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Retail Information Systems Identified as Crucial Investments by Retailers

October 30th, 2012 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

For retailers seeking to expand operations into different channels, one of the most critical factors in growing and enhancing business operations is establishing a comprehensive technology framework that supports these developments. According to industry research, merchants are increasingly turning to retail information systems to develop multi-channel operations through data consolidation and a unified technological infrastructure.

Merchants are finding that in order to succeed in today’s retail environment, they need to adapt their business models to keep pace with emerging markets and changing customer expectations. By creating a seamless, consistent, and comprehensive multi-channel strategy through innovative retail software systems, merchants are better equipped to sustain and grow business in different channels.

Merchants are quickly understanding the importance of connected, varied retail channels, and are citing it as one of their top business priorities. According to "Succeeding in Multi-Channel Commerce" by Acquity Group, 56% of merchants surveyed either have or plan to have integrated systems for shoppers across sales channels – website, email, mobile, catalog and social – in the next two years.

Another primary business investment for retailers is updating existing operational systems. With retailers now realizing that supply chain systems once thought robust cannot meet rising customer expectations, the 2012 RIS/Gartner Retail Technology Study titled "Embracing Change" states that 25% of merchants with real time inventory systems have systems that are up-to-date, with 15% – the next highest level – saying they have started but not finished the process of updating their systems.

With the exponential rise of smartphones as a major consumer technology platform, merchants are also looking to embrace this new technology and initiate a mobile commerce strategy. In the 2012 RIS/Gartner Retail Technology Study, the majority of retailers surveyed are either planning or testing a mobile commerce strategy, or have an existing strategy – 46% of merchants are currently in the planning stages; 24% have pilots in progress; and 10% have a fully functional mobile strategy in place.

In addition to new, rising technologies, traditional brick-and-mortar stores also form an important part of a multi-channel retail plan. Creating a differentiated shopping experience for customers is a key factor in enhancing brick-and-mortar store retail operations, a concept that merchants recognize and are trying to incorporate. One such practice that addresses this is enabling customers to place orders for out of stock and specialty items from the store, with retailers providing self-service interactive screens in-store that allow customers to place those orders.

To effectively manage order processes – especially if customers are creating specialty orders – merchants require a cohesive order distribution system. Of the merchants surveyed in the 2012 RIS/Gartner Retail Technology Study who have an order distribution system in place, 25% said they have their systems up-to-date, with 15% saying they have started but not finished.

By re-evaluating existing retail business and technology practices, and by delivering a fully connected, integrated shopping experience to customers, retailers will gain a significant advantage over the competition.

To learn more about important strategies that can help improve your retail operations, download our infographic 10 Multi-channel Strategies to Keep You On Top.

And if you have any questions about the strategies, or would like more information on which retail information systems are best for your business, please email us at retail@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

AXUG: Attend Dynamics AX 2012 sessions presented by Ignify at AX User Group

October 17th, 2012 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

Ignify is presenting multiple sessions at AXUG in Seattle starting today. Please join me at these five sessions to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics AX and AX 2012 in particular

Understanding Enterprise Financials with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: October 17, 2012: 4.45 pm
Dynamics AX 2012 presents advanced financials functionality that allows for it to be used in an enterprise environment. You will learn about consolidation, automated cost allocations, and how to enable shared services through centralized Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR).

Taking a Better Look at Budgeting with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: October 18, 2012: 2:30 pm
Dynamics AX 2012 provides extended functionality to set up budgets and perform budgets vs. actuals.  In this session, you will learn about setting up Zero Base and historical-based budgets, the budget approval process, budget vs. actual reporting, budget controls and enforcing them across the application.

eCommerce and Order Entry with Microsoft Dynamics AX: October 19, 2012: 10:45 am
Learn about Ignify eCommerce and Order Entry for Microsoft Dynamics AX and how these products can increase your revenues and automate your order management processes. Learn about

  • Providing a customer dashboard with my account information, invoice and order history information
  • Setting up an ecommerce web store integrated with Microsoft Dynamics AX
  • Having an Integrated catalog, inventory, pricing with your web store
  • Online Returns Management Capability
  • Integrated Order Entry that provides Sales persons and CSRs the ability to create a new customer, look up a customer and create sales quotes and orders on a web –based interface

Expense Management with Dynamics AX 2012: October 19, 2012: 1:00 pm
Dynamics AX provides expense management functionality that companies are using to better control their expense management processes. In this session, you will learn about expense entry on a web portal, expense approvals, travel requisitions, business policies and expense rules.

