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Crestwood Associates

6 Easy Steps to GREAT Dynamics GP Reports


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    With most customers of Dynamics GP, how and in what manner you get your data out of the system is critical.  Most customers eventually need supplemental reports that go beyond the standard reports available.  Assuming this is a more complex report that cannot be easily handled via Microsoft Dynamics GP Smartlists, you will be looking at using a more robust report writer – either SQL Reporting Services (SSRS) or Crystal Reports.

    In a previous blog, I discussed the value of developing your reports in SSRS.  But regardless of which of these tools you use, there is a report planning process you should go through.  Too many people immediately dive into the report development process without much planning.  This can work at times, but more often than not it will lead to a much longer process to get to the desired result.  If you are a user doing this development for yourself, at the least this will result in a longer time to complete.  But if you are bringing in an outside consultant for this development, this lack of planning will likely cost you.  And another less-than-desirable outcome of lack of planning is an incorrect design.  We see this happen more than it should.  We have been given the specs for a report, designed to those specs, and then upon delivery and review we get a lot of “Ok, that’s great but now can you….”.  Minor follow-up changes are normal and to be expected.  But major post-development changes result in more complex modifications.  And if it happens multiple times, you can get to the point (which we have) where the developer says “well if you would have told me that is what you wanted from the beginning, I would have designed this a whole different way…” .  And these potential 11th hour re-designs  can add time and $$$ to your effort.

    So what should you think about when you plan a report?  Here are our 6 easy steps – some may seem obvious but you would be surprised how often they aren’t followed!

    1. Think backwards.  Picture the output first and then work towards what you need to arrive at that.  Mocking-up a report in Excel is a good way to do that.  Come up with a general format and the design you desire.
    2. Identify what data you need in the detail of the report.  In some cases the most detail level is simply some form of summary.
    3. Determine what grouping and totaling you need.
    4. Determine what sorting and ordering you need.  This means for the overall report and within groups within the report.
    5. Determine how the user will run the report.  What filters of the data will need to be applied?  Are these filters something that will change each time they run the report (e.g date range, run for a specific customer, etc)?  If so, these will likely be parameters designed and applied to the report.
    6. Determine where the data is that you need.  This can be one of the most difficult yet most critical aspects.  Dynamics GP provides a tool within their application to help you locate the correct table and fields.

    So the moral to this story is that spending some time thinking before you dive into a new report will save you time and maybe $$$, and give you the results you need.

    Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have: Rick Feterick, Crestwood Associates LLC, 847-394-8820 x48 or [email protected].

    Submitted by Crestwood Associates LLC– an Indiana Dynamics GP Partner.

    One Response to “6 Easy Steps to GREAT Dynamics GP Reports”

    1. Rick,

      This is excellent advice for report planning!

      Thanks,
      Victoria

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