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SAP Business One Technical versus Functional Consulting

Small Business Accounting and ERP consulting firms often do not provide technical consulting services as they might be staffed by CPA people who decided to try themselves in ERP functional consulting.  Such functional consulting firms are typically present in your business metro and provide local support visiting your office.

If you have experience using small business accounting package something like QuickBooks or Peachtree you may even say that all I needed was user manual and system installation was wizard driven where you just click Next buttons.  Well when we are moving to the realm of midsize business ERP packages then we have to deal with such possible issues as customizations, integrations with EDI or ecommerce, security and restricted licensing per user.  These features are crossing functional consulting borders and require expertise in technology and programming:

1. Customization Projects or Software Development Kit Programming.  User defined fields and tables could be added directly in settings and there is no need to do programming for such things.  However in order to animate user defined objects you often have to appeal to programming.  We recommend you to consider coding in Microsoft Visual Studio C# or VB.Net with reference to SDK where you can find object descriptions as well as code samples in these programming languages.  Modern programming rule is to follow code sample and combine various code snippets into one unit

2. Data Conversions.  Here you again need technical consultant.  Think about options to pump out legacy accounting documents.  First method is direct connection to legacy database through ODBC for example or via SQL native driver if exists.  If you plan direct connection then you need to be familiar with legacy application table names and roles.  Second method is less technical – printing legacy accounting reports into text file and cleanse rows there.  Data cleansing is possible in Excel or as we recommend for large datasets – importing text file into custom SQL table via SSIS data import wizard and weed out page numbers, report header and blank rows in custom SQL Views

3. Crystal Reports.  Simple reports could be done via CR design wizard.  However in SAP B1 you have Query directly in user interface and this is why we expect that you are appealing to CR when you have challenging reporting requirements.  We often see requests to recover failed Customer Statement, Bill of Lading, Project Profitability report and others.  There is no secret in Managerial Report design.  One of the first rules is to design and test report query outside of the reporting tool.  If your database is MS SQL Server then consider creation of SQL Stored Procedure or View and testing result set directly in SQL Server Management Studio

4. Technical project management.  These things might look like apparent however we have seen multiple scenarios when neglecting these rules leads to project failure.  First of all be sure that you are creating testing company which is loaded with production company data.  Have your programmers work with this test environment only as data recovery might be difficult.  Second recommendation is to have your developers work on the test server where Microsoft Visual Studio project is ready for debugging and code tracing.  Customization functionality is often data driven and it is difficult to do quality assurance on the database where transactions are not reflecting real situation

5. Technical Consulting Firm Profile.  This organization has to be larger where it could afford nourishing college graduates as young programmers and technology gurus.  The offer for such firm has to cross local business metro borders and address nationwide audience or even help multinational companies with their overseas facilities automation.  Nationwide consulting organization often has to carry so-called Software Development Factory or strong software and product development department.  The best way to locate these firms is Google, Yahoo or MSN search engines

6. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representative pick up the phone in St. Joseph, MI call center). We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan and Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese. We feature our expertise is in International Business.  We provide second opinion in SB1 data migrationScience Articles, customization and reporting

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Andrew Karasev is SAP Business One Consultant and Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project and founder of Alba Spectrum information space.  By the nature of our service we are helping customers USA, Canada nationwide and internationally with consulting force speaking in English, Russian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese

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