-ups). Dynamics does an ok job of retrieving data right out of the box; but with SRS, you can put your Dynamics installation on steroids!

I customized my version of Dynamics so that I could do project management better.

Here are some of the things that I did using SRS to make my life happier:

1.) A CPA-Style WIP schedule that shows jobs vertically instead of horizontally. I always hated those CPA versions that were 2 pages wide. Now, I can look at a single column on a page and see everything I need to know about a job.

2.) A way cool Job Cost Overview that shows the billing information, the job-to-date hours, the original budgeted costs, the revised budgeted costs and the actual costs. It also shows the posted transactions as well as the unposted transactions. Another cool feature is that it shows the Under/Over Billings per phase and for the entire job.

I can look at the job to date, or choose a date range for this information. I live by this report.

3.) Several different project timecard reports. I got tired of trying to manually calculating daily overtime and weekly overtime (our Unions require OT after 8 hours per day). So I created reports that show me where I need to make adjustments in payroll so that my overtime is correct. I also use this report as an attendance report, because it can show which employees don't have time on projects.

4.) B'zillion budget variance reports. I can compare labor, materials, subs, equipment, or any other cost account to budget.

5.) Daily revenue earned report. This baby shows me how much revenue I earned that day, then subtracts the costs associated with it, and then subtracts my overhead to show whether we made or lost money that day.

As you can see, if you're creative, SQL reporting services can change the way you manage your company.

John Wheeler

Monday, July 28, 2008

SRS & Microsoft Dynamics

If you're like me, you hated most of the reports that came with MS Dynamics. Either, they don't give you the information that you want, they're just plain ugly, or they're cumbersome. I still hate flexible columns, and really haven't ever got them set up to my satisfaction.

So how did I fix the proplem? SQL Reporting Services (SRS) is the solution. I've created almost every report I need in SRS and when I want to run them, I just use the report manager. Now I get good looking reports that show information in a way that makes sense to me. No more of this putting up with whatever Microsoft decided to ship with the product.

One of the other advantages to SRS is that you can subscribe to reports and have them automatically delivered to your Inbox in the morning. So if you want your A/R person to look at the A/R Aging once per week, just create the report and schedule it to be delived weekly. Then forget it about it and go to the Caribbean (at least that's the theory).

So SRS is a big part of how I customized my version of Dynamics to meet my needs. Now I've got functionality that Microsoft didn't even dream of out of the box.

If you want to know how I customized Dynamics, feel free to e-mail me.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

SQL Reporting Services

SQL Reporting Services is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I haven't moved to Dynamics 7.0, but I use SRS all the time.

For instance, this morning I have an insurance auditor here. He's looking for some information that's not on a standard report.


1.) jump into Visual Studio
2.) copy a current report
3.) change the query in the data pane
4.) publish the report to the Report Manager
5.) Export the Report to Excel
6.) E-Mail the Report to the Auditor

How long did this take? Five minutes or less


I look like Superman (without the underwear on the outside of my pants, of course).

Friday, March 23, 2007

MS Project Server Update

I'm almost done with the MS Project Server connector setup.

All I can say is, "WOW!!!!"

Information from Solomon flows seemlessly into Microsoft Project - it's really cool. I uploaded a picture of MS Project with the profit pane. Hopefully I've done the upload correctly and you'll see a screen shot.

All of the actuals for the profit pane come directly from Dynamics SL, so it's really a great tool.

Later today, I'm going to add some graphical indicators that will show whether we're on-budget at a glance.

Here are a couple of Microsoft Websites you might find helpful:

Planning your Enterprise Project Management Solution Implementaion

Creating Enterprise Custom Fields

Project Server 2003 IT Documentation