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Microsoft Great Plains Implementation overview for IT Director/Controller

 by: Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Business Solutions is on the way to popularize it's ERP systems implementation. Right now such products as Microsoft CRM and Small Business Manager (cheap version of Microsoft Great Plains, based on the same Great Plains Dexterity runtime and DYNAMICS.DIC dictionary) are targeted to self-implementation by in-house IT group. This is short article, written in question/answer/FAQ style to give IT Director/Controller balanced top level information on Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains implementation. If you have decided on Microsoft Great Plains as main accounting and ERP system you need to know some technical details on Great Plains installation and implementation and what is going on behind the scenes. As of right now the current version is Microsoft Great Plains 8.0

What is installation in the language of technology? Installation has server and client sides.

  • Server side - Installation creates security environment (logins) on MS SQL Server or MSDE, creates system database - DYNAMICS and then company databases. All these tasks are performed by Microsoft Great Plains Utilities

  • Workstation side - workstation installation copies the client side application, installs current version of MDAC (we need SQL ODBC driver - please check documentation on ODBC DSN setup), registers the application. If you plan to run Great Plains Utilities from the workstation to create server side (see above) - you need to check Install Client and Server Components

What is following implementation? Implementation requires combination of technological and accounting skills

  • System Setup - you should refer to GP documentation. In general setup consists of Company information, General GL/AR/AP/Payroll setup, User classes, Customer/Vendor/Employee classes to name a few

  • Master Records - you should either use integration tools, such as Integration Manager, SQL queries or have users to type in all your GL Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Employees .

  • Beginning Balances - this is recommended approach - you place aside the old accounting application for querying the historical data and enter beginning balances in Great Plains GL, AR, AP, SOP, POP, Payroll. When you have balances in the system you are ready to use it in production

  • Historical Data conversion - this is optional, in order to do historical data conversion you need to know basic Great Plains tables structure (Setup->Tools->Resource Description->Tables Structure). This is similar to surgery - so you probably need outside consultant to help you. If the volume of historical data is small - you can deploy Great Plains Integration Manager and then post the records in the modules.

  • User Training - we are just listing this item - it is up to you to decide on the way to train your users

  • Using Two Systems in Parallel - this is recommended. You should print the reports from both systems during this test period and compare the results

  • Customization - typical areas of customizations: Invoice form, Crystal Reports, pulling info from multiple databases, including Great Plains database, Great Plains forms modification with Modifier/VBA, Great Plains Dexterity forms and logic customization, integration with CRM, RMS and other business systems, web publishing from Great Plains tables, EDI with your suppliers, SQL Data Transformation packages

Do I need consultant? We strongly recommend you to use consultant in the following cases

  • You have identified the need for Great Plains Dexterity customization

  • You are doing migration from Pervasive/Ctree to Microsoft SQL Server/MSDE, especially when you have third-parties without migration tools

  • You are doing migration from Great Plains Accounting to Microsoft Great Plains

  • You have to create a lot or ReportWriter Modified Great Plains Reports

  • You have old version of Great Plains: Dynamics or eEnterprise 6.0 or prior - in this case you can not appeal to Microsoft Technical Support - it is discontinued

  • Your Great Plains has more than 20 users in this case the mistake may lead to serious business problems

  • You don't have support for your old Great Plains - then you have to select your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner and pay for the annual support/enhancement plan - you will get new registration key and will be ready for the upgrade

Good luck with installation, implementation, upgrade and if you have issues or concerns we are here to help! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577! help@albaspectrum.com

About The Author

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, based in Chicago, California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Washington, Minnesota, Colorado, Canada, UK, Australia and having locations in multiple states and internationally (www.albaspectrum.com), he is CMA, Great Plains Certified Master, Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer. You can contact Andrew: andrewk@albaspectrum.com


akarasev@albaspectrum.com


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