So, if anyone out there is using Office 365 and has not automated (or is paying a ton to do so) their vendor invoice approval process, welcome Microsoft Flow. Using your existing Office 365 subscription in conjunction with SharePoint and Microsoft Flow, you can achieve a robust invoice automation system with minimal costs to your organization. If you currently don’t own these technologies, signing up for them can literally be a matter of a few bucks per month.
So What Exactly Do You Mean By Invoice Automation?
It is a buzz word that gets thrown around a lot. From our perspective, Invoice Automation comes down to three main areas, namely receipt of the invoice from the vendor, workflow for review and approval, and integration with Dynamics for payment processing. Let’s look at each of these functions separately and explore how Microsoft Office 365 can streamline them.
So, the goal here is to make it easy for a vendor to get an invoice to you. The first answer that comes to mind is email submission. The issue with email is that typically the account is associated to one person and doesn’t offer a lot of visibility for the rest of the company. Don’t worry, Microsoft Flow and SharePoint to the rescue. A Flow can be setup to take an email from any inbox or alias, say firstname.lastname@example.org, and move it to a SharePoint document library. This library will provide the control, versioning, visibility and management for everyone to see the invoices that have been submitted for payment. A template already exists for setting this up. Details can be found here: https://us.flow.microsoft.com/en-us/galleries/public/templates/f7a46809e53c42108034e56acf83bb79/save-my-email-attachments-to-a-sharepoint-document-library/
If you’d prefer invoices to be submitted from your website, mobile app, or vendor portal, those are all options as well. In each of these scenarios the invoice still makes it way to the SharePoint document library.
After a vendor has submitted an invoice for payment, the typical next step is that it needs to be reviewed by managers or accounting. Flow is a perfect tool for this as well. Email or mobile app notifications and approval tasks can be generated and assigned to the appropriate reviewers.
Your resulting flow will look something like this:
Now that the invoice has been submitted and approved, it is ready for payment. At DynamicPoint we focus on using Microsoft Dynamics to accomplish this objective. Our EasyAP365 product will bring the invoice directly into the SharePoint App dashboard for automatic assignment to vendor templates, including GL account distribution. We integrate directly with Dynamics web services to create the invoice and hand it over for payment.
So How Much is this Going to Cost Me?
The good news is if you have Office 365, you most likely already own Microsoft Flow and SharePoint. Even the base Enterprise E1 plan includes both of these technologies: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/compare-more-office-365-for-business-plans If you care to take the approved invoice and automatically bring it into Microsoft Dynamics, DynamicPoint EasyAP365 will be required. More information can be found here: https://www.dynamicpoint.com/easyap365/ So for under $260 a month you can have a fully automated invoice management application.
What Does the End Result Look Like? After all is setup and complete the resulting process will be an integrated invoice automation system that looks like this:
Did you think that AP Automation was simply out of budget? Or maybe thought you didn’t process enough invoices to justify the effort for embarking on this type of business automation?
Think again! In today’s paperless, digital business processes, EasyAP365 helps organizations streamline entry of up to 5,000 invoices per month without the high cost and complexity of enterprise AP solutions. EasyAP365 is the Microsoft Office 365 invoice automation app, streamlining accounts payable processes through:
- Automation of invoice data entry with flexible submittal methods, from digital sources, including mobile, email and vendor portals.
- Rapid allocation assignment by vendor, expense type, department and more through predefined templates.
- An easy-to-use app with native integration to Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions.
- No one-time setup fees and pay as you go licensing
Organizations currently processing hundreds to thousands of invoices each month through manual processes are the best prospects. In addition, if the organization works with the same vendors and suppliers regularly, they will get high value from the auto-assigned allocation templates.
Ideal Automation Candidates:
- Distributors and manufacturers whose vendors are relatively constant and transmit invoices via email will greatly benefit from auto-assigned vendor templates.
- A multi-location company that allocates expenses to different properties may take advantage of location-based allocation templates.
- An organization that has complex allocations by department can rely on department-based allocation templates to streamline the invoice coding process.
The added bonus is the exclusive integration with all Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. An expert in AP management, DynamicPoint has been integrated with the Dynamics product line seamlessly via web services to ensure a fully automated solution. Plus, no one-time setup fees and pay as you go licensing.
No more Portal, use the web client
In response to Microsoft discontinuing support for the Dynamics GP Portal and more recently, the Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal, I have seen many questions posed on “so what is the replacement?” It seems most times a blogger will respond with “a web client is now available so there is no need for a portal.” While I find some peace in the simplicity and finality of that answer, I am afraid that I don’t 100% agree with it.
Can you imagine saying to a customer or a vendor, “Here is your login to Dynamics?”
