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Microsoft Great Plains Implementation FAQ: Financial Setup, Conversion, User Training

Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP implementation process is similar to other mid-market accounting and MRP products: GP partner selection and sales cycle, business processes mapping, customization design if required, reports

Then you go to the actions: Microsoft Dynamics GP software licenses purchase, GP installation, initial data conversion and beginning balances, business specific users training.  If your company is large business, you may consider switching GP for one or several business entities as a pilot project with the plan to turn all your departments and units to Microsoft Great Plains in the short future.  We will not be covering business processes mapping scenarios in this small article and will try to give you technical side of the implementation

  1. Great Plains Installation.  You should plan for appropriate Server hardware, SQL Server 2005 installation (including planning for data and log files separation on different drives).  Then you go ahead with GP server installation – we certainly understand and confirm, that GP Utilities installation Wizard is very intuitive, however, GP is not small business accounting application, so it is powerful and at the same time sensitive to options chosen.  This is why we strongly recommend you to invite GP consultant to do installation and overall implementation job
  2. Data Migration.  The best approach is to leave old ERP data in your old system and make fresh start in Microsoft Dynamics GP.  If this is not possible, then consider migrating Chart of Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Employees, and entering beginning GL balances (this last step manually).  This recommended data migration should be done via GP Integration Manager, as it validates Great Plains Dynamics business logic and doesn’t allow data inconsistency.
  3. GP Modules Setup.  Each module: General Ledger, Inventory Control, Sales Order Processing, Receivables Management, Payables Management, Payroll and others requires opening setup screen and coming through the required fields setup there.  One of the most important setup decisions is Posting Accounts setup – this is done on the company setup level
  4. User Training.  First of all – you should be aware that Microsoft is in the process of synchronizing its ERP applications user interface with the one in Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook – meaning that if your users are very good and intuitive with Microsoft Office products, they should be ready to do GP discovery.  Saying this, we have to admit that GP user training is needed, as MS Office interface unification, leading to users intuition is just the top level
  5. Frequently Asked Questions.  Software Licenses – you can purchase these from MBS partners only.  To get new user licenses or modules – you will need to be enrolled in Microsoft Dynamics GP annual enhancement program.  Migration from old versions: 5.5, 6.0, 7.0, 7.5 – if you are on Pervasive SQL or Ctree, then you need migration tool, please contact your MBS partner.  Version upgrade – current version is 10.0 and one-step migration path exists for 8.0 SP5 and 9.0 SP2
  6. Reporting.  You can consider industry tools, such as Crystal Reports, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SRS), MS Excel, or even Microsoft Access Reports, if you are comfortable with Access.  Very important reporting hint – consider creating report logic in MS SQL Server stored procedure or view and not expect the magic from reporting tool Wizard.
  7. Beyond the generic implementation.  Customization – please review eConnect, Microsoft Dexterity, GP SDK, SQL Stored Procedures, Modifier with VBA.  Integration – please start with Integration Manager, then think about eConnect programming, SQL direct scripting.  EDI or Electronic Document Interchange – this is popular SQL scripting routine, it is often resolved via XML feed.  If you represent lager corporate entity and need major integration projectComputer Technology Articles, we will be happy to help you.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum Group, http://www.albaspectrum.com help@albaspectrum.com 1-866-528-0577, 1-630-961-5918, serving customers USA/Canada nationwide: Illinois, California, New York, Quebec, Ontario, Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas.  Local service is available in Houston & Dallas: Richmond, Sugar Land, Katy, Rosenberg, Missouri City, Pearland, Friendswood, Meadows, Mission Bend, Jersey Village, Fort Worth; serving GP customers in Chicago, IL: Naperville, Aurora, Joliet, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Lyons, Niles, Downers Grove, Lisle, West Chicago, Barrington, Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village, Lombard, Morris, Ottawa, Marseilles, Seneca, Oswego, Plainfield, Darien, Winchester, Hinsdale 



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