About Kurt Hatlevik

Greetings. I appreciate that I can be a part of this worldwide blog community—as a consultant working from Norway, the blog lets me share more than 16 years of experience with Microsoft Dynamics AX. Along the way, I developed PDA/RF, barcoding, masterdata sync, Kitting and WMS-solutions for Dynamics AX. My blog focuses on my deepest interests and expertise: along with a 360 degree view of warehouse management topics, I welcome opportunities to dive into retail and intercompany supply chain automation, logistics, and production—everything that is moving around in a truly connected enterprise. As executive consultant for Dynamics AX, I specialize in strategic development and planning for corporate vertical solutions and works to build international networks that increase knowledge and understanding for Dynamics AX. As an advocate for both providers and customers, I'm committed to ensure that customers meets constantly changing needs, and I see community as key for increasing expertise.

Using Cloud POS as your retail mobile device

Handheld functionality for retailers is a question I get a lot. Then typical in the area of counting, replenishment, receive and daily POS operations. In version 8.1 Microsoft have taken a small step forward to make it easier to use any handheld device that supports a common browser. Because Cloud POS (CPOS) runs in a browser, the application isn’t installed on the device. Instead, the browser accesses the application code from the CPOS server. CPOS can’t directly access POS hardware or work in an offline state.

What Microsoft have done is to make the CPOS change according to the screen size, to work more effectively on your device. To make it simple, I just want to show you how it looks on my iPhone.

Step 1: Direct your browser towards the URL of where the CPOS is located. In LCS you will find the URL here:

Step 2: Activate your POS on mobile device by selecting store and register, and log in

Step 3: Log into CPOS and start using it. Here are some sample screens from my iPhone, where I count an item using CPOS.

You can also “simulate” this in your PC browser, but just reducing the size of your browser window before you log into CPOS. Here I’m showing the inventory lookup in CPOS.

What I would love to see more of is:

– Barcode scanning support using camera

– The ability to create replenishment/purchase orders in CPOS

– More receive capabilities like ASN/Pallet receive etc.

– Improved browser functionality (like back-forward browsing etc)

To me it seems clear that we will see additional improvements in CPOS, making it the preferred mobile platform for Dynamics 365 for Retail. As we get a little, I hope to see more of this as Microsoft is definitely investing in this area. In our own customer projects we will be developing more and more functionality using RTS (Real Time Service calls) to add more features to be used together with CPOS.

To take this to the next level, please also check evaluate to create a hybrid app, that incorporate CPOS in a app friendly way. Sources say that this will also allow us to build extensions like camera barcode scanning

The direction is right and my prediction for the future is that: Mobile Retail device = CPOS.

Report your bugs, free-riders!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the fastest innovation and most agile business software in the world. A very feature rich solution with a packed very fast moving roadmap. We see new possibilities and features coming monthly in platform update, fall/spring releases. if you look at the entire platform-stack including windows, office, and platform (power* apps) new features being made available on a daily basis. Being first and fast have changed and challenged the Dynamics 365 ecosystem. Mostly for the good.

But we have to recognize that it is people (and highly productive) behind this innovation tsunami. In such an environment there are thousands of elements that must to fit together. If you look towards the number of combinations on how you can use and setup Dynamics 365, I would assume that this is millions of combinations in the core product. And when adding office and power* apps, combinations just increases exponentially.

People are people, and there is a limitation to the numbers of combinations that can be tested, both from a manual and automated testing scenario. This leads to scenarios that there is no capacity to test everything before the product is released. It is not possible to test all of the millions of combinations, and I know that even Microsoft do not have unlimited people and resources to cover every test scenario.

This evidently results in issues and bugs that will be found when implementing Dynamics 365, and these needs to be reported to Microsoft support so that the fixes becomes part of the future solution.

Searching, testing, reporting a solution takes time and do cost money! Each time I find a bug, I report this to Microsoft so that all of the community can benefit of a fix. But as some have recognized that reporting issues/bug is requiring effort and resources. You report the bug, analyze the issue, report the issue, Microsoft provides hotfixes, the hotfix needs to be validated and testing and then deployed to the environment. This takes time, but is necessary!

With this blog post I urge both partners and customers to report your findings to Microsoft, so that all the rest of us can benefit that we are an ecosystem together. As I hope most of you know, we are quickly moving towards Dynamics 10, that is often referred to as the “ever-green” solution. This means that there are ONE version, that all customers are using, and that follows the Microsoft roadmap. When one customer reports an issue, and it is fixed, then all benefit from this.

Then there is the issue with the “free-riders”. These are the people that recognize the issue, find workarounds and DON’T take the investment in time and resources of reporting the issue. They know and see the issue, but choose to live with it or ignore it. Then in many cases, Microsoft if not even aware of any issue, and the issues just continues to be present in future releases. The best way is to report what you see to Microsoft support or to Microsoft ideas. Then Microsoft can take action on it, because they know of it.

So, I urge my fellow community friends to not be a Free-Rider, but report your issues. This will ensure that we all can share the resource/time burden among us, and we also improve and strengthen Dynamics 365, that we all will benefit from.

PS! Dynamics 365 is the BEST business application in the world!

Focus18 – EMEA – London

The User Groups for Dynamics 365, AX, CRM, BC/NAV, and Power BI road-trip named Focus is arriving to Europe and is making a stop in London from 5-6 September, 2018 featuring dive deep sessions covering advanced topics on D365 Finance and Operations and Customer Engagement. Additionally, specific topics to the Retail space including modern POS, inventory management, sales orders, ecommerce, credit card processing and more. This is great stuff!

It is a privilege for me to participate and present together with great MVP’s, Microsoft experts and the Dynamics 365 community. If you want to check out my sessions, I will have the following sessions:

Deep dive into retail pricing and discounts. 