While the addition of a web client in all of the Dynamics products has been a significant advancement, I don’t believe it precludes the need for a portal. On the various portal projects we have worked on at DynamicPoint, I have never heard someone say, “Can you make it look just like this screen in Dynamics?” Well actually, in all honesty I may have heard it once or twice but it was very infrequent and I can assure you this conversation was quickly shut down. First, recreating a Dynamics transaction screen in another application (such as a web client) has always been against Microsoft licensing terms and is considered multiplexing. Second, customers do not want the complexity of a web enabled recreation of a Microsoft Dynamics transaction/screen published to their portal. They want to foster a simplified user experience for the customer/vendor in comparison to an internal employees interaction with the ERP..
What, you don’t know how to enter a sales order?
Why can’t it be as easy as publishing the web client to a customer’s extranet site? Well if you think about it for a while, the answer is pretty simple. Microsoft Dynamics is an ERP application that is designed around the needs of the internal organization, aka, the “users” of the application. In a customer or vendor portal application the users are entirely different. Can you imagine giving your customer access to your sale order entry screen and saying “have at it”? Or better yet, granting your vendors permission to access the Purchase Order you created for them? The reason this makes no sense is that you want new functionality for them, something that is different from what is available for ERP users.
The practical alternative
To illustrate these differences let’s look at some examples. A vendor logging into your PO transaction screen and having at it of course will never do. But a vendor authenticating to a portal, viewing or printing a filtered list of Purchase Orders that are applicable to them, maybe updating an acknowledgement or expected ship date, does sound like a decent process. On the customer side, the Sale Order screen is complicated enough that outside of your order fulfillment team it is a mess of information that sends eyes rolling back in heads. But the idea of giving a customer a streamlined order request screen that is routed for review and upon approval creates a quote in Dynamics sounds a little more feasible. Maybe combine these scenarios with some document sharing, reporting, self-service, etc. and you’ve got yourself a real SharePoint Customer Portal.
So please bloggers, don’t confuse the two. Of course if you have any further questions about SharePoint Portals for Dynamics we are always happy to help clarify here at DynamicPoint.
Also, don’t forget to to register for our FREE Customer Portal Webinar on 11/08/2017 @ 11am PST
Digital Transformation involves leveraging the tools and technology that we use every day in different and unique ways to better serve our customers. An example can be seen in our development of SharePoint Portals for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (now Microsoft Dynamics 365) & ERP. Companies use SharePoint every day to collaborate with other employees, often manually publishing information that was obtained from their ERP system. We took this simple idea, expanded the community to include customers and/or vendors, and automated the integration with Dynamics.
Repetitive and mundane customer service tasks such as resending a customer invoice, statement or order status can be eliminated by offering this information via a SharePoint portal. One particular client took this a step further and published all their customers’ tax reports so that they were available to the client without the need to manually generate and email them. This efficiency can also be applied to vendor relations including such processes as invoicing and payment, product design and project management.
- Issue Statements. If you are challenged by supplying customers’ statements which pull key finance resources off more pressing tasks at the end of each month, extend secure portal access to customers so they can access and print statements online, on demand.
- Reprinting of Invoices. The all too common task of contacting the finance department to confirm open invoices can stop with the extension of 24/7 access to open invoices and a historical payment record. Curb the calls to finance, stop the flood of emails and allow customers to access and even print open invoices!
- Purchase Order Updates. Vendor emails swirling with revised “Promised Delivery Date” and actual “Ship Dates”? Allow vendors secure access to open purchase orders and allow them to update the PO with actuals and shipping information that flows directly back to Dynamics to ensure all parties have access to the most current information.
The seamless two-way integration between your existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP information and a secure and customizable SharePoint portal gives customers and vendors more effective, accurate, profitable and FASTER customer service experiences. Your business will appreciate the savings in time and resources as you move repetitive customer service inquiries online rather than handling them on the phone or by email. Additionally, not only do customers and vendors demand 24/7 access, they appreciate it and you can anticipate increased customer satisfaction.
This is just one of the ways that digital transformation can benefit your business processes. For many more examples, download the white paper: What the Heck is Digital Transformation and What Does it Mean for Your Business?
Do you have other ideas on how a Portal can transform your business? If so, contact us to further discuss your automation efforts for Customer, Vendor or Employee Portal.
The service modules within Microsoft Dynamics offer a compelling case for extending critical information to a SharePoint Portal. Within the administration of servicing customers there are typically many touch points not only with the customer but also with internal employees and potentially vendors that lead to the ultimate fulfillment of an order therefore ensure all parties have 24/7 access to all pertinent information.
On the service contract and order side some typical examples are as follows:
- Expiration and renewal dates – Share these dates with customers such that they can manage their contracts and renew in a timely fashion – See latest video use case
- Invoicing and Payment – Show invoices and corresponding payments for service contracts
- Next Planned Service Date – Manage your service appointments and ensure resources are allocated
- Status and Priorities – Allocate workload to ensure your most critical service orders are addressed first – See latest video use case
- Response Time – Establish metrics on the performance of your team and associated customer satisfaction
These are just a few examples of the benefits of a 24/7 self-service portal which exposes and syncs data seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics 365, AX, GP & NAV. Did we miss something? If so let us know how we can further your automation efforts with a Customer, Vendor or Employee Portal.
