eCommerce Connectors for Dynamics GP and SB1 notes

Sep 14 07:20 2009 Andrew Karasev Print This Article

Both Corporate ERP applications: Microsoft Dynamics GP and SAP Business One should be a good fit for mid-size or even small ecommerce oriented store.  Both platforms have ecommerce products with shopping cart, checkout, item catalogue and other standard estore features

In this small publication we assume that you already reviewed existing electronic commerce add-ons (including SAP Business One eCommerce module and Dynamics GP Business Portal Order Management) and you decided or inclined to consider approach of simple integration from GP or SBO from your ecommerce web site,Guest Posting which is in production and does the job.  This approach is good for both models: B2B and B2C.  In B2B model you should decide if you would like your special pricing model for each of your customer or for specific customer group to be set in your Accounting (in this case, pricing should be reprogrammed in ecommerce application to reflect changes made in GP/SB1) or it should be originated in ecommerce business logic and then simply pushed to GP on each of the ecommerce invoice line (in this scenario you simply do not use GP/SBO Item Pricing functionality and have your ERP application to accept passively what is coming from ecommerce):

 

1.       Philosophy.  Instead of aggressive ecommerce out-of-the-shelve product selling, we prefer to have as ready for deployment ecommerce product and in addition to this we offer them as customizable "solutions" and connectors.  Plus, we are in good position to help you with integration programming, where your internal software developers need help with eConnect, GP and SAP B1 tables structures, Great Plains batch posting directly from ecommerce application code, helping your with barcode warehouse management custom automation logic and ecommerce logistics.  Plus, we are helping you in cross platform ecommerce connections, when you may have ecommerce on Linux, PHP/MySQL, Oracle, Java EJB platforms and you need help with heterogeneous ecommerce data feeding query to Microsoft SQL Server based GP and SAP Business One databases.

 

2.       Batch mode integration.  This scenario is perfect for small ecommerce retailers.  Great Plains and SAP BO have Integration modules: GP Integration Manager and SB1 Data Transfer Workbench.  Dynamics GP IM is more advanced, comparing to Workbench, however you have to purchase it as separate module to GP, and WB is included into your SB1 purchase (free stuff is important for small businesses, especially when they are in startup mode).  Let's first review in brief GP Integration Manager.  IM is user friendly application, where you can setup integration of your new customers, new ecommerce invoices and then have IM operator to call this integration once per day or every hour.  You can also schedule IM - special tool is available from Microsoft Business Solutions or, if you are technology savvy you can deploy Windows macro third party applications to do similar scheduling.  You can consider exporting ecommerce documents in tab or comma delimited text files or simply work with SQL Views - in this case you use Advanced ODBC Queries in Integration Manager.  Now SAP Business One Data Transfer Workbench - you can export your ecommerce data flies in CSV format, which fits exactly to DTW CSV templates - this will allow you even to schedule DTW jobs via Windows scheduled tasks.  Second more advanced approach allows DTW job to work with ODBC connection  to Microsoft SQL Server Views.  MS SQL Server view may call data from Microsoft and non Microsoft DB sources, such as MySQL, Oracle, MS Access, FoxPro, etc.  At this time, SAP Business One version 2007 you cannot schedule DTW ODBC based job - it should be called by DTW operator

 

3.       Real time integration.  In this scenario you extend your ecommerce application code with SDK libraries.  Dynamics GP ecommerce SDK( it is eConnect) and SB1 SDK - both of them are open for Microsoft Visual Studio C#, or VB.Net developer (SAP B1 SDK also has reasonable openness to Delphi programmers).  Some comments here: eConnect is coded in SQL Server Stored Procedures and its methods are very fast in execution, where SB1 SDK methods are at this time (September 2009, SB1 2007, and former version 2005) slower, expect one invoice in 3-4 seconds, do not expect several thousand transactions to be integrated in ten minutes (however GP eConnect is that fast, we recommend eConnect only if you are Dynamics GP latest versions: 10.0 or 9.0).  You can also review SQL direct programming into Dynamics GP Sales Order Processing tables: SOP10100, SOP10200 and related, however we recommend you rather use eConnect objects to do the same job.  We do not recommend you to push data directly to SQL B1 Marketing Documents tables: INV1, etc. as SB1 Early Watch is designed to monitor all the changes to SB1 records done outside of the SB1 application, Work Bench and SDK methods realms

