Microsoft Business Solutions Small Business Manager is Great Plains Dexterity based application and successor and small business market niche version of Microsoft Great Plains. Microsoft Great Plains itself has variety of customization and integration tools: Integration Manager, VBA/Modifier, Great Plains Dexterity, SQL Server stored procedures to name a few.
By one reason or another MBS decided to restrict Small Business Manager and do not provide VBA/Modifier, restricted Great Plains ReportWriter version and didnt include Great Plains Dexterity IDE installer on SBM CD. Here We would like to give you your options and tools available in your disposition
If you are developer who is asked: how do we customize Microsoft Small Business Manager read this and you will have the clues on where to look further.
Great Plains Dexterity this is proprietary programming language and technology, designed back to earlier 1990th with the goal to build platform independent graphical accounting package Great Plains Dynamics. Dexterity itself is written in C (following popular those days hope that C will provide platform independence). You can install Dexterity from Great Plains 7.5 /8.0 CD #2. In case of Small Business Manager you need to call to MBS Partners, such as Alba Spectrum Technologies/ Obviously it requires a lot of learning / training, but it allows your custom piece be seamlessly integrated with Great Plains interface. Nowadays, however and this is a good thing most of Great Plains installations are moved to SQL Server so you can use Dexterity for custom forms drawing only and make the buttons run SQL stored procedures.
Crystal Reports. Great Plains has its own ReportWriter, but its functionality is limited you cant do cross modules reports (you cant link Sales and Purchasing tables in one report, for example). So you use Crystal. The GP tables structure is in Tools->Resource Description->Tables and you are in control. Feel free to create views and stored procs directly in the companies databases it doesnt hurt the Dexterity engine
Direct web publishing from Great Plains SQL databases, using Visual Studio.net and your language of choice (VB.Net, C#, J#, etc). Plus you probably want to have several SQL stored procs.
eConnect this tool is type of SDK with VB.net samples. It allows you to feed data into Great Plains and was primarily created for eCommerce developers.
SQL queries - as a developer you have unlimited potential in using SQL queries, because the database in MS SQL Server. Be careful, it is kind of surgery - you can easily delete all your customers, by executing: DELETE RM00101
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving Chicago, California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York and having locations in multiple states and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.