DynamicPoint Blog

Reducing Commitment in Uncertain Times

I’m sure everyone that has lived through the first nine months of 2020 has their story of “what was supposed to happen” that as we all know, didn’t.  My kids were supposed to return to school after two weeks, our office was going to stay open, the vaccine would be ready in a couple of months and my gym was just closed for temporary cleaning.  Our conversations have included disclaimers to any further plans to let it be known that there is always a chance they may not happen.  We have all heard the clichés that nothing lasts forever, but never before has it been so real.

What relevance does this have for a software company that develops apps on a Microsoft Office 365 framework?  Nothing more than saying “we get it”.  And to put our action where our words are, we want to reduce the concerns of an uncertain world by removing our commitment for a 12-month term from our software licensing agreement.  What used to read as “The Term of Service shall be for one (1) year”, now states “The Term of Service shall be for one (1) month”.  So if your organization wants to sign up for a customer or vendor portal, AP invoice automation, or employee expense management and not have to worry about what tomorrow will bring, you can now do so.  Feel free to make your selection for a DynamicPoint Office 365 app one month at a time, just as we do everything these days it seems like.

Check out our following products that all leverage the Office 365 Framework guaranteed to save you money:

Or sign up for a Live One-on-One Demo

How to Slim Down on Expensive Software Subscriptions

I think we can all agree that whenever we come out of the current pandemic, there is most likely going to be lean times ahead. Not that this has to be a doom and gloom depressing moment, as lean times are a great opportunity to streamline your operations and cut some of that unnecessary fat.  We know we all have some aspect of fluff in our life that is not getting the full extent of value in return for what we paid…For instance, that cable premier package that you never watch, that monthly subscription you never use, etc…  For organizations, this excess can come in the form of expensive software subscriptions that they are shackled to on a month to month basis.

What if I told you there is an option available where you can achieve invoice automation, customer and vendor portals, and employee expense management without breaking the bank?   DynamicPoint’s products can be licensed as either a one-time perpetual purchase or monthly subscription, both of which are offered at a fraction of the cost of competitors.  So you are probably thinking we achieve this lower cost by offering a less functional product, correct?  Well actually, no, we don’t.  We are able to keep our costs down because we offer our products on the Microsoft Office 365 framework, which provides the foundation for creating robust and flexible solutions at a fraction of the cost of competitors.

Check out our following products that all leverage the Office 365 Framework guaranteed to save you money:

      Customer, Vendor, Employee Portals

EasyAP365 (Invoice Processing)

Expense Management

Or sign up for a Live One-on-One Demo

DynamicPoint Portals For Business Automation

Office 365 Microsoft has shifted SharePoint from being primarily an internal-facing intranet application to a robust platform for extranet collaboration with partners outside of your organization, such as customers or vendors.  This has paved the way for DynamicPoint to develop its portal application, which enhances a standard SharePoint extranet with integration of the data, reports and documents from within a company’s ERP or CRM system.  More about this topic can be found here.  While the initial desire for such a customer or vendor portal is data collaboration, much more value can be achieved on this platform to ultimately pave the way to automating entire business processes.

Initial Phase

The typical initial desire for any portal is to share data from various sources with the intended users.  This can range from sales orders or invoices for customers to purchase orders and inventory for vendors. The goal being the information is available online, 24-7 on the portal and a customer or vendor will not have to call someone in a service department to get the answer they are looking for.  In addition to data, this can also include the sharing of reports and documents.  Reports can vary from purchase orders for vendors or invoices for customers.  Documents can range from customer contracts, government forms, technical requirements documentation, etc.

Later Phases

As the portal matures such functionality as notifications and workflow review and approval are generally introduced.  This is an important step in moving the portal from just being the sharing of data to a more interactive platform.  For example, as opposed to customers just having access to their contracts, they will receive notification upon expiration.  Or in the case of a vendor portal, if a vendor updates expected deliver dates or shipping information, an approval is generated for the operations team to alert them of this change.

The Finish Line

As the ultimate objective of every portal is to improve customer service and decrease costs, the last and final phase is achieving the automation of entire business processes that used to be managed manually.  Examples may include the entire automation of the vendor onboarding or customer contract renewal process.  Freeing up the resources that were previously dedicated to performing these steps manually allows the focus to shift to more valuable activities.