  • Expense Posting to General Ledger
  • Credit Card Integration

A Look Inside Procure to Pay in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012: October 19, 2012: 3.45 pm
Dynamics AX 2012 has a lot of new features in the Procure to Pay process. Join this session to learn more about Purchase Requisitions, running a Request for Quotes (RFQ) process, purchase agreements, multi-company master planning, and spending controls within procurement tied to budgets.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

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Correct Invoice Errors with New Invoice Correction Process in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

October 8th, 2012 Partha Chattopadhyay No comments

Making mistakes is a very common thing to happen for human beings. One such thing that can sometimes happen is making a mistake on a free text invoice posted for a customer. After realizing the mistake, you of course want to correct it, but you may be worried that you don’t know how to do it – or that the system can’t make the correction.

Don’t worry – with the customer invoice correction process you can easily correct your posted free text invoice.

What is changed in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012?

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, correcting a free text invoice involved issuing a credit note against the incorrect customer invoice and creating a new customer invoice. In addition, you could not link the new customer invoice, corrected customer invoice, and customer credit note to one another.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, a new Correct Invoice button is added to the free text invoice details form and the free text invoice list page. After clicking the button, a new form will open where the user can adjust the necessary information and then post the correction.

Required System Configuration

Since the invoice correction feature is not enabled by default, you must enable it by going to the General ledger > Free text invoice correction configuration key in the License configuration form under System administration.

System configuration is required for free text invoice correction

Fig 1: System configuration is required for free text invoice correction.

Free Text Invoice Correction Process

Let us start with an example where you posted a free text invoice amount for USD $2,500 to Customer 1301-Whale Wholesales – but the amount should really be USD $3,000. You realize your mistake, and you want to quickly correct the free text invoice.

Posted free text Invoice with the wrong amount

Fig 2: Posted free text Invoice with the wrong amount.

The process for correcting a free text invoice involves the following steps:

  1. The user clicks Correct on the Free text invoice form.

    To correct a free text invoice, first click Correct Invoice

    Fig 3: To correct a free text invoice, first click Correct Invoice.

  2. Select the error code as “ERROR”, enter the invoice cancelling date and then click Create Corrected Invoice.

    Enter a reason code and a cancelling Invoice date to create  a corrected free text invoice

    Fig 4: Enter a reason code and a cancelling Invoice date to create a corrected free text invoice.

  3. The system then creates a copy of the original free text invoice.

    Created copy of the free text invoice after entering a reason code and a cancelling invoice date

    Fig 5: Created copy of the free text invoice after entering a reason code and a cancelling invoice date.

  4. Make the desired changes to the copied free text invoice.

    Make changes in the free text invoice copy

    Fig 6: Make changes in the free text invoice copy.

  5. Post the changed free text invoice.

    Post the changed free text invoice

    Fig 7: Post the changed free text invoice

  6. The system creates a credit note and all the original settlements are reversed and reapplied to the new credit note. An Infolog appears to show the successful completion of the process.

    Infolog showing the successful completion of the process

    Fig 8: Infolog showing the successful completion of the process

  7. The system creates a link between the Corrected, Credited (Canceling), and Original customer invoice for a clear audit trail.

    The previous free text invoice, credit note, and the corrected invoice are created during the process

    Fig 9: The previous free text invoice, credit note, and the corrected invoice are created during the process.

    Invoice corrections created during the process

    Fig 10: Invoice corrections created during the process.

    The original free text invoice that was corrected

    Fig 11: The original free text invoice that was corrected.

    The credit note automatically created during the correction process

    Fig 12: The credit note automatically created during the correction process.

    The new free text invoice created during the correction process

    Fig 13: The new free text invoice created during the correction process.

NOTE: You can also use the new free text invoice workflow configuration to approve the change.

Conclusion

As you can see, you are now able to easily correct any free text invoice which was posted with the wrong amount. After going through the correction process, the system cancels the incorrect one and posts a new one linked with the old one to meet the audit requirements.

If you have any questions about correcting free text invoices, or would like more information about Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, please email us at dynamics@ignify.com.

Partha Chattopadhyay is a Manager in the Microsoft Dynamics AX practice at Ignify. Ignify is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to mid-market and Enterprise businesses. Ignify has been ranked as Microsoft Partner of the Year Winner in 2012, 2011 and 2010, and in the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle, Microsoft Dynamics Presidents Club in 2009. Ignify has offices and team members in Southern California, Northern California, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, Washington, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Philippines, and Jakarta.