 

4.       SAP Business One and Dynamics GP Tables Structure diagrams.  In the case of SB1, you can read SAP Business One SDK documentation - it has table references.  In the case of Great Plains, please consider installing Dynamics GP SDK from CD #2.  As quick reference in GP user interface: Tools->Resource Descriptions->Tables; in SB1 in view menu mark View System Information - when you open SB1 screen, such as AR Invoice, place cursor over the field and read its Table and Field name in left down corner, for example RDN1.ItemCode is the field for item number on return line.  Again, we would like to stress that Tables Structures are in ideal scenario for pulling data from GP or SB1 for ecommerce order status report, if you need certain level of ecommerce customer self service (and not for pushing data into your Corporate ERP tables with SQL insert statement, as this practice has very high business logic violation and data integrity compromise potential)

 

5.       eCommerce with Custom Logic in GP or SB1.  In the case of SAP Business One you can create new so-called User Defined Tables and extend existing tables with User Defined Fields.  User Defined Tables have automatically created simply editing interface, where you can add records or modify existing ones.  If you would like to add user defined fields to such tables as Marketing Document Line (including customer invoice line) - these fields should become immediately available to be placed on Customer Invoice form, plus they will be available for Data Transfer Workbench integrations and in SB1 SDK.  In the case of Dynamics GP some of the objects have User defined fields included and ready for activation.  If your targeted object doesn't have User Defined fields extension, you will need to program it likely in Great Plains Dexterity as table, linked with related original GP tables by the Primary Key with the same fields

 

6.       eCommerce in International scenarios.  If you are multinational corporation and you are deploying Dynamics GP in US headquarters, please try first to understand if GP is localized in the country where you plan to deploy it as Accounting or in ecommerce.  Great Plains version 10.0 is available in English Speaking countries: USA, Canada (including French Canadian Quebec version), Australia, New Zealand, UK, South Africa, Oceania, plus in South East Asia for the countries, where English is the language of business.  With some exceptions it is also available in Spanish Speaking Latin America, Mexico and Caribbean.  By its architecture Great Plains doesn't support UNICODE based alphabets, mostly hieroglyphs: Chinese, Japanese, Korean.  SAP Business One is more widespread, it is available localized in such countries as Brazil, Russia, Poland, China, Japan, Korea.  Even if you deploy Great Plains Dynamics in US headquarters, we recommend you SB1 internationally, where GP is not available - SB1 is very simple in data export and consolidation to Dynamics GP via Integration Manager or FRx consolidated Financial Reporting

 

7.       Alba Spectrum eCommerce Products.  We offer Order Connector, sending transactions in realtime to Dynamics GP Sales Order Processing Tables; Posting Server (Autopost), allowing you to post GP batches directly from eConnect application.  We also offer Microsoft RMS integration to Great Plains, if your ecommerce is working from RMS tables

 

8.       Dynamics GP eConnect and Dexterity programming training.  We offer USA and International phone or skype based training, supported with web sessions

 

9.       SAP Business One eCommerce integration and programming training.  If you are comfortable to program ecommerce integration for SBO and you need some guru level help, we offer this service via phone or skype conferences, supported with web sessions if required

 

10.   How to get help?  Please, feel free to call us: 1-866-528-0577, outside of USA: 1-630-961-5918 or email us help@albaspectrum.com  We are very technical and real Dynamics GP Dexterity, SAP Business One SDK programming gurus.  We have Great Plains Software Development Factory and could support unlimited Dynamics GP Customization and Programming needs.  Plus we speak English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and not only as native speaking sales folks, but as real technical consultants.  If you prefer skype: albaspectrum

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About Article Author

Andrew Karasev
Andrew Karasev

Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum , help@albaspectrum.com 1-866-528-0577 http://www.albaspectrum.com  Serving ERP and MRP community since 1994, local service in Chicago, Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, Los Angeles. Information portal: http://www.pegasplanet.com  We serve you USA and Canada nationwide from our SAP Business One call center: California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Ontario, Quebec, Washington, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Oregon, New York, New England. International clients welcome from Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, South Africa, UK, Brazil, Caribbean, Russia, Central America: Honduras, Costa Rica, Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala

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