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eConnect: eCommerce development for Microsoft Great Plains

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has several options to enable web ordering. Traditionally Great Plains Dynamics/eEnterprise had eOrder � this is ASP pages based ordering application, enabling you to place or retrieve your Sales Order Processing (SOP) Sales Orders over the web. There were several drawbacks however with eOrder. You should be the customer in Great Plains company database to be able placing the orders. Also if you were planning to customize eOrder � you could only do cosmetic style changes only � if you wanted to alter scripts on the ASP pages � then you would have very serious eOrder upgrade issues. Upgrade simply wipes out your custom scripts and you had to reapply your customization to new version enriched ASP pages. Instead of following the way to move eOrder to ASPX or .Net platform � MBS introduced eConnect, enabling web designer to �connect� eCommerce site to Great Plains backend. This is very elegant module and solution, however we are hearing a lot of complaints from developers on eConnect restrictions.
� SOP Invoice posting. It is not enabled in eConnect. However you should probably first understand the architecture of Microsoft Great Plains. Order takers supposed to enter Sales Order and submit it (place in the batch and save) to the manager for approval (taking off transfer/print/post holds). eConnect enables you to create or update Great Plains objects, but it doesn�t allow you to process them (post) � this would open a gap in the security/approval cycle.
� Order Transfer. Again � this is similar problem to the invoice posting. Both Order and Invoice could be subject to holds and approvals. eCommerce logic might need partial or full order transfer to invoice or even backorder, based on the item availability status.
Why would you then need to purchase eConnect? Maybe just go ahead and program the connection in SQL stored procedures? The answer is � eConnect allows you to allocate items in

 


Great Plains Inventory Control module. It would take you a lot of time (if you are new to Great Plains tables structure and never coded in Great Plains Dexterity). Plus eConnect allows you to create and update customer record in Great Plains � this is however relatively simple to imitate in the stored procedure.
Then what is the solution?
� Do not allow order transfer and posting through eCommerce. This is probably the best advise we could give you � just create orders, or invoices, leave them to the Great Plains user to approve and post. However in some cases it is absolutely critical and required
� Look for Invoice posting stored proc on the market. You are not the first and not the last one to face this dilemma � somebody already has it implemented (SOP10200, SOP10100, SOP30200, SOP30300 tables)
� Microsoft Small Business Financials or former Microsoft Small Business Manager. In your case � you need the whole set of stored procedures to enable eCommerce
Great Plains version: more likely you are using eConnect for Great Plains Standard or Great Plains Professional 7.5, 8.0 and in the future 8.5 or 9.0
Good luck in e-Commerce developing 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
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