Naming confusion may be compounded by Enterprise and Business names for Dynamics products

We almost settle on one set of names for the realigned Dynamics ERP and CRM products when another set of product names seem to be upon us.

As Steve Endow points out, the CRM community seem to have claimed the “Dynamics 365” moniker for themselves (just see all the twitter activity and company marketing emails for proof), whilst the Dynamics ERP community are left with the scratty end of the deal when it comes to naming.

As the ERP products are migrated and morphed into new cloud & on-premises solutions, new names are certainly required to describe the new shape of offerings. The table below shows product names, previous to June 2017, with “Operations” and “Financials” differentiating the reinvention and re-imagination of what were the traditional Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV offerings, respectively.

Current Name New name (June 2017)
Dynamics 365 for Operations Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise edition
Dynamics 365 for Financials Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Business edition

 

As the Financials product development has gathered pace, it is now obvious that it will eventually encompass the same (to all intents and purposes) set of functionality as the current NAV on-premise solution does today, thus inventory, warehouse management, manufacturing and more. Obviously this scope breaks far beyond a simple accounting function inferred by the “financials” naming and thus I can understand the need to re-frame the product name.

Enterprise and Business edition

So it is June 2017 it seems in rolls Enterprise and Business edition naming. This is to show the scale difference between the companies that the two solutions are targeted at, whilst attempting to also maintain the marketing message that they belong firmly to the same Dynamics 365 family tree. The name also tells the customer that the solutions will do everything they need, both finance functions and run the company operationally.Whilst the naming is more appropriate I have a small alarm to ring with the choice of Enterprise and Business as words to show scale. Todd McDaniel in the recent Enterprise Software Podcast pointed out that outside the software community Enterprise and Business do not perhaps indicate the scale of a company, as a marketing device this may not work as intended. I have to agree, in the United Kingdom this is even worse.

In the USA smaller to mid size companies are usually referred to as SMB - Small and Midsize Business, you see and hear this term all the time.
In European Union and international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, the term SME is used - Small and Medium Enterprise.

SMB Small and Midsize Business
SME Small and Medium Enterprise

 

SME is the term you hear all the time in the United Kingdom where you would use SMB in the US. Can you see the problem? Indeed Business and don’t Enterprise differentiate the scale of a company in our territory! -Whoops!

Although this is not a show stopper, it does mean companies selling the ERP orientated D365 solutions will have a little extra work cut out for them in other parts of the world as the significance of the meaning for Enterprise and Business will need to be explained to prospective customer CEOs, CFOs in the pre-sales marketing literature and meetings.

Uppercase in computer records–please no!

From time to time you encounter systems where the company style is to capitalise names in the system. I know of users who might as well glue the caps-lock on!

When to use a capital letter

If faced with the, we have always done it this way problem, fight it. Excuses come out like its for users with vision problems (there are magnifiers and system tools to help there), improves clarity for parcels going overseas to other cultures (I doubt it makes much difference in compter type, maybe for hand written?), etc.

Capitalisation is a lossy process

In the context of company names, street names, people names, the capitalisation can be important as it conveys information that is lost if it is presented in entirely uppercase. 
examples:

  • McKenzie vs MCKENZIE
  • O'Donnell vs O'DONNEL
  • MacBain VS MACBAIN

There are many others and in other cultures where the capitalisation conveys information that cannot be recovered again if lose, by the use of automated processing.

Mail Merge

It makes it look bad for mail merges later too

"Dear Mr ODONNEL

Thank you for your order."

Just looks bad.

Thus don’t shout at your customers with capitals, use your SHIFT keys!

Finding build version number in Dynamics 365 for Financials

Use the search feature to locate the window by typing “information” into the search box:

Search for Dynamics 365 Financials about window

You need to open the “System information” window that holds the version number for Dynamics 365 for Financials.

System Information Window Dynamics 365 for Financials

The system information window clearly identifies the build number of Dynamics 365 for Financials currently running your tenant instance.

 

Hope this helped, if so leave a message, motivates me to blog more!

D365 Financials in the UK with VAT (Tax) registration lookup feature

The month of May 2017 has brought Microsoft Dynamics 365 Financials to the UK market, in preview. Maybe Microsoft saw my blog post from 2013 about enabling VAT lookup in Dynamics GP and applied the same method to NAV and now to D365F.

2017-05-03_13-44-56

VAT Numbers

If we are registered for sales tax in the UK (or Europe) then a VAT registration number is issued, a number that our tax affairs then applied against. Other companies must be given that VAT number when trading with you. Each country has a different format for the VAT number, Gov.UK list them out here, EU country codes, VAT numbers and VAT in other languages.

When supplied with a VAT number from a customer, it is a good idea and your duty to check that the VAT number is valid. Luckily there is a webservice published by the EU for doing this, VIES. In that blog post of mine (and in production since then), I harness this webservice in Dynamics GP to validate VAT numbers coming into the system through integrations and also provide a VAT validation screen when changing debtor VAT numbers. D365F now lets us do something similar with the same source webservice.

VAT validation configuration for Dynamics 365 Financials

So where is it and how do we configure it for use?

In D365F go to: Setup & Extensions>> Service Connections>> EU VAT VAlidation Service Setup

In passing, notice how, at the time or writing this has a nice uppercase typo on the menu option for this option, “VAlidation”.

VAT Tax Registration Configuration Dynamics 365 Financials

The URL for the webservice is editable so long as the enabled check box is unchecked (default http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/services/checkVatService). I guess you could publish your own endpoint, so long as it mimicked the real one, or if the service moved it can be edited, or if you have a proxy address enter it here.

Click the Apply Default values button. Note that I think that the Tax Information Exchange System Setup button should really be disabled, it does nothing no matter what combination of clicking I do.

Check the “Enabled” checkbox.

Agree with the dialog that we are passing our customer info (VAT numbers) to VIES.

You are accessing a thrid-party website and service

Finally press the X on the window to exit, your changes will be saved automatically and the Service Connection will show as “Enabled” as shown below.

Service Connections

Let us see it in action

By creating a new customer let's see what enabling that feature has given us. I’m pretending to set up a customer as Amazon, that have a Luxembourg VAT number of "LU 26375245".

Under the Invoicing section of the customer window, use the “show more” link on the right to expand the fields to show everything useful (I don’t like all the "show mores" dotted around D365F). After clicking show more, you get the Tax Registration No. field revealed.

If I set the country on the address to GB and then try to enter the above VAT number it complains with a standard form validation that the country does not match the VAT number country. This is true if the format does not match the appropriate regular expression for that country set in the customer invoice address.

 

The entered Tax Registration number is not in agreement with teh format specified for the Country/Region Code

To clear the validation I found I had to empty the field, tab off then go back in with the correct value, feels a bit naff. If I change the country to LU and take out the space in the number then on tabbing off the Tax Registration No. field I get the usual two arrows "busy working" icon, a pause whilst the webservice is called, then the following dialog.

The Tax registration number is valid. Do you want to update the name and address?

Selecting Yes fills in the company name of the customer record for us, very nice!

Amazon Customer card with name inserted

If I were to enter an invalid VAT number for a non existent company, we get the following error…

We didn't find a match for this number. Verify that you entered the correct number.

 

So that is a useful feature tested, a feature that I understand the desktop NAV had and a feature I added to GP some time ago and is now also in D365F!

One last issue to point out is that the webservice does become unavailable on a regular basis- presumably when it gets over loaded or a member state's sub section of the service is down. Just bear that in mind if you encounter issues while testing, might not be you!

 

Let me know if you found this useful with a comment, motivates me to keep blogging...