Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Project budgets and cost control in Dynamics 365 FinOps - IMP Parameters (Quick post)

Project budget control in Dynamics 365 FinOps is widely used for cost control (and can be used for revenue control, if the project is a capped T&M kind of a project). However, I am going to write about some of the typical parameters which I feel are important for a consultant to know while discussing this feature with the client.

Budget control parameters
Independent budgeting for sub-projects
  • If YES, the user can create a fresh budget for a sub-project
  • If NO, the user needs to create a budget revision to create a budget for sub-project
Allow budgeting control outside the project hierarchy
  • If YES, the user can associate this project to a project budget of some another project outside of the current project hierarchy, where a budget is defined. When this value is YES in the project parameters, then on the project record, if the user turns the 'Use alternate project budget for budget verification', the 'Alternate project' drop down will display those projects in the system on which project budget is defined.
Associating the project budget to a project budget of some other project
  • If NO, the user even if the ‘Use alternate project budget for budget’ on the project record is set to YES, the ‘Alternate project’ drop down will display nothing.
Budget control interval
  • This is like telling the system at what point in time do you wish the budget control action to kick in. Do you wish to kick in the control mechanism when the ‘Total budget’ is hit or ‘Project to date’ is hit or  ‘Current period’ is hit or any other value etc.
  • The value selected on the parameters is copied over to the new project. This value can be overridden on the project. If the value of this parameter on the project is other than 'Total budget', then it works in conjunction with the 'Allocate amount' feature, which is available while creating the budget.
  • 'Allocate amount' feature should be used before the budget is submitted for approval. This feature is not available after the budget is approved. (Readers - Please let me know if there is any other way to allocate the amount after the budget is approved.)
Allocate budget feature not available after budget approval


Thanks
Sarang Kusare


Monday, November 5, 2018

Open in Excel v/s Export to Excel

Open in Excel v/s Export to Excel

This is a short post explaining the subtle difference between 'Open in Excel' and 'Export in excel feature' in Dynamics 365 FinOps.

Open in excel

When the 'Open in Excel' option is clicked on the data grid in Dynamics 365 FinOps, then the system opens the DYNAMIC excel sheet using 'Data connector'. That DYNAMIC excel sheet is nothing but the 'Data entity' holding that data. The sheet is dynamic because if the user creates a new record in the excel sheet and hit 'Publish', then the new record is created in the system and stored in the database. Similarly, if the user edits/deletes any record in the excel sheet and publishes the sheet, then the grid is updated accordingly.

Open in Excel


Data entity file created


Data connector

Export to excel

When the 'Export to Excel' option is clicked on the data grid in Dynamics 365 FinOps, then the system downloads the STATIC excel sheet with the data from the data grid on the screen. It is just a copy of the data and has no impact on the actual data in the system if records are created, edited or deleted in the excel sheet.

Export to Excel
Static excel sheet with downloaded data

Hope the difference is clear now.

Thanks

Kind Regards
Sarang

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Was “Hit Refresh” by “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” – Part 2

