Food Manufacturing and Traceability

Food Manufacturing: Traceability and Industry 4.0 | Event Recap

On August 22, 2019, VOX ISM, Microsoft Triple Gold Partner, held it’s first-ever Food Manufacturing and Traceability seminar. The seminar was organized for Food Manufacturers, Distributors and industries alike at the Microsoft HQ in Mississauga. The seminar was a powerhouse of the latest and hottest technologies for the Food Industry designed and powered by Microsoft.

Food Manufacturing and Traceability

In the seminar, Jim Heaton – President and CEO of VOX ISM, talked about the current challenges the Food Manufacturers and Distributors face today. From strict Food Safety Regulations, ever-changing consumer demands, competitive races, and distribution difficulties and unveiled VOX for Food ERP – a unified, cloud business management suite, encompassing ERP/Financials, CRM and Office 365 for more than 275,000 customers.

Mike Fontaine, Microsoft Solutions Architect, showed how Food Manufacturers could their lower inventory cost and increase efficiency while complying with food safety regulations by providing greater traceability and accountability using VOX for Food for ERP. He also discussed in-detail how VOX for Food ERP could help with:
·        Quality Management
·        End-to-end Traceability
·        Food Safety & Compliance
o  Supporting SQF / BRC / FSMA / GFSI / HACCP Initiatives
o  Quality checks from pre-receipt-to-entry-to-exit
·        Inventory Control
·        Batch Recipe
·        Shop Floor Data Collection and Machine Integration

Also in the seminar, David Cameron, Financial Consultant, seasoned and experienced CFO working with large manufacturing business and distribution companies in the likes of Walmart Canada talked about how VOX for Food ERP can assist with making informed decision with connected data across accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory, customer transactions, improve forecast accuracy, and accelerate financial close and reporting.

VOX for Food ERP is an unmatchable ERP solution for food companies powered by the cloud, powered by data and powered by intelligence.
Did you miss the event? No worries, we have another event coming up!

Join us on September 19 when we will demonstrate some of the features of Microsoft Power BI – Microsoft’s AI for Business!

Learn to create Power BI Dashboards (just in 4 hours)- September 19 - Super Event - VOX ISM

Get Ahead or Fall Behind. Dynamics 365 Hubs' Specific Features

Microsoft Dynamics 365 2019 Release Wave 2 Plan

In the words of Garth Algar, “we fear change.” – Wayne’s World

As of April 2019 Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement now defaults to Dynamics 365 Hubs, also known as the “Unified Client Interface,” and people are up in arms over it. Microsoft’s customers aren’t ready for change, and they want their systems rolled back. As a result, Microsoft partners across the globe are showing them how to change back to the legacy web client. It’s familiar, they’re used to it, and it’s where they want to stay.

You can’t avoid the inevitable, so try and get a head start. You can create your own hub or try out Microsoft’s default Sales Hub, Customer Service Hub (depending on your current licence) and see if you like it. Hubs are the equivalent of launching your favourite website but in a different browser, it’s the same data but things might look a little different. And just like a browser that the Dynamics 365 web client and hub (UCI) can easily be toggled between. Try it today and start taking advantage of all the new features that come with the hubs experience. Navigation is easier, the timeline is improved, you can create a role-based app experience, field’s have text wrapping, and more.

Check out the Microsoft documentation “Dynamics 365 2019 Release Wave 2 Plan” if you want to learn more. If you don’t have the time to read 350+ pages of information let me give you the short version for Sales and Customer Service.

  • New feature that takes pictures of business cards and creates contacts.
  • The Organizational Chart tool that can be directly integrated with LinkedIn for live updates
  • Advanced Power BI embedded and interactive capabilities
  • Improved AI-powered Relationship Assistant experience.
  • New Macros (workflows for the every day user)

Almost all of Microsoft’s new features for Dynamics 365 are available in hubs only, and even now some of the modules are going hubs only. The latest version of Project Service is hubs only and the web client versions are being deprecated at the end of the year.  To learn about why VOX ISM uses Microsoft Dynamics 365 Hubs (the unified client interface) and what Microsoft has planned in-store, come to our webinar hosted by yours truly.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Hubs Features

FYI the list goes on (new features available in October 2019, previewing in August. To get a first look join me at our live training webinar on the 28th)

  • Contextual emails
  • Macros
  • Embedded SharePoint documents on forms
  • New auto-populated data points
    • Carryover of notes and attachments when qualifying Leads
  • Enhanced Teams integration
  • New softphone dialer
  • New line item entry experience
  • New sales forecasting tool
  • Improved LinkedIn integration

Join us on August 28 at 1:30 PM for an exclusive webinar on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Hubs. Register Below!

