Microsoft Great Plains Subcontracting – overview for Microsoft Business Solutions Partner

Jun 29 17:58 2005 Andrew Karasev Print This Article

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is very popular ERP/MRP applications in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, South Africa, Latin America.  Considering high number of new Microsoft Great Plains partners and the desire to subcontract occasional customization, integration and reporting projects, we would like to advise you on Microsoft Great Plains subcontracting guidelines, based on our experience in dealing with Great Plains VARs

Candidates for subcontracting:

  • Great Plains Dexterity customizations – Dexterity was and still is the IDE and programming language of Great Plains,Guest Posting especially workstation thick interface.  However since Microsoft bought Great Plains Software and formed Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions, later renamed into Microsoft Business Solutions – Dexterity became the candidate to be replaced by C# or VB.Net.  The plans are the plans, but the realities of Microsoft Great Plains customization signals that Dexterity will stay another 5-7 years as IDE.  However I agree with the strategy that if you are new GP reseller you don’t want to hire Dexterity programmer
  • SQL Integration.  We see more and more requests for Great Plains integrations with web eCommerce applications, industry specific databases: Freight Forwarding, Distribution, Logistics, Beverages, Jewelry, Furniture, Consignment. Healthcare, etc.  The dilemma for the programmer is – should I know all the details of Great Plains table structure model and document workflow – or probably purchase the set of SQL stored procs to help me.
  • Integration Manager with VBA/Continuum.  These are traditional custom pieces.  Integration Manager doesn’t allow you to switch companies during the integration, and so have the work done over night without operator’s involvement
  • eConnect – this relatively new SDK from MBS, created primarily for eCommerce developer, has certain restrictions, especially with transferring Sales Order to Invoices and transactions posting.  These are the restrictions of Great Plains architecture and to resolve the issue you need set of custom stored procedures

VAR should have some GP customization experience/skills:

  • Great Plains Security model.   Great Plains allows you to grant access to so-called alternate and modified alternate Microsoft Great Plains forms and reports – this is where you enable our customization to take over standard logic.  Please, invest reasonable resources into GP basics, before you get in touch with nation-wide subcontractor
  • Central REPORTS.DIC – this is critical to serve mid-size and large clients.  Usually you create your custom Sales Order Processing (SOP) invoice form from one of the GP workstations and then place your reports on the server.  If you use IT subcontractors – these folks should be trained on installing new Great Plains workstations (or you should insist on working via terminal server/Citrix)
  • Remote Support.  The best scenario is VPN with remote desktop access (Windows XP Pro or Windows 2000 Pro).  VPN will allow SQL Enterprise manager connect over the secured VPN connection. Less desired scenario would be Websession or PCAnywhere.

Good luck with implementation, customization and integration and if you have issues or concerns – we are here to help!  If you want us to do the job - give us a call 866-528-0577 or 630-961-5918!

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About Article Author

Andrew Karasev
Andrew Karasev

Andrew is Great Plains specialist in Alba Spectrum Technologies (  ) – Microsoft Great Plains, Navision, Microsoft CRM Partner, serving clients in
California, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Canada, UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Russia

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