Great Plains Integrations: How to Design and Faq

By: Andrew Karasev

When you plan to implement new ERP system, or advance existing one by integrating your legacy applications with your accounting system, implement EDI or Electronic Document Interchange interface, integrate custom business logic and put in into standard ERP routines, you need first to understand your options and the best ways to do whatever you decided to undertake. This article is the introduction and initial know how. We will assume that you are new to Microsoft Dynamics GP and not familiar with this ERP package in your initial MRP selection phase

1.Integration Manager tool. Great Plains client application, besides from GP Business Portal, is written in Microsoft Dexterity programming language and IDE. With version 10.0, which is current now - December 2007, IM has two connectors: first one is traditional and it utilizes GP Dexterity workstation to do integration as OLE Server, meaning that GP workstation must be open and running (with all the GP screen closed as OLE Server will open screens in macro playing regime) and the second connector is eConnect one, which works on MS SQL Server Stored Procedures level and doesn't require GP workstation presence and running status. Integration Manager covers majority of GP modules, however not all of them, Invoicing module is not covered in IM, for instance. In IM you can exercise some modification scenarios, where you apply VBA scripting in handling IM events: before the document, for example allows you to weed out blank lines, if integration is using human readable report, where you see empty lines as document formatting.

2.Direct eConnect integrations. If you are comfortable with Microsoft Visual Studio C# or VB programming, you can try to program eConnect objects directly from your MS VS software development project. In this case you should contact your Microsoft Business Solutions VAR and get eConnect SDK or Software Development Kit

3.SQL Stored Procedures. Direct SQL scripting and creation of custom SQL objects: user tables, views, databases is not deprecated in Great Plains (as it is in Microsoft CRM, where you must use MS CRM SDK and do not go down to SQL scripting level), however you should try to stay away from it as long as possible, as it typically requires you to be familiar and comfortable with GP data flow and business processes technical layer, good to recommend you to be comfortable with GP proprietary architecture - Great Plains Dexterity. If you think you should jump down to SQL programming, please review GP SDK or look at GP tables structure in Microsoft Dynamics GP - Tools - Resource Descriptions - Tables

4.Microsoft Dexterity integrations. These integrations allow you to go to the most intrinsic parts of Great Plains and manipulate all the GP objects, however Dex is proprietary tool and Sanscript programming language

5.Integration Automation. We often hear questions about how to automate GP integration, especially the one coming from IM. Version 10.0 allows you to create packages and deploy DOS batch files to run these packages with parameters as scheduled jobs, this should give you initial highlight, you can do your homework for further details or call for the details

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