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The excellent Feb. 11th GPUG meeting at Persolvent/Simek's

  • 1.  The excellent Feb. 11th GPUG meeting at Persolvent/Simek's

    GPUG ALL STAR
    Posted Feb 14, 2020 12:13 AM
    Dear Minneapolis GPUG friends,

    I started my 2020 "Grand Tour" of GPUG meetings in St. Paul Park. Last year I made it to Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Des Moines, and of course my "home" meetings in Green Bay. I'll be hitting Milwaukee and Chicago in the next five weeks, and looking to branch out to other states nearby, if possible.

    Your Feb. 11th meeting was the 2nd Minneapolis meeting I've attended. It was also one of the best user group experiences I've ever had. I mean that sincerely. You have a very fine team of leaders in @Brian Lambertz, @Sara Flaws, @Jessica Raciborski, and @Bert Green​​​​. Of course, I feel compelled to mention that three of your leaders have won the GPUG All Star award, the first Chapter in the world to be so endowed.

    The site, Persolvent/Simek's, was first rate. Besides the fact that every single person I met who works there was gracious, friendly, and accommodating, the room we met in was very conducive to mingling and networking. We sat on bar stools instead of at tables. That encouraged getting up easily and moving around. And Simek's laid out excellent meatballs as snacks before lunch arrived.

    Simek's meatballs. Excellent nosh to fill in the corners!

    Firehouse subs on the menu for lunch with lemonade, tea, multiple kinds of chips, cookies... and, like, 80 sub sandwiches!
    And here we all are during lunch. The stools aren't exactly like bar stools; they sit just a bit lower so it's easy to dismount. But the arrangement meant that it was better for networking. Excellent meeting room.

    So, what did we do during the meeting? First I'll say that there were 27 of us there. Nice turnout! Brian Lambertz led the meeting, giving us the bird's eye lowdown on upcoming GPUG events. We mentioned briefly the combined Minneapolis - Green Bay - Milwaukee - Chicago Regional "Level Up!" local user group meeting coming up on April 16 & 17 at the Ho-Chunk Casino Hotel in Wisconsin Dells/Baraboo, WI. The special registration page isn't quite ready yet, but Real Soon Now! This event has $0 registration fee, just like every quarterly GPUG meeting you go to; there'll be complimentary lunch on Thursday the 16th and complimentary breakfast and lunch on the 17th; and there's free parking on the huge Ho-Chunk lot. So, if you decide to come, it's a pretty cheap two-day event, as the Ho-Chunk Casino has offered us a guest room rate of just $89 (plus hotel taxes). Tell your boss! 18 sessions in three tracks over the two days of both GP content and Power BI/Power Platform content! Details to follow!

    A couple ladies from Persolvent/Simek's did a GPUG Member Showcase to start us off.

    Brian Lambertz: help me out here. What were the ladies' names? They highlighted what Persolvent/Simek's does with GP. They also pointed out that it's a female-run company. If their customers are treated even half as well as I was at this meeting, they'll have immense success.

    After a brief break for establishing remote contact, Microsoft MVP @Rod O'Connor of eOne did a remote presentation on three eOne products: Excel Report Builder, SmartView, and PopDock.


    Rod isn't an MVP for nothing. He's worked with GP for eons and brings beaucoup experience to eOne. His review of these products (all of which I've seen from other eOne representatives including the inimitable @Nicole Albertson) impelled me to recommend SmartView to my boss yet again.

    The idea that my users can run SmartLists much more quickly and flexibly without having to log into GP is a terrific selling point.

    And PopDock gets my vote for one of the most innovative and dead useful web apps. Think of SmartLists using just about any data source you can imagine... not just GP data, anything! It has the depth of data connectivity choices (almost!) of Excel and Power BI's Power Query all in a web page. Very interesting product that I hope really catches on.

    After the excellent lunch of Firehouse Subs (and Simek's meatballs!) it was time for a truly ground-breaking presentation. I do not exaggerate. After I had a chance to digest what I'd seen, I can say that this is something any company with eConnect chops and a decent development group should think about.

    Brian Lambertz's company, Connexus Energy, has built up a web portal application to make data entry into the various GP modules easier. They've been working on it for several years (since 2013(?), I believe, shortly after Brian started working for Connexus) and they're up to Build 9, steadily adding features. I remember that there was one question from the audience about support for this custom-built application. Brian looked at Aleem Quershi, the chief developer and co-presenter, and they both shrugged and said it just works!



    Brian demonstrated how a single web page adds data into what would require five windows in GP; and how the data entered into the web application is immediately available in GP. They did a side-by-side demo of the capabilities of the web app next to the screens that have to be selected in GP to do the same thing.

    Don't misunderstand: this isn't the web interface for GP that Microsoft offers. That's simply the doppelganger of desktop GP using web pages. This is a custom-built web portal for GP put together by Qureshi's company, Pendulum Media. Qureshi had to learn eConnect from the ground up; but Brian's company was interested enough in the promise of a simplified web interface to GP to stick with the development team. The cost savings have been considerable, according to Brian.

