Dynamics GP 2018 Web Client Has Come of Age for a New Generation
We’ve all heard it said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And for many of us, our first impression of the first GP Web Client was mediocre, at best. It was difficult to install, it had limited functionality, and it couldn’t run on any browser. So, many users and partners turned their backs on the GP Web Client and thought, “Why try and reinvent the wheel? The GP desktop client has all the rich functionality I need.” Well, if that first impression has kept you away, it is time that you forget about that first bad taste and give the new GP 2018 Web Client a second chance to make a great impression.
Before we look at the many new features, it’s important to first answer the question as to why the GP Web Client is so important. Why did they have to make a GP Web Client? To make GP portable and available on any device, anywhere, anytime. And here is where we really must applaud Microsoft for having the foresight to see the direction of the ERP market and ensure that GP stays in the main stream. As Millennial's will soon outnumber Boomers (see graph)1, GP must change to adapt to how Millennial's want to work. “The bring-your-own device trend (BYOD), for example, is at least in part a reaction to the Millennial's’ near-addiction to mobile devices. Workplace satisfaction matters more to Millennial's than monetary compensation and work-life balance is often considered essential.”2 So, to stay relevant in the workplace, and to compete with newer web-based ERP systems, GP must be fully functional on any device, any time, anywhere, and the GP 2108 Web Client now delivers the feature-rich, fully functional interface that all generations can enjoy.
The most significant major overhaul for the GP Web Client came with GP 2016, when Microsoft replaced the Silverlight plug-in dependency with the HTML5 code base. With HTML5, the GP Web Client can now run faster, display more elegant forms, and better support 3rd party add-ins. But, the most exciting feature is compatibility with more devices and browsers. The GP Web Client will run on iOS, or Android, as well as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and nearly any other HTML5 compatible browser. Users are no longer restricted to a Windows laptop or the need to connect through a remote desktop connection. Users can work from their tablet and even their Apple or Android smart phones!
If with your first review of the GP Web Client, you only saw the core modules, then you may not have noticed that GP has added HR and Payroll, as well as Field Services, Project Accounting and Manufacturing. Now that the GP Web Client supports all modules on all devices, companies should reassess their GP deployment decisions. If GP is installed on multiple workstations, converting to the GP web client will reduce maintenance cost and give users better mobility and flexibility on any device. Oh, but we use Remote Desktop you say? The GP Web Client does not require a terminal server user license and the resource requirements for the GP Web server is much lower than for a terminal server.
In addition, all companies using GP should look at implementing the self-service features with the GP Web Client. Companies using the GP payroll module can give employees access to their paystubs and allow them to update direct deposit information, W4 selections, as well as change address, emergency contacts and other employee profile information. Aside from payroll, self-serve users can also enter project time and expense and submit requisitions in the GP Web Client. And what is amazing is that all this functionality only costs $60 per self-service user, compared to $3,000 for the full GP user license.
And now in the GP 2018 Web Client, users have some functionality that previously was only available in the GP desktop client.
Just like in the desktop client, GP will remember previously entered values on a field and give the user a drop-down list to select as they begin typing. Items can be selected from the drop-down menu, and the full value will be autocompleted on to the field. This is extremely helpful to speed up the data entry process.
One Click Access to SmartList
Prior to GP 2018, it took several steps to find and open Smartlist, but now a new link has been added on the top-right header bar of the Web Client window labeled Smartlist, for easy access.
Bank Reconciliation Window
Users can now maximize the Bank Reconciliation window to have a similar view of transactions as in the desktop client. This reduces the amount of scrolling needed to find transactions.
But with all these enhancements to the GP Web Client, it won’t mean anything if you aren’t confident in the security of the system to deploy it on the web. However, you should be pleased to know that Microsoft has taken four significant steps to ensure that GP data is secure when using the Web Client.
Encryption – The Web Client requires a fully encrypted login. In addition, all client-server interactions are encrypted as well. The Web Client uses secure sockets, or https, meaning that it requires certificates on both the client and server sides.
Windows Authentication – The Web Client requires Windows Authentication to access the landing page, which mitigates the risk of a “Denial of Service” attack. This also gives administrators greater control to limit who has access to the GP Web Client within the company.
Existing GP Security – The Web Client uses all the existing role-based Microsoft Dynamics GP security settings assigned to users.
Elevated Trust Mode – The Elevated Trust Mode is required for most printing and BI functions, as well as saving and opening files. If Elevated Trust is not enabled, an icon in the task bar will appear and users will receive several dialog boxes requiring them to override the settings if they try to perform any of the actions requiring Elevated Trust.
And there is an additional bonus! The Web Management Console enables administrators to manage Web Client Sessions and Tenants, giving them the ability to track who is logging in to the Web Client and when.
So, if your first impression left you with a “wait and see” attitude, the wait is over my friend! You should be able to see now that the GP Web Client has come of age, and just in time for a new generation that expects all the functionality within an easy-to-use browser. Make a new analysis of your current GP deployment and potential GP self-service users and begin a new deployment strategy that will improve employee productivity and satisfaction and reduce maintenance costs.