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Microsoft Great Plains Implementation Overview For IT Administrator

By Andrew Karasev

If you have Microsoft Great Plains and support it for your company then you need to know typical set of problems you have in Great Plains and their fixes to have Great Plains run smoothly in your company.

We'll describe techniques applicable to Microsoft SQL Server as well as to legacy platforms: Pervasive SQL.2000 (btrieve) and ctree. The last Ctree/Pervasive version is 7.5. New Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 is for SQL Server/MSDE. You should also know that Great Plains as well as Small Business Manager is written in proprietary Great Plains Software language/environment: Great Plains Dexterity, which has Dynamics.exe and Dynamics.dic files as the core of the Great Plains workstation.

How to delete the user? This is the first problem you encounter - when user shuts down the computer - Great Plains doesn't have the command to log off the user and when user tries to login the next day - she gets error message that user is already logged on. The fix:

Microsoft SQL Server - open SQL Query Analyzer, switch to DYNAMICS database and run the following script: DELETE ACTIVITY WHERE USERID='KATHY'.

Pervasive SQL/Ctree - if you have more than one user registered you can delete the user from GP: System->User Activity->Delete User. If you like to work on the file level - ask all the users to log off. On the server, where you have your Great Plains files structure - DYNAMICS is the root, in SYSTEM folder delete ACTIVITY.* files How to unlock the batch? This happens when user posts the batch and has her computer crashed (via surfing the internet - smile - or things like this)

General tip - Great Plains recommends to logoff and then login back with the same user id. Then Great Plains will prompt the user to recover posting batch. Unfortunately it doesn't work in 70% of the cases

MS SQL Server - the batch record is stored in Batch Header table: SY00500 in the company database. The fields to clear are: BCHSTTUS and MKDTOPST. In some cases you have to delete the record from SY00800 from DYNAMICS db.

Pervasive/ctree - you have to install ODBC driver for Pervasive or Ctree and hook the tables: SY00500, SY00800 with Microsoft Access - use linked tables technique

Now we would like to stress you the need to move away from Pervasive SQL 2000/Ctree platforms - you are in trouble - Microsoft Business Solutions cuts technical support for Microsoft Great Plains 7.5 and prior on these platforms. This means not only the support, but also tax updates (especially Payroll and Federal Magnetic Media).

What is migration from Ctree/Pervasive.SQL 2000 to MS SQL/MSDE? MBS has migration tool. You need first to install Great Plains on SQL Server with exactly the same account/segments structure and then install migration tool (it is Dexterity chunk) on your ctree/Pervasive workstation - then, when you integrate the chunk - you will map it to target SQL-based Great Plains Company, select all system and company tables, click the button and it will move all your tables one-by-one. In the case when your Great Plains ctree/Pervasive has third parties - you need to check if the vendor has migration tool - otherwise you have to do manual move, use SQL Linked server to your legacy data

Do I need consultant? It is probably good idea to have consultant to do the upgrade. We strongly recommend you to use consultant in the following cases

You have Dexterity customization

You are doing migration from Pervasive/Ctree to Microsoft SQL Server/MSDE, especially when you have third-parties without migration tools

You have a lot or ReportWriter Modified Great Plains Reports

You have old version of Great Plains: Dynamics or eEnteroprise 6.0 or prior - in this case you can not appeal to Microsoft Technical Support - it is discontinued

Your Great Plains has more than 20 users and you have to have upgrade done over the weekend - if it fails - you have business problems

You don't have support - in this case you have to select your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner and pay for the annual support/enhancement plan - you will get new registration key and will be ready for the upgrade

About the Author:
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies USA nationwide Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Great Plains customization company, based in Chicago, California, Texas, New York, Georgia and Florida and having locations in multiple states and internationally (www.albaspectrum.com), he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.

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