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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Three cool features in Dynamics GP’s Professional Services Tools Library

Posted by Katja Brinck

With the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, there has been a lot of focus on all the new exciting features of 2013. But we don’t want to forget about everyone else! Whether you are preparing for an upgrade, or simply just trying to clean up the data in your GP environment, the Professional Services Tools Library can be used for many different tasks. Remember these are now free to all customers, and are available through your Microsoft Dynamics partner.

Using the Combiner Tools for Mass Removal of Data

Two of the most widely used tools in the Professional Services Tools Library (aka the “PSTL”) are the Combiner and Modifier Tools. These are available for master records, including customers, vendors, items, and accounts. The Combiner tool can be used to merge duplicate records, and the Modifier tool can be used to modify master record ID’s. Both of these also allow a file of records to be imported for a mass update.

Another use for the Combiner tool is if you need to do a data removal project in GP. I recently worked on a project with a client to who had thousands and thousands of inventory items that had been set up, but weren’t needed anymore. There is no easy way to remove a large list of master records from GP without deleting directly from the SQL tables (which is never a good idea, since there is no business logic validation in the process.)

Using Combiner allowed us to import a file of several thousand items all combining into a single item. (Note: there are some restrictions on what master records can be combined: for items, they all had to be of the same type—such as sales inventory, services, etc.—and they all had to have the same unit of measure). Once this was validated and imported, only a single item remained. It was then really easy to run utilities to remove transaction history, and then the item could be deleted.

Just make sure you