This session is about what product sales price and discount options that exists in Dynamics 365 for Retail – “out-of-the-box”.  With actual and real examples of how to implement and maintain your retail prices.

 

Learn, Try, Buy for Retailers.

The “Learn, Try and Buy for Retailers” is an accelerated onboarding approach that enables you to evaluate if a cloud enabled Dynamics 365 for Retail is the right direction, and to be able to learn as much as possible prior to performing a business- and solution analysis. This is available for agile and iterative approaches, and this sessions shows why buying a small Dynamics 365 license is an affordable investment to purchase before scope of implementation have been defined. Using VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) is a central topic in this session.

Power BI and Retail.  How to get the numbers.

This sessions shows how to publish retail transactions into a Azure SQL database or CDS(Common Data Services), and then analyze the retail sales in Power BI.

Check out https://www.focusemea.com/locations/london as there are many other very interesting sessions.

 

See you in London!

 

 

Microsoft Business Applications sessions on-demand and Dynamics 365 version 10

The Microsoft Business Applications sessions are now available on-demand https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/businessapplicationssummit/sessionsondemand

I enjoyed the following sessions:

Client usability and productivity improvements in the October release and beyond for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

Monitoring Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations with Lifecycle Services

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail: Reliable data management and payment processing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail: Delivering cloud driven intelligence and tools to enable enterprise manageability

 

I also want to highlight the following session, where Microsoft is explaining Dynamics 365 version 10 (Thanks Shelly)

Microsoft managed continuous updates and support experience for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Vote on Dynamics 365 ideas

Do you know that you can influence the direction of Dynamics 365? But you may be unsure as to whether it really will make a difference. Microsoft have a site where the community can add ideas and vote on them. Go to https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/ and create your ideas. If the idea is valid and they get enough votes, Microsoft will act and include them in their product backlog. But equally important is the ability to vote on other’s ideas.

  • Voting is the most important way to make the community voice heard on the issues that concerns the roadmap for Dynamics 365.
  • Voting gives you an opportunity to be part of the priority that affects Dynamics 365.
  • If YOU don’t Vote Others will make the decisions for YOU!

As we speak, there are 1673 ideas for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and 212 ideas for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail. Microsoft employees are some of most actives to add ideas to their site.

The ideas portal allows you to see as the ideas more from an idea to being part of the product:

An important unofficial note is that for an idea to be moved from “New” to “Under Review” it requires at least 10 votes. Also discussions is possible on the ideas, and to add additional substance to the requirements.

You can also keep track of your own ideas and votes you have submitted.

If I have a few minutes of spare time, I like to go in and look at the new ideas submitted and read them. When there are ideas I like, I vote on them.

The more we use this channel to give ideas and feedback, the more important it will be. So please go in and vote at https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/

(And if you find some of mine, please give it a vote )

MSDYN365FO: Automate repetitive tasks – the easy way

Here the other day, I got the task of posting a few thousand Retail Kit orders / BOM-Journals because they failed at the first time. I started, and managed to manually post 50 journals before my fingers got cramps and I started to feel dizzy. I could not multiselect the journals and post them, so I had to manually click “post” on each journal.

I surely sent a SR to Microsoft explaining that this should be easier in standard, and that SR is in process. But it will probably end up as a “As-Designed” state, or “post it to ideas.microsoft.com”.

But there is an easier low-tech way to solving this. Just install a Mouse-ghost app, and it will repeat the task for you. So I used the app “Mouse Recorder Premium” to post all the 1300 journals, and it went smoothly. Just record the clicks and then repeat for a 1000 times.

To make sure I did not “lock” my PC while this was performing, I started the task in a Hyper-V VM, and then it can run in the background.

That’s today’s small trick to get rid of repetitive tasks

D365FO – Some nice excel tricks

When working with importing master data into Dynamics 365 you will experience that they are available in different data entities. In a typical retail project you would need to import data like released products, item barcodes, external item numbers price. It is also common that we get the master data in many files and in different formats. It is therefore quite beneficial to know a few tricks so that it becomes easer to work with loads of data. Here are my tips.

Export all/selected rows (You should know this!)

From any grid in D365FO you can export selected/all rows to excel by right clicking on the grid. The tip is therefore to make a personalization to the grid, so that it contains the fields you want to export to excel.

Then Excel opens with the selected columns. (PS! This export is limited to 10.000 rows)

Use excel to create a filter

Let’s say we have a excel spread sheet with item numbers, and want to filter in D365FO on these items. Here is a very valuable tip.

  1. Copy the items column from excel and paste as rows in a new excel sheet.(Transpose)

  1. Then copy the row, and paste into notepad

  2. Then do a search, replace in notepad, where you copy the space/tab and replace it with comma (,)

  3. Then copy the content here and use it on a “match” filter in D365FO

     

  4. Then you have created a filter on the selected field. It seams the “match” filer is capable of handling quite a lot of text.

This is nice when some asks you to “Please fix these 200 items”. You then filter them and quite quickly go through them to fix it.

Learn Excel VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP is essential to learn, because it let’s you check and lookup data across multiple excel sheet. A typical scenario in the retail world is when the vendor sends a new pricelist, and you want to import them. Often this is delivered as a excel sheet with the vendor item number, item barcode and the price. Most retailers prefers to have their own item numbers. But then you have the issue of mapping the item barcode from the vendor pricelist and trying to find your own product number. Here is how I recommend my customers to do it:

  1. Export all D365FO item barcodes to excel (There is an entity for this, or open the barcodes from the retail menu)
  2. In the vendor excel price list, create a VLOOKUP field to lookup the D365FO product number based on the item barcode.

  3. Then you can create an excel sheet where you have your own product number, and you can import them using “open in excel” or through a data management import job.

     

     

Happy weekend friends !