2, 4, 6, 8… What Does Dynamics GP Integrate?

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OK, so I can’t believe I’m running with my wife’s idea of bending an old high school cheer leader football chant into a compelling blog title about data integration.  But really, this question is quite simple.  It’s exciting to know that Microsoft Dynamics GP will integrate with the vast majority of third party and legacy systems so that information can be collaborated and shared effectively.

Though GP offers a wide array of integrating modules and third party solutions, there are times when you will definitely gain advantages by creating a custom integration with one of your important systems that may not currently talk to GP. 

An example is a client of mine that wanted to integrate GP to a warehouse management system (WMS).  The client wanted to turn off the Multi-Bin functionality in GP and let the WMS system do the heavy lifting of managing warehouse movements, tracking and managing of inventory, staging, and fulfillment.

Therefore a decision was made to leverage Microsoft’s Developer Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics GP to create this integration.  Now don’t get me wrong, performing an integration of this magnitude was not easy, but once we finished it, it was well worth it. 

We utilized these tools to accomplish this integration:

  • eConnect – Lets you automate the integration of fields and data and adds data validation specific to GP.
  • XML files – This is a universal convention for passing data between two different systems.
  • Web Services – A web interface for third party integration applications.  It provides different methods for transmitting different XML payloads between the two systems.
  • Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) – Provides guaranteed message delivery, efficient routing, security, and priority-based messaging.
  • SQL Stored Procedures – There were a small number of data integration points that were not supported by eConnect so we created stored procedures to update the data.

Steps taken to successfully achieve this integration were as follows:

  1. Reviewed the requirements and agreed upon a design.
  2. Mapped required data between the two systems via Excel mapping tables.
  3. Agreed upon the XML file formats.
  4. Created the Web Services.
  5. Set up MSMQ to facilitate the transfer of data.
  6. Configured the different eConnect integrations.
  7. Worked closely with a couple of developers on the WMS side so that they could accept GP data and GP could accept their data in acceptable XML payload format.

  Information passed from GP to the WMS:

  • Sales orders
  • RMA’s – These were sent over to the WMS as a special type of Purchase Order to facilitate receiving of returned parts into the WMS.
  • Purchase Orders
  • Inventory Transfers – Created a PO in the WMS if parts were being transferred into the WMS location and created sales orders if parts were being shipped out to a different location.
  • Items – GP was the owner of the item database and passed new items and updates to the WMS.
  • Vendors

Information passed back from the WMS to GP:

  • Sales Order Fulfillment – Once an order was shipped then the WMS would send back to GP the fulfillment notification and it would automatically update the Quantity Fulfilled on the sales order line item as well as updating the tracking number.  Once a line on a sales order was fulfilled it would then automatically invoice, speeding up revenue recognition.
  • Inventory movements – Though there are several different WMS movement types, we only integrated movements in/out of quarantine locations (unsellable locations).
  • Inventory Adjustments – WMS Cycle counts and standard adjustments updated GP.
  • Purchase Order Receipts – Parts received in the warehouse would automatically create PO Receipts in GP.
  • RMA Receipts – When returned parts were received in the WMS it would create RMA Receipts in GP.

Benefits of the integration:

  • Two separate systems now talk to each other efficiently.
  • The WMS is a real time extension of GP to help manage fulfillment, inventory management and purchasing.
  • Items, vendors and item quantities are synced up between the two systems.
  • Revenue recognition is enhanced.
  • Produced a happy client (most important of all).

Sometimes the thought of integrating GP to another system of yours might seem out of reach, but really it’s not.  It just requires planning, coordination, and possibly some assistance.  Contact Ignify – an Inner Circle 2009 Microsoft Dynamics Partner – as we have real life experience assisting customers with simple and complex integrations.

By Tod Heath of Ignify – Northern California Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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