Jacob Steinfeld_Vox ISM

Jacob Steinfeld is a graduate of the Electronic Media Design program at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia, specializing in marketing & user interface design. For the last 3 years, Jacob has been a Dynamics 365 consultant with VOX ISM, supporting our various customers in the manufacturing, distribution, and healthcare industries. Jacob brings his sales and marketing expertise to his customers to aid in the implementation of new CRM systems.


Three Methods if Costing

Three Methods of Costing in Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is multi-company, multi-currency and multi-language ERP software. But beyond that, it can serve many industries as it has modules for Distribution, Production-based, Project-based and Service-based industries. Today we are going to highlight three modules that allow you to track internal costing to suit your needs.

Three Methods of Costing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Production Orders

Production Orders are used for repetitive manufacturing where you know the expected inputs. Production is generally planned and cost around the work centers/machines used in the production. The product could be manufactured base on Make To Order or Make to Stock. Generally, the Revenue and Costs are recognized to the Income Statement as the product is shipped and is used in conjunction with the Sales Order module.

Jobs

Jobs or Project Costing is better suited to one-off of very small repeatability of the work. The estimates can often be different for every Job. Production can usually be planned and cost around the worker. Almost always the production is Make to Order. Jobs can utilize one of 5 out of the box Revenue Recognition methods, including completed Contract or Percentage of Completion. As well as Time and Material Billing based on the costs plus Markups is available. Jobs can encapsulate the revenue and all costs into the user-definable Task structure.

Service Orders

Service Orders are best suited when:

1.      You are providing installation, commissioning, after-sale Service or repair or Warranty work.

2.      You don’t always know what the final cost or potential sales recover might be.

The module comes with a Service Contract page to keep track of overall agreements. A Service Order page can track open requests, and Service Items can allow for transactions that don’t affect Inventory as well as Standard Service Codes. It will enable you to report time and parts used, movement of Customers parts back to your facility for inspection, repair or replace and track progress back to suppliers or back to the Customer.

Each of the modules can be used in conjunction with the 5 out of the box Inventory Cost Methods. FIFO, LIFO, Average, Specific and Standard and each can be enhanced by the use of the Material Planning tools within Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.

Join us on September 4th when we will demonstrate some of the features of the three methods of costing live in the Business Central.

Three Methods of Costing by Dynamics 365 Expert - September 4 - Webinar - VOX ISM
Gord_Vox ISM

After graduating from Brock University with an Honors Bachelors of Business Administration Gordon started a 25 year career in Accounting and Finance, progressing from Payables and Job Costing to Corporate Controller positions.

Gordon’s experience spans many Industries including Automotive, Plastic Injection Molds, and includes Project and Job shops as well as continuous/standard processing environments and service Industry. Gordon has had the privilege to work throughout Ontario, Los Angeles, and Vancouver and returned again to Ontario in 2011.  In each industry and position Gordon had significant responsibilities for systems implementation comma development and maintenance.


Cyber Security Predictions: 2019 and Beyond

WARNING: As of Aug. 14, 2019 Microsoft is urging Windows 10 users to update their systems IMMEDIATELY- There are potentially hundreds of millions of vulnerable Computers:

Source: CNN Business

If you are unsure how to apply Windows10 updates, you can look at the process here.

What is Cyber Security?

  • Cyber Security is a combination of hardware, software and business practices designed to help mitigate the chances of becoming a victim of “cyber-crime”.
  • Most people think of “viruses” when they think of cyber-crime but there are many other forms that cyber-attacks can take.
  • Not all cyber-crimes involve stealing data or personal information.
  • Ransomware is the most prevalent form of cyber-crime currently and this has been the case since 2017.

What has changed in the past year and what is to come?

  • Since 2017 the threat of “cyber-attacks” has not only been increasing at an unprecedented rate but has also become more varied.
  • According to Statistics Canada, in 2017 alone, more than 1 in 5 businesses were hit by cyber-attacks.
  • Then number of Malware attacks in Canada rose by 103 per cent over 2018.
  • Statistics Canada says the national rate of police-reported extortion from cyber-crime rose 44 per cent in 2018.

Even big corporations with strong security are subject to breaches. You may have seen in the news that CapitalOne was recently breached:

Why is this happening?

