Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 Reporting: traditional and new tools

by : Andrew Karasev

Good news for you should be the fact, that Microsoft Dexterity remains the base for Microsoft Dynamics GP architecture, as it was for earlier versions of Great Plains: 9.0, 8.0, 7.5, etc.? Microsoft also mentioned old and formerly traditional reporting tool – Crystal Reports as one of the reporting options for GP 10.0; if you remember the introduction of GP 9.0, when Microsoft recommended SQL Server Reporting Services or SRS as the replacement to Crystal Reports.? Below we will try to give you reporting tools highlights:

  1. ReportWriter – this is as you know Dexterity module, which came all the long way with Great Plains since the earliest versions of the product in earlier 1990th.? Traditionally MBS gives you the list of RW reports, which are not upgradeable and should be redesigned in new version from scratch.? We know that it is possible to “upgrade" the reports from this list by comparing calculated fields in the new and old version of the each report.? Sometimes we see the situation, when Reports.dic becomes corrupt and the cure is import all reports into new version of Reports.dic in Report Writer impor t functionality
  2. SRS & Crystal Reports.? If you plan to deploy complex tables linking in these tools, meaning the creation of really complex report, then we would wish you good luck, however we recommend different approach – base your reports on SQL Stored Procedure or SQL view.? In this case you control your reporting logic in SQL, which is always a way more powerful, versus any reporting tool.? Considering SQL stored procedure based reports – both tools are somewhat similar – to provide parameters entry form and group the results.? Typically CR and SRS are easy to upgrade, as GP tables structure changes in the way of adding new fields and very rarely in renaming or removing fields.? We see more and more SRS reports designed for GP – one of the reasons might be free licensing versus required CR license
  3. Smart List and Excel.? Especially considering such tool as SmartList Builder, where you can use smart list to display the results from custom view – this makes smart list very powerful for end user, who is not comfortable to do ad hoc SQL queries in Query Analyzer.? Plus, for version 10.0 Microsoft recommended Excel reporting, where you do direct connection via ODBC to GP databases
  4. Custom Dexterity Reports.? Dexterity reporting was very popular, when Great Plains was available for Ctree and Pervasive SQL, and when Crystal Reports were not yet common reporting option for GP – in the second half of 1990th.? The advantage of Dex reports is tight integration with GP security and you don’t have to pay for additional licensing (Crystal Reports).? One of the minuses is the necessity to “upgrade" Dex code for the new version