Code you write is twice as sweet as code purchased.

Color Of Money

“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” – Paul Newman

At this point you may be asking yourself, “David, why should I bother learning all of this stuff? I don’t have the slightest idea how to write VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code.”

Why Learn VBA?

There are many reasons to learn VBA.

First, if you are a geek like me, you actually enjoy learning and using code. I first learned the term Homo Logicus while reading Jeff Atwood’s excellent blog Coding Horror. I’ll paraphrase and describe it as someone with an insatiable need to understand how things work. Sometimes I can’t believe people pay me to work on puzzles all day long.

Second, VBA is ubiquitous and applies to many functions of an administrator’s job. Microsoft Office is a completely different world when you incorporate VBA programming. You’d be amazed at what you can do with it in Excel.

Third, unlike many other add on products for Made2Manage, VBA is absolutely free. You can install it from your Made2Manage install CD and assuming you’re on support you can download the latest version from M2M Expert .

Finally, let’s assume that you’re not one of the tribe of Homo Logicus and you don’t find coding fun. You should still learn to do your own customizations or hire someone on staff to do so. The reason is accountability. Many years ago, before I had VBA experience, my employer required a customization. It should have been fairly simple, but rather than working through the problem myself, I deferred to an “expert.” I want to make it clear that this person was not a Made2Manage employee, but they were a certified solutions provider. Essentially, the customization was supposed to update all line items of the sales order with the correct ship to address and ship date at a single click. Anyway, when we received our VBA customization, it worked but it took 30 seconds for a process that I felt should have taken less than 5. I reviewed the code and found it riddled with problems. After being shown his mistakes, the contractor fixed them and sent us another bill for the corrections. Even after these corrections we were left with code we couldn’t use and were given a bill twice the size of the original quote.

Moral of the story, if you’re a Made2Manage Administrator take the online classes, post in the forums, ask for sample code, and view later posts to this blog for help.

Paying for code is not nearly as satisfying as creating it yourself and seeing it work. Also, if you created the code yourself and a problem occurs in testing or even in the production environment, you are in a much better position to fix it if you wrote it yourself.

What if I don’t have the resources to hire a Homo Logicus?

Then if you must customize Made2Manage you will have to contract with someone to do it. I’ll give some pointers as to how to pick someone, how to draft a statement of work document, and proper testing procedures in a future post.

Also, I will provide the code I wrote to accomplish the customization I listed above as well as explanations for how the VBA works in a future post as well.

Are you willing to wear the white belt?


As I mentioned in my first post, I am an Aikido Instructor and I am fond of sharing notable quotes with my students. One of my favorites is the story attributed to Jigoro Kano , the founder of Judo. As it was told to me, on his death bed Kano, the founder and therefore best Judo practitioner of his time, called together his top students and asked to be buried in his white belt. Initially it was assumed that this was his last act of humility, but later scholars came to see it for what it really was.

Kano was dying and knew that his next adventure was entirely new to him as it is to all of us. He was prepared wearing the white belt of the beginner.

As I related this story to my class, one of the students asked me why I was not living up to this ideal. I was in the same position with the same company for 10 years. I had mastered that position and was stagnating due to lack of challenges. Through the assistance of some Made2Manage friends I located another employer near Dallas with an entirely new set of challenges and I put on my white belt. This blog itself is another opportunity to wear the white belt.

Anyway, my point is that all of us should be willing to risk, to try new things, to tackle new challenges especially if there is a good chance we will fail. If you haven’t tried VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) before and you want to modify the way Made2Manage works, give it a try. If you’ve never created and changed Made2Manage reports because it’s confusing, ask for help and then try.

Are you going to stagnate and do business as usual, or are you willing to wear the white belt?

What can Made2Mentor do for You?

PASS Summit 2012 Smaller 2

Who are you?

I am currently an Independent Consultant, and I specialize in Data Warehousing, Dimensional Modeling, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml), and technical training. I’ve been working with SQL Server for well over 10 years gaining a mastery of the full Microsoft Business Intelligence Stack. This, bolstered by my teaching experience and Bachelors Degree in Education, is why I enjoy sharing my passion for Data Warehousing so much.

I’m highly active in the PASS Community on all levels as I frequently present at SQL Saturdays and SQL Server User Group Meetings. I’m very active as a PASS volunteer as well.

I’m also considered one of the foremost experts in the Made2Manage ERP System. I’m particularly skilled in customizing M2M functionality with Visual Basic, FastForms, and other methods; as well as integrating it with other computer systems, and providing expert level reports in a variety of mediums. I also provide technical support to several M2M companies on an as-needed basis.

Why do you blog?

As I mentioned earlier, I have a passion for Data Warehousing and Analytics. However, I enjoy connecting with people even moreso. I’d like to invite you to read my posts, watch my videos, and learn with me. Note that I said “With” because I love learning and I probably learn more from the blogging process than my readers.

I also use this blog to document the process of my work.  I find that if I don’t write notes about what I’m doing, then I have to re-invent the wheel every time a similar challenge presents itself in the future.

What can I do for you?

I solve problems. If you have some, I offer a wide array consulting services with an emphasis in the following:

  • Data Warehouse Design/Dimensional Modeling
  • SQL Server Integration Services
  • Biml Scripting
  • SQL Server Reporting Services
  • SQL Server Analysis Services
  • Qlikview Data Analytics and Dashboarding
  • SQL Server Development
  • SQL Server Administration and Disaster Recovery
  • Customization, Business Intelligence, and Troubleshooting Services for users of the Made2Manage ERP System.

If you need someone with experience to help you learn any of the above skills, I’d be glad to help. I also have an extensive professional network which includes the very best practitioners in every field of data science, so I can always find the help you need.

I also enjoy connecting with people and introducing them to the PASS Community.

How can I contact you?

Feel free to contact me through any one of the following: