What is our primary use case?
We primarily use the solution for our daily transactions, such as purchasing functions, sales functions, inventory management, and the whole general ledger, We also handle our financials and bank reconciliations such as bank management and cashbook management.
What is most valuable?
They've got a search feature called Smart Place that we find very useful. We can go through a whole lot of data from the past at any time from any origin. It actually takes you to the exporting functionality.
The solution offers integrations with other software as well. We have integration with Microsoft Office where we can do Word and Excel, etc.
It's very convenient.
Currently, we are actually looking at Payroll. Payroll we haven't implemented yet, however, it's there within the system. We are using a standalone payroll system as of right now. That becomes costly because it's outside the licenses that we are paying for Microsoft Dynamics GP. It will be easier and cheaper if we roll everything together, which we may do in the future.
The solution has an Integration Manager. You can actually pull a budget from Excel into the system. You can take it in and/or out.
If you have closed your year, you can reverse for one year. It has some nice functionality. If you have virtually missed something, you can go back and correct it, and reverse the year. It autocorrects your journal. You don't have to recapture everything.
It is quite a robust system.
What needs improvement?
We don't have proper data management. We have a government scheme where we service people and help them with housing. We call it the Self Help Housing Agency, where we provide funding, then you pay back the money without interest. It's one area that the system doesn't seem to handle it properly. We initially needed a system that was focused on test management in that aspect due to the fact that we wanted a revolving account where the money that you pay back goes into the fund and it funds other beneficiaries as well. That way, it never ceases to operate. You pay back, it goes into the fund, somebody also applies and then the money he pays back and it revolves like that. That said, we are not using the system for that. It doesn't work in the way we need it to. If it did, we'd definitely use it.
We also have services that are mostly data management. We only now use it for subsistence for others when they are traveling in between the jobs. For example, when you're traveling to another area, you apply for a subsistence allowance. That's the main thing that we are only using it for. That said, now, for Self Help and service leverage manuals, we need to computerize it so that it becomes part of the system as well. That's one area that needs to be looked at and improved somehow.
The budget aspect could be improved. I have to do my budgeting outside of the system on Excel, then whatever that has been approved I need to upload to GP. However, I want a system where I can start with projections. It would be great to be able to project with all the notes and have it give me my final outline and upload it automatically into that system. I don't know if that is possible.
With payroll, the payroll that they have offers US or Canadian tax. However, here, our tax payments are different from the US and Canada. It is very difficult to put in our tax tables. We need some customization. It should be readily available for any country to use according to their tax implications. The system should know different types of tax regimes around the world so that it can accommodate. It's a little bit rigid on that.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using the solution since 2008. It's been well over ten years at this point.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution is quite stable due to the fact that it's on-premise. It has maintenance utilities within itself, so you can just go in and run some maintenance or schedule it for daily backups and stuff like that. We don't experience bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.
How are customer service and technical support?
Generally, we try to handle the maintenance internally. However, we've used consultancy for support in the past and have also had to reach out to Microsoft directly.
At one of the sites, we had a big problem whereby the data was corrupted or that looked like somebody had deleted something important. The technical support did assist us. We logged the issue with Microsoft Directory.
However, the main issue is we no longer have a go-in-between consultant or partner. Microsoft emphasizes partnership. They don't want you to deal with them directly. They'll say, "No, we've got a growing partner in the region. Try them." However, this time we went through them due to the fact that it was something that was within their system. They did ultimately help. They sent us to one of their partners in India. They helped the site get back on track. It was down for about two or three years, so they didn't close their financials for that period of time. However, now they are back on track.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did previously use a solution called Cyborg back in the day. It had some components we needed. However, we've been with Microsoft since 1989. It's been a long time. We switched when we were able to get different modules.
How was the initial setup?
I didn't handle the initial setup. It was more than ten years ago. On top of that, I might have been in support at the time. Now, I am a principal accountant. I just came into the role.
The maintenance mostly lies with the IT department. We have an IT department. They're the ones who go and do the routine maintenance for it. For major support or maintenance, normally we utilize our service level agreement and then we send tenders out. The respondents show their capabilities of skills and what their experience is. Then we adjudicate around that and select the best leader who will run a one-year or three-year contract.
We are just coming off of a three-year contract that ended in November. Due to COVID, we couldn't send it out again. The idea going forward is to self-sustain, self-support, and to cut off outsourcing costs. We're actually training ourselves to be at the level of the consultant.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The licenses should be centralized. We, as a local authority under the ministry of local government, have the government pay on our behalf, and they are quite strict. It's an annual licensing that we are signed up for. It's quite hefty. We have 28 sites within the country and each site has to pay its own license. It means they are decentralized. If it was centralized, then it would have been easy. We are actually thinking of centralizing the whole system in one place and to cut off a whole lot of maintenance of servers. That way, licensing can be cut because it's licensed per user. The solution charges on a per user basis.
For us, in our local currency, it costs us around 5 million Botswanan Pulas a year. It's quite a lot of money.
What other advice do I have?
We're just a customer. We don't have a business arrangement with Microsoft.
I'm using the 2016 version of the solution 2016 due to the fact that I'm working for a local authority here. It's a standard across the country. We are with the local government.
I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?