Microsoft Great Plains Integration Manager 10.0 Technical Notes

By: Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Dynamics GP version 10.0 advanced such new technologies as eConnect in and this seems to be general trend to walk away from proprietary tools, such as Microsoft Dexterity to Microsoft specific platforms, such as .Net, COM+ and MS SQL Server Stored Procedures, as you know eConnect core contains encrypted stored procs. Historically Great Plains IM was based on OLE technology, where GP workstation was used as OLE server and business logic validation was done in GP forms, where OLE mechanism was entering fields values. Let's take a look at new and traditional features available in IM version 10.0, it is in our opinion in transition to be rewritten completely in eConnect, but at this time it is available with both traditional and eConnect connectors:

1.eConnect connector. For GP consultants, you should be aware that eConnect connector requires specific company, if you remember how OLE connector works - it recognizes the company, from where you call Integration Manager and so you do not need to specify the company in integration settings. eConnect requires the company target to be specified. eConnect integration performance should be higher comparing to traditional connector, as eConnect doesn't use slow OLE technology and imitates business logic (or in other words it replicates Dexterity functionality) in SQL stored procedures (which are performed on the server). Typical GP integrations involve Sales Order Processing module (this includes eCommerce scenarios) as well as Purchase Order Processing module (where you integrate EDI vendor invoices, for example) and at this time, GP IM 10.0 eConnect connector enables these integrations, which is very optimistic note

2.IM upgrade. Typical scenarios are when you are upgrading skipping two versions, let's say from GP IM 7.5 to 10.0. In this scenario you need to do two steps upgrade - first to GP IM 9.0 and then to 10.0

3.VBA programming for Integration Manager. This technology may seem outdated as VBA was popular in late 1990th to automate MS Excel and MS Access type of scenarios. However VBA and Modifier modules are still available with Microsoft Dynamics GP purchase or upgrade. VBA scripting is event driven one, so you should review the options to alter IM business logic on pre and post integration, pre and post document. This article format is short and we can not give you sample VBA scripts here, however if you have development budget and would like to get advanced technical and programming help, we would be happy to assist you

4.GP IM advanced techniques. Translation technology. Each field is available for translation logic. You can load Excel translation table to IM directly. Translation logic allows you to map external item number id to your internal one, or in collection agency example it allows you to translate vendor it to customer id, as collection business is reversed one, where sales means collection

5.IM in cross platform integrations, here we need to stress ODBC standard and advanced integrations. Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and 2005 linked server construction allows you to deploy either direct SQL select statement or OPENROWSET one. Now is you are coming from Oracle and Oracle EBusiness Suite world, similar integration concept is available from Oracle EDI. If you are on Linux Red Hut and PHP and MySQL, please consider ODBC bridge or appeal to Java technology. If you PHP is sitting on MS Windows platform you can deploy direct call to MS SQL Server 2005 or 2000

6.GP data conversion and Integration Manager. Legacy data massage, conversion, is available and IM usage is very helpful. Microsoft Dynamics GP offers IM installation or initial migration license, which is limited to the number of days

7.The most popular Integration Tables in Great Plains: SOP10100, SOP10200, RM00101, RM00102

8.Integration Manager and Great Plains Dexterity connections: DEX_ROW_ID is one of the most popular questions among the developers community. If you do direct SQL insert statement feed into GP tables, DEX_ROW_ID is outoincremental and so you don't need to populate it

9.GP and MS CRM connector. It is outside of GP IM, so please do not be confused. MS CRM connection business is pretty much taken over by Scribe Software, so please check with these folks first. Also, SAP Business One is very popular small business ERP and MRP (Manufacturing module and extensions) platform, where you can have Microsoft CRM to be integrated. From Microsoft Dynamics CRM side you can use SQL views and stored procedures to store exported data in the custom database, and from SB1 side you use Sap B1 SDK to program SB1 integrated objects: Sales Orders or Sales Invoices

10.XML Web Service Approach. As XML is in essence text, it is the platform independent data (or text files) stream. To open Web Service to UNIX client, from GP side you typically involve C3 or VB.Net developer

11.IM closing remarks. Great Plains Integration Manager is both end user and developer friendly tool. If you are VBA or Microsoft.Net programmer you should be able to build sound integration on IM platform. eConnect will more likely be the main IM transformation technology, so if you are deploying IM integrating techniques, you should follow eConnect news

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