Great Plains FAQ | Methodology & Certification

By: Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP fits all the spectrum of mid-size businesses in USA, Canada and other English speaking countries. Please be aware that is your country utilizes Unicode chars, such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, then Great Plains is not the best choice for you and you should check with Microsoft Business Solutions in your country or region to get info which MRP is marketed and supported - more likely Axapta and Navision. In this small publication we would like to give initial picture on Great Plains functional and technical consulting

1.Consulting methodology. ERP implementation is essential part of GP consulting, and implementation requires project-oriented approach, where Great Plains specialist becomes Project leader for your organization. Implementation typically could be split in several phases: initial system design and business processes mapping (including GP modules selection and probably sales phase), system installation (often in test environment), initial data massage and conversion (often referred as data migration), user training (this is typically your business processes oriented training, not a formal one), switching to production mode (often with one month of running two ERP systems in parallel to compare results and end-of-the-month reports) and then post production support (including service packs, data fixes, check links, customization and modified reporting, version upgrades, new modules addition)

2.GP Certification requirements. There are several levels of certified consultants statuses, plus several levels of Microsoft Business Solutions partners. However, if you are finding certified MBS partner, who is authorized to sell and implement Microsoft Dynamics GP, this company must carry both GP technical and functional certifications. Technical certification also requires to have at least one specialist certified in Microsoft SQL Server administration. Some partners segregate technology and functional consulting career paths, so you could expect at least two consultants to be responsible for your ERP implementation - one from technical and one from application consulting sides

3.Customization, often referred as Integration. As normal mid-size ERP application, GP modification requires deployment of professional GP developers and programmers. Traditional programming language of GP is Microsoft Dexterity or former name Great Plains Dexterity. Great Plains database, which is now supported on MS SQL Server only has a lot of Dex architecture traces: DEX_ROW_ID, Dynamics.DIC dictionary, Dex.INI - this is Dex initialization file, etc.

4.Reporting. GP reports could be created with more than one tool: FRX is for financial reporting primarily, GP ReportWriter is Dexterity based module, where you customize such reports as Invoice or Purchase Order forms; Crystal Reports and MS SQL Server Reporting Services or SRS are for advanced business logic reporting.

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