Microsoft Great Plains Integration Scenarios – EDI, eCommerce

Microsoft Dynamics GP, successor of Great Plains Software Dynamics and eEnterprise is very popular ERP platform, deployed as accounting back office and integrated with various business management system. Among the most typical scenarios of GP MRP integration are Electronic Document Interface EDI and eCommerce. Let’s consider and compare the methodologies, integration and software development tools, programming techniques and customization option

1. EDI. Electronic Document Interchange is relatively matured technology and typically it is realized in the form of fixed length text formatted files or text streams. Newer approach may consider new generation of similar to EDI in concept XML streams. When we are talking about GP, we should expect two types of EDI integrations – when you are vendor (in this case you receive EDI formatted either Sales Order Processing orders or invoices or Accounts Receivables invoices); and when you are customer (in this case you place EDI purchase orders to your vendors). From the technology standpoint, EDI is not really difficult in standard and even custom realization and programming. Microsoft Dynamics GP, starting with version 8.0, is supported on the only DB platform – Microsoft SQL Server. Current version of Microsoft Great Plains is 10.0, available on MS SQL Server 2005 or 2000. You program EDI streams with SQL select command, and you format text fields with cast or convert constructions. When you import external EDI streams you, it is when you create SOP Invoices, you should consider utilizing eConnect

2. eCommerce. If you are e-commerce programmer, please invest your time in eConnect technology learning. You probably heard about eConnect and about the fact that it was dedicated initially to e-commerce software developers. We would like to sort of popularize eConnect and say this – if you do eCommerce integration from scratch, you have to feed eCommerce orders and invoices into GP tables: SOP10100, SOP10200. However, you should know that eConnect already has this job done for you in eConnect business objects – encrypted stored procedures. There are several situations when you should break through eConnect restrictions. First one is the fact that eConnect replicates Dexterity business logic (DYNAMICS.DIC is Microsoft Dexterity dictionary, where all the core modules business logic is stored) and even trusting astonishing SQL Server performance, you can still have concerns that eConnect might be a bit slow, if you transactions volume crosses thousand records per session. If eConnect performance is in question, you may consider doing simplified integration in SQL stored procedures using insert into logic. The second eConnect limitation is absence of posting logic – in order to post SOP batches you will need to deploy Albaspectrum posting server.

eCommerce Website Integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP – Overview for Developer

When you are facing e-commerce transactions volume growth – typical solution is to remap backoffice ERP system to more scalable. In this small article we consider the case, when you remap eCommerce to Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics GP. If you make your homework and search the internet to understand your options, you will see that several out of the box solutions are out there, however it is typically not what you are looking for: you would like to keep your existing ecommerce solution with shopping cart, checkout and credit card processing. In this case – you way is eCommerce integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP

o Remapping technology. Let’s assume that you had something like SAP Business One, where you deployed SAP B1 SDK and programmed eCommerce to SB1 integration in Microsoft Visual Studio C# project. When you remap to GP – you also use MS Visual Studio and C# programming language and GP integration tools, described in the next section

o eConnect. The core logic of eConnect is realized as a set of SQL stored procedures and you can manipulate such GP objects as Customer, Sales Invoice (or Order if you plan to transfer order to invoice later on)

o Automatic Posting dilemma. Looking back to SAP Business One – there when you create Invoice – it is already “posted”. In the case of Great Plains – Invoice is created in so-called “work” status, then typically placed into the batch for approval and posting by GP operator. eConnect does allow you to create Sales Inovice, but it doesn’t allow you to post it automatically from eCommerce application. This is natural restriction of Great Plains Dexterity architecture

o Posting Server. This solution is available for purchase and it uses Microsoft Dexterity posting engine. What you need to do as eCommerce developer is to place the batch into the table, and so approving it for posting. Posting Server checks the approved batches table every five seconds and posts the content of the table. Alba Spectrum Posting Server requires GP workstation running on separate computer – expect one additional user license

o Excurse to Microsoft Dynamics GP Dexterity. It was designed as a shell, written in C programming language to resolve DB and OS dependency. Dex.exe is the application and it launches dictionaries, such as DYNAMICS.DIC. you can find Dex dictionaries, listed in Dynamics.set file. Programming Dexterity should be left to professionals, as it proprietary and pretty unique scripting language: sanscript – plus dex programmer should be familiar with dex architecture and tables structure. Dexterity enables various customizations, integrations, modifications to existing GP business logic.

Starting An Online Business? – Tutorial 3 – Selecting The Business Domain Name

Picking the domain name for a business is of high importance when forming an internet business. Many businesses that have an established business name automatically register that name and use it for their internet business; this may not be the best idea. The best solution is to register several domains names, one that includes the business name, which is aimed at web users who know the business directly and type that into a search engine to find you. The other incorporates the product or service that is being offered by the business, this is targeted to web users who are looking for the product or service online.

Many businesses that sell online through their ecommerce solution have learned that web users type what they want to buy into search engines, the web user will likely find what they are looking for using this method as almost all of the words in the English dictionary are now registered within a domain name.

Finding a domain that fits the business and business product or service can be difficult but there techniques that can be utilized. If the company sells ecommerce software and these words are already taken for the different extensions (.com, .co.uk, .net etc.) then incorporate the business name into the domain such as business-ecommerce-software.com or incorporate another service such as ecommerce-software-solutions.com.

By adding these important keywords into the domain helps search engines identify the business and establish that the website is relevant for web users. The search engines place huge significance on relevance to help the web users and make sure their search engine is offering the best possible results.

To buy domains select a trusted registrar, these can be found by searching for domains, the cheapest prices available start from £2.49 for a .co.uk and £8.99 for a.com domain per year. Once you have found an available domain for the business then select which web hosting company to employ to look after the ecommerce solution.

Once the domain has been decided upon and bought it has to be advertised and marketed onto all corporate identity and promotional material so the business is identified as having an online presence. Most potential customers now search the internet for a company before they even make contact so by having a high-quality online presence is crucial to the success of a new or established business. By including ecommerce software to sell the products will be the next stage, so by having the fundamentals in place such as a domain name the development of the online business will operate smoother and quicker.