25 January 2012

An Interview with Glenn McPeak of Data Masons

Data Masons provides EDI solutions for all of Microsoft’s Dynamics ERP offerings. Their products are well respected by users and partners alike, and they are big supporters of the Dynamics Community.

I had the opportunity to interview Glenn McPeak from Data Masons to talk about EDI, community and GP ‘12’. Here is the interview:

Glenn, can you give us a brief overview of what Data Masons does and what makes you special?

What makes Data Masons unique in the industry is our particular focus on EDI compliance & integration for the Microsoft Dynamics marketplace. We are the only Microsoft Dynamics ISV with a solution (Vantage Point EDI) that integrates EDI documents to each of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP platforms. As a company, you can say we are an EDI provider, but from an execution standpoint, our focus is on Microsoft Dynamics and from a technology standpoint, we can integrate EDI documents without having to customize the host ERP. This advantage gives Dynamics customers a competitive edge by putting them in a strong position of flexibility, whether it’s responding to their trading partners’ requirements or their own internal needs, such as taking advantage of the next version of their ERP. Either way, Microsoft Dynamics customers can use EDI as a business advantage.

Data Masons has been around for some time, how has EDI and its importance changed over the past few years?

EDI, which Data Masons broadly defines as the exchange and integration of common business transactions, has grown dramatically in regards to its importance and breadth in business relationships.  Today it is quite common for larger organizations to mandate EDI capability as a prerequisite for new suppliers and business partner relationships.  While a few years ago most companies traded only a few documents, such as purchase orders, invoices and ship notices,   today there are many more documents that can drive labor efficiencies. EDI comes into play because these documents also require more flexible and comprehensive software applications.

Companies that embrace EDI successfully find that they can streamline activities with key partners.  EDI technology replaces manual transaction entry, lowers the cost of doing business and eliminates many of the risks that commonly result from human error and miscommunication.  Instead, they can run their business 24/7 and manage business transaction flows via exception, for example, receiving an alert when an order is received with price errors or a supplier invoice does not match the purchase order and receiver.

Are there specialty areas where Data Masons excels?

We have the largest trading partner document library for Microsoft Dynamics GP in the market today. No one has more types of documents, integrated in and out of GP, then Data Masons. Beyond that, there are industries where we have particular expertise, both from a software and personnel perspective. Most EDI providers shy away from Automotive and Industrial Equipment Industries because of the complexity of the documents that are important to these companies, but Data Masons has a competitive strength in these areas. Our integrated EDI solution, Vantage Point EDI, has out-of-the-box functionality that gives a Dynamics GP customer multiple ways to handle their 830’s and 862’s. We also have consultants that have worked in Automotive EDI for more than 20 years. Data Masons has a similar story in the Consumer Packaged Goods and Hardlines areas. If you are supplying a Big Box Retailer, then we have the expertise and solution to cover all your needs.

Microsoft is hard at work on GP ‘12’ scheduled for release sometime in 2012. Is Data Masons going to be ready for that release on time?

Yes, Data Masons will be ready shortly after the official release of GP ‘12’. Due to the way we have architected our solution, there is minimal effort on our part to become compliant with the next version of Microsoft Dynamics GP. Because we are not physically coded inside of Dynamics GP, we remain flexible enough for our customers to upgrade with little to no disruption to their current business process.

I know that Data Masons has a significant community presence in social media and working with GPUG. Will you have a presence at this year’s Convergence conference in Houston?

Data Masons is fully supportive of using Social Media to help build awareness for the Dynamics GP community, as you’ll be hearing from now until after Convergence on our Blog (http://www.datamasons.com/blog/) and Twitter Feed (@datamasons). For anyone attending the event, please stop by our expo hall booth (#445) as we’ll be attending again as a bronze sponsor.

And yes, you’re correct about our involvement with GPUG, so expect to see us at DayOne at Convergence, at chapter meetings throughout the year, on Webinars and the group’s promotions via Social Media.

Lastly, let me share a little about some exciting news… We are in the final stages of having our Blog syndicated by the Microsoft Dynamics Community - making it easier for you to follow us. This process has been in the making for months now as we had to meet various requirements before our blog could be considered, for example, not only showing expertise in EDI but with regards to Dynamics GP as well. A big win for us!


I want to thank Glenn again for being willing to talk about EDI, Community, GP ‘12’ and for all of the support they provide to Dynamics users.