  • The nature of cyber-crime has been changing over the past several years. The concept of a “hacker” sitting at his computer typing furiously is no longer accurate.
  • Most cyber-crime attacks are now automated (via “bots” and other distribution code).
  • A hacker (or a group of hackers) will design code to exploit weaknesses in software security, remote systems access (firewall ports\RDP) or more commonly take advantage of people’s lack of diligence when responding to\reading emails and then they will deploy it “out to the web”.
  • They are typically deployed through Phishing-email on a huge scale… like the “spam” email you get every day.
  • In most cases, it is not a “Targeted” attack – anyone can be at risk, particularly small businesses as they often lack the dedicated internal IT staff to actively protect against Viruses and to educate users on best-practices to use to help reduce the risks.
  • As a result, any Company – big or small – is at risk.
  • In response to this, the Federal government has opened the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security website (https://cyber.gc.ca/en/)

  • Yet breaches continue to occur daily. Many companies still do not (or are unable to) allocate sufficient resources nor have the required knowledge to properly protect themselves.
  • Businesses now also have the responsibility to report certain breaches to the Government as per “PIPEDA”:
  • The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) outlines the responsibilities of corporations to notify individuals in the case of a breach.
  • The Federal Government further ratified this with additional requirements which came into November 1, 2018 (http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2018/2018-04-18/html/sor-dors64-eng.html)

What does the future hold?

  • No one can predict the future, especially when it comes to technology, however trends would indicate that we can expect to see cyber-crime threats expand in diversity and perhaps use other mediums for delivery such as social media networks, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. in addition to the common “email” spams.
  • In response to this, we can also expect to see an increase in the adoption of “duo-authentication” security packages – where authentication is handled by a combination of mediums: e.g. a logon screen on your PC followed by a confirmation button on your phone\mobile device. Duo-Mobile is one such example, though there are others.
  • There will likely be an increase in the number of Cyber-security companies we see, offering various improved Anit-virus\Anti-breach software
  • And we will see more and more companies migrating to Cloud-based systems as they can provide a degree of greater security than on-premise one.

However, at the end of the day the real protection is diligence and educating your staff.

The Dark Web – What you should know about what’s really out there

Some background…

  • In the summer of 2016, the world’s corporate networks became easier targets when the National Security Agency (NSA) had their clandestine hacking tool kit stolen by a hacker group called “The Shadow Brokers” who have since made these tools public.
  • This toolkit exploited security holes that vendors knew nothing about and allowed the “Shadow Brokers” to infiltrate
  • The Dark Web is where this (and other such groups) maintain their presence and “do their work”

Essentially, the Dark Web is the “Black Market” of the Internet

  • Most “hackers” will get what they want in the form of a Ransom. Then the data that is obtained (userids\passwords, etc.) are “sold” in the Dark Web.
  • In some cases the “hacker” will just take your information and never notify you and they will sell it in the Dark Web. That information is then used by others for various purposes.
  • Often, it is a year or two after they obtain your information that they will then “put it on the market”.
  • You could be breached and never know it.

What you can do Right Now to help mitigate your risk

  1. Your first best defense are your people

  • Educate your staff so they are aware of how to protect themselves and the company against threats
  • Never directly open any attachment in an email, skype or text. IF you think it might be safe then download it to your PC and run it from the PC. Most breaches occur from this simple act.
  • READ pop-ups\messages that appear on your screen and do not just click “yes”. Be aware of what you are responding to, even if it looks harmless.
  • Give thought to any responses you are thinking of making to pop-ups, warnings, emails, etc. Does it really make sense? Look at the link you are being asked to visit – does it seem legitimate. If in doubt, do a quick Google search on it – odds are if it is a scam others have likely fallen for it and there will be posts\warnings
  1. Revisit and Implement new Password policies

  • All employees should be responsible for remembering (and changing) their own Passwords. IT staff should not be the “keepers of the passwords”. Make your people part of the solution
  • Use different passwords for different programs AND Do not “Save” your passwords nor use the “remember me” options on devices.
  • Separate Business from Personal passwords (especially with Social Media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). IF you do get hacked in one at least the other will not also be hacked
  • Enforce password complexity settings and regular password changes – for example:
    • Passwords must be 8 characters on more
    • Passwords must contain a mix of Upper and Lower characters and at least 1 non-alpha-numeric character:
    • Passwords will expire every 3 months – that’s 4 times per year
    • The last 4 passwords are “remembered” by the system and cannot be reused in that time
  • Do not send passwords via Email and do not include all the details in electronic communications. For example, send remote connection information without pwds in an email and then skype or text or phone in the pwds
  1. Make sure you have a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan in place

