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Historical Transactions an Oregon Company Integrated into Dynamics GP

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    Different situations lead to different approaches regarding the import of legacy data during a business management system implementation. This situation taught me a lot about importing data. To see other potential resolutions, read more about importing historical transactions to Dynamics GP on Computeration’s blog.

    A company had been piggy backing on the license of its parent company, a public company with tier-one enterprise software. Our client only used a tiny fraction of functionality in the enterprise software, but when the software changed ownership, the new software developer (I’ll call them “Big O”) provided notice that every company entity using the software would soon owe an annual software license fee. That would mean staggering software licensing costs for functionality my client didn’t need.

    With the selection of Dynamics GP, the entire implementation cost would be less than the annual maintenance fees for Big O.

    How We Imported Historical Data

    The client had 3,400,000 payables transactions in about 50 companies. Because they would lose all access to the legacy data after the software subscription drop dead date, if they were audited, they had to retain the old data.

    Once we received the raw data, we had to struggle to understand what some of the information meant. See the explanation of our struggle further down in this article.

    Our SQL database engineer spent weeks cleaning and preparing the data, translating it from Big O’s datatypes to Big M’s datatypes. The client agreed the payables invoice was the important component, so to save time they agreed to an assumption that every invoice was fully paid on a one to one basis with a check and the check number was not important. A consultant spent two months importing and posting the transaction batches. Because the transactions were verified by the Integration Manager using Dynamics GP logic, data integrity was preserved, and the transactions moved into the history tables immediately.

    Actually they don’t move completely and immediately. We always saved one transaction a year in each company to pay with a fake printed check to fully move all transactions into history tables. It is the check printing process that fully marks and moves all payables transactions into history.

     Case Study on Dynamics GP - The More Interesting Part

    The consultant supporting Big O’s software was peeved at the loss of the revenue and reported back to Big O that we were not only accessing the data, we had been given permission to access the code. Neither assertion was true, but he was building a case in an attempt to keep the business.

    Computeration was immediately warned that a restraining order would be served if the client granted us access to Big O’s data structure or code. The restraining order would also involve my software developer (I’ll call them “Big M”).

    My attorney came to the rescue. He suggested I write a simple document explaining what I was and wasn’t going to access. He believed non-legal terminology would be better accepted yet he wanted the document to eventually explain what was being done in legal terms, too. My document pointed out that the client company’s IT staff person would extract the data into text files. We had no access to the code, data structure, table and field diagrams, or even the live data.

    Under those conditions, I had to guess whether a table contained customers or vendors, transactions or setup information. The data would be provided in what’s termed a “normal” format. That means the software code knows what “3” means in the fifth column of the fourteenth table, but I would have no clue. Normal means that the software code understands the data. “De-normalized” means humans can understand the data. Only programmers can come up with the definitions like that!

    My attorney sent the document to all parties: two attorneys for Big O, two attorneys for Big M, two attorneys for the public company, two attorneys for my client company, my attorney, and me. I figured about $400 a minute. I knew the technical aspects, but was kindly advised by my attorney, Mike, to keep my mouth shut unless he granted me permission to speak. That was always the agreement between Mike and I and it always worked well for me.

    A telephone conversation was held that lasted about forty-five minutes. Forty-four-and-one-half minutes elapsed with a shouting match between eight attorneys. Mike and I kept our mouths shut. Finally they all took a breath at the same moment. The leading attorney for Big O said something to the effect, “I have a document explaining a process that’s acceptable to us. Who wrote it?”

    Upon Mike’s cue, I squeaked, “Me.”

    The attorney polled the others on the line. Everyone agreed it was an acceptable solution.

    Two years after the Go Live when we were preparing to upgrade we asked if the imported data had been of value. The client reported that they never had to access the data. They simply needed it if they were audited.


    Have questions about integrating your historical data to Dynamics GP? Computeration is a Dynamics GP Partner in Portland OR, we'd love to hear from you.

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