s mentioned in the previous post, with all those thoughts from “Hit Refresh” fresh in my mind, I just fully immersed myself into the event for the next two days. The keynote speeches, the HoloLens demo, Virtual reality demo, classroom sessions on various topics ranging from AI, Quantum computing to Augmented reality, PowerApps etc. were just amazing and fantabulous.
with Will Dorrington
For me personally, one of the major highlights was the mixed and augmented reality demo I had wearing the HoloLens and experiencing first hand what I had read so far on the topic of MR and AR. The demo was about the remote assistance, where the supervisor is guiding the field technician from his office. I was the technician in that demo and I got a chance to wear the HoloLens and perform the operation myself taking the cues from the HoloLens. With HoloLens on my head, I could see the skype window with supervisor’s face in it, on the left-hand side and the instruction steps on the right-hand side. The actual circuit on which I had to perform the operation was in front of me. The supervisor, on the other hand, was seeing exactly what I was seeing in front of me from the HoloLens. The supervisor then used pointers, highlighters on his Surface Pro, to guide me with what I need to do with the circuit that I need to fix. Whatever he was highlighting, I was able to see it overlayed on the actual circuit and based on his inputs and guidance I was able to perform my job. This was an amazing experience as I got to believe in what I have been reading so far on this topic.
I was already in awe with this experience and before that effect could fade away, I experienced one more mind-boggling facet of the unbelievable HoloLens technology and that was more around mixed reality. By the way, just one clarification, before this event I used to interchangeably use the words ‘Augmented reality’ and ‘Mixed reality’ and I used to think they are the same. But in this event, I got to exactly know and experience the difference between the two. The difference is as below:
  • Augmented reality superimposes the physical world with digital objects/animations of any sort.
  • Mixed reality integrates digital objects into the physical world making it look as if they are really there, completing the entire picture for the user.
Just to complete the spectrum, I am mentioning the definition of VR as well below:
  • Virtual reality replaces your world with a virtual one. VR was my next best experience at this event.
The first part of the demo involving the remote assistance was all about the augmented reality, where the real circuit was superimposed by the objects, animations that were guiding me to perform my job better. However the second part of the demo was about the mixed reality and that just blew my mind, literally. Long story short, there was a small part of a long turbine physically there in front of us, which I needed to repair but when I wore the HoloLens, the entire turbine was visible to me as if it was real, though it was not there physically. This technology not only superimposed the digital objects on the part of the physical machine that was there but also integrated the digital view of the remaining machine, which was not there, into the physical part of the machine, which was there. Ideally Mixed reality = Augmented reality + Virtual reality. On the HoloLens, I was able to see the entire turbine along with the computer-guided instructions to repair it, with all the hologram seen clearly from the Hololens. I was literally moving all the screens in front of me by doing all the birdy dance with my thumb and the index finger with the help of HoloLens, in the air and performing my actions on the turbine, just like the way Tom Cruise moved it in the movie ‘Minority report’. I would never forget this experience.
Other notable experience was the Virtual reality experience, as mentioned above, which was about experiencing the house even before it is built from the inside out. That experience too was mind-blowing as virtual reality would allow you to feel the end product virtually before it manifests into reality.
Experiencing VR and MR
Another notable stall was of SAP, where they were demoing the SAP HANA One Demand product. It was too good to see the Artificial Intelligence embedded in their product and what it could do with the help of IoT (Internet of things). The reporting capabilities and the AI around it too were superb to watch. Just to illustrate more on it, the presenter dragged the excel sheet with some sales data into the reporting application screen. Once the excel sheet was dragged and absorbed by the system, with AI and machine learning capabilities system itself first determined the type of data that was presented to it and then decided the best possible way to display it in the form of the visual report. This was similar to PowerBI but something even more than that. Having said that PowerBI too have AI capabilities when the user asks “Show me the sales for this quarter?” and the system displays that correctly.
Empowering a Modern Workspace with AI
This reminds me of one of the notable classroom sessions that I attended about AI and that was “Empowering a Modern Workspace with AI”. The speaker there gave very relatable examples about AI and that was really good. It was mentioned that there are three layers to AI and they are ‘Pattern recognition’, the middle layer is ‘Perception’, sensing more and more complex scenes and the final layer being ‘Cognition’, deep understanding of human language. The session again underlined the fact that though AI is in its nascent stages, everything around technology is ultimately moving in that direction only.
Apart from all this, there was one more session that I kind of did not understand fully but conceptually got what speaker was saying and that was about quantum computing. I understood the analogy of linear computing finding the way in the maze by trying one possibility at a time but quantum computing doing all the possibilities all at once to arrive at the correct answer and that too in no time. One more concept of a molecule present at two different places at the same time at a sub-atomic level, quite didn’t make sense to me, though I could relate to that concept spiritually as this same phenomenon is mentioned many times in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ (Steve Jobs’s most favourite book. This book is an autobiography of an Indian guru Swami Yogananda). Other than that I didn’t understand much but the benefit of that session was it left me hungry to know more into that topic, which is supposed to be the future technology trend. I actually then searched on youtube about it and found very informative Microsoft videos called ‘Explanimators’. You can watch them here.
Other key highlights of the event were, interview of the great actor Sir Michael Caine CBE, speech by the famous scientist and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, keynote speech by Satya Nadella and the famous author and sportsperson Matthew Syed. All the above 4 speeches were amazing and of great value.
Sir Michael Caine CBE spoke about being honest, truthful and full of integrity with whatever you love to do and perform and pursue it with full passion and hard-work. It was an experience in itself to hear from the legendary artist.
Sir Michael Caine CBE
Scientist and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE is an amazing orator. She just left everyone in the auditorium spellbound with her passionate and inspiring speech about having a crazy dream and having a fire in the belly to go after it and achieve it. The way she presented herself on stage, telling her whole life story and her achievements, no one would believe that she was dyslexic as a child and had to change 13 schools to complete initial education. That was truly amazing and inspiring.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE
Satya Nadella’s speech was the ultimate speech as he touched upon many different topics around the emerging technologies and how ‘Intelligent cloud’ and ‘Intelligent edge’ is going to shape, transform and disrupt the future in more productive and positive manner. He also spoke more on AI as this the ultimate aim where everything is driving to.
Finally, the talk delivered by Matthew Syed was also an engaging and enlightening one. The one statement that he made in this entire speech struck a special chord in me and that was about humility and confidence. Matthew made a very subtle but valid point about it. He said a person should have confidence in execution but humility while evaluation and not the other way around.
All in all those two days were full of amazement and enjoyment of having seen, experienced, listened to something that is truly incredible, promising and exciting all the at the same time. Along with me many of my office colleagues were with me at the event.
Lucy, Dan, I, Chris and Will
Just before I end, would like to inform the readers about the Microsoft Ignite event happening on 26th and 27th of February 2019. This event is happening at the same fantastic venue, Excel London and the most important thing, it is free and registrations are open, so hurry up!!!
Thanks
Sarang