  • 35% of on-premise backups fail (you cannot restore from them). Either due to old media being used, or a damaged sector on a drive, or the fact that they simply having not been maintained or tested.
  • Backups are CRITICAL and yet it is the most often over-looked or underestimated aspect of Business systems.
  • At least twice a year, perform a full “Test Recovery” of your systems to ensure that it not only works but that you are aware of all of the steps and have a sense of how long it will take
  • Document the Backup and Recovery processes – in case your IT is not available when disaster strikes
  • Ensure you backup to External media (not just to another drive on the server) AND ensure you have off-site backups – whether it be drives that are disconnected or online backups to co-locations sites. There are many companies which can offer online offsite backup services.
  • Ensure you have multiple levels of backup: Do not just backup your Virtual Servers to external media, you should also be backing up your Database backup files AND any key
  1. Consider using “Service Accounts” to run key Systems\Services

  • Allows you to change the passwords for “logon” accounts (or even disable them) in the event of a breach without impacting your systems directly.
  1. Patch your systems regularly

  • Microsoft does a lot to help prevent breaches – it can be annoying at times but it is in your company’s best interest to apply them.
  • This goes hand-in-hand with periodic scheduled rebooting of your servers to ensure items are applied fully and to further ensure the systems restart properly
  1. Combine Anti-Virus programs and Anti-Malware programs on your systems.

  • Anti-Virus programs alone are not enough – use them in combination with Anti-Malware programs (Malwarebytes, etc.)
  1. Schedule regular scans and where possible a launch a manual scan at the end of each week.

  2. Consider End-point security for on-line systems

  • Even if you are using “on-line” or Cloud-based systems you are still using PCs\devices to connect to those systems and you are still subject to potential “end-point” breaches.
  • Do not assume that because something is “on-line” or “in the cloud” that you are completely safe from threat
  1. Ensure you have “Exit procedures” in place for when Employees leave

  • While we never think of ex-employees as being a threat it can and does happen. It can even happen “innocently” where passwords or access information is discovered after a person has left the company and perhaps is not as diligent as they should be
  • Ensure you have a policy for deactivating ex-employee accounts from the Domain, Dbases and any software packages upon their exit. IF they had access to “Admin” accounts then have a process for changing the passwords for those as well. This also protects the ex-employee as they can legitimately claim they had no access
  1. Consider next-level anti-breach software …

  • There are Next-Generation Anti-breach packages which use Artificial Intelligence to examine code in programs before it is even executed.
  • Pro-active as opposed to the Re-active “Virus Definitions” from most AV programs
  1. Be Prepared for what you don’t know – you may already be “hacked” and not even know it

  • Make sure to have a breach response plan especially if you use web based applications or cloud services that could leave you exposed.
  • Be diligent – regular updates and scans. Review router logs and Event Viewer messages. If you see odd behaviour then follow up on it.

If in doubt, contact VOX ISM. If you think you have been hacked but are unsure, remove your systems from any internet\remote access (including your own wifi) and contact VOX ISM .

VOX ISM can help too…

3 levels of Security options by VOX ISM

  1. Enhanced Security & End-point Protection

  • PCs (end-point users) are the #1 source of breaches
  • This package fortifies your end-points through a layered defense approach with unified prevention, multi-stage detection and automated response
  • Applies to Cloud-based users as well as On-premise systems
  • Protects physical and virtual desktops & servers with Windows, MAC and Linux OS
  • Provides intuitive interface for managing settings and configurations for On-line systems along with pre-configured “template” profile settings that allow for prevention and early-warning of possible insecure settings within On-line systems
  1. Secure Backup Protection

  • 35% of on-premise backups fail (you cannot restore from them). Either due to old media being used, or a bad sector on a drive, or simply not maintained\tested
  • The Secure Backup protection offers secure Off-site backups to ensure safety of backups and recoverability.
  • Applies to Databases and key files\folders for On-premise
  • For Cloud-based systems, this includes the backup of O365 Email, Sharepoint and OneDrive files. Dynamics365 users (CRM\BC) already have their Databases backed up by MS in the Cloud.
  • Guards against Ransomware corruption of backups as well as physical damage (flood\fire, etc.)
  • Flexible pricing based on usage is available (based on 50GB\mnth packets)
  1. Managed Security & Prevention Services

  • Designed for improved Data-loss prevention
  • Utilizes Advanced Virus and Spam protection including Artificial-Intelligence-based AV protection software
  • Protects all end-point devices (PCs, Servers, routers etc.)
  • Includes Policy-Driven Encryption to help protect against “data mining”
  • Applies to On-line\D365 users as well as On-premise with Windows, MAC and Linux OS
  • Allows for early warnings of potential system issues

Final Comments:

Contact us for one of our 3 Security Packages to protect your systems now.