Often times the person that has the most interest in ensuring their contact record is accurate in Microsoft Dynamics is the actual customer themselves. Such information is used to deliver valuable goods and services, and any inaccuracy can lead to delays that can cause drastic issues in the supply chain. This is why at DynamicPoint we often hear the request to add profile maintenance capability to customer portals.
The most typical process for this functionality is for the customer to be presented with their profile information as defined on the contact record directly in Dynamics. They have the ability to update fields as they see fit, with any validation being applied to ensure their entries are accurate. When these changes are submitted they can be directly integrated with Dynamics or instead generate a workflow for review. Upon approval, the contact record is then updated in Dynamics. Typically this is also accompanied by email notifications to the customer and those reviewing the changes.
By enabling customers to verify and update their own information, you are not only improving the accuracy of their contact record, but you are saving your organization the time and resources to make these updates. Not to mention the primary reason of improved customer service by ensuring your goods and services are being delivered to the correct person at the proper address.
Watch the quick demo below:
Dynamics 365, AX and CRM added to the list of supported applications
2017 – DynamicPoint Inc., a developer of Microsoft SharePoint applications that extend the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics, released version 2.0 of its SharePoint Customer, Vendor and Employee Portal applications. This release is a significant milestone as it includes the full transition to a SharePoint Add-In that will deploy to either SharePoint Office 365 or On Premise and also extends the compatibility of the product to include Dynamics 365, AX and CRM.
“The product design is quite unique because it supports all Dynamics objects that are able to be exposed using web services”, states Kiril Genov, the product architect. This flexibility supports the publishing of virtually any information from Dynamics 365, AX, GP, NAV and CRM to a SharePoint Portal. Typical portal use cases allow organizations to share sales orders with customers, purchase orders with vendors, or HR information with employees, all available with basic configuration. These endless options are best encapsulated by insight from Kellie Cooper, an Implementation Consultant at DynamicPoint, “our customers appreciate the flexibility in extending an endless amount of mission critical data from Dynamics to the Portal for 24/7 self-service access. For an even bigger win we can layer in the option for site visitors to make edits that are flowed directly back into Dynamics further reducing customer support costs and delivering a tremendous lift in customer satisfaction.”
With this new release comes an updated pricing model that encourages customers to extend as much information as they desire with customers, vendors and employees. For example, if a customer is already collaborating on jobs with clients and wants to offer insight to inventory levels, this addition comes with no impact to the SharePoint Portal product licensing fees.
DynamicPoint develops products that leverage the Microsoft SharePoint platform to integrate and enhance return on investment in Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems. In addition to cost effective, out-of-the-box products for portals, employee expense, requisition management and invoice automation, DynamicPoint also offers organizations the ability to customize a fully integrated solution to meet unique business requirements. The company’s mission is to help customers maximize productivity, improve access to information, enhance communication and collaboration inside and outside the office, and to provide additional revenue opportunities within their marketplace.
Learn more about DynamicPoint: http://www.dynamicpoint.com
Senior Sales Account Executive
In an effort to provide maximum productivity for Dynamics GP the DynamicPoint’s SharePoint Business Automation applications integrate seamlessly with the Analytical Accounting module. Our applications enable AA codes to be queried directly from Dynamics GP and either be selected or defaulted on the SharePoint Expense, Requisition and Invoice forms. Transactions can then be approved and integrated into the Dynamics GP GL line distributions, capturing all the accurate analytical accounting codes. Plus you have the ability to split an expense or allocate a portion of a particular line item to multiple AA codes. Additionally, the application can be configured to associate relationships and/or restrictions specific to AA codes. For example, maybe only a certain subset of AA codes should be available to a given department or expense type. Watch this short video to see how easily AA codes can be assigned to an expense, requisition or invoice.
Are the repetitive, mundane customer service tasks bogging down your team?
DynamicPoint’s SharePoint Portals for Dynamics CRM & ERP solutions are proving invaluable in streamlining customer and vendor communications with 24/7 self-service access. Not only have people come to expect immediate access to their information but a portal will contribute to bottom line savings while allowing employees to spend less time on the phone or email dealing with these typical, repetitive customer service requests.
Typical Portal Use Cases:
- Issue Statements. Summit Fertilizer was challenged by supplying customer’s statements which pulled key finance resources off more pressing tasks at the end of each month. They now extend secure portal access to each of their customers so they may access and print statements online, on demand.
