Thursday, November 22, 2007

GP Back-end : Hassle Free Upgrade to SQL Server 2005 (When nobody knows)

We carried out another upgrade to SQL 2005 over the weekend. It was an in-place upgrade from SQL 2000 to SQL 2005, and the fascinating thing was - at the end of it all none of the end users knew that anything had changed. Imagine spending two days working hard on something and at the end of it all being very happy that none of your users noticed that anything had changed!

The world I dream of is a world where after a software upgrade, there are no users complaining about how that menu item changed ever so slightly, and when things work the way they are supposed to work! Maybe some lovely users who discover new features and talk about how much they love them. :-)

I think we get pretty close to that ideal world during a SQL server upgrade and that's why I love it so much!

Here are my notes, to try and ensure this dream upgrade goes along fine -

There are generally two scenarios -

1. You are carrying out an in-place upgrade on the same server

2. You are migrating to a new server.

I will cover Scenario 1 in this post.

  • Check if your version is supported for Upgrade from http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143393.aspx
  • Run SQL Server 2005 Pre-Upgrade Advisor. If you see any errors, try and resolve them - or contact Microsoft.
  • If possible, carry out a test upgrade in virtual test environment.
  • Back up the following in case you have to roll back -
    • Dynamics DB,
    • Company Databases,
    • SQL Logins(Use the capture logins Script to do this),
    • SQL Jobs,
    • SQL Operators,
    • DB Maintenance plans
    • SQL Server Configuration
  • Run the SQL Server installer and choose Upgrade. This works fine in 90% of the cases, if you have run the upgrade advisor first. It didnt work for us in one case during the test upgrade and we were able to figure out the problem being related to a warning which we ignored in the upgrade advisor. 
  • Change Compatibility Level of Server to 90
  • In case of a problem with the Upgrade, use your backups and do the following. These are the same steps which you would carry out while migrating SQL Server
    • Uninstall SQL Server 2000
    • Install SQL Server 2005
    • Restore Dynamics and Company Databases
    • Run DEX_Req script to create the DEX_Lock and DEX_Session in tempdb
    • Use Grant sql script to grant permission to all users in the DYNGRP DB Role
    • Make DYNSA the dbowner of all databases

Some of the steps above might be extensive - but I recommend you carry them all, if you aim to carry out a stress free upgrade. The last thing you want is end users getting held up and then telling you "what was that upgrade all about - nothing even changed"(Yeah, the dreams I have go along pretty well with the nightmares)!

Good Luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

GP 10 Security : Excel Sheet which has the roles and tasks in each role

Most people setting up GP 10 security have trouble understanding the in built roles - what tasks are available to each role.

We've generated an excel sheet which has the roles and tasks in each role. It comes in handy as finding out the tasks in each role is difficult right now, as there is no option to view only available tasks. You have to scroll up and down to see which tasks are in a role.

You can download it from here.

I've seen lots of suggestions related to this in the newsgroups, so I guess this should come in a future release.

If any of you would like more details – let me know and I can put out a larger excel sheet.

PS - If you are just about getting started with GP 10 security, or planning an upgrade might be a good idea to listen to Mark Polino's podcast #7 (Listen till the end). Lots of useful information there.

GP 10 Security : Quick Facts ... The 1-2-3.

1. Users can be Assigned Roles which have a list of Tasks Associated with them, which are made of operations. So the Hierarchy is as follows – Roles >> Tasks >> Operations

2. Roles, Tasks and Operations can each be Customized

3. You can even assign multiple roles to a user.

4. Field Level security : We can select specific Windows and Fields in them and apply setting on them( Hide/Disabled/Password Protected etc)

Security role example The ACCOUNTING MANAGER* role contains security tasks that allow a user who is assigned to this role to view General Ledger account information, enter journal entries, enter bank transactions, and perform other tasks that an accounting manager might need to perform.

Security Tasks Examples

Set up Inventory Set up item classes and currencies Set up lot categories

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dynamics GP on Mobile

Eric Wauters, a prominent NAV blogger, writes a great post about an ISV (GoIntegration) providing mobile solutions for Dynamics NAV. I checked their website and found they have a Great Plains version as well.

HandApps Mobile Sales GPE (Great Plains Edition)

Previously I've seen customers set up a VPN and remote in to a server, to enter their transactions from a remote location. This makes sense when you are using GP remotely from say a conference or summit. The mobile app would fit in ideally for Sales rep who are mostly on move and need to carry out certain specific actions when they are on the field.

Eric, saw a demo of the product and says - he thought it was pretty user friendly -

First impression was that it was very user-friendly. Fact that PocketPC machines doesn't have much place on the screen was solved by sort of tooltips: touching the screen on certain fields shows more info about that field.


Last nice feature he showed was printing the receipt from the device.

Viewing customer, product information and adding orders while on the move, can definitely fit in well for certain businesses.

I like to be aware of alternatives before I recommend a product to somebody, so I researched for other mobile GP products and found this one -


A sales force automation Pocket PC application that interfaces with Navision and Great Plains. It allows your sales force to wirelessly send orders, share route information, check stock, etc….

EZ Route seems to be more focused, with lesser features, but I have no personal experience, so I can't comment. If anybody reading, has used Mobile apps for Great Pains - drop in a line or a comment.

Till then, I think the Citrix installations will rule the day.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

GP 10 Gotcha : Send to PDF with Outlook 2003 doesn't work

One of the issues I had seen after an upgrade to GP 10 was that "Send to PDF" with Outlook 2003 had stopped working. Microsoft Tech Support responded saying this was an identified issue which would be resolved in SP1. SP1 is due in November.

I saw somebody else facing this issue in the newsgroups, so decided to post the options I knew of here.

So here are your options in case you have upgraded and are facing this issue

1. Upgrade Office 2003 to Office 2007. This issue exists only with Office 2003. We ended up taking this approach!

2. Wait for SP1.

3. Use a work around to print a PDF and attach it manually.

a. Open the print setup window and change the printer name to “Adobe PDF”

b. Click print on any report, a PDF would be generated. You can save this wherever you want.

c. Attach the file manually to a new email.

Use the Print Setup Window to set Adobe PDF as the printer When you Click Print a PDF would be generated. You can save and attach this to an email