The Microsoft Office 365 platform. together with DynamicPoint’s portal application, provide the perfect framework to achieve your company’s goal of automating as many business processes as desired. The end solution leveraging these tools will look as follows:

If you are interested in learning more, DynamicPoint held a webinar on this subject which can be found here: https://www.dynamicpoint.com/events/free-webinar-business-automation-using-office-365-and-portals/

Dynamics ERP / CRM Compatibility

DynamicPoint’s Office 365 apps for Portals, Invoice Automation, and Expense Management offer many ERP / CRM integrations.  This flexibility is achieved by leveraging the industry standard of integration methodologies, namely ODATA.  So what is ODATA? The technical answer as stated on the foundation’s site is “OData (Open Data Protocol) is an ISO/IEC approved, OASIS standard that defines a set of best practices for building and consuming RESTful APIs”.  The article goes on to state “OData helps you focus on your business logic while building RESTful APIs without having to worry about the various approaches…”  The main point is that ODATA allows applications, like ours, to integrate with many systems without having to define approaches that are unique to every system out there.  Simply put, it is a standard.  Think about your hairdryer.  I can travel to any hotel (in a given country) and can plug it in.  That is because each country has established its own standard for outlets.

When DynamicPoint’s product designers sat down to engineer its suite of applications, the obvious choice was to leverage this standard.  This approach has enabled the company to rapidly support various ERP / CRM systems in offering its suite of Office 365 applications.  Although the ODATA standard has been around for over 13 years, things take a while to catch on.  Most all of the new releases for ERP / CRM systems natively include the option for ODATA.  This allows DynamicPoint products to work across a wide spectrum of products, offering seamless integration with little effort.   But what about those products that have been around for a while?  Not all of them have ODATA available.  One such example is Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.  While Microsoft now offers ODATA web services for its new product, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (FO), Dynamics AX 2012 is a little more of a challenge.   Are we forced to leave these older applications behind?

Luckily for us, the answer is no.  We have partnered with a leading integration company by the name of CDATA Software.  The company produces an entire suite of drivers that provide ODATA web services for numerous applications that don’t provide them.  And since DynamicPoint has already partnered with this company, these options are available to our customers at no additional cost.  You can browse their extensive list of drivers here to find your ERP, CRM, or legacy database system.

So are you wondering if our applications can work with your system?  Please give us a call or schedule a meeting to discuss.

Why Use Office 365 to Deliver our Applications

At DynamicPoint we consider ourselves very unique in the marketplace as we are the only company we have come across that leverages Microsoft Office 365 to deliver portals, invoice automation and expense management applications.  Since we are the black sheep among our competitors, we believe it is important to step back and discuss why we take this approach.  To clarify, the question is why do we use an Office 365 framework to develop our applications as opposed to start from scratch and build everything ourselves like other vendors in our market.

Before we address the question, let’s discuss exactly what the Office 365 platform is and what it consists of.  The framework is formally known as the Microsoft Business Application Platform, sometimes referred to as the “Power Platform”, and consists of a series of tools that are provided with Office 365 licenses.  The major building blocks consist of:

Power Apps – An application for creating custom business apps that connect to various sources of data and work across web and mobile platforms.  At DynamicPoint we specifically use this tool for creating such forms as vendor onboarding, customer order entry, employee expense reports, as well as accounts payable check request forms.  Basically it comes in handy anytime there is a need for an app or form required to initiate a process and interact with your ERP data.

Power Automation – The service used for automating workflow across various users and applications.  We leverage this product quite extensively for all workflow needs across all of our products.  Routing invoices for approval, assigning expense reports to managers, reviewing customer or vendor updates in the portal, etc.

Power BI – A Business Analytics platform which can be used for creating reports and dashboards, inclusive of interactive visualizations.  This comes in handy for all things reporting across our products.  Details on employee expenditures, analysis of AP spending, and vendor performance to name a few.  If there is a need for a report for any of the data within our products, this is our application of choice.

So at a very high level, those are the major building blocks (there are more but can’t cover them all) of the Microsoft Business Application Platform.  So now let’s shift to the question of why do we use all of these products to deliver DynamicPoint’s applications.  There are many reasons but to name a few:

You Most Likely Already Own it – All of these applications already come with most Office 365 subscriptions. So here is an opportunity to leverage your existing investments as much as possible.

