New Canadian Data Centers Ensures Cloud Access For All

Microsoft announced last week that commercial cloud services will be available to Canadian customers on new local data centers in Canada coming in 2016. The previous lack of Canadian data centers meant many customers with rigorous data compliance needs were unable to host their data outside of Canada and therefore unable to deploy Azure or Office 365.

A primary roadblock to the adoption of these services has traditionally been accessibility of the Internet services and location of data.  Now that data will remain in Canada and Internet speeds are in excess of 100MB, the cloud is definitely the future for many organizations. The advantages to choosing the cloud means organizations will not have to spend valuable capital investment dollars upfront to allow them to scale up infrastructure as their business grows.

“We are very excited about the arrival of Canadian data centers and have been asking Microsoft for this for a long time in order to better serve the needs of our clients,” according to Christian Roach, Vice President of Open Door Technology.

“Now every Canadian customer has the option of deploying Microsoft Cloud services and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” Mr. Roach said.

The local Alberta floods of June 2013 are an excellent example of how a cloud solution can add incredible value to an organization. Several clients of Open Door Technology were directly affected by the loss of power and access to their local business and servers. Other clients who were utilizing cloud services including for ERP and Office 365 simply continued their daily business, but from their kitchen table.

The data centers will be located in Toronto, ON and Quebec City, QC. Availability for Azure is expected in early 2016 with access for Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online to follow later in 2016. There are already more than 80,000 Canadian businesses using cloud-based email, Office 365, and CRM Online.

New Vice President of Open Door Technology

Christian Roach now Vice President of Open Door Technology

Open Door Technology is pleased to announce that Christian Roach, former Account Manager, has been promoted to Vice President of Open Door Technology effective immediately.

“Christian has been a key part of Open Door Technology for more than 17 years. He has grown into an outstanding individual who is well-qualified to provide leadership as we continue to grow and shape our firm,” said Malcolm Roach, President of Open Door Technology.

“Christian has an excellent knowledge of technology and has shown a keen interest in ways to expand and improve our business. He will be counted on to provide technology leadership with regards to the delivery of our applications,” Malcolm said.

Prepare to Acquire or be Acquired

It used to be you could start up a business and merrily work away until you were ready to sell out and retire.  Things change so quickly now that this often just isn’t the case.  New competitors arise, technology changes, the economy frequently moves up and down…you name it and it’s bound to happen.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States has released information that shows just over fifty percent of new businesses survive five years and around one-third survive ten years.

So how is this relevant to the subject of acquisition?  The pace of change is so quick these days that growth often comes from acquiring new or similar businesses.  The changes are very likely, if you are one of the survivors, that you will acquire someone or be acquired.  Depending on your exit strategy, that might be a good thing or a bad thing.  Either way, there are some standard principles you should follow in order to make sure the acquisition succeeds.

First, you need to have the right people.  If you’re going to acquire someone, your people need to be able to handle the needs of a more complex organization.  If you’re going to be acquired, the purchaser will normally be very interested in the quality and commitment of your staff.

Secondly, you need the right systems in place, both processes and software.  The arguments apply as for your staff.  A properly running organization with modern systems will be much more capable.  Purchasers will want to make sure they’re not acquiring a firm working in the Stone Age.

And, finally, sit down with your key advisors and stakeholders and really determine both what your short and long-term objectives are and how you see yourself growing or exiting.  You need to be prepared for both eventualities.  Talk to your accountant, your lawyer, your spouse, business partners, etc.  Be prepared!  The opportunity will come and your direction needs to be crystal clear in order to properly evaluate the situation.

Points to Consider When Selecting an ERP System

By Open Door Technology

Choosing an ERP system can be overwhelming when trying to match up features with key requirements identified by all departments of your organization. Finding an ERP system that will not only meet your needs, but also improve your business is paramount. We’ve identified some key considerations when selecting a new ERP system.

Evaluate your current operation processes

  • A new ERP system will not solve flawed processes within your organization if you don’t first identify the issues and how to resolve them. Make a list of specific system requirements by department so you will be ready to match those requirements to ERP systems that will improve your current operations.