- Reprinting of Invoices. The all too common task of contacting the finance department to confirm open invoices can stop with the extension of 24/7 access to open invoices and a historical payment record. Curb the calls to finance, stop the flood of emails and allow your customers to access and even print open invoices!
- Report Distribution. You have leveraged Business Analysts time and again to develop the reports needed to track customer activities but why not share them! That option now exists because DynamicPoint’s seamless integration between your existing Microsoft Dynamics ERP information and the SharePoint portal uses web services to allow for, in the case of Summit Fertilizers, the publication of Dynamics reports delivering immediate access to Dynamics NAV reports for a more effective and profitable customer service experience.
Plus, there is zero disconnect! Our portals present an extension of your organization as you are able to brand the portal to your current look and feel with logo’s, color schemes and web parts populating the appropriate management staff per organization. Putting Summit Fertilizer back in the spotlight here allows us to highlight how easily you are able to extend your corporate branding from your website to a secure Customer or Vendor Portal.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving the team at DynamicPoint has so much to be thankful: amazing health, good fortune, friends and family are at the very top of the list! However if we were to apply this same level of gratitude to the work we do each day there are a couple of things that require a huge shout out:
- SharePoint – There is simply no other place to start than with SharePoint – we couldn’t be more thankful for the investment that Microsoft has made into SharePoint as it delivers the backbone to each of our Business Automation Solutions for Dynamics CRM & ERP solutions. We are able to leverage the rich out-of-the-box functionality that SharePoint delivers to meet so many customer requirements with our applications:
- Workflow – The SharePoint workflow engine allows us to trigger the review and approval of expense reports, invoices, and purchase requisitions based on many variables; company, department, expense type, amount, etc. to ensure corporate spending policies are enforceable.
- Outlook Integration – The success to launching any new application is user adoption and with out-of-the-box integration to Outlook Email and Tasks our customers’ employees are notified that they have expenses, invoices and requisitions to review directly in their inbox! In addition, tasks can be escalated if the review process exceeds a certain threshold with nagging email and task reminders all within Outlook.
- Reporting – With out-of-the-box integration to Microsoft technologies; Power BI, Excel, PowerPivot and Power View our customers can expose analytics and create spreadsheets, pivot tables and charts to extend KPI’s to the business, customers or vendors that is most meaningful to their operations. Check out our recent Power BI Video.
- PowerApps – Additionally, we couldn’t be more thankful in Microsoft’s continued investment in the App model with the release of Microsoft PowerApps. PowerApps is enabling us to further extend our SharePoint Portal applications in a mobile friendly format without writing code. That is right, we are meeting the customer demands of extending our 24/7 self-service portal access to Dynamics AX, CRM, GP, NAV & Dynamics 365 data in a mobile-friendly format that is freeing up development resources to focus on more technical integrations! Check out our latest video: Power Apps – Mobile Friendly SharePoint Portals.
- Web Services – Many may say “web what” but to the team at DynamicPoint and those of you that having being using Dynamics AX, CRM, GP, NAV & Dynamics 365 we know we are blessed to have web services. This is the key element that ensures we can extend the data needed from Dynamics GP and NAV into our SharePoint Portals for customers and vendors to access such items as inventory, sales orders and purchase orders for the most effective customer service experience.
- Customers – Lastly and most importantly during this season, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and those who have helped to shape our business – our Customers and Partners! It’s been quite a year for us all and we so greatly appreciate the opportunities we have been granted but also the relationships we have built that allow our business and software to grow and evolve. We THANK YOU and look forward to working with you in the years to come.
Happy Thanksgiving from the team at DynamicPoint.
Why Customer’s Love DynamicPoint
Kellie and team I really appreciate all your help getting our customer’s project sorted out. It may not have been our ideal go live situation with the client’s old system going down suddenly, but you have been awesome about very quick responses, and getting things taken care of for us and the client. Thank you.
Senior Director, Technology Services | RSM US LLP
IT systems are never perfect. The difference between a good and average (or poor) experience is made when a vendor proves themselves as a true business Partner by ensuring the customer is getting the value they expect from their product, it’s this character and culture of their team that validates my decision to partner with DynamicPoint.
Director of Business and Quality Information Systems | OneBlood, Inc
We have been so impressed with DynamicPoint’s solution and their people. They put in the time to make sure they can deliver what they promise,” concludes Amy. “You can tell they are very committed to their customers and made me feel like a priority through every question and conversation.
Sr. Manager Business Applications & IT Support Services | CBORD
DynamicPoint is very knowledgeable, quick turnaround times and great customer service. What they deliver is always what I asked for or more. One of my most favorite vendors!
Great expertise with both Microsoft Dynamics GP and SharePoint. DynamicPoint was very responsive and professional throughout the engagement. The product was exactly what was desired, and was bug free upon delivery. I highly recommend working with DynamicPoint for any GP customization or SharePoint development.
T.D. Williamson Inc.