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Dynamics GP Implementation Getting Second Opinion

Well, if you are reading these lines, chances are high that you got some or even serious issues with your chosen Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner in getting this Corporate ERP implemented.  This is not something very uncommon.  There is certain percentage of unsuccessful mid-market Corporate ERP implementations.  However, the good news is – the probability to appear in that slot is dropping very low if you, as Dynamics GP customer proactively manage the implementation phases.  Starting from checking your proposed Dynamics GP Reseller references, here it is important to get satisfied evidence that proposed VAR has experience implementing Great Plains projects for the customers in your industry. Secondly, if you require something challenging in such areas as integration, data conversion, customization, reporting, be aware that not all the Dynamics GP consultants have expertise in such areas, and there might be situations, when they are trying to reassure you that they will catch up with gaping technologies as project progresses.  Let’s review some of the typical ways out of Dynamics GP Implementation limbo:

1. Too challenging customization.  Dynamics GP has rich ERP, MRP, HR and Accounting business logic.  Plus it has numerous Dynamics GP ISV add-ons.  You should consider these facts, prior to jumping into new Great Plains new customization programming.  We recommend you to be on the conservative side and try to minimize the magnitude of Dynamics GP Dexterity customizations.  If you really need something to be programmed in Great Plains Dexterity, Modifier or Integration Manager with VBA event handling scripts, complex Crystal Reporting, or eConnect programming, we recommend you to prepare the plan with phase one, two, etc.  Phasing approach allows you to minimize implementation risk, as each phase is limited in its complexity and manageable, if something goes wrong.  If you are taking custom programming route, please be sure that you found reliable Dynamics GP technology partner, having Microsoft Dexterity, eConnect (often popular, especially when you plan to integrate on your own such popular ecommerce shopping carts, as Magento, ASP.Net Storefront), Microsoft Visual Studio Dynamics GP libraries expertise

2. Unrealistic Data Conversion scope.  Each Corporate ERP system has unique table structure and business processes.  If you simply order your Dynamics GP consultant to convert “everything” from your legacy accounting application (likely QuickBooks, PeachTree, MYOB, Accpac) – in theory it is doable, but the cost of 100% data migration is high and there is very high probability to encounter numerous technical problems (where data consistency might be compromised and Dynamics GP user interface will give you strange error messages).  Our recommendations would be to consider limited data conversion (for example, chart of accounts, customers, vendors, employees and beginning balances in GL), try to avoid historical transactions conversion, as you can probably keep old accounting system on one of your servers just for historical data inquiry.  If you still want to bring some history in transactions, we recommend you to use Dynamics GP Integration Manager to bring work transactions in the batches and then post them in GP user interface.  We do not recommend you to do direct data feeding into Great Plains tables via SQL insert statements and stored procedures

3. Lack of industry expertise and limited exposure to Great Plains Dynamics.  This is sometimes happens when you are in Country side and want to find Dynamics GP consultants available through local consulting firms.  Local consulting work force definitely brings you some advantages and convenience to have people available to come out to your office or manufacturing facility.  However local consultants might be in the position, where they cannot specialize only in one Corporate ERP product line (for example they may have majority of their customer on QuickBooks, and some of them on SAP Business One, Dynamics GP, plus they may have the same consultant to be trainer in Microsoft Office products).  There might be a good idea to have somebody from the Nationwide consulting pool to handle the project (at least initial implementation, until you are stable in Dynamics GP production environment, then you can call in local Great Plains consultants for ongoing support)

4. Complex cross-platform integrations.  If you need Dynamics GP to have ongoing integration with external legacy system, based in Oracle, DBII, Sybase, MySQL, Lotus, XML, custom EDI interface – this definitely requires consulting firm with experience in both platforms

5. Dynamics GP data repair and recovery.  Historically Great Plains Dynamics gives you real flexibility and it is possible to do custom integration on the level of SQL stored procedures and direct access to its MS SQL database (and to its legacy DB platforms via ODBC compliant data connection tools, such as Microsoft Access/Linked Tables on Pervasive SQL 2000, Ctree).  This flexibility might be the reason why you may have case by case data repair needs (often caused by customization, inaccurate data integration via SQL scripts).  If you see unreasonably high volume of Dynamics GP data fixing requests, consider to introduce MS SQL Server DB backup with frequent transaction logs (maybe every hour) with the option to restore Dynamics GP company database up to the specific moment of time (just prior the moment where data compromise happened).  However even if you realized that it is too unrealistic as you got tons of documents entered and processed in other Great Plains modules, it is not really difficult for Dynamics GP technical consultant with data repair experience to fix failed document on the DB SQL scripting level

6. If your Dynamics GP upgrade failed.  Typically this is the most straight forward process, which is really familiar to most of the Dynamics GP consultants.  If they face something unpredicted in version update procedure, they can always seek help from Microsoft Business Solutions technical support (also they have access to Dynamics GP Partner Source, where most of the known issues are posted in the form of techknowledge articles).  Sometimes things are more complicated, especially when you are on old Great Plains version, no longer supported directly by Dynamics GP Technical Support team at Microsoft (the versions, that are no longer supported: 8.0. 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, 4.0, 3.2 plus all the versions of Great Plains Accounting for DOS, Windows and Mac: 9.5, 9.2, 9.1 and earlier)

7. Typical issues in Dynamics GP Crystal Reports design.  We saw customers, frustrated with one or another Crystal Report for Great Plains Dynamics on Microsoft SQL Server.  With detailed review we figured out, that Crystal Report developer tried to use Crystal Report wizard and was lead to the situation, where more than ten Great Plains tables were linked and then developer decided to rescue to alternative technique of placing several sub-reports with another Crystal Report wizard driven links.  That kind of report was really hardly manageable and produced unpredicted duplicate lines.  The report was reasonably easily fixed by redesigning its data link – we based report on SQL Stored Procedure, where business logic was programmed and tested directly via SQL Query Analyzer

8. To request further support, please call us 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com  Normally we serve you via web session, phone conferences, VPN and Remote Desktop connections USA/Canada nationwide.  Local service is available in Western Michigan: St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, New Buffalo; in Chicagoland, North Western Indiana, Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine, Orange County), Houston and Dallas areas of Texas

Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum Group, http://www.albaspectrum.com help@albaspectrum.com 1-866-528-0577, 1-630-961-5918, serving GP customers USA and Canada Nationwide: California, Minnesota, New York, Quebec, Ontario, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Florida, new Mexico, Iowa, Indiana, Alaska, Hawaii. Local service is available in Houston/Dallas: Richmond, Rosenberg, Katy, Galveston, Sugar Land; in Chicago: Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield, Romeoville, Batavia, Downers Grove, Schaumburg, Rockford, Elgin, Crystal Lake, Joliet, Hinsdale, Lisle, Montgomery, Oswego

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