I recently helped a customer get a grip on all the different customizations that existed their Dynamics GP environment. I realized many customers don’t know how to manage customizations in Dynamics GP, and this can potentially lead to lost customizations or reports when a workstation is replaced or when an upgrade is performed.
I have tackled the topic of customizations in general on previous ERP Software Blog articles. This time I want to focus primarily on how to best manage modified reports and forms created using Report Writer and Modifier. The location where the custom dictionaries are stored and how they are deployed to users can affect performance, the level of risk of losing a valuable customization, and the complexity of system upgrades.
For all the details, take a look at the article
Store dictionaries on a shared location
- Simplifies deployment by placing custom dictionaries in a shared directory and have everyone access them from there.
- Standardizes users on the same customizations.
- Shared dictionaries cannot be directly modified.
- Creates unnecessary network traffic and if you have lots of users, this might be an issue.
- Shared reports and forms dictionaries are more prone to corruption as they are being used by many users.
Store dictionaries locally on each workstation
- Local dictionaries have the best performance and are less prone to issues.
- Customizations can be created or maintained locally without issues.
- If you do not take control, you may end up of multiple different customizations of the same forms or reports. To maintain standardization, you need to have some sort of development, deployment and backup strategy.
- If a user changes a report or a form locally, no one else has this change unless it is properly backed up and deployed. Also, you risk losing local changes if proper changes management is not done.
Store dictionaries locally, but deploy from shared location:
The idea with this option is to manage all changes from a development environment, then copy custom dictionaries to a shared location. From that point on, every time a workstation logs in, they get a fresh copy of the customizations, including any new changes made.
- All customs are maintained and stored in a shared location, creating a standard set of customs.
- Each workstation has a copy of the unified customs, and it runs locally with all the performance benefits this carries.
- Modifications happen on a development environment until properly tested and approved.
- If a user gets “creative” and changes (or even damages) a report or form, a simple logoff and logon process will refresh their custom dictionaries, correcting the issue.
- Requires some IT-related setup.
- You need a separate development environment. For smaller customers this could be a specific workstation while for larger companies this will probably be one of the Dynamics GP test servers.
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