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Microsoft Great Plains in Brazil: Implementation, Customization, Support - Overview for Consultant

Microsoft Business Solutions has a legacy of former Great Plains Software marketing efforts, which had serious stakes in late 1990th in South America. In Brazil, Microsoft Business Solutions has Brazilian Portuguese version of Microsoft Great Plains 8.0, translated and adapted to Brazilian tax code. When you think about Great Plains you should probably first know that this product is main one (however not an only one MBS has also Navision), targeted to mid-size and large enterprises, where it is rather budget solution with reduced implementation time. In Brazil, so Great Plains is excellent fit for international companies with business ties with US, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Middle East.

To give you highlights on Great Plains technical side, read customization overview for developer:

  1. Great Plains Dexterity this is proprietary programming language and technology, designed back to earlier 1990th with the goal to build platform independent graphical accounting package Great Plains Dynamics. Dexterity itself is written in C (following popular those days hope that C will provide platform independence). You can install Dexterity from Great Plains 7.5 CD #2. Obviously it requires a lot of learning / training, but it allows your custom piece be seamlessly integrated with Great Plains interface. Nowadays, however and this is a good thing most of Great Plains installations are moved to SQL Server so you can use Dexterity for custom forms drawing only and make the buttons run SQL stored procedures.

  2. Modifier with VBA. Unfortunately you have to purchase this tool and get new registration keys. If you are familiar with VBA customization for Access or Excel you have all the skills needed then you just attach your scripts to the buttons and fields on GP forms (you can modify these forms with Modifier or just tough them with it).

  3. Continuum for VB/Delphi we don t recommend this tool, because it is using Great Plains as OLE server and you probably don t want to be trapped by old technology.

  4. Crystal Reports. Great Plains has its own Report Writer, but its functionality is limited you can t do cross modules reports (you can t link Sales and Purchasing tables in one report, for example). So you use Crystal. The GP tables structure is in Tools->Resource Description->Tables and you are in control. Feel free to create views and stored procs directly in the companies databases it doesn t hurt the Dexterity engine Direct web publishing from Great Plains SQL databases, using Visual and your language of choice (VB.Net, C#, J#, etc). Plus you probably want to have several SQL stored procs.

  5. eConnect this tool is type of SDK with samples. It allows you to feed data into Great Plains and was primarily created for eCommerce developers.

  6. Integration Manager it is end-user tool for importing to GP, however if end-user meets some challenges in the integration you as a developer can help with VBA scripts. IM validates 100% of business logic and uses hidden GP forms so it maybe slow for big on-going integrations, when you have thousands records per day in this case you rescue to eConnect or directly to SQL store procedures.

  7. SQL queries - as a developer you have unlimited potential in using SQL queries, because the database in MS SQL Server. Be careful, it is kind of surgery - you can easily delete all your customers, by executing: DELETE RM00101
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