Microsoft Great Plains Integration with Legacy Systems

Microsoft Great Plains Integration with Legacy Systems

If you are developer who is asked: how do we implement Great Plains integration/interface with your legacy or other system – read this and you will have the clues on where to look further.

1. Great Plains Integration Manager – this is rather end-user tool – it is very intuitive, it validates 100% of business logic, brings in/updates master records (accounts, employees, customers, vendors. etc.) brings in transactions into work tables. The limitation of Integration Manager – it does use GP windows behind the scenes without showing them – so it is relatively slow – you can bring 100 records – but when you are talking about thousands – it is not a good option. By the way you can program Integration Manager with VBA.

2. eConnect – it is type of Software Development Kit with samples in VB.Net. Obviously the development environment should be Visual Studio.Net. eConnect will allow you to integrate master records – such as new customers, vendors, employees, etc., plus you can bring transactions into so called Great Plains work tables (eConnect doesn’t allow you to bring open or historical records – you need to post work records in Great Plains, the same limitation applies to Integration Manager above) eConnect is rather for ongoing integration. It was initially created for eCommerce application integration to Great Plains.

3. SQL Stored Procedures. Obviously you have unlimited control and possibilities with SQL queries. You need to know Great Plains tables structure and data flow. Launch Great Plains and go to Tools->Resource Description->Tables. Find the table in the proper series. If you are looking for the customers – it should be RM00101 – customer master file. If you need historical Sales Order Processing documents – they are in SOP30200 – Sales History Header file, etc. Do not change existing tables – do not create new fields, etc. Also you need to realize that each GP table has DEX_ROW_ID – identity column. Sometimes it is good idea to use inbound/outbound XML in the parameters – then you can deploy web service as a middle party between two systems.

4. Data Transformation Services (DTS) – Good tool for importing your third party data into staging tables in GP – then you can pull them in using either stored procs of Integration Manager. You can also deploy this tool for EDI export/import.

5. Great Plains Dexterity Custom Screens. Sometimes users prefer to have seamlessly integrated into GP interface custom screens – for parameters settings and initiating integration. Dexterity is a good option, however remember – it is always better to create new custom screen versus customizing existing one – due to the future upgrade issues. Also – Dexterity is in phasing our by Microsoft Business Solutions.

6. Modifier/VBA custom buttons on the existing screens – alternative to Dexterity is you are comfortable with VBA and ADO.

7. MS Access – if you are doing one time conversion and your legacy has old ODBC compliant platform – you can use MS Access to create linked tables there – or import into MS Access.

8. SQL Linked Servers – you can do direct SQL queries to other ODBC compliant platform via SQL Linked Server (including ORACLE, UNIDATA, Pervasive SQL, Ctree, etc) – you may need to familiarize yourself with OPENROWSET command in Transact SQL. This is also good option if you need cross-platform Crystal Report – pulling data from SQL Server and third party databases on the same report.

9. Warning – do not place existing GP tables into Replication! – you will have upgrade issues.

By Andrew Karasev

Regards,

Mohammad R. Daoud
MCP, MCBMSP, MCTS, MCBMSS
Software Development Manager
+962 – 79 – 999 65 85
Great Package For Business Solutions
daoudm@greatpbs.com
http://www.greatpbs.com/

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About Mohammad R. Daoud
Mohammad R. Daoud has been working as a Microsoft Dynamics GP consultant since 2004. His career path started with version 7.5; he studied every single tip of the application technicalities and did allot of successful implementations that includes functional consultations, analysis, and custom development projects. He holds a graduate degree in Computer Science and currently he is pursuing MBA degree in Accounting. In January 2007 he was nominated to the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) certificate and was certified in April 2008 due to his online contributions in the Dynamics Community (Dynamics GP Newsgroups, Forums, User Groups and his blog: http://mohdaoud.blogspot.com). Worth to mention that he was also listed as one of the Microsoft Dynamics Top 100 Most Influential People in 2009 by DynamicsWorld. And more... • Demonstrated Passion for MS Products through participating in beta testing for some product versions, an effective member of Microsoft Connect. • Talented in securing strong high quality relationships with premier customers, partners and sales teams passionately and profitably. • Dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of internal and/or external customers • Problem Solver – Uses systematic approach to uncover true problem(s) and practical solution and can marshal resources to solve problem! • Proven record of effective account management, including Account Planning, Opportunity Management, and Business Management Excellence and working as part of a larger virtual team • Successful in delivering high quality technical engagements in the enterprise Dynamics GP implementations area according to customer requirements. • Dedicated, Committed, Self Motivated, Creative and highly focused with excellent communication, Negotiation, presentation, Active Listening and Objection Handling skills. • Experienced in Profitable researches and studies including white papers and technical presentations.

2 Responses to Microsoft Great Plains Integration with Legacy Systems

  1. James says:

    Good overview of the integration possibities. If I have an online application, does GP have the ability to receive TCP/IP connections for either batch or asyncronous updates

  2. It could be applied, but not through GP itself, you may need to create a middle tier application that gets the data and store it on the local network, if you could post your situation my answer will be more specific.

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