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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

October 2012

Our delivery of this October edition of Innovative Thinking has been delayed by hurricane Sandy, a storm of epic proportions here in the Northeast. Some of us were lucky enough to be only inconvenienced by the loss of power, phone and internet. Many others have lost their property and loved ones. Our thoughts and hearts are with those who continue to suffer.

Sage ERP X3 - Success through persistence, a best practice!

Patience and a steady hand are critical success factors - for ERP Vendors and Users alike. This month we reinforce this best practice with any eye toward YOUR success.

X3 Tips.We're very excited to feature guest columnist Chuck Langenhop this month. Chuck is a CPA, noted consultant, active member of the X3 community and a friend and partner of Innovative. Chuck works closely with the Innovative team to bring added value and exceptional customer focus to X3 prospects and customers, particularly with respect to financial topics such as costing and controls. This month Chuck shares a great solution he developed around X3 requesters-- "Building Requesters When Crystal Reports Are Not There to Help".

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

This month we take a look at PERSISTENCE, a best practice that applies not only to those of us who use and implement ERP systems to address business issues – but to ERP vendors such as Sage as well.

Why aren't we there yet? One of the common frustrations we hear from users of X3 (as well as other ERP systems) is that what I really need somehow always seems to be just one step away from what I currently have. There are 2 sides to this issue. One side is the capability of the software, and the other side is what we want to do with that capability. And while customers usually blame the software vendors as the reason for not being where they want to be, it takes a bit of discipline for customers to take advantage of what the software has to offer.

Keeping X3 moving forward. On the software side, ERP Vendors such as Sage generally have a “product roadmap” that outlines major and minor releases and what is planned for each. Some of these are changes mandated by country legislations and compliance issues. Others are the result of hot technology trends, such as Software as a Service, the rise of tablet computing, etc, not to mention very specific capabilities such as additional drill downs, better screens, added features. For an ERP System such as X3, that is global, this is quite a challenge. And it’s compounded by the fact that Sage and other ERP vendors are generally announcing things that they know customers want – with “best case” availability dates. Even when they meet those dates, there are issues that get in the way of the majority of customers getting their hands on those features and functionality. Things such as limited release (initial customers) vs. general release (available to everyone on support). So Sage needs to have a structured process and persistence in improving X3 over time.

Are you ready? As important as the availability of new functionality, is the question of whether you are ready for that functionality from a business process and a technology perspective. Remember there are patch levels and other pre-requisites that may get in the way of you actually implementing the desired functionality.

Moving the goal line. On the customer side, persistence is also critical. The reason why what you need always seems to slightly over the horizon is because X3 is a tool to run your business, nothing more, nothing less. And as you use a tool and get more knowledgeable and familiar with using that tool, your ability to utilize that tool evolves as well. This is a positive sign of adoption, not a negative! The best thing you can do as a user of X3 is to develop a process for continual improvement. Keep your project team intact after you go live. Meet monthly to discuss the evolution of how you’re using X3 and what can be improved. Stay in synch with the product roadmap (through this newsletter, Linked In, Sage Summit . . .) and share this with your team. And most of all, commit to making some changes and improvements every year.

The bottom line is that Sage follows an ongoing development process in order to continue to offer value to the marketplace. And for you to succeed with X3 over time, you need to follow a process to take advantage of what they have to offer. Be persistent, and be more successful.

By Chuck Langenhop, Director, CFO Advisory Services, LLP. Chuck can be reached at 214-288-1485 or clangenhop@cfo-advisory.com.

The problem. One of my Sage ERP X3 clients is engaged in an upgrade to version 6.5. As part of our testing, we wanted to ensure that any changes to the requesters library in the V5 PROD folder were made in parallel in the MIGV6 folder. However, there is no report in X3 that provides a list of requesters. Since we have almost 200 requesters, it would have been tedious and time-consuming not only to identify and recreate new ones but also to change existing ones that were edited recently.

The solution. After some research, I identified the table, ALISTEH, that stores requester header information. I created a requester called, “Requester Catalog,” that includes the code, description, date created, date changed, and user that last changed it. By exporting the results to Excel, I was able to sort the results by change date and thereby identify those that were new or edited since MIGV6 was created. I have since added requester rows by adding fields from the ALISTED table. (As a common convention in X3, the table with the H suffix has document header data while the D suffix designates the table that has the underlying lines of detail.)

The moral of the story. There is, undeniably, more power in writing Crystal reports, but for an ad-hoc query, it is often not worth the time or cost to develop a formal report. Requesters are generally not difficult to build, although sometimes some trial and error may be required before they produce the desired results, particularly where new table links have to be created. As with most things done via the X3 toolset, this information is generally available to you, if you are creative and do a little research.

"A best practice followed by successful ERP Vendors and Customers alike.

E N S C T R I E P S E

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramle.

"A convenient method for referring to a link expression in the X3 left list." (ABBREVIATION)

More on blending strategy and execution for greater ERP success. Plus commentary on the marketplace, and of course tips and pointers. More guest columnists will be sharing their expertise. Keep your comments and suggestions coming in. We love to hear from you ! Don't forget to join the ERP X3 Worldwide Community. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives.

Sage ERP X3 Success through persistence, a best practice!

X3 eXpert's Corner. OLL - Building requesters (and managing them too!)

Word scramble.

 

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