Was “Hit Refresh” by “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” – Part 1

What a timing I must say, I just finished reading “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella and within a few days I received registration confirmation from Microsoft that I can attend the “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” event. I was very much excited to attend the event as that was my chance to experience what I just finished reading in “Hit Refresh”. However, before I write about my experience at the event, let me first write something more about this wonderful book called “Hit Refresh” by none other than the present Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.
Working day in and day out in the Microsoft product stack (like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, Customer engagement, PowerAps, PowerBI etc), I wanted to read something more about Microsoft, not from a technical or product related perspective but more from the organization perspective. With this thought in mind when I entered the Foyles bookstore in Waterloo and I got this book. I have always loved autobiographies as they are the first-hand account of what the person in question has gone through in his/her life. In terms of motivation and having a different perspective on life, autobiographies are way much better than the self-help books, because autobiographies are more straight from the horses’ mouth and hence more effective and long-lasting in terms of the impact that they make.

Hit Refresh
The book talks about Satya’s personal journey from his childhood in India to the point of he becoming a CEO of Microsoft and beyond. The book is a very engaging and interesting read but key takeaways from the book are some of these statements mentioned below. I actually have the habit of reading books with marker/ pen/pencil in hand, so that I can mark / highlight / underline the lines that I liked the most. In a nutshell, this book not only talks about his personal journey but also talks more about the journey on which Microsoft has been and what its journey would be like in future.
                                         
