Monday, January 28, 2008

ROI with Microsoft Dynamics GP

Nucleus found 87 percent of Microsoft Dynamics GP small and medium-sized business customers had already achieved a positive ROI from their deployment.  On average, those customers had a payback period of 21 months.  Key returns included reduced administrative overhead, increased productivity, and reduced costs.


Found via the http://blogs.msdn.com/dynamicsgp/default.aspx

Just Released - Microsoft Dynamics™ Mobile 2008 - PRE-RELEASE of Framework Components !


One of the great advantages of working with a Microsoft product. You would always have opportunities to get your hands dirty in cutting edge stuff.

Mobile Development Tools - Framework Components is set of tools and components for developing and implementing mobile business applications for Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 6.0 devices that connect to business solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics™ AX and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The two main components are:

· A Software Development Kit (SDK) that is an add-in to Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and allows programmers to create scalable mobile applications using C# and XML.

· A run-time infrastructure so mobile devices can connect to and exchange data with the business solution using any of several network types, such as WiFi or GPRS. The architecture builds on.NET Framework 2.0 and Microsoft SQL Server technologies.

This release contains several minor enhancements and also an improvement of the credential management providing a configuration mechanism to associate credentials with multiple endpoints.

Please refer to the Release notes included in the zip file for further information.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Security Upgrade to GP 10 - Upgrade Security or Set Up Security from Scratch?

A recent discussion in the forums about upgrading security went like this -


Brad (Customer): Does anyone know if there is a tool or utility to convert Advanced Security in GP 8 to the new security model in GP 10. Lots of time and effort went into setting up security in 8 and would hate to redo it.

David (from Microsoft) : There is a security conversion tool which can be used during the upgrade of the DYNAMICS database.

Before you use the tool, you should be aware of how it works and what the consequences of using the tool are.

In the new model, each user can be assigned multiple security roles. Each role is made up of tasks and each task is made up of operations. Operations are the actual access permissions as shown in v8 Security (Standard or Advanced).

When you use the conversion tool, it will create a new security task and matching security role for each user/company combination.

While this will provide the same access you had in v8, it will not leverage the role based model at all. Also, maintenance would need to be handled on a individual user/company combination as there are no classes or multi-selection in v10.0.

My personal opinion is to promote this as a perfect opportunity to redo security using the new more powerful and flexible role based pessimistic model.

Brad (Customer) : Thank you very much for your answer, I understand the added granularity that the new security model allows, unfortunately our Sarbanes auditors aren't as flexible.

Now I totally understand what Brad is saying - It takes a lot of time and effort to set up Security. Making sure each user has access to what they are required to do, not more, not less - is work. And if you have something working - you generally don't want to break it.

At the same time I can understand David's pain - The security architecture in GP 10 is miles ahead of the security in GP8/9. Its in a different generation altogether! And as he points out correctly - in the longer run - it would be difficult to maintain the upgraded security. Maintaining GP 10 Tasks and Roles are much more easy.

I guess there is no simple answer to this. What I decided to do was - to do some tests and show how security upgrades. Perhaps, that would probably make it a little easier for people to make a decision.

If you have any inputs or suggestions, do let me know.

Security in GP 9

I created a test company in GP 9 and added 6 users in it.

1. I created 3 classes.

2. I assigned 3 users - to a class "AP Clerk".

3. One user was given a class - "Accounting Manager".

4. The two remaining users - were not given a class - I set up security for them independently

Users Created in GP 9

How the Security upgraded to GP 10

In GP 10

1. Each Class was translated to a task.

2. Each "User/Company" Security permissions was translated to a Role. This role - had one task - which in turn had the permissions.

3. All Users were assigned their own individual "User/Company" Role. None of the users was assigned to the common class.

A Task was made for each Class

A Task was made for each User/Company Combination The User was given access to the new Role specific to that User A Task Broken down into Operations

A Alternate Modified Reports ID was made for each User and Class.

Maintenance Problems - When you use Upgraded Security

Having a Role for each User, is a maintenance nightmare. You would have to make a change in 50 places for 50 users.

If you have to make a change to the class "AP Clerk" - that is not possible immediately. You would have to

a) Make a role which maps to each task created from a GP 9 class

b) Assign all the three users access to the new role.

Now when you make a change to that role, all users would pick it up.

This looks kind of ugly, because each Role just has one task, which as the permissions. In a way the Role is just a pseudo role. It sits there as a proxy, looking at what's going on feeling useless about its existence.

However, it's the best that can probably be done in migrating to a completely new architecture.

Now if you were to set up the same security in GP 10. Here's how you would probably do it. You would create a role AP Clerk, and all relevant users would be assigned that role. You would have relevant tasks in that role. Then, when you make a change in the role - all users would pick up the change.

Additionally you could use Tasks to further break down your security architecture. Roles, Tasks and Operations in GP 10 offer a far greater potential to plan security in comparison to Classes and Operations in GP 9.

