Enterprise Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics GP 101

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a comprehensive accounting and business management system. It supports business processes in the lower mid-market and scales up to meet the requirements of complex business processes in the upper mid-market and corporate market.

Microsoft Dynamics GP divides business processes into modules, which are collections of applications that work together to meet a number of closely related accounting and business management goals. Modules that have similar purposes are organized into solution series.

Developers can customize various Microsoft Dynamics GP modules for their customers or write applications that integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP using various tools. Some of the tools are described below.

Integration:

These tools allow you to transfer data from one source to another.

  • Integration Manager
  • Extender
  • ODBC Drivers

Development and Customization:

These tools allow you to create new applications that are based on Microsoft Dynamics GP or to customize existing applications to fit specific needs.

  • Dexterity
  • Modifier with VBA
  • Extender
  • Business Portal SDK

Reporting Tools:

A broad range of flexible, customizable reporting tools is available for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

  • Report Writer
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP Analysis Cubes for Excel
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP Analytical Accounting
  • Microsoft Enterprise Reporting
  • Crystal Reports Professional
  • Microsoft FRx® Professional
  • Microsoft SQL Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • SmartList
  • SmartList Builder

Microsoft Dynamics Architecture

Microsoft Dynamics GP was designed with an open architecture, which means that there are a number of ways that the application can be customized and integrated. At a high level, the architecture can be broken down into four basic components: the database layer, the data dictionary layer, the business logic layer, and the user interface layer.

Integrating applications can interact with Microsoft Dynamics GP at any of these four layers. Most integration should occur at the business logic layer, which ensures valid data and the best performance. Integrating into the database layer is complex and introduces the possibility that data will not be validated; modifying the user interface layer can reduce performance.

EConnect

The eConnect Runtime together with the eConnect SDK is a set of development utilities and APIs that integrate outside data sources with Microsoft Dynamics GP components and Microsoft Dynamics GP back office document transactions.

With eConnect, you can tie your systems together in real time with multiple integration points. eConnect supports integration between data from other applications and your Microsoft Dynamics GP application, enabling high volume and high speed in back office transactions. Data can be pushed into Microsoft Dynamics GP from diverse application types such as Web storefronts, Web services, legacy applications, customer relationship management applications, and point-of-sale applications.

eConnect uses Microsoft Dynamics GP business logic to ensure that data is validated and that well-formed XML documents are returned on demand. The XML documents display extensive details from back office data. You can update, insert, and delete back-office transactions, and you can send back office requests to view specific documents or lists of documents.

eConnect can filter data and apply test criteria to the data before or after you import the data. You can extend the business logic to process incoming orders, invoices, or sales documents. For instance, you can limit the values that can be entered in fields, require permission for users to conduct transactions that exceed a preset monetary value, or set a default value for a field.

eConnect provides multiple methods for adding new business logic. In addition to adding script directly to the business object—as you do in Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) with tools such as Dexterity, Integration Manager, or Modifier with VBA—you can add XML nodes to the document schema in eConnect. The current nodes map directly to the SQL-based business logic on the back end, and you add the business logic in SQL to route the added XML node. The data is integrated using procedures that are stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database. Pre-SQL and post-SQL stored procedures are attached to each schema, and developers can use them to extend the integration based on their business needs.

Integration Manager

Integration Manager is an integration tool used to convert and transfer data from most database formats or desktop applications into Microsoft Dynamics GP. Integration Manager imports or exports data from a variety of sources including comma-delimited and tab-delimited text files and most ODBC driver data sources.

Integration Manager is a component-based application consisting of a core conversion engine and a set of adapters. Adapters for converting information for different formats are available for several integrating systems. The adapters process the business logic. The data source adapter processes the extraction logic, which imposes restrictions or qualifications about accepting or rejecting data. The destination adapter processes the insertion logic, which determines how to insert the new data or how to update the database.

Integration Manager allows you to complete your own integrations, by graphically mapping fields between the source and target databases, and by selecting which rules to validate the data against. You can define SQL queries to complement your integrations. A simplified import and export feature within Integration Manager allows basic integration capabilities with limited data validation. Extensive error checking and logging allow you to review the results of any integration quickly.

