Microsoft Dynamics GP ? New Customization, Development, Integration & Reporting Opportunities
Recent marketing decision of Microsoft to rename its products: Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, CRM and Solomon into Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, AX, CRM, SL for Project Green Wave 1, intending to merge them into just Microsoft Dynamics in Wave 2. For application developer it should open new ways and opportunities. In this small article we?ll orient developer in customization, integration & reporting tools.
? XML Web Services - Eventually all Microsoft Dynamics GP modules will be in your disposition through SDK. At this moment SDK is in progress ? but it is clear that it will use eConnect or Integration Object SDK (new name for eConnect). eConnect objects will be expanded and will have web service interface.
? Microsoft Dexterity - In July 2005 we see some signs of Microsoft Dexterity renaissance. Microsoft resumes Great Plains Source code program ? it is access to DYNAMICS.DIC, project and field service dictionaries with Dexterity scripts (regular dictionaries, that you can find in GP workstation folder have sanscript scripts stripped out). Program pricing will probably make it available for large and mid-size consulting companies only, but the fact of reopening this program gives some additional credits to Microsoft Dexterity and we believe that it will be playing role in the next decade. You can actually call web services from Microsoft Dexterity.
? Business Portal - Business Portal has all the chances to step-by-step replace existing proprietary interfaces for all Microsoft Dynamics future brands: GP, AX, NAV, SL, except probably CRM ? it is already web-based (and MS Outlook-based ? which is another strategic direction) application. Business Portal will have its own and hopefully open for MSDN subscribers SDK with C#, and probably VB.Net examples. Business Portal is .Net application. Plus you should be aware of new rewritten eOrder (new name ? Order Management) ? as you might know old eOrder was legacy ASP application. Order Management is being integrated into Business Portal.
? Visual Studio - As we will see GP object exposed via XML web services ? this is where Visual Studio developer can take control (except Dexterity forms and screens). Visual Studio will be tool of choice to customize Business Portal, for example
? Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services - These services more likely will be a replacement to Great Plains ReportWriter and Crystal Reports, especially when we are talking about Business Portal.
? Integration - You will have web services for the majority of GP objects. Plus Integration Manager will more likely use eConnect/Integration Object SDK technology
? Document Workflow - It will be a must in the close future. We know that traditional workflow provider is Lotus Notes/Domino. Microsoft will be working in this direction, where Microsoft Sharepoint might play a role in the close future.
About the Author: Andrew is Great Plains specialist in Alba Spectrum Technologies (http://www.albaspectrum.com) ? Microsoft Great Plains, Navision, Microsoft CRM Partner, serving clients in California, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Arizona