For companies who have made the choice to switch to Microsoft Dynamics GP, developing a plan to migrate existing data to the new system and developing an ongoing plan to feed data into Dynamics GP is one of the most common problems we solve for our clients.
Here are four common solutions we recommend:
Microsoft Dynamics GP Integration Manager
Dynamics GP Integration Manager is included with GP for 9 months beyond the date of your GP installation. This temporary license is designed to give you enough time to execute an initial data migration to GP, but for ongoing GP integrations you’ll need to purchase a license.
Integration manager was created specifically for Dynamics GP integrations and is simple to install and use.
The tool is import only, not bi-directional and integrations must be run manually or off a fixed schedule as opposed to real time. Although there are some data manipulation features, there are few options to transform data; you can only use the integration points provided. Some users find that the error logs and reports are not clear enough to help them troubleshoot problems. It can also be slow for larger integrations and expensive, at $10K, to use beyond the free license period. Accordingly, most integrations we develop require a more robust and flexible solution.
Microsoft eConnect is a .NET development toolset that supplements the functionality that Integration Manager lacks. eConnect uses .NET development tools, SQL stored procedures and XML to build integrations to Dynamics GP APIs. Its complete flexibility allows developers to build any type of integration from any source data to any point within Dynamics GP.
The most significant benefit of using eConnect is that it contains the internal business logic and rules required to integrate data into Dynamics GP. Without eConnect, it becomes very difficult and time consuming to build web services compliant with Dynamics GP business logic rules. Even if you are an expert in Dynamics GP table structure, experienced developers will benefit from using eConnect.
eConnect drawbacks are that it is very technical to deploy. Developing custom solutions at this abstracted level requires an array of technical knowledge, including .NET development, Windows network and SQL database skills and expertise. It can also be fairly difficult to run and maintain. A custom developed eConnect solution does not have a standard user interface; only a programmer will be able to access the application once it is running. Troubleshooting can be difficult; eConnect does not have the prebuilt tools to validate data and resolve errors. Error logs and reporting are not as defined and errors will often not be easy to resolve.
For those with the skills to build their own solutions, eConnect makes Dynamics GP integration development a very feasible option. Even if you have a .NET development team on staff, it can be a significant project.
Fortunately, there are several good third party integration or ‘middleware’ products available that offer strong integration functionality and don’t require coding. In our client base, we have had the greatest success implementing these two options for our Dynamics GP integration clients.
For clients who need higher volume integrations that run automatically, Scribe Insight is a great option. Scribe is powerful and flexible enough to build nearly any integration including the very high volume and complex. Scribe uses eConnect to import data into Dynamics GP with the correct business logic, but layers on a lot of functionality and features lacking in a bare eConnect solution, including a user interface, flexibility to manipulate data, integration with a variety of data sources, strong error reporting and resolution tools.
Because Scribe requires some knowledge and expertise to build the initial integration, most customers require a consultant to deploy the software and build the integrations for them. However, customers with strong database skills can usually quickly learn Scribe and map their own integrations.
Once the integrations are built, Scribe requires very little maintenance and runs automatically. Even staff members with minimal technical expertise will be able to manage errors, resolve issues and keep the application running smoothly. Scribe pricing is great value for the strength and flexibility of the solution.
SmartConnect is a one-stop integration toolset that is simple, fast, powerful and affordable. It was developed to make integrating to and from GP easy and intuitive and it provides the control and flexibility to configure integrations without a developer.
With SmartConnect you can connect to any GP data, anywhere with a native GP data made available via eConnect and Service Base architecture – SOP, POP, AA. You can also connect to Dynamics GP configurations created via Extender, Dynamics GP SmartLists created via SmartList Builder, Dynamics GP nodes exposed for integration using Node Builder and third-party applications.
For more information on integrations, or to find out which option is the best fit for your business, contact us today.