Implement Internal Security Policies and Procedures right away!

  • Train your staff on the importance of being diligent
  • Develop a Password Change and Complexity policy and change your passwords … soon
  • Have your IT develop a “Disaster Recovery Plan” – not just for Security breaches but for other “disasters” – what is being backed up and where? Do you have all that you need?

Contact VOX ISM if you are not sure where to start or what to do. We would be more than happy to assist you!

Check VOX ISM’s event page for weekly free events. We have 67 events in the second half of 2019.

Blog post by Trevor Reid –  Senior Technology Consultant, VOX ISM

Trevor Reid_Vox ISM

With over 25 years of experience in the Software and IT Industries (and 20 years with VOX ISM), Trevor has been involved in hundreds of software implementations and upgrades. Currently, he is VOX ISM’s “go to” resource for anything technical having to do with SQL Server, SharePoint, Mobility/IFD, Remote Access, Database migrations and other areas of IT infrastructure and administration. Trevor works closely with our customers and their IT personnel and is always eager to share his wealth of knowledge.


Top Five Ingredients of Successful B2B Marketing Strategy

Top Five Ingredients of a Successful B2B Marketing Strategy

In today’s information-saturated world, it is challenging to catch a consumer’s attention to marketing content. That challenge is even more significant for B2B marketers. B2B companies tend to have less “sexy” products to sell, fewer resources at our disposal, and nearly zero pop stars to do influential marketing for us.

Even with given hurdles, great B2B marketing campaigns have managed to achieve remarkable and successful results. It takes strategic planning, flawless implementation, and continued optimization, but it can be done.

There are five key elements that must work together for a successful B2B marketing campaign. Follow along as we outline each of the five.

1) A High-Performance Website

Did you know, 80% of people look at the website when checking out service providers – the most commonly used online information source by far. Your website is a place where you can share your brand story, connect people directly to your company and make that most important first impression. Make sure your online presence is up to par by having an engaging customer experience, excellent branding and easy navigation.

2) Regular Social Media Postings

Social media is a terrific way to boost your company’s visibility online. One of our most robust recommendations is to focus on sharing high quality and targeted content that’s of interest to the audience you want to connect with. But remember, you need to post regularly on your social media channels; otherwise, you will lose your target audience’s interest.

3) Video Marketing – A Must

B2B Marketers should use video as part of their media mix. As per recent research, people would rather watch the internet than read it. Video tells a brand story and adds colour that can’t easily be replicated in text. People do business with people and video allows a personal connection. In fact, 59% of B2B decision-makers prefer video over text content. Video also helps with Search Engine Optimization. Forrester Research suggests that it is 53 times easier to rank a video in Google’s search than other content.

4) Content-based on the buyer’s journey

Create high-quality content based on the buyer’s journey. B2B buyer’s journey is somewhat different than the B2C buyer’s journey. B2C buyers have shorter sales cycles and fewer decision-makers involved as compared to B2B buyers. Hence, the content we create for our B2B content marketing strategy may vary more than the content we’ve seen as a consumer ourself. Check the graphic below to get a better understanding.

B2B Marketing Strategy - Buyer's journey

5) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

For every B2B company, SEO is one of the few sustainable ways to create an audience, generate leads, and ultimately, close clients. More than 70 percent of B2B marketing researchers admit that they start their buying process with an online search. To succeed in SEO, you need to put resources into it that includes: Producing great content, doing outreach and building links (Off-page SEO).

We will discusss these B2B marketing strategies in detail in our upcoming webinar on August 8 – The Secret Ingredients of Successful B2B Marketing. Join us for this 45 minutes informative session to learn more about the above B2B marketing elements.

The Secret Ingredients of Successful B2B Marketing - August 8 - Webinar - VOX ISM

New Employee Onboarding Process

VOX ISM's New Employee Onboarding Process - 6 Steps to Success

Onboarding is a critical component of the hiring process; however, it is often neglected, or it is so limited that it leaves new hires wanting more.

Organizations spend a significant amount of time and money recruiting new employees, yet they often have few processes in place to ensure the new hire’s first six months with the organization are effective and positive.

New Employee Onboarding Process

1. Share company and team information

The flow of information can begin before the employee even starts. You can provide information such as the company’s organizational structure, information about the new hire’s co-workers, company events and company programs. You can also assign new hires a buddy or mentor and have them reach out to the new hire before they start to welcome them and help answer any questions they may have.