Some of the lines from the book “Hit Refresh”, which I couldn’t help from quoting it here are as below. They are mostly around leadership, technology, future trends at Microsoft.
    • Compete vigorously and with passion in the face of uncertainty and intimidation.
    • You must always have respect for your competitor, but don’t be in awe of it. You must go and compete.
    • One brilliant character who does not put the team first can destroy the entire team.
    • Leadership is about bringing the best in everyone, to bolster the confidence of the people you are leading.
    • An empathetic leader should always think about how the technology his team creates affect the daily lives of the people using it.
    • Consistency is better than perfection.
    • For anything monumental to happen, there has to be a great mind or a set of agreeing minds.
    • Microsoft mission – to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
    • The world is divided into learners and non-learners, demonstrating that a growth mindset can move you forward but a fixed mindset can limit you.
    •  Learning to fly is not pretty but flying is.
    • To be a leader in this company, your job is to find the rose petals in the field of shit.
    • Bring clarity to those you work with (while explaining this point, Satya mentioned that he does not want someone to be the smartest person in the room, but he wants that same person to use their smartness/intelligence and use it to develop deep shared understanding within teams and define course of action in the event of uncertainty.
    • Leaders need to inspire optimism, creativity, shared commitment and growth through times good and bad.
    • Success can cause people to unlearn the habits that made them successful in the first place.
    • Trust is built by being consistent over time. Trust has many components as well, respect, listening, transparency, staying focused and being willing to hit reset when necessary.
    • Partnerships are journeys of mutual exploration and so we need to be open to unexpected synergies and fresh ways to collaborate. Openness is the best way to get things done and to ensure all parties feel terrific about the outcome.
    • Being straightforward with one another is the best way to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome in the fastest time possible.
    • Tomorrow always begins with a chance to create new opportunities.
    • Time needs to be managed with Employees, Customers, Products and Partners.
    • We tend to overestimate what we can achieve in the short run but underestimate what can be achieved in the long run.
    • Mixed Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum computing are all independent threads today but they are going to come together in future.
    • MR will become an essential tool in medicine, education and manufacturing.
    • AI will help forecast crisis like Zika epidemic and help us focus our time and attention on the things that matter the most.
    • Quantum computing will give computational power to cure cancer and global warming.
    • At Microsoft, we are betting that quantum computing will make artificial intelligence more intelligent and mixed reality even more immersive.
    • E + SV + SR = T/t (Empathy + Shared values + Safety and Reliability = Trust over time)
    • No product or policy works if it fails to reflect and honour the lives and realities of people and that requires those who design the product to truly understand and respect the values and experiences underlying those realities. So empathy is a crucial ingredient in developing a product or a policy that will earn people’s trust.
    • Trust is essential and it is also painfully vulnerable to a multitude of forces.
    • (Education + Innovation) * Intensity of tech use = Economic growth
    • Societies that utilize new tools quickly are likely to be more productive.
    • Although automation tends to reduce employment and the share of labour in national income, the creation of complex tasks has the opposite effect.
    • The third wave of globalization will come when telepresence and telerobotics(like HoloLens) become affordable.

Most Important Point, hence direct from source 🙂
With all this fresh in the mind, I attended the two-day “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” event here at the Excel exhibition centre in London. More about that in part 2 of this thread, till then hit refresh..:-).
Thanks
Sarang

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

New book on Microsoft Dynamics 365 FinOps – “Microsoft Dynamics 365 FinOps – Fixed Price Projects Revenue Recognition In-depth”