Knowing what's possible with GP 10 security - I would feel uneasy, in just migrating security and using it the way it migrated. Everything would probably work - but it is just not the way it is supposed to work.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Installing Great Plains Version 10 on .Net Framework 2.0 SP1

UPDATE : There is a transform file now available to fix this issue Error message when you try to install Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0: "Product: Dexterity Shared Components -- .NET Framework 2.0 is not installed. The installation cannot continue"

UPDATE 2 : The simplest solution - If your IT Manager allows is to just uninstall .Net 2.0 SP1 and run setup again. This will install .Net 2.0 again.

UPDATE 3 : AUGUST 2008 - The latest GP 10 Feature Pack 1 DVD installer, does not have this issue. So that the one I have started using.

I read in the newsgroups about this and didn't believe it, till I ran into the issue today.

If you try and install GP 10 on a machine that has .Net 2.0 SP1, the installer would fail. It installs just fine on machines that have .Net 2.0.

Patrick from MSFT Developer support wrote -

I actually ran the install of GP 10.0 and sometime during it I get the error as well. So something in the install yet again is checking incorrectly. I don't see how development is going to resolve this unless they rebuild the installs for 10.0 RTM and 10.0 SP1.

I ended up uninstalling .Net framework 2.0 SP1 from the machine and then installing .Net 2.0. I had this luxury with the machine being a new machine, but this would be impossible in most cases. What complicates matters is the fact - that .Net 3.0 requires .Net 2.0 SP1 to be installed. And you can't uninstall .Net 2.0 SP1 if you don't uninstall .Net 3.0. Phew!

There is no knowledgebase article or hotfix about this yet.

However, I just read that if you open a support case with Microsoft - " There is a transform file you can use to install both the Dexterity Shared Components and another one to install Dynamics with. Because this is an issue with our install, the case shouldn't be chargeable unless you have other issues outside this scope. "

I am very interested in knowing how Microsoft resolves this in the long run. Would they release a new setup file ? Will they send out this information to partners ?

I kind of sympathize with them, because I know it can be a pain testing against all versions of frameworks. Windows update would install .Net 2.0 SP1 on most machines, so this probably something we need to be aware of.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Great Plains Service Pack Versions

Update - Find all GP Download Links here - http://www.gpwindow.com/DOWNLOADS/

I always stumble when I have to quickly find out the service pack version of a Great Plains installation. I almost get a panic attack.

It starts like this - Somebody says - Can you *quickly* tell me the service pack version of great plains on that machine/VPC? - and I immediately go to Help Icon | About Microsoft Dynamics GP and see that's it is 9.00.0281 or 8.00g63.

But which version is that ? SP 1, SP2 or SP3 ? I never remember. (Some of the people I know have got super brains. They remember most of the lines of Forrest Gump and that he ran for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. These people remember what number stands for which version, but I never can remember such stuff. )

At that point search in Partnersource stops working, I can't find my links soon enough and it always takes more time than I think it should take me. Even if it takes me one minute I feel bad that it took me double the time it should have taken. It is always a "Lose Lose" situation.

To make life easy for me and others out there - here's the Great Plains Version Number Vs the Service Pack Version. I've also put in the links which should come in handy if you want the version info of a product.

Dynamics GP 2010

No Service Pack: 11.0.1247 Service Pack 1 : 11.00.1524 Service Pack 2/R2 : 11.00.1752

GP Version 10

No Service Pack: 10.00.0774 Service Pack 1 : 10.00.0903 Service Pack 2 : 10.00.1061

Service pack 3: 10.00.1193

Service Pack 4: 10.00.1424

Service Pack 5: 10.00.1579

Version List of Individual Products

Download Link : Service Pack, Hotfix, and Compliance Update Patch Releases for Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0

GP Version 9

No Service Pack: 9.00.0114 Service Pack 1 (919732): 9.00.0259 Service Pack 2 (923671): 9.00.0281 Service Pack 3 (937795): 9.00.0310

Service Pack 4 : 9.00.0352

Version List of Individual Products

Download Link : Service Pack, Hotfix, and Compliance Update Patch Releases for Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0

GP Version 8 No Service Pack : 8.00g7 Service Pack 1a : 8.00g19 Service Pack 2 : 8.00g34 Service Pack 3 : 8.00g44 Service Pack 4 : 8.00g63 Service Pack 4a : 8.00g64 Service Pack 5 : 8.00g73 Version List of Individual Products

Download Link : Service Packs for Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains 8.0

GP Version 7.5 No Service Pack : 7.50g3 Service Pack 1 : 7.50g10 Service Pack 2 : 7.50g16 Service Pack 3 : 7.50g26 Service Pack 4 : 7.50g30 Service Pack 5 : 7.50g43 Service Pack 6 : 7.50g53 Service Pack 7 : 7.50g66 The links are broken, you'll have to dig up your own install files. Mail me if you dont have one.

GP Version 7.0

SP 1 : 7.00g5 SP 2 : 7.00g12

For finding SQL Server Service Pack version here's a nice resource -


Integration Manager Downloads - IM SP2 - 10.00.1072 IM SP1 - 10.00.0932 IM RTM - 10.00.0836 Integration Manager 10 SP1 Integration Manager 10 SP2 FRx 6.7 Service Pack Downloads