Like many of the Microsoft Dynamics GP custom development tools, Integration Manager is COM-compliant. Using this industry standard ensures that existing integrations will work with product upgrades. The underlying COM objects are represented as Microsoft Dynamics GP business objects. This abstraction layer allows users and developers to be one level removed from the implementation details of the database. Unlike database-level integrations, which are susceptible to changes in table structure during a product upgrade. Integration Manager business objects minimize the impact of table structure changes.

 

Dexterity

Dexterity is a development tool used to create or modify large-volume, transaction-based client/server applications that seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP modules. The Microsoft Dynamics GP and Small Business Financials Integration Guide provide information about developing Dexterity applications that integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP. The Guide is included with Dexterity.

Dexterity is a development environment that provides you with the same complete set of components that were used to create Microsoft Dynamics GP. It allows you access to all of the Microsoft Dynamics GP resources such as windows, scripts, tables, and reports. In addition to Dexterity’s native customization capabilities, you have access to the capabilities of Modifier with VBA when you use Dexterity. These features combined include graphical interface technologies, multiple-document interface (MDI) support, platform-native controls, background processing, and inter-application communications capabilities.

The programming environment includes a graphical editor to construct and arrange system components such as windows and controls. If you have used the graphical editor in Visual Basic or Visual Studio, you will be comfortable with the Dexterity programming environment. Development components include a forms builder, a database manager, an embedded macro system, and a scripting language and debugger. Dexterity supports embedded technologies such as COM and VBA.

The Dexterity scripting language is named sanScript and is the basis for all business logic in Microsoft Dynamics GP. The scripted procedures not only define actions but also define triggers that initiate actions. The wide range of triggers includes database events, focus events (such as entering or leaving a field), and opening or restarting a form.

Dexterity achieves a high level of customization through the use of dictionary files. The dictionary files store the compiled windows code, control code, and the sanScript scripts. These files can be distributed to your system’s users. The Microsoft Dynamics GP system can load and run a virtually unlimited number of these dictionary files, and the system will run all of the appropriate procedures when an event is triggered. This multi-dictionary environment allows applications to be easily deployed to multiple sites or multiple customers. Using dictionary files protects the integrity of Microsoft Dynamics GP. Systems can have dictionary files added or removed to provide the needed customization, but the original Microsoft Dynamics GP source is never modified.

 

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a reporting tool that is included with the purchase of Microsoft Dynamics GP.  SSRS allows you to create reports from Dynamics GP that are accessible online from a secure web browser.  So the report is displayed in a web page format which is very easy to use.   It has the look and feels of a high-level sophisticated reporting system with the features of a web browser and it allows you to export the data easily to PDF or to Excel or Word.

SSRS offers a full range of tools that allows you to create create, deploy and manage reports for your company. it offers comprehensive reporting functionality for multiple data sources. Reporting Services work within the Microsoft Visual Studio environment and are fully integrated with SQL Server tools and components. With SSRS, you can create interactive, tabular, graphical, or free-form reports from relational, multidimensional, or XML-based data sources. Reports can include rich data visualization including charts, maps, and sparklines. You can publish reports, schedule report processing, or access reports on-demand. You can select from a variety of viewing formats, export reports to other applications such as Microsoft Excel, and subscribe to published reports.

Management Reporter Tool

Management Reporter works with Microsoft Dynamics GP (and other ERP applications from Microsoft). It is a powerful real-time financial reporting tool to help you achieve greater visibility across your organization. This is the tool of choice and comes with the purchase of your Microsoft Dynamics GP system for the creation of financial statements. If the data is contained within your General Ledger, MR can be used to report off of it.

Features of Management Reporter

  • MR accesses your General Ledger data (actual – current and historical, budget, and forecast)
  • Create customized financial reporting to meet the specific needs of your organization
  • Reporting at the consolidated, single company, division, department, line of business (all based upon the individual segments within your chart of accounts)
  • Capability to report using functional or reporting currency (multi-currency functionality using currencies established in your ERP system)
  • Reporting data and report configurations are maintained within a SQL database specific to the MR application, therefore, backups of your report layouts are easier, performance is enhanced from FRx and prior versions of MR and user security is integrated with your current network environment (uses your Active Directory settings)
  • More flexibility in designing your financial reports
  • Additional opportunity to collaborate with co-workers, auditors, and others during the report design, distribution and viewing processes
  • An interactive report viewing experience to help you drive decisions from the report data that are delivered to you
  • Deeper interoperability with your Microsoft Dynamics® ERP solution, including drilling back to the Microsoft Dynamics® ERP data

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