Measuring the return on investment of attending NAVUG Forum

Attending NAVUG Forum is exciting for many reasons:  getting to see the future of the ERP package we have chosen for our companies, meeting and networking with other people who use that same solution for their organizations, and learning new ways to leverage those tools are just a few. How do you share this experience with the people at your company when you get back home to ensure you are able to return next year? By making sure to measure the return on investment you got for your company while you were there!

Start by making a list of what you want to accomplish while you are at the conference. Planning out what you want to accomplish in the three short days you are here is key.

  • Who do you want to meet?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What problems do you want to solve?

Make sure to involve others at your company when putting together your list. Are there things you could solve for them? Find out what the big picture is at your company. What is your organization planning to do in the next 3-5 years? What are their challenges technologically in order to meet those goals?

When you arrive at the conference, start to work the list. Take advantage of as many sessions as you can attend in your tracks, and pick and choose some sessions from other tracks that may be outside of your comfort zone.  Get involved in networking activities.  Bring plenty of business cards and be ready to use your smart phone to exchange information for the first time using QR code scanning! Make sure to stop by the help desk to get advice on more advanced challenges from partners who are volunteering their services during the conference as well as from Microsoft experts.  Stop by the vendor hall to check out solutions you know you need and find some that you didn’t know you needed.

Before you get back home, review your time at the conference and what you accomplished. When you return to life back at the office, you’ll quickly forget, so write these things down. Once you’ve got your list together of what you’ve accomplished, both big and small, start to assign value to these things. Were you planning to take a class to learn that new thing? How much would the class have cost? Did you solve a problem at the help desk? What would that have cost you? How about that exchange of information you had with another user? They were able to help you think through a solution for something that would have taken you a few weeks or months to get to. How much time, and money, did having a solution now, instead of later, save you? How much is it worth to you that you can call them up three months from now to ask a clarifying question? Add up the numbers – I guarantee you’ve just justified the cost of attending NAVUG Forum.

Make sure to share what problems you solved, what things you learned, and how much money you saved your company by attending NAVUG Forum when you get back home. Set aside some time to discuss the vision for the future that inspired you with your executive team. Share your involvement with the user group by taking advantage of the free learning and networking opportunities they have and by showing your co-workers how they can also get involved throughout the year. Follow up with the contacts you made while you were at the conference. You will find this network of professionals invaluable in the future.

Hang on to that list. If you question the value of NAVUG Forum, or if someone else does, get out your list and look at the bottom line.

If you need a little more help in getting approval from your company for your NAVUG Forum attendance, the user group provides a great template to help you get started. Find it here:  http://navugforum.com/justify-my-trip/

As one added incentive, just by reading this blog, you can get an extra $100 off your NAVUG Forum registration by using this promo code: NAVFIN04. This code can’t be used in combination with other offers.

I’ve attended NAVUG Forum for the last four years. I’ll be attending again in October 2012, and I’m bringing three coworkers with me this year. I’m looking forward to the conference already and I hope that you Meet Me There!


From the 1950 home computer to creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily

The caption from this photo reads:  Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a “home computer” could look in the year 2004.  However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home.  Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now, scientific progress is expected to solve these problems.  With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use.

Contrast this to the recent article published by the AICPA, where they report:

  • every day we create 2.5 quintillion (that’s 2,500,000,000,000,000,000) bytes of data
  •  the United States needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with what they called “deep analytical” expertise
  • and another 1.5 million data-literate managers will be needed

Read more about the concept of Big Data, defined as “data sets that grow so large that they are nearly impossible to work with using traditional database management tools, but yet offer a powerful tool when married with strategic use” at the link below.

http://blog.aicpa.org/2012/07/big-data-presents-big-opportunities-for-firms-and-cfos.html

It has never been a better time to be a financial or information technology professional.  Look what technology has done for us!


What is your best advice for getting a new NAV user started?

I have a new employee starting on my team next Monday in the position of Senior Accountant.  They have considerable prior financial and systems experience, but no NAV experience.  What is your best advice for getting a new employee a great start using Microsoft Dynamics NAV?


Where can I learn more about NAV analysis reports and analysis by dimensions?

Analysis reports and analysis by dimensions are the native reporting options that extend NAV reporting to the item ledger entries generated from the sales, purchasing, and inventory areas of the application. I find that many users don’t know that this reporting option exists and think it is one of the more underutilized areas by NAV financial users.

These reporting options can be found on the general ledger, sales & marketing, purchasing, and inventory menus.

The main advantage this reporting tool has over account schedules is that it reaches a further level of detail that just isn’t recorded on the general ledger. Being able to get to quantity information at the item or location level in addition to the dollar values posted makes these tools great as a way to get operational reporting.

What is the difference between the two?

Analysis by dimensions is a query tool. The key to using this tool effectively is to use aggressive filtering, especially if you have a large number of items. It can be a very quick way to get information about what may be going on with a single or small group of items. You can also export to Excel and it shows up in a pivot table.

Analysis Reports allow you to configure and save row setups and column layouts for later use, which makes it a reporting tool. These reports work a lot like account schedules, with some added features to accommodate the additional data you can reach because you’re reporting against the item ledger entry tables instead of the general ledger.

A few hints on analysis reports and analysis by dimensions:

  • Skip the analysis report on the general ledger menu and use accounts schedules; you’re not going to get any added value here.
  • When posting sales or purchase orders, you must be fully utilizing the sub module, i.e. do not allow any posting of lines to general ledger accounts on the sales or purchase order documents. Any posting that goes “around” these modules will cause your analysis report to show a lower number than what is on your general ledger. Avoid the argument of reporting credibility by understanding this, and either being able to explain the variance, or prevent it from happening altogether.
  • Know that analysis reports will not automatically update if you add new items. You’ll need to go in and do this manually to each report every time you add new items.

For those of you who are looking for more resources on Analysis by Dimension and Analysis Views, reference the documents below, found on Customer Source:

Documentation => User Guides => Overview of Training Manuals and Hands-On Labs for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009

  • Trade in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 – Chapter 9
  • Business Intelligence for Information Workers in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 – Chapter 5

Documentation => User Guides => Overview of Training Manuals for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0

  • Trade in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 – Chapter 10
  • Business Intelligence for Information Workers in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 – Chapter 6

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