Efficiency – In a report published by Forrester (study can be found here), using this platform results in an average of 70% reduction in development costs with an ROI of 362%.  So simply put, we are using the wheel as opposed to inventing it.  These products come with a proven return that we desire to harness.

Reduced Cost – Not only are we using tools you already own but more importantly, we are not introducing our own that need to be installed and maintained.  So we can charge less for our applications, and not leave you with another set of products to maintain.  So less dependency on 3rd party tools.

More Functional – By using an application toolset that is leveraged by organizations all over the globe and developed by one of the most successful companies in modern history, you are receiving the best of bread features that have seen explosive growth in the past few years.  Just within the past year Power Apps has seen a 3 time increase in users.  So with this growth comes more features and functionality that will continue to be evolved by Microsoft.

Contact us today to learn how you can easily start increasing your ROI by utilizing our robust applications.

DynamicPoint Invoice Automation Together with Microsoft AI Builder

The latest addition to the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products is AI builder.  This new application provides functionality to automate business processes and predict outcomes.   While many different models are available to perform such analysis as predict if leads are going to buy your product or route customer requests to the proper support queue, the model that is the most interesting from an invoice automation perspective is the form-processing model.  This model can be trained to extract information from forms, which includes vendor invoices.

The process to configure the application is quite simple.  Instructions for training the model and selecting the desired fields to return can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/ai-builder/form-processing-sample-data.  This model can be then called directly from Power Automate, as discussed in the following article: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/ai-builder/form-processing-model-in-flow

This data can then be added back to the SharePoint library, for use by the DynamicPoint Invoice Automation application, EasyAP365.

Now that this metadata has been extracted from the invoice and is readily available, it can be used for vendor selection, account assignment and workflow routing rules within the DynamicPoint invoice automation product.

The resulting process flow is as follows:

This addition is yet another feature that adds to the power of the Microsoft Office 365 Power Platform and therefore enhances the functionality of DynamicPoint’s AP Invoice Automation application, EasyAP365.

Interested in Learning More About EasyAP365?

Visit our EasyAP365 product page

Sign up for a Live One-on-One Demo

Process AP Invoices Directly From Microsoft Teams

DynamicPoint’s AP Invoice Automation application, EasyAP365, is fully integrated with Microsoft Teams and allows all aspects of the submission, processing, and review and approval to be managed directly from the Teams App.  Let’s take a look at each of these steps and how DynamicPoint leverages Microsoft Teams.

Invoice Submission

While most invoices are probably submitted directly from vendors via email, some may need to be submitted via managers and other employees in the organization.  DynamicPoint’s Invoice Automation product leverages SharePoint libraries for invoice receipt and submission.  As SharePoint libraries are a standard tab option, invoices can be submitted for processing directly from Teams:

Review and Approval

EasyAP365 leverages Microsoft Power Automate to direct invoices to the appropriate reviewers based on the application’s routing configuration.  These review steps leverage Power Automate approval actions which can be managed directly from the Flow app in teams.  That way managers can review and approve their outstanding invoices directly from the Teams interface.

Processing

Probably the most intensive step in managing vendor invoices is the accounting ERP application integration.  This includes such tasks as account assignment, vendor selection, PO matching, and cost accounting designation.  These processes are where the DynamicPoint EasyAP365 app does the most intensive work with its integration to various ERP platforms.  And as each step that came before it, this too can be conducted entirely from Microsoft Teams.

As you can see our integration with Microsoft Teams entails every step in the invoice receipt, workflow, and processing aspects of automating accounts payable invoices.  The last step is the integration of the invoice with the ERP application, which our product performs in a real-time fashion after the last step in the approval process.


Come join our WEBINAR ON JUNE 23rd to learn more about how Microsoft Teams together with DynamicPoint’s Invoice Automation app, EasyAP365, can be used to automate each step in your organization’s AP Invoice process!

You can also check out our recent demo videos, view pricing details or schedule a 1:1 product demonstration.