2. Planning

Many employees show up on their first day and discover that nothing has been prepared for them. Their manager is booked in meetings, their computer and phone are not available, and they are given a stack of printed material to read.

  • Provide a schedule with employees that are assigned to meet with the new hire from the first day through the first few months.
  • Ensure that there is an opportunity to meet co-workers and to learn about the company and the employee’s specific role. Day 3
  • Confirm that the new hire’s workspace is prepared and that he has the necessary equipment available on day one. – Trev Day 1
  • Develop a knowledge transfer or training schedule indicating what he will learn during his first week, first month and first quarter. Staging the information flow will help with retention and also increase the time it takes for the employee to operate independently and effectively.
  • Set goals for the employee in the first couple of weeks so that he understands how he will be evaluated.
  • Notify internal teams and give them sufficient notice of the new employee’s needs, such as finance, IT, security, communications and risk management. Done, lets discuss who does what.

3. Complete the required forms online

With an onboarding application, new hires can complete all the necessary forms, read policies and sign off on them right from their computer.

4. Provide access to training

With an employee onboarding plan, you can also prepare a learning or training process for the new employee so that they know what training is required. For companies with a learning management system (LMS), employees can be granted access to the system before their start date if there are no legal implications of doing so.

Also, training done in an LMS can be tracked electronically. Even if your organization does not have an LMS, HR should consider developing a training plan that they can print and provide to new employees when they start.

5. Notifications and automated reminders

When a new employee is hired, there are many actions stakeholders, such as the hiring manager, the new employee, HR, IT, facilities, security and finance, should take. Once a candidate accepts a company’s offer, a notification should be sent to everyone involved in the new hire process.

6. Incorporate experiences from previous new hires

You should get feedback from new hires at regular intervals following their start date. This will provide you with insight that can be used to improve the hiring and employee onboarding plan.

In July 2019, VOX ISM hired three new project managers – Farshad Saadatmand, Ashish Tandon and Amit Gaikwad.

New Employee Onboarding Process VOX ISM
Our three new Project Managers - Farshad Saadatmand, Ashish Tandon and Amit Gaikwad with our Senior Technolgy Consultant, Trevor Reid at the Granite Club, Toronto for VOX ISM's New Hire Training Program.

What a Project Manager does?

Vasu Solanki, VOX ISM Project Manager, showed the three new PMs how to create, manage a project and navigate within Dynamics 365 PSA. She advised them on daily activity and schedules the same on the company systems. Growing from their experience as project managers and getting new information about the activities of a typical VOX ISM project manager, the new recruits were advised on the unique skills required to deal and interact with consultants who are the best in their field.

The new project managers bring a variety of experiences to VOX ISM. Join us on the 9th of October 2019 to know more about managing projects using Microsoft Dynamics 365.

How to become a successful project manager with Dynamics 365 - October 9 - Webinar - VOX ISM

Introduction to Power BI - VOX ISM Workshop - Recap

On July 23rd at the Best Western Airport on Dixie Road, VOX ISM hosted a Seminar on Power BI called Introduction to Power BI – 90 Minutes of WOW! Over 100 people attended this Introduction to what Power BI does and how it can be used to visualize your data more comprehensively.

Presenters were Mike Fontaine, Microsoft Solutions Expert, Emma Arkadyev, Reporting Expert and David Cameron, Financial Consultant and CPA. Mike Fontaine started the seminar with examples of how current reports could look visually stunning compared to the reports of old. Then he showed how to connect with Power BI and create some basic visualizations and filters and publish to the online service. A key point is the new AI technology being embedded into Power BI via Cortana Intelligence. This intelligence can create visualizations for you based on your data.

Introduction to Power BI - VOX ISM Workshop

Emma Arkadyev covered the relationship and how to interact with DAX. Relationships are used to join one table to another. For example, in the background of Business Central, the tables for Sales Invoices has two tables: header and lines. To join these two tables to use in Power BI reports, you create a relationship in Power BI Desktop. DAX is the language used in Power BI to create custom columns and measures based on your existing data. It can be used in a variety of ways, including verifying the information and creating mathematical functions on existing values. An example of this is using the divide function to get a profit percentage: DIVIDE(Profit, Sales,0). The zero at the end tells divide what to do when dividing by zero.

David Cameron covered a brief Business Central introduction, including a look at Jet Reports which is a financial reporting add-on. Business Central is a fully integrated solution for Financial, Inventory, Sales, Purchasing and Project Management. Available both on-prem and cloud it is a recognized leader in financial systems.

