This week I had the privilege of sitting down with Steve Sieber, Director, Technology Consulting at RSM US & recent eOne Consultant of the Month Winner, to discuss his take on all things SmartList. I’ve worked with Steve long enough to know he is an expert on both GP and eOne products – and knows them in, out and upside down. Take a peek at our conversation around SmartList Builder.

Oracle to GP – with SmartList Builder as the reporting solution
A: When did you first start working with SmartList Builder?

S: I started back in 2008. At the time I was working for a much smaller partner but we had a very large client who had moved from Oracle to Microsoft Dynamics GP and needed financial reports, so we set them up with SmartList Builder.

A: Sounds like a big win for GP! So what kind of lists did you set up for the customer?

S: We did sales, inventory and financial reports. The customer would have between 300 to 1200 orders generated a day and we created lists that would help them manage it all. Our goal was really to give users control and access to their data through the reports. 

A: How did they feel about what you implemented? 
S: All the feedback we received was really positive. Beyond giving the customer the reports they needed – SmartList Builder played a huge role in giving the customer confidence about their new ERP. Moving from Oracle to GP was a big decision – so we wanted everything we did for them to prove the decision they made was the right one.

A: Wow – that’s great! Always a good place to be as an ISV – not only filling a gap and meeting a need – but also giving the customer a little more confidence in the business decision they made.

Stand-out SmartLists
A: You’ve been working with SmartLists a long time. Any stand-out lists you’ve created?

S: Ha – where do I start?! Many of the stand-outs deal with Analytical Accounting. The SmartLists a user gets out of the box with GP really don’t give the data they need if they are working with AA. 

A: It’s funny, I’ve heard AA come up over and over again.
S: Truly, I’ve yet to meet a customer who has AA that doesn’t need SmartList Builder. 

S: We recently did an implementation for an oil company with a ton of customized SmartLists – they were dealing with Analytical Accounting, had multi-companies. We created different summaries and pulled those into the appropriate designated SmartList.

Massive time savings – hours to seconds
S: We also created SmartLists involving complex views – pulling in Extender data, AA views and other tables – we combined that all into 1 view via SmartList Builder. Before doing that, they were pulling in 3 or 4 reports into GP and Excel – a process that originally took them 4 to 6 hours. I came in and created a report with SmartList Builder so the user could view all of her data – which happened to be an invoice summary (purchasing data from GL, AA and Extender data with multi-companies). Now, the user can see her spend based on cost center, etc and it literally takes her seconds to open instead of hours. 

A: Gotta love that time savings! Going from 6 hours to a few seconds had to make that user happy with you. 
S: Haha – yeah she was pretty happy about that!

A: Any other stand out lists come to mind?
S: The last one that really stands out is a SmartList Builder implementation I recently completed for a large, well-known company who basically transfers cash country to country. Since that’s their business, they are dealing with different banks, customers, LRC’s – so you’re looking at a ton of financial transactions & movements. Our best solution for the vast majority of the customer’s reports was SmartList Builder.

Creating self-sufficient customers
S: But the thing I love is that after we built the reports for the customer – both basic and complicated – we helped the customer become self-sufficient on SmartList Builder. They haven’t had to call me in every time to build a new report or modify one – they are off to the races on their own. 

A: As a consultant, that has to feel satisfying to create a self-sufficient customer. 
S: Yep it does. Sure I’d want to have a bunch more billable hours off of simple things like reports – but more than that I want what’s best for the customer. They can bring me in for much more complicated items on their list. 

Customers on SmartView
A: Do any of the customers use SmartView, along with SmartList Builder? 
S: Absolutely. I just implemented it at a big customer who wanted to gain performance in terms of list speeds and ease of access for their users. 

Thoughts on SmartList Designer
A: Now, I always ask partners this – do you recommend Microsoft’s SmartList Designer to your customers? 
S: Ha – no. While it’s free, there really are only certain things you can do with it. SmartList Builder has full access to SQL tables within the product and GP itself. With SmartList Builder, I can create the type of views we need. I’m able to pull data from multi-companies, utilize the go-to functionality, work with summary SmartLists. Out of every 100 customers – I’d say maybe 1 or 2 user SmartList Designer.  

A: Music to my ears. Sometimes I wonder if that question even needs to be asked anymore but i thought I’d just double check! 
S: Don’t worry – we’re not SmartList Designer fans here. 

Final Thoughts
A: So as we wrap up our time together, any final thoughts on SmartList Builder? 
S: I love it. It’s a great product to quickly get what the clients needs, as far as reporting and data. They can deploy it quickly, get the information they want and all the while maintain the flexibility they need. It’s a tool they can understand, use and deploy. It makes my customers’ lives easier because it’s something they can own once we leave as consultants. I’ve yet to meet a GP customer that didn’t legitimately need it for their mission-critical reporting. 

Steve is a director in RSM’s central region. There he is the leader of the GP Development team. Steve offers clients specialized skills in ERP systems implementations, custom application development, system integration, and solutions architecture. Prior to becoming a consultant, Steve worked for a leading agriculture company in California, specializing in financial, distribution, sales, inventory and payroll as a Dynamics GP developer.

Steve currently leads the team of developers to work with clients to design, develop and implement custom software solutions to enhance the Microsoft Dynamics GP application. Utilizing Microsoft development tools, Steve and his team are able to deliver an accounting and business management system solution, which addresses complex technical and business requirements.