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Dynamics GP Integration Instruments and Practical Recommendations

Mid-market Corporate ERP application cannot be implemented in the isolated environment. It is often interconnected with other systems.  Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly known as Great Plains Dynamics) is not an exception, and it has several Integration tools and technologies to choose from.

Some of them could be recommended for end users, Integration Manager, for example, others, such as Dexterity are proprietary and require Great Plains programmer involvement.  And some of the tools and technologies are pretty open for generic Microsoft Visual Studio.Net C# or VB programmer – good example is eConnect SDK.  When you are relatively new to Dynamics GP system support and modification, we recommend you to first read various whitepapers on GP technology, its layers, table structure and objects and transactions exposure via various methods (Dexterity, Integration Manager, eConnect, direct SQL Select statements, etc.).  This paper is intended as introduction, if you have specific questions, we recommend you to review programmer guides as well as technology articles on Microsoft Business Solutions Customer Source web portal.  Let’s review the details:

1. Integration Manager.  As we already mentioned above, this tool is end user friendly.  Its usage in the most common scenarios is like following.  You have external system (CRM, simple ecommerce shopping cart, Payroll, primitive EDI), which exports transaction log in the form of comma delimited text file.  Then in IM you should be able to setup simple integration to process these text files and import them into Dynamics GP intended transaction type (the most often likely to be – General Ledger entry, Sales Order Processing Invoice).  If you see your scenario, then you probably should consider Integration Manager to be purchased and deployed.  However, IM surprisingly is also deployed in relatively complex scenarios, where you may need to pull the transactions via ODBC from Microsoft SQL Server, MS Access or even non-Microsoft database, such as Oracle, Pervasive SQL, Ctree, MySQL/PHP to give you few examples.  Here, think about this option – if you have Oracle custom application, you may create on your Dynamics GP hosting MS SQL Server so-called Linked Server, and then SQL View, which joins data from Dynamics GP company database (RM00101 – customer master) and Oracle based ecommerce shopping cart in cross platform select statement.  Also, IM is also programmable, where you can add even driven VBA scripts.  Integration Manager is also the tool of choice for initial data conversion into Dynamics GP in system implementation cycle (however we would like you to be very conservative in the data migration project scope to Great Plains)

2. eConnect.  This tool is perfect for MS Visual Studio programmer, who is also exposed to such technologies as SQL Stored Procedures, XML, and who is open to familiarize her or himself with Dynamics GP objects and their relations.  eConnect is SDK and it offers you code samples in C# and VB (this is why we do recommend you to have programmer with this languages, if you are contracting somebody for eConnect coding).  eConnect was initially introduced for ecommerce developers, to open them such objects in Great Plains as SOP Invoice and Customer deposit – these are typically programmed as the integration target for ecommerce shopping cart (in both B2B and B2C scenarios).  With current Dynamics GP version 2010/11.0 (we are writing these sentences in December of 2010) eConnect covers most of the modules in GP (excluding some with lesser popularity, such as Invoicing, for example – most of the implementations have Sales Order Processing module instead, anyway).  If you are coder and you are reading this article, you might get excited about promoting eConnect technology in your company.  However, you may consider some chill down arguments.  Even in ecommerce integration scenarios, in our practice and practical recommendation we would first recommend you to consider Integration Manager with scheduled integrations (every ten minutes to provide quasi real time integration model).  Of course, real time ecommerce integration is better, but we believe that your customer would not even notice that the ecommerce originated order was sent to the warehouse for the fulfillment ten minutes later.  eConnect is probably good candidate, when in your integration application you have to do bidirectional update and data download/upload, as eConnect libraries could be in your Microsoft Visual Studio project, where you can include the libraries of the other system

3. Microsoft Dexterity.  This tool is very powerful and you have unlimited control over Dynamics GP user interface, as well as its database.  Great Plains Dexterity was and still is the architecture of GP and the User application of Great Plains, is coded in Dexterity Sanscript programming language (except GP Business Portal, where code is web based).  Dexterity is good, when you have the integration project, where you expect high scale user interface customization in Great Plains

4. SQL Insert Statements and Stored Procedures.  It might be a natural desire to do it on direct SQL data feeding level, however the same job could be often achieved in eConnect or Integration Manager (where both tools validate GP business logic, while direct SQL DB touch doesn’t).  SQL Select statements, view and Stored Procedures are good for Great Plains Reporting – you just need to review GP table structure.  It is here: Tools -> Resource Descriptions -> Tables

5. 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 Reprint 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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