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Deb Sletmoen, Implementation Specialists

5 Tips for Designing Dynamics GP Integrations


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At our annual GP Users Conference (GPUC) last week our technical team shared 5 tips for designing Dynamics GP integrations.  I thought these tips would be useful for anyone who is looking at integrating data between Dynamics GP modules or with a third party application so will share them on this post.

 

Tip 1:  Know & Trust Your Source Data

  • Remember the saying: Garbage In = Garbage Out. It is better to cleanse the data before attempting to integrate or import it to another module or application. This likely will reduce the volume of the data to be moved and provides clean data to look back at to see if the integration worked correctly or if the integration process corrupted the data in some way.
  • Beware of Excel auto-formatting if Excel is used as the tool to review and cleanse the data before generating the file for the integration or import. Excel may remove leading zeroes in a number field like area code or social security number when in fact the leading zeroes should remain.

 

Tip 2:  Understand Your Destination Module(s)

  • Each module (GL, INV, POP, SOP, 3rd Party) has unique data requirements and attributes which need to be known before you design the integration.
  • Plan for dependencies – for example, if integrating with item data in Inventory, is there another module or 3rd party application that is using a shadow table that needs to be updated with the same information? If so, then this dependency needs to be part of the integration design.

 

Tip 3:  Choose the Proper Toolset

  • Research capabilities of the toolsets available such as eConnect, Integration Manager, SmartConnect by eOne Solutions, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) or for simple integrations, GP’s Copy-Paste or a copy-paste tool from The Resource Group. Then choose the one that fits best for the job.  If you need help in deciding which one might be best, please contact your GP partner or give us a call.
  • Version matters: Be as up-to-date as possible, otherwise you might find yourself having to build it all over again when an upgrade is done to a newer version of GP.

 

Tip 4:  Use a Dev/Test Environment

  • Don’t corrupt your Prod/Live environment unnecessarily. We always recommend using a test environment if you can because in our experience the first attempt at an integration is almost always less than perfect.  Most likely there will need to be changes and future iterations so don’t add the extra burden of having to unravel undesired changes or restore data in your live environment when the effort to set up a test environment is minimal.

 

Tip 5:  Verify Process Flow

  • Make sure integrated/imported data flows through the system correctly. Failures or errors usually indicate bad or missing data.
  • If an error occurs, enter a record by keying it in and then compare that result with the result from the integration, looking closely at the data columns to see if the integration is missing a column.

 

After confirming that the integration or import of data is working correctly document the process and archive your code for future reference.  You are then ready to migrate the code or implement the process into the production / live environment.  After moving it over to production check to make sure that it is still performing the way that it needs to.

 

Here is a flow chart that visualizes the tips as described above.

 

designing-integrations-flow-chart

 

At Implementation Specialists, we have the technical resources to answer questions and provide assistance around any type of data integration.  Please give us a call at 218-486-5095 or email me at deb@iscorp.biz if you need help.

 

By Deb Sletmoen, MCT, Implementation Specialists – Microsoft Dynamics GP Gold Partner with Advanced ERP Competency and Source Code Provider

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