Moving to SAP Business One from Great Plains Steps and Recommendations

Aug 14


Andrew Karasev

Andrew Karasev

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The likely reason of such migration is outdated version of Great Plains Dynamics and inability to upgrade. Customers on older ERP version typically do not have current support plan with Microsoft Business Solutions and do not have new version registration key for upgrade.


Sometimes the reason might be quite exotic.  One of the multinational companies with facility in Brazil figured out that GP is not localized in that country.  SAP B1 was chosen to be implemented over there with overnight GL entries integration to their Corporate ERP Great Plains via Integration Manager.  SB1 was liked by accounting folks that later on the whole group was moved to Business One.  The project requires planning and scope definition for each phase.  Let’s take a look at the phases:

1. Data Conversion phase and recommended scope.  We recommend only modest and in some cases moderate data migration from old ERP into new one.  Consider just bringing over customers,Moving to SAP Business One from Great Plains Steps and Recommendations Articles vendors, inventory items, GL accounts and initial balances.  We always try to discourage customers from deep historical documents migration.  One of the reasons is the method of historical record migration.  You have to imitate data entry and saving and this method not only creates record in one table.  It has to create also GL entry plus update Inventory quantities and summary for the business partner.  Data Transfer Workbench is the tool to do the job.  Here you typically fill up CSV templates in MS Excel.  If your legacy accounting contains millions of historical Sales orders it might be impractical to fill them in Excel template.  Even when you have CSV file prepared millions of documents creation via DTW might have your server works multiple hours.  And finally consider the need to make several iterations meaning restoring company database from pre-migration backup and start over

2. Exporting data from GP.  There might be several methods to consider.  If your legacy version is hosted in MS SQL Server it is easy to export via SQL Select statement.  If this is Pervasive SQL Server or former Btrieve it is possible to establish connection via ODBC and issues Select statements in Control Center or use something like Microsoft Access with linked tables.  Btrieve ODBC requires DDF files: Fields.ddf, Files.ddf and Indexes.ddf.   There is GenDDF.set file please see DDF files generation instructions.  If you are on Great Plains Accounting DOS there might be a challenge in producing DDF files as well as exporting from tables as resulting rows have a mix of legitimate ones and the rows with unreadable characters.  This strange mixture is probably attributed to the fact that one Btrieve file may host several relative tables and the alien rows are coming from the co-hosted tables.  After making unsuccessful attempts exporting from GPA for DOS customers typically appeal to another method.  Alternative to pulling rows via ODBC connection is printing report into the text file and then cleanse rows there.  We usually import the text file into custom MS SQL table and do further cleansing in SQL View

3. Settings and possible custom programming.  The good news about Business One is the fact that you can add user defined fields to existing table.  Such existing table as OINV1 which stored Sales Invoice lines is popular in being extended with User Defined fields.  Programming is not necessary required if all you need are user defined fields and tables with data entry interface to these new user defined objects.  However you often end up with programming in Software Development Kit.  Coding might be done in Microsoft Visual Studio C# or VB with code samples available in SDK.  It is possible to wrap your SDK code into web service and make it available for call from Linux with PHP/MySQL which is very popular in custom ecommerce hosting.  We do recommend you to review possible procedural way to do what you expect to be programmed in SDK.  SAP BO is pretty flexible and customizations are often abandoned in the future as user and consultants discover the way to do it directly in the user interface

4. Reporting.  Crystal Reports is recommended in managerial reporting.  Financial reporting is pretty advanced directly in B1 and virtually everything is exportable into Excel format.  SAP acquired Business Object and now Crystal is recommended over Excel reporting.  Good taste for programmer to begin Crystal Report design with SQL View or Stored Procedure creation and testing prior to opening CR designer tool itself.  If you are implementing SB1 for international branch with the intention to be consolidated in FRx or Microsoft Management Reporter in Corporate ERP on Microsoft Dynamics platform then there are two strategies.  First strategy is export GL Trial balance to Excel and use it in Consolidated P&L or Balance sheet.  Second option is as we already mentioned in the introduction overnight GL transaction level synchronization

5. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representatives pick up the phone in Naperville and St. Joseph, MI call center).  We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese.  One of our experiences is international Corporate ERP and Consolidated Financial reporting