To learn more about Power BI and learn to make your dashboard attend our event on September 19th at the Microsoft Headquarters in Mississauga. Learn more here: Create a Power BI Dashboard in 4 Hours. Register Now!

Learn to create Power BI Dashboards (just in 4 hours)- September 19 - Super Event - VOX ISM

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Tips and Tricks_cover

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Tips and Tricks from an Expert

As a Dynamics 365 Trainer and Architect for the past 3 years, I have learned one unfortunate truth, not enough users explore the system. Instead, we get stuck in the ruts of ‘SOP says to do A this way, B this way, and C that way’ and we never deviate. Probably because that’s what the boss says and I don’t have the time to figure new things out. Well, every once in awhile, you should. Start by carving out 30 minutes on a slow Friday as your internal training time. Or carve out 30 minutes on an occasional Wednesday and attend a free VOX ISM event. For example, on Wednesday, July 24th, I’ll be showcasing some of those extra features that don’t always fit into your SOP that will make your CE experience more enjoyable.

I’ll start by highlighting some of the absolute basics.

1. Use ctrl + left mouse click to open records in new tabs or windows. When you’ve set up that perfect view of filtered data, and you click on a record and navigate away when you hit that back button your filters have reset. Get in the habit of ctrl-clicking to open up your info in a new window or tab, then simply close it to pick up where you left off. I tell my sales reps working on Opportunities that if you want to know everything about an account while you’re on the call, just ctrl-click the account record from your phone call window.

2. Ditch the long navigation and go directly to your record with the Search tool. When I ask my customers to open specific accounts they always go; Navigation menu, the arrow next to Sales, then from the expanded menu they click on Accounts, then they scroll through the view, change the view, or use the search window on the right side. Skip the middle man, just use the Search on your main navigation. It’s always there, and it’s your best friend.

3. Double search tip, use the * (shift+8) to perform a wildcard search. Can’t remember the name of an account but you know it’s something “international”. Then search “*international”. The * breaks the string and looks for anything with the word international. Triple search tip! You don’t need even fully to spell international, “*inter” will suffice. This is especially helpful for those of you looking for Jacob Steinfield instead of Jacob Steinfeld, you could just search “*stein”, and you’d find me. Wait, why am I in your CRM?

4. Regular Outlook is boring. Stop having a boring Outlook, stop having a boring life. Learn the D365 App for Outlook. You can track communications, quickly convert Outlook contacts to CE Contacts, create Opportunities, schedule phone calls, send dynamic email templates… The list goes on. If I spent a day with you training Sales in Dynamics 365 CE from the browser, everything I show you on that day you could do from Outlook too with the D365 App for Outlook.

For those of you not using these four tips, start. For those of you already using these four tips and are looking for the next level tips, come to our event. We’ll show you the new LinkedIn connection right into Outlook, using workflows to make the system do your job for you (it can’t sell for you per se, but we’re close), creating dynamic reports from anywhere, and more.

Check VOX ISM’s event page for weekly free events. We have 67 events in the second half of 2019, and I’ll be presenting CE on several of them.

Jacob Steinfeld_Vox ISM

Jacob Steinfeld – Dynamics 365 Solution Architect

Jacob Steinfeld is a graduate of the Electronic Media Design program at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia, specializing in marketing & user interface design. For the last 3 years, Jacob has been a Dynamics 365 consultant with VOX ISM, supporting our various customers in the manufacturing, distribution, and healthcare industries. Jacob brings his sales and marketing expertise to his customers to aid in the implementation of new CRM systems.

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Top 5 Benefits of Integrating Barcode Scanner and ERP System

For many years, logistics companies around the globe have used Microsoft Dynamics NAV barcode scanner to increase their knowledge of the supply chain and how quickly supplies come and go in their warehouses. However, with the technological advancements, it’s becoming more critical for businesses to make sure they’re wrapping those old-school tracking efforts into their future business plans.

The latest Microsoft barcode technology is the verified solution for many of your manufacturing, inventory, and distribution pains. It is the most accurate method to track the things in your warehouse.

A good barcode system can transform your business from being ineffective and slow to productive and streamlined when you integrate it with an ERP system like Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Barcode scanning gives you a real-time view of all your inventory. This helps your ERP system to provide you with up-to-date, latest and clear business insights about the availability, location, and status of your supplies. Implementing an ERP system for these functions without integrating it with a barcode scanning gives you just a little of potential benefits.

