If your organization is researching Great Plains purchasing and installation options, we would like to give you highlights. Current version of GP is 10.0 as of October 2007, version upgrades are outside of the scope of this article, where we would like to concentrate on ERP implementation options and scenarios. We also intended to write it in FAQ manner with bullets and checkmarks:
1. Switching over to GP from legacy accounting system. If you are controller or chief accountant, we understand this question is very important. The switch is typically done via data conversion (with master records migration, or in required cases even historical transaction data move), or initial GL balances entry posting and moving ahead (in some cases customers want to maintain legacy MRP and GP in parallel for one month to reassure reliability). If you are small business owner, where previously you were maintaining your accounting records in Excel, data massage and conversion are probably not relevant to your situation and you are ready for “fresh” Great Plains software licenses purchasing and standard implementation. Data conversion is always not an easy thing for mid-market ERP packages, such as GP, so you should not hope on moving all your history to Great Plains and keep legacy ERP for data inquiry.
2. Where to shop for the implementing? Microsoft Dynamics subdivision is deploying the model of GP licenses selling and implementation through MBS partner channel, so you will need to select Microsoft Great Plains implementation company satisfying your criteria. You should also be familiar with ERP support model – Microsoft and other ERP vendors (Oracle, SAP, Sage) require you to pay annual fee, in the case of GP it is annual enhancement program, which typically is from 16 to 25%, depending on your support quality ambitions
3. GP integration overview. Great Plains has end user tool, Integration Manager, which should cover most of your possible integration needs, if you feel that IM doesn’t do the job for you, you should explore GP Dexterity, eConnect, SQL scripting, EDI. There are also new blends of GP development options, addressed to MS Visual Studio developer, however most of them have eConnect at the background. If you are thinking about eCommerce programming for GP you should be aware that eConnect doesn’t have posting functionality, meaning that you can not post Sales Order Processing invoices from your e-commerce application with eConnect – you will need Albaspectrum posting server extension
4. Reporting for GP. SRS is rising star (Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services), however the most popular reports are still made in GP ReportWriter, which is Dexterity module for GP. Second in popularity is Crystal Reports, where you typically base GP report on SQL Server stored procedure or view