Dynamics AX Former Axapta and SAP Business One as International Corporate ERP Tandem

Published: 26th August 2011
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When you are expanding internationally one of the discoveries that you make in IT department is incompatibility of your current Corporate ERP system with the requirements of the foreign country. This is not necessary foreign language user interface and data entry. It is also compliance to foreign country accounting practice and regulations. The second one is likely more difficult to neutralize. One of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP family of product is GP or formerly known as Great Plains. GP is not offered in such countries as Brazil, China, Russia as it is not available in these languages and Microsoft doesnít release any tax updates for these regions. On the other hand it is often seen implemented in United States based headquarters. If you feel certain level of commitments to Microsoft Business Solutions products, we recommend you to consider move toward AX. This was not an overnight decision in Microsoft to begin rolling out AX offer in most of the countries and regions. There were several factors, probably leading to this decision. First of all originally Axapta was architected in Denmark, Europe. European origin helps this application to be very comfortable with multicurrency, Euro triangulation, exchange rates. Secondly, there is known problem in Great Plains Dexterity as it doesnít support Unicode characters (only one byte centered ASCII). Enabling Unicode in GP was too complex project, while switching it on in AX was feasible. In our opinion these two factors were very important in final decision. Now former Axapta is available internationally and letís take a look at recommendation to implement it in the multinational company:



1. Centralized Hosting. Well, this is one of the popular mistakes, when your IT folks suggest foreign branch to locate local consulting and programming firm with the expertise in chosen accounting application. Those consultants overseas provide quote which includes hardware, MS SQL Server installation on the top of the AX licenses and implementation hours. They might be very reasonable in recommending local installation and implementation, as accounting legislation is complex in their respected country. However if you accept this way your central control will be eroded and international IT infrastructure turns into something eclectic and not really structured to be governed by IT folks in headquarters. There should be central set of servers, hosted in the Headquarters and supported by IT department. All the international company databases should be on these servers and open to international users via Citrix, Remote Desktop or Microsoft Terminal Server or simple VPN. Decent internet bandwidth is now a commodity and should be easy enough to connect your overseas facility to make Citrix feasible



2. The scale of the implementation for your overseas facility. In such countries as China, where you may consider outsource your manufacturing the way of doing business might be pretty simple. You just have small office there, which places the orders to local manufacturing mills, controls the quality and ships final goods to USA. That type of operations probably doesnít require high-end Corporate ERP system to be implemented. And the implementation might be not proportional to available and expected budgets. This is why we do recommend have smaller ERP system, which is flexible in being consolidated in Financial Reporting and available worldwide. And one of these systems is SAP Business One



3. Why SAP B1? First of all we do not think that it is feasible to pick locally developed package as you need central control and predictable technical support plus version upgrade. It might be good idea for smaller companies, but for multinational business we believe that ERP brand name is the way to go. Here you follow the same strategy hosting SB1 companies on the same server in your Headquarters. With version 8.8 and 8.81 SAP BO allows you to host all the international interfaces on the same server in contrast to 2007A and B flavors (version 2005 also had A and B)



4. How do we consolidate SB1 based branches in Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flow? Currently we are in sort of transition from FRx to Microsoft Management Reporter. You can export GL trial balance from B1 to Excel and both FRx and MMR allow you to use it in consolidated reporting. Second possible method is to create GL only company in AX and ship General Ledger transactions from Business One to this company every night or on regular base



5. Single supporting partner in the USA. There are theories recommending risk minimization in IT support subcontracting. However ERP, IT infrastructure specifics might be complex ones and learning curve for new provider may take numerous billable hours and potential finger pointing to old settings and custom modules down the road. This is why we recommend you to consider consulting organization, where you have proven records in both AX and SAP Business One. In this schema central ERP support organization should be given authority to locate international consulting firms for outsourcing tax compliance specific parts



6. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representative pick up the phone in St. Joseph, MI call center). help@efaru.com We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese. Our core expertise is in International Business



Andrew Karasev is Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, help@efaru.com 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project http://www.efaru.com and founder of Alba Spectrum information space

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