Choose your customizations carefully

  • Highly customized ERP systems can become quite costly not only during the initial implementation, but during future upgrades as well. Although customizations add an additional expense there are circumstances where the benefits of having a flexible ERP system to match your unique processes could be a game changer in your industry. The key is choosing an ERP system that has impressive core functionality with the ability to quickly add customizations if and when needed.

Determine your resources and commitment to the project

  • The success of your ERP implementation will depend on adequately planning your time and resources. The buy in of your team to learn and adapt to a new system is crucial. When implementing a new system you must provide the necessary time and resources for training. You might also consider providing extra training for your employees with strong technical skills so they can become experts and resources for assisting fellow employees.

Consider appointing an ERP champion and product expert

  • Select an employee who can act as the champion and project manager for the new ERP system. They should concentrate on learning the system inside and out so he or she can be the point of contact for the vendor and the employees.

Make sure you factor in change management

  • Change Management may sound like a fancy buzzword, but do not underestimate the importance of planning out the finer details of how your organization will deploy its new ERP system. The implementation of a new system brings about a lot of changes and can be a stressful time for staff as they learn a new system and business processes. Many implementations fail because of inadequate planning and lack of buy-in from staff. You can minimize issues by deploying communication plans and workshops to ensure a positive reaction and adoption to the new ERP system.

How many companies are using Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Microsoft recently released the number of companies using their various Dynamics products and, once again, Microsoft Dynamics NAV tops the list with the most new additions and the highest number of customers worldwide. The Microsoft Dynamics products gained market share as a whole with GP and NAV having an increase of 30% more customer ads and AX having over 30% license growth in North America over the last 6 months.

Dynamics NAV is the most popular mid-market ERP system in the world, which gives it significant momentum when it comes to driving innovation and product development. One of the reasons for its success is Dynamics NAV’s ability to quickly integrate to virtually any industry across multiple languages and currencies. The result is a strong worldwide user community and significant growth year over year.

The Dynamics NAV product has undergone some significant updates with the NAV 2015 release and continues to implement new improvements and technology improving its flexibility and scalability.  In addition to Windows, browser, and SharePoint clients, users now have the option of a client optimized for a variety of tablet platforms, offering great mobile flexibility.

We look forward to seeing how the world-wide customer base will continue to push innovation in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

The 2015 breakdown of the Microsoft Dynamics customers worldwide by product is:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 20,000 companies (formerly 19,000 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 47,000 companies  (formerly 47,000 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV 110,000 companies (formerly 102,000 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL 13,500 companies (formerly 13,500 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 40,000+ companies and 4.4 million users (formerly 40,000 companies and 4 million users in 2014)

Why Convergence is an important event for Microsoft Dynamics users

Microsoft Convergence is the time when the Microsoft community members gather to network with other users and get inspired by exploring and sharing new technology and business solutions. Leaders in Microsoft technology will share new innovations and product updates and attendees can also connect with peers and experts. Attendees will walk away feeling energized and confident about their long-term investment in Microsoft technology.

Open Door Technology will be heading to Microsoft Convergence to exhibit Open Door Rental Software, a solution built in Microsoft Dynamics NAV for equipment rental companies or equipment dealers. Join us at Booth #8 to learn more about our complete system for rental and service management.
This annual event is being held this year on March 16-19, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. Find out more about Convergence.

Find out some tips for maximizing your time onsite at Convergence.

See Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 at our Client Open House

We want to help our clients get the most out of their Microsoft Dynamics NAV system and so we are hosting a Client Open House on November 20, 2014 to view the newest release of Dynamics NAV.

Clients are invited to join Open Door Technology’s annual Open House to see the new features of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, which includes a new tablet version and other applications such as Jet Express for Word, which allows you to design NAV document templates right in Microsoft Word. Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend the hands-on labs following the presentation in order to see these exciting new features firsthand and chat with Open Door Technology staff one-on-one.

The Open House will take place in Calgary, AB and out-of-town clients are given the opportunity to attend by webinar.

If you are a client of Open Door Technology, please register today!

