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Customization Projects for Dynamics GP with Dexterity, eConnect, Integration Manager

When you have your Microsoft Dynamics GP Corporate ERP System already implemented, the next step is often related to modification, integration, custom reporting and programming.

It might be too optimistic expectation to find all the required functionality in out-of-the-box Accounting, MRP, ERP and even HR system, especially when you are larger organization with unique processes (and this is how it supposed to be – uniqueness and business secrets allow you to compete out there on the market in your industry).  At this point, if you keep reading these lines, we assume that you already discussed with your current Dynamics GP Partner all the options, and you’ve potentially chosen Dynamics GP ISV add-ons (third party extensions to Dynamics GP, typically coded in Great Plains Dexterity, sold and supported by one of the Dynamics GP ISV organizations).  This probably means that you have to take custom coding route.  Let’s review this option:

1. GP Project organizations.  There are consulting firms out there, who do not normally pursue initial ERP software licenses sale, as well as old fashioned CPA style initial implementation.  Instead they are interested in custom software development projects.  Also, we would like to mention, that your original consulting firm, who sold you the software – may or may not be the best choice for challenging customization project, as they might be better positioned to keep hard selling and finding new customers for new software purchase and keep their consultants busy, logging their hours in the timesheets

2. Customization tools. Please, be aware that this question is delicate and requires several second opinions, as one of the consulting organizations might be especially emphasizing eConnect and might be not certified in Dexterity coding.  If you made the decision talking to one firm only, they might be doing hypothetical assumption that they’ll learn as they go, or that they’ll try to compensate their lack of Dexterity with newer tools, such as SDK for Microsoft Visual Studio.  Again, you should talk to several consultants and come to objective conclusion on the best tool to do the job (or decide which part of the project is done, say in Dexterity, which in eConnect, Integration Manager, VBA and Modifier)

3. Microsoft Dexterity.  This tool might be named Great Plains initial architecture, in which Great Plains Dynamics was programmed and designed in earlier 1990th.  Dexterity has its own scripting language Sanscript and Integrated Development Environment, where you can include such objects as Forms, Windows into the Dexterity customization project and add new objects, of course Forms, Windows, Reports, plus new tables (you do not modify existing tables, however), Strings, Constants, etc.  In our opinion, Dexterity is a good option in the case when you want to subcontract the job to Great Plains Software Development Factory type of consulting organization, or in the case of really large scale custom development project.  If your customization needs are fairly simple, you may talk to your IT department, and probably consider the plan to do in-house programming in eConnect or MS Visual Studio SDK

4. eConnect.  This tool is relatively new, and it was initially dedicated to eCommerce developer, who needed to integrate B2B or B2C ecommerce shopping cart to SOP Transaction in Great Plains.  Later on eConnect was expanded to cover the majority of native modules (except few, such as Invoicing – you are encouraged to implement Sales Order Processing module instead, covered by eConnect).  The libraries of this SDK could be included into Microsoft Visual Studio C# or VB.Net project (we recommend these languages, as they have code samples in the SDK helper).  If you have strong IT department with programing folks, please review eConnect pluses and minuses.  Please, note, that eConnect doesn’t change the user interface, it just help you to connect or better say integrate external applications

5. Modifier with VBA.  Modifier allows you to move the form, intended for modification to so-called modified dictionary (Forms.dic in the case of core module Dynamics.dic – Modifier module physically moves the form into the Forms dictionary, there is no way to modify original dictionary, such as Dynamics.dic due to Dexterity platform restrictions).  Then it is up to you or your programmer – you may move some fields out of the visible part of the form, change field position, and even add new fields.  When you plan to introduce new fields on the form, we expect that you have the plan for these fields to interact with the tables.  This is possible and here you have VBA event driven scripts option – VBA is pretty simple scripting (not compiled) language.  In VBA itself we recommend you to review old fashioned Microsoft ADO technology to access the database (as Modifier with VBA is Dexterity coded module and is not .Net compliant)

6. Integration Manager.  We recommend you to review this tool for such projects as Historical data conversions from your legacy accounting to Great Plains.  Also IM is picking the popularity in eCommerce integration scenarios in quasi real time (we found the amazing the fact, that the majority of ecommerce merchants are OK to integrate shopping carts every twenty minutes, which could be done via IM with low consulting budget, versus real time option, that could be programmed directly in eConnect).  Integration Manager also allows you to cross DB platform, for example, you can pull the data from MySQL/PHP, Oracle, Pervasive SQL based eCommerce website (or in Electronic Document Interchange EDI scenarios)

7. GP Customization Projects for Multinational Corporation.  It is generally a good idea to capitalize on Corporate ERP software licenses past investment and try to expand your ERP application, implemented in USA based Headquarters for the foreign subsidiaries.  Current version of GP 2010 is available and localized for most of the English speaking countries, plus for Spanish speaking Latin America.  It is partially localized for Arabic World.  If your country or region is not listed above, we recommend you to give us a call

8. For additional information, please feel free to call us 1-866-304-3265 or 1-269-605-4904 (this number works for international customers) or email us  We serve you USA/Canada nationwide via remote support (web sessions and phone/Skype conferences).  Local service is available in Western Michigan, Chicagoland, Southern California (LA, Orange County, San Diego)Free Articles, Houston area of the state of Texas

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Andrew Karasev,   Great Plains Dynamics GP and eEnterprise Certified Master, Microsoft MVP and consultant with 10 years and plus experience and expertise.  Alba 866 Corporation, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904, If you are thinking to implement Dynamics GP in challenging environment, we recommend you to give us a call.  Our information portal is Pegas Planet

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