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Microsoft Dynamics GP Customization Upgrade – overview for develope

New name for Microsoft Great Plains or former Great Plains Dynamics is Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0 is definitely new product, comparing to old GPS Dynamics, however if you use so-called “fat” client – Microsoft Dexterity is still doing its graphical interface and database interaction job.

If you have Microsoft Great Plains and support it for your company and have light or heavy Great Plains customization, written in Dexterity – you need to know your options in upgrading Great Plains or migrating it from ctree/Pervasive (not supported by Microsoft since 2005) to MS SQL/MSDE.

Great Plains Dexterity is proprietary programming language/environment, which was created in early 1990-th to provide platform / database / graphical interface independence for Mac and Windows based Great Plains Dynamics.  Today it is legacy and Microsoft Business Solutions is phasing Dexterity out.

However Great Plains 8.0 and even 9.0 is Dexterity based application, so you have to deal with it and it’s customization.

Positive News.  Prior to version 7.0 Great Plains had plans on expanding GP functionality and so was changing tables structure – forcing Dexterity customization to be analyzed and partially rewritten with each upgrade.  Not any more – GP structure stays the same – Microsoft is doing new modules acquisition and unifying it’s graphical interface to move all it’s ERP packages: Great Plains, Solomon, Navision and Axapta to web-based Microsoft Business Portal.

Negative News.  Dexterity has possibility to customize existing Great Plains screens, so called Alternative Great Plains forms.  This was upgrade problem in the past and it stays now – there is no way to do it in house (until you are willing to pay for full-time internal developer – who is usually in the learning curve).  You got to bring in consultant.

Recommended approach.  You should have the strategy to migrate Dexterity customization to SQL, Crystal Reports, custom web publishing – Visual and slowly abandon Dexterity customization

  1. Use SQL Stored procedures.  Consider replacing dexterity data manipulation with SQL stored procedures.  Dexterity is cursor-driven language and it is not efficient when processing huge datasets.
  2. Use MS SQL Server Reporting Services or even Crystal Reports.  Take advantage of open and leading technology.  SRS or Crystal Reports will eliminate the need in the future for painstaking Dexterity reports upgrade.  Base you Crystal report on the SQL view or stored proc
  3. Web Publishing.  Use Visual Studio – it is easy to find specialists and have them in staff.  We are in the World when web publishing is very easy.

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Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer at Alba Spectrum Technologies ( ) - Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, MS CRM, Oracle Financials and IBM Lotus Domino Partner, serving corporate customers in the following industries: Aerospace & Defense, Medical & Healthcare, Distribution & Logistics, Hospitality, Banking & Finance, Wholesale & Retail, Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Placement & Recruiting, Advertising & Publishing, Textile, Pharmaceutical, Non-Profit, Beverages, Conglomerates, Apparels, Durables, Manufacturing and having locations in multiple states and internationally.
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