Attendees can expect the following:

  • 1:00 Begin Arriving
  • Refreshments served through out
  • 1:30 Presentation Begins
    • Overview of new features of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015
    • Improvements to user interface and simplified upgrading
    • New tablet client
    • New ‘Small Business’ Role and simplification options for some businesses/users
    • Power BI Reporting Concepts and Report scheduler
    • Jet Express for Word for designing NAV 2015 document templates in Microsoft
    • ZetaDocs for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015
    • Microsoft Social Listening
    • Plus more topics!
  • 3:45 Hands On Labs:
    • Technical Sessions on how to install/manage NAV Web Client
    • Tablet Clients available for review/training on various tablets (Surfaces/iPads)
    • Jet Reports 2013 Update 1 and how to upgrade

See Jet Express for Word and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015

Jet Express for Word is a free feature of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 to allow users to create and customize their own document templates for Dynamics NAV right in Microsoft Word. Jet Reports and Microsoft have partnered together to give end users an easy to use system to design templates in the familiar environment of Word.

Once a template has been created in Word, it can be imported into NAV to use when creating documents such as Credit Memos, Invoices, Orders, and Quotes. Jet Express for Word gives the user the ability to design a template from scratch or customize templates from Jet Reports or Microsoft. Jet Express for Word will only pull available data from NAV and will not perform calculations.

The interface of Jet Express for Word allows users to search available NAV fields in plain text and double click to add anywhere in the Word document. Logos and graphics can also be easily added and the font and type can also be formatted.

Join us on October 29 for a webinar as we present Jet Express for Word and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015.

  • Register Now
  • Wednesday, October 29 at 9:00 am – 10:00 am MDT

Download Jet Express for Word

Software Requirements

• Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015
• Office 2013 Desktop Edition

Malcolm Roach now President and CEO of Open Door Technology

Please note that effective immediately Wilton Damas is no longer employed as the president of Open Door Technology. Malcolm Roach, the CEO and founder of the company, will assume the dual responsibilities of being the CEO and president.

“We do thank Wilton for his four years of service and wish him well in his future endeavors. I personally have learned many things from Wilton about project management and product life cycles, in particular, while he was here,” Mr. Roach said.

Mr. Roach founded Open Door Technology in 1992 to support ERP solutions capable of integrating people, processes, and technology. Since that time the company has developed specialized solutions for equipment rentals and oilfield service based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM. Open Door has grown into one of the largest Microsoft Dynamics and ISV development partners in North America with staff and customers located throughout the United States and Canada.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 at Directions 2014

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 – We’ve seen some sizzle, where’s the beef?

I’m writing this after day 2 of the Dynamics NAV 2015 Directions conference.  As you might expect, the sizzle came out on day 1 and day 2 began to fill in the details.  I was able to attend some sessions on sales and marketing and was able to gather some interesting insights that I thought I’d share.

The new importable Word templates in Microsoft Dynamics NAV are even more impressive in detail than shown in the introduction on day 1.  There are some applications requiring complex invoices where this may not be applicable and a SQL RDLC report may be more applicable.  For the vast majority of customers, this feature will be extremely useful and save significant effort and dollars from customizing invoice formats while putting this control in the hands of the users.  Users can select the correct format at the time of running the report.

I was able to attend a thought-provoking marketing session based on the premise of generating 1 lead per day, refusing to do demo’s, and avoiding RFP’s (Request for Punishment) like the plague.  An important supposition was the shift of importance from Sales to Marketing.  A comment was made that you can get four marketing people for the price of one salesperson.  Keep in mind that the sales quota for a salesperson in this environment is around $4,000,000 per year.  Salespeople become highly efficient processing of qualified leads delivered by an integrated and automated marketing system.

There is now a Mini App option included in Dynamics NAV that is intended to replace the C5 product in Denmark, a solution with 85,000 customers and targeted towards the lower end of the market.  While the screens have been “dumbed down” for entry level customers, that is only one component.  The system also provides enhanced tool tips, embedded instructions, dismissible dialog, etc.  Very promising for anyone looking to move new customers from entry level systems such as QuickBooks and Simply.

There continues to be emphasis on the Cloud and Microsoft Azure.  It seems that Cloud partners are coming out of the woodwork, each striving to come up with a unique value proposition.  There are some excellent technical classes that others in our firm were able to attend  and I will share more information from their experiences as we share notes.

Read here for my notes on Day 1 of Directions 2014 and the exciting release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015.