    It isn't for everyone by a long shot. It's custom-built for Connexus Energy, but any sufficiently savvy development department, I think, could put together a similar web application to streamline data entry and reporting. It was one of the most interesting adaptations of GP that I've seen.

    The final piece of the GPUG meeting was a get-together at the Muddy Cow just down the road from Persolvent/Simek's. I went there to meet Brian, Jessica, Sara, and Aleem. The Muddy Cow is an excellent joint. I merely mention these things! There I learned that Aleem Qureshi's company has, like, really large customers... including Wal-Mart in Bentonville, AR. Yes, the Wal-Mart HQ! He does consulting and development that's a couple orders of magnitude greater than anything I've ever been involved in. A very interesting conversation with an impressive guy.

    Jessica, Sara, Brian, and Bert have put together a kick-butt GPUG group. Take it from me, you should go to these meetings!

    Sincerely,
    ​​

    ------------------------------
    "Sparkly" Steve Erbach - Green Bay, WI
    Co-Chair, GPUG WI (Green Bay) Chapter
    Blog: https://www.gpug.com/blogs/steve-erbach
    Twitter: twitter.com/serbach

    ───────────────
    Excel Webinar List as of 12-Nov-2019
    ------------------------------
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  • 2.  RE: The excellent Feb. 11th GPUG meeting at Persolvent/Simek's

    GPUG ALL STAR
    Posted Feb 14, 2020 10:46 AM
    Edited by Brian Lambertz Feb 14, 2020 12:00 PM
    Hello @Steve Erbach,

    Thank you so much for the well-written recap, and we had a wonderful time hosting you at the February MN meeting!  For the record anyone from Green Bay is always welcome to our meetings, however you may be subject to some MN Vikings based taunting.  This year your Packers beat us twice so we had nothing on you, lol!  The presenters you referenced above form Persolvent/Simik's are our very own MN members @Cathy Huggett, a certified Power BI Black Belt, ​and @Sarah Sivanich.  ​​​I am so glad that you were able to attend the meeting and that our format was to your liking.  I truly do believe that we have discovered a few magic elements in MN that make our meetings memorable.

    If anyone reading this wonders about these elements, here are a few:
    • We host our meetings from 10:00am-2:30pm to allow people travel time that is not during the rush hour period.
    • Ending at 2:30pm gives time to have a less-formal networking opportunity in a causal setting. (Like the Muddy Cow)
    • We always take the time for introductions at the beginning to inspire networking opportunities later during lunch or after the meeting.

    Thank you again for championing and promoting the Level Up event in Wisconsin Dells on April 16th and 17th.  This quarter 2 April Regional meeting is going to be the regional event of the quarter!  We are all very much looking forward to attending and spending time with our friends from the other regional Local User Groups from Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Chicago.  With any luck we can sit down and win some money at the Black Jack table together as well.

    With our Regards,


    ------------------------------
    Brian Lambertz
    Business Analyst
    Connexus Energy
    Ramsey MN
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 3.  RE: The excellent Feb. 11th GPUG meeting at Persolvent/Simek's

    GPUG ALL STAR
    Posted Feb 14, 2020 12:50 PM
    @Brian Lambertz,

    In re your friendly warning to Green Bay-ites coming to Minneapolis GPUG meetings, check out my report of the Q3 2016 GPUG Milwaukee​ meeting... half-way down the page where Mark Anderson of eOne shows a boat-load of Packer fans just what's what!



    Thank you for identifying @Cathy Huggett and @Sarah Sivanich. Cathy was the main meeter and greeter at the entrance to Persolvent/Simek's and she has the sunniest disposition imaginable.

    And thank you for being such a positive force for truth, justice, and the American... wait! I meant for GPUG and local user group meetings! We'll have a registration page for our April 16 & 17 Regional Level Up! meeting available on Monday!!

    Sincerely,
    ​​

    ------------------------------
    "Sparkly" Steve Erbach - Green Bay, WI
    Co-Chair, GPUG WI (Green Bay) Chapter
    Blog: https://www.gpug.com/blogs/steve-erbach
    Twitter: twitter.com/serbach

    ───────────────
    Excel Webinar List as of 12-Nov-2019
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 4.  RE: The excellent Feb. 11th GPUG meeting at Persolvent/Simek's

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 17, 2020 10:59 AM
    Thanks for the great write-up and photos of the Mpls-St.Paul meeting, Steve!!  It sounds like a missed a great one!  Especially, the lunch with Simek's delicious food!!  I hope to attend Level-Up Midwest in April!

    ------------------------------
    Jeannette Coty Bachellor
    Senior HRP Consultant
    Coty Consulting
    Minneapolis MN
    jcoty@cotyconsulting.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


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