I have long been a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant, but I started my career with Dynamics GP and have created various user experiences with Dynamics GP by customizing/integrating it based on user requirements. The different customizations capabilities of Dynamics GP has changed over the years to allow for different implementations.
Before we get started, let’s define what a customization is in Dynamics GP.
Microsoft Dynamics GP customization can be:
- A Dexterity code customization or a .Net addin dll
- ISV add-on customization (based on dexterity or .Net addin dll)
- Reporting customization
- Some form of integration (either in logic or data)
- Using configurable tools within GP like macros, workflows, etc.
KTL Solutions, as an ISV, has created multiple add-on solutions for Dynamics GP. One such product is the KTL SOP/POP Advanced Distribution, which allows you to default the posting account segments on SOP & POP transactions from the item card, customer card, location, posting setup, or a static value. KTL provides updates to the solution as new versions and updates to the code have been made by Microsoft.
Customization Using a .Net addin dll
I had an opportunity to work with one of our developers to create a customization to Dynamics GP using a custom .Net addin dll. The customization would allow the user to select a source file with Bill of Material transactions and serial number information which would then leverage the macro tool within GP to create the multiple BOM transactions. In creating a customization within GP, we follow software development methodologies like requirements gathering, technical design documentation, screen mockups, user acceptance testing, configurable design and documentation.
Dynamics GP reporting has evolved a lot since its early days. Below are the reporting tools available with Dynamics GP:
GP report writer
The report writer tool was built-in to Dynamics GP and used to create custom reports and modify existing reports. Today with the availability of additional tools report writer is mostly used to modify existing reports like posting journals or other default reports within GP.
Since Dynamics GP data is stored in SQL databases, it can leverage the SQL Server Reporting Services tool to create interactive reports using GP SQL data. This has been my favorite reporting tool within GP as it allows a lot of flexibility with report creation and design and its accessibility with GP is also good.
Microsoft has been providing a lot of pre-built refreshable excel reports. This is a great way to get your data in excel and create pivot reporting based on the GP data. The excel reports are a great tool for read-only users who don’t even need to log into Dynamics GP and still get access to the most recent data.
Ever since Microsoft shut down FRx reporting, MR reporting took over for most of the financial reporting needs within GP. Now even Management Reporter is being retired and even though there are not true free alternatives, the ISV community has stepped up and filled in this gap, like Jet Reports and BI360
Power BI has emerged as a great self service and BI tool which has gained popularity not only with Dynamics community but also other vendors and users of competing products. Power BI desktop and PowerBI.com service can be combined to provide your users with up-to-date reporting and analytics on the go.
Integration of Dynamics GP
In most of my implementations of Dynamics GP there has always been a need for integration, be it for data migration from a legacy system or integrating with another line of business applications. We have used numerous integration tools like Integration Manager (free from Microsoft), eOne Smartconnect, Scribe Insight and eConnect API provided by Microsoft. Each of these tools have their strengths and are appropriate based on the project need and requirements.
In most instances of data migration, a combination of integration manager and macros can be used to import data into GP. In some cases where we are importing a lot of historical transactions and need integration performance we have used Scribe Insight or eOne SmartConnect. For ongoing integrations where we are working with other enterprise applications and need custom programming, then we have also leveraged eConnect as an API for the integration needs.
I have created numerous integrations between Dynamics CRM and GP using Scribe Insight. Vendors like Scribe and eOne have created templates for integrations between Dynamics GP and CRM which can be implemented as is or further customized to meet customer requirements. An example of the use of eConnect for integration was one where we had crated InfoPath forms for end users to record inventory requirements and those translating as inventory transactions like transfers, variance and adjustments in GP using eConnect. The InfoPath forms provided a good user experience. Transactions were recorded in GP using eConnect. Microsoft has also released Dynamics GP web services, thus enabling the integration with various cloud services like Jitterbit and Scribe Online.
Dynamics GP Workflow
Microsoft has been adding new enhancements to Dynamics GP and one of the noticeable ones is the new workflow and approval configurable feature. The workflow feature within GP allows the users to set up workflows on transactions with GP, which would then require a tiered approval within the organization.
Dynamics GP started with Purchase Requisition approval, Purchase Order approval, Time & Attendance approval and Project timesheet approval. Since GP 2013 R2, new workflows have been added and the workflow system functionality has been enhanced such that users can now complete the approval process from within an email using the Dynamics GP web services functionality. The new workflow system allows you to send a smartlist query results through the workflow approval system which opens the number of different workflow possibilities within GP.
The macro tool within GP still exists and provides a valuable tool to create multiple transactions within GP using pre-recorded steps. The macro record and play functionality within GP is the most underrated one as it allows you to automate any repeated tasks and combine it with mail merge to import transactions to GP which may not be available with any of the integration tools
Customization to Improve Your Business
KTL Solutions is here for your every customization need. We look beyond your industry standards. We look for limitations in these solutions that are causing pain points in your organization. We then deliver an effective, yet elegant, solution that alleviates roadblocks and finds hidden opportunities to get your organization working the way it was meant to.
If you need customization of your Dynamics GP, contact us today. We’re here to help you.