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Microsoft Great Plains version 8.5: upgrade, customization, VBA, Crystal Reports - preliminary highlights for consultant

Microsoft Great Plains is one of the Microsoft Business Solutions family ERP products: Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, Solomon, Small Business Manager. MBS also has Microsoft CRM - Client Relation Management software and Microsoft Retail Management System (Microsoft RMS)

Microsoft Great Plains 8.5 is scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2005. It is usual practice when you here announcements and then you are notified about software release delays. Expect first the version to be released for US market and then you can expect Spanish and Canadian French version. Satellites or third parties are usually released in the following six month period.

From our Microsoft Business Solutions insiders we could give you the rumors we have heard

  • Version 8.5 seems to be rather a big service pack to version 8.0. Let me give you some historical review. Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics of version 7.0 was merged with Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics and this was basically a foundation of Microsoft Great Plains version 7.5

  • Microsoft Great Plains version 7.5 was the last version for legacy database platforms: Pervasive SQL 2000 and Ctree. Version 8.0 and higher are available on MS SQL Server and MSDE only

  • Microsoft bought a product from eOne Solutions (in Australia) called SmartList Builder. This new feature allows users to create their own SmartList without being limited to the available "folders" on the standard SmartList's left panel. We have yet to know more about this but the consultants in Australia are really enthusiastic about this.

Upgrade expectations.

  • As our experience indicates - Microsoft is working on the ERP application migration (Project Green). This means that MBS is rather concerned on it's ERP applications modules interoperability - consider the strong point of Navision - Manufacturing module should somehow communicate and seamlessly work with GL platform - more likely Great Plains financials - Great Plains systems manager and general ledger. So, and again this is our personal opinion - MBS is not bringing a lot of new ERP functionality into Great plains version 8.5, but rather standardizes it's interface.

  • Great Plains and Microsoft Windows. Some of the former bugs were related to Pervasive SQL and Ctree platform and plus Windows 2000 Pro bugs, especially from FRx side. Now Microsoft stakes on Microsoft SQL Server/MSDE only, so you should have more trust in released 8.5 CD.

Customization Upgrade and Expectations

  • Microsoft Great Plains 8.5 is Microsoft Great Plains Dexterity based application, so your customization should be upgradeable, feel free to call us if you have concerns.

  • Microsoft VBA/Modifier - should be available for 8.5 - so if you deploy VBA and have modifications to your GP forms (FORMS.DIC) - you should be OK with version 8.5

  • Crystal Reports - these are usually based on company DB SQL views or stored proc - so assuming that DB side will have minor changes only - Crystal Report upgrade should be easy.

Good luck in upgrading and if you have issues or concerns we are here to help! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577! help@albaspectrum.com

Submitted by:

Andrew Karasev

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving clients in Chicago, California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Arizona, Minnesota, UK, Australia and having locations in multiple states and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is CMA, Great Plains Certified Master, Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer. You can contact Andrew: andrewk@albaspectrum.com.



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