Manufacturing Portals for Microsoft Office 365

The manufacturing industry continues to have to adapt in order to meet the changing demands and requirements of today’s consumer. Competing successfully will require that manufacturers increasingly provide customers with shorter times between order and delivery and between product conceptualization and realization, greater product customization, and higher product quality and performance while meeting more stringent environmental constraints. Accomplishing these goals will require major changes in current manufacturing practices, such as greater use of information to reduce waste and defects, and more flexible manufacturing styles. The use of information technology can enable substantial improvements in the operation, organization, and effectiveness of information-intensive manufacturing processes and activities.

We support digital transformation in manufacturing by offering cost-effective, out-of-the-box solutions for manufacturers utilizing the Microsoft ecosystem. The DynamicPoint Portal App enables manufacturers to view, edit, and create ERP and CRM data from an Office 365 SharePoint Portal. The Portal App establishes a secure connection to virtually any data source using industry-standard ODATA web services. The flexible architecture of the product allows virtually all information and reports to be included. The portal data is secured by displaying only the relevant information for the authenticated user.

 

How can a SharePoint Portal help your manufacturing business?

DynamicPoint’s SharePoint Portals are built to integrate with your ERP and CRM system and deliver a flexible, seamlessly integrated and highly secure extranet solution for 24/7 self-service access.

Below are just 5 ways our Portals can help manufacturers improve customer service and streamline their operations. Users can:

  1. View and edit order and purchasing information in real-time
  2. Access inventory data, stock levels, BOMs, and order new products.
  3. See outstanding invoices, make payments, and submit new invoices.
  4. Create new product return requests and manage RMAs.
  5. Access performance reports, share KPIs, and customer rating information.

*Actual example of one of DynamicPoint’s client’s Manufacturing Portal dashboard

LEARN MORE:  Join Mike Marcin, President of DynamicPoint, who will be presenting on Manufacturing Portals at the May 26th BMAC Online Event.

Sign up for a free trial, view pricing details or schedule a product demonstration.

Vendor Onboarding with DynamicPoint Portals

In addition to DynamicPoint’s vendor portal application being able to share such data as purchase orders, vendor invoices, contracts and shipping details with vendors, it can also be used to automate entire business processes.  One of these processes is vendor onboarding.  By leveraging the Office 365 platform of which provides the foundation for every DynamicPoint portal, we can easily configure a Power Automate workflow in conjunction with some forms to streamline an otherwise labor-intensive process.

The typical vendor onboarding process is something like this:

In the following video we demonstrate how this can be done using Power Automate with DocuSign for obtaining electronic signatures.  When the process is completed the vendor is automatically created and they receive an invite to the DynamicPoint portal.

Interested in Learning More About our Portal?

Visit our Portal product page

Sign up for a Live One-on-One Demo

Accounts Payable Invoice Automation ROI Calculator

DynamicPoint’s AP Invoice Automation product, EasyAP365, typically provides a very favorable return on investment in a short period of time.  To illustrate this, we’ve created the AP Invoice Automation ROI Calculator to determine your organization’s return on investment by automating account payable invoices. It’s super easy to use and only takes a few minutes to complete.

Simply follow 5 easy steps…

1.  Choose which EasyAP365 product licensing you would require (Basic or Professional).

2.  Add the average salary of those resources involved in accounts payable process.

3.  Indicate the number of AP employees involved in vendor invoice processing and the percentage of AP time spent processing vendor invoices.

4.  Add the average manager employee salary and the percentage of managerial time spent reviewing and approving.

5.  Input how much in vendor discounts you’re missing due to a slow approval and processing process that you can now expect to capture.

     *Results will vary and are dependent on variables added in each case.

CLICK HERE to try the Accounts Payable Invoice Automation ROI Calculator and see what you could be saving.

You can also check out our recent demo videos, view pricing details or schedule a 1:1 product demonstration.

Why Customers Love DynamicPoint

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  • 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.

    Brenda N.,
    Senior Director, Technology Services | RSM US LLP

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  • 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.

    Chris E.,
    Director of Business and Quality Information Systems | OneBlood, Inc

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  • 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.

    Amy T.,
    Sr. Manager Business Applications & IT Support Services | CBORD

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  • 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!

    Shannon I.,
    Glidewell Laboratories

    testimonial 2
  • 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.

    Ron T.
    T.D. Williamson Inc.

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