Editor’s note: This week Dan Vassallo, an associate in our information security practice, shares his reflections on the GP Technical Airlift event.

Earlier this month, I spent several days representing GraVoc at the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift.  After taking a week to let all the dust settle, I isolated ten key takeaways from the upcoming release of Dynamics GP 2013, the web client, and other topics featured in Fargo last week. Here are the first five:

  1. The headline-grabber is the browser-based option that comes with GP 2013.  GP 2013 has a different look from older versions, and it lends itself well to a web-based environment and hosting.
  2. One of my favorite presentations was the security discussion.  About 95% of the people in the room claimed they knew their customers’ ‘sa’ password, and 2/3 didn’t see anything wrong with that.  The presenter encouraged GP administrators to set up roles and assign people to roles instead of one-off changes.  He also noted that GP is used widely enough that auditors can tell when something is remiss.
  3. Integration:  Looks like the necessity of using ancillary programs like FRx and Crystal Reports that often require lots of back-end effort, GP is prioritizing integration with Excel, Management Reporter, and Word.  Seems that a user can create a template in Word and have GP spit information into that template a lot more simply than previous versions.
  4. Tabs and Ribbons.  In the browser-based version, GP 2013 will rectify many of the inefficiencies present in previous versions.  Tabs, for example, will enable a user to view or edit item, vendor, customer, and distribution settings without opening windows or returning to the main menu.  Processes that may have previously taken 12 clicks will now take four clicks.
  5. Brutal audience.  Many of the folks at Microsoft Fargo had a good sense of humor.  They had to.  A lot of intuitive features were introduced to resounding Bronx cheers and sarcastic applause.  The architects took it in stride, perhaps acknowledging that enabling prepayments in purchase orders, selecting multiple entities for reporting, and choosing a printer at the time of printing were indeed overdue.

Check back later this week for more takeaways from Technical Airlift.