I have released a new paperback book called “Microsoft Dynamics 365 FinOps – Fixed Price Projects Revenue Recognition In-depth” on Amazon about the fixed price projects revenue recognition last Thursday .i.e. 27th September 2018. In this blog post i am going to talk about the book and the motivation behind that.
I knew basic fixed price projects revenue recognition and how to perform it in the system. However, when it came to knowing all the possible fixed price projects revenue recognition scenarios, i always had to dig the internet and find out how this scenario works and how that scenario works. And while doing that i realized that apart from the basic information about the fixed price revenue recognition, there was not much available on the internet. This triggered me write this book. I thought lets put all the logical and allowed scenarios on paper in details, along with the screenshots, explanation, supporting T-accounts, other relevant details, exceptions, shortcomings, specific behavior  and have it all in one place, in one book. The aim was to stop looking the internet endlessly for this topic henceforth.
What i did initially was plotted all the permutations and combinations with all the elements of the project group like 4 values of ‘Revenue recognition accounting rule’, 3 values of ‘Calculation methods’ and 4 values of ‘Matching principle’ and put them on excel sheet. The number came somewhere around 36. Also added further scenarios when i brought the ‘Cost template’ and its values for ‘Completion based on’ in scope. This added few more permutations and combinations with ‘Straight line’ and ‘WBS’ type of revenue recognition further adding to the scope. However, after trying each one of them by setting them up individually in the system, i concluded that 11 unique scenarios are the ones which i should be writing about in this book.
I decided to name it as “Microsoft Dynamics 365 FinOps – Fixed Price Projects Revenue Recognition In-depth” as this book gives the in-depth explanation for all the 11 scenarios along with all the accounting and relevant supporting details in over 200 pages. The second important decision was to print this book in COLOR, as the screenshots had many markings in RED, which i wanted the readers to really look at and understand it at once. The aim was always to uncover this complex beast of revenue recognition engine for fixed price projects.
Being a functional consultant, i have always faced many situations when client used to ask questions about a specific revenue recognition scenario and whether that is possible in the system and can i explain it. My regular answer was, “Let me get back to you on this”, as i knew that this is a complex area and this needs thorough preparation before presenting it to the client. Now with this book in place, i am personally in a much better position than what i was earlier. Not that i would answer all the questions about this topic instantly but at-least the turnaround time on them and the confidence would be much higher. I seriously feel that consultants working in the area of ‘Project management and accounting module’ of Microsoft Dynamics 365 FinOps, should definitely have a read through of this book.
Amazon link for the book is as follows: http://amzn.eu/d/7cEcot9
If you happen to read the book and if you wish to provide any feedback, then don’t hesitate to email it to me on kusaresarang@gmail.com. And if you like the book, then please write a review on Amazon, so that it would benefit other buyers too.
Thanks again!!
Kind Regards
Sarang Kusare

Monday, September 17, 2018

Quick post : Split the On-account invoice transaction for Credit note

When the project invoice includes just one on-transaction, then system does not allow the user to split that single transaction during the credit note.

Single on-account transaction cannot be split during credit note 

However when the project invoice involves multiple on-account transactions from the same and / or multiple projects / sub-projects, then the user can split the credit note and just process the credit note for the desired on-account transactions.

Multiple on-account transaction on the same invoice can be split during credit note
If the invoice proposal is run again, then only the one selected for credit note appears in the 'Create invoice proposal'.

On-account transaction selected for credit note
Once the credit note is posted, the transaction status for the selected on-account transaction changes to 'Chargeable'.

Status changed to 'Chargeable'
Thanks
Sarang Kusare

Friday, September 14, 2018

Reverting the SAME project transaction which is in 'Selected for credit note' back to 'Invoiced'

I just now came to know a way of reverting the SAME project transaction which is in 'Selected for credit note' back to 'Invoiced'.
When the project transaction is invoiced, the 'Transaction status' is changed to 'Invoiced':
When you select the transaction for credit note, the 'Transaction status' is changed to 'Selected for credit note'
I was wondering how do i put this 'Transaction status' back to 'Invoiced' as i selected the transaction mistakenly for credit note.
The solution is to just run the process again and 'Deselect' the transaction, which will revert the 'Transaction status' from 'Selected for credit note' to 'Invoiced'.
When clicked 'Ok', the system reverts the 'Transaction status' from 'Selected for credit note' back to 'Invoiced'.
The reason for knowing this was, i was getting stuck while posting an estimate on a % complete fixed price project. The on-account transaction based on which system calculates the accrued revenue was in the 'Selected for credit note' state and hence system was giving the error :
"On account cannot be chosen for type project and ID"
Had i known this process of reverting the transaction status back to 'Invoiced' i would have been successful in posting the estimate.

Kind Regards
Sarang