We have listed the top 5 reasons why you should integrate barcode scanner to your ERP system:

1)    Better Inventory Tracking

With barcode scanning, inventory tracking becomes very easy. Reliable inventory scanning during receiving, storing, using, and dispatching gives you better and real-time information about your inventory. But when integrated with an ERP like Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can optimize the use and placement of the tracked inventory. This data can help in production planning, demand forecasting, and much more.

2)    Improved accuracy

Human errors are much likely to happen during data collection. Barcode scanner and ERP system together can improve the efficiency and accuracy of data collection by removing those possible errors. With barcode scanning, the employees can do a better, quicker job due to lessening data entry and lower misprints.

3)    Reduced Costs

A barcode system is an investment that you will treasure for long. It helps you to lower manual work and thus, you can save a significant amount of time and efforts. As the tracking and data gathering becomes automated, you get a better view of your inventory so you can better manage it. That reduces both inventory and holding costs and can eliminate the need for safety stock.

4)    Increased Customer Satisfaction

A barcode system connected to the ERP system improves client satisfaction and response times by timely warranting accurate shipments. Barcode system makes the workers productive by easing their jobs so that they can focus more on important tasks like customer service.

5)    Well Informed Workers

Integration of barcode scanner and cloud ERP system allows your employees to have all the information they need on their mobile devices. This helps them to share the information on-the-go and view the real-time data related to the product, shipment, inventory, etc. when needed.

Conclusion

Barcode scanner and ERP system integration allow companies to improve accuracy, productivity, and efficiency while extending even better service to customers.

To learn more about Barcoding in 2019, join us on July 17 for an exclusive webinar with industry experts.

July 17 - BARCODING IN 2019

5 Reasons Why Microsoft Power BI is the future of Excel

For many decades, Microsoft Excel has been the go-to reporting tool for businesses, but the latest Microsoft data visualization tool – Power BI offers robust analytics and reporting features for organizations.

Power BI offers faster experimentation with visualizations, advanced statistical functions and calculations across vast datasets, and ability to acquire answers on the fly through the quick recombination of fields; it is clear that Power BI delivers more exceptional insights than Excel.

Microsoft Power BI Dashboard

Let’s take a look at some of the points you should shift reporting from Excel to Power BI:

1. Microsoft Power BI can access and store a vast amount of data

Power BI has impressive compression capabilities for Microsoft Excel and text/.csv files. It allows you to view, analyze and visualize large quantities of data that cannot be opened in Microsoft Excel.

Many computers fail to open up a 300-megabyte .csv, making analysis and reporting in Microsoft Excel a challenge. Then adding several smaller .csv files to data will be immensely tough to combine with your previous dataset and analysis.

Imagine having all your files stored, connected, fully analyzed, and using only 50mb. This now a reality with Power BI. Microsoft Power BBI uses robust compression algorithms to import and cache the data within the.PBIX file.

2. Incredible Cloud-based Features

After finishing your Power BI analysis, you need a way to publish and distribute your dashboards and reports.

In Excel, this would typically require emailing a large file or putting it in a shared drive or SharePoint portal, and letting everyone know the file has been updated. Now with Microsoft Power BI, this process has been entirely revolutionized.

You can now publish to the secure Microsoft hosted cloud service – Power BI Service and automate the refreshing of our underlying data. You just have to hit publish at the top right of the Power BI home ribbon.

3. Row Level Security

In Excel, adding Row Level Security (RLS) is very complicated. But with Power BI, it can be done easily. For example, you can use RLS to ensure that employees can only see data that is relevant to their branch/geography.

Adding RLS is simple, and the risk of others seeing data they shouldn’t from mailing around an Excel file is omitted.

4. Analyze Data Trends Easily

Analyzing data trends with Power BI is very easy. It has built-in time intelligence features which take only a few seconds to view vast amounts of data. You can view datasets by different dimensions and attributes, including date-time dimensions.

5. Amazing UX Features

With Power BI, you can make something visually appealing and neat with limited creativity or UX skills. Power BI’s drag-and-drop functionality, quick resizing, and copying and pasting features make it easy for those who are familiar with the Microsoft Office.

Conclusion

The future for Power BI is bright and shiny. Companies are speeding to incorporate this data visualization tool and to do away with tabular reports. With some great training, you too can be a Power BI superstar for your company! Join VOX ISM’s workshop on Introduction to Power BI on July 23 at Best Western, Mississauga to learn about this powerful tool.

Seats are limited for this workshop and they sell out fast, so early registration is strongly encouraged. There is no cost for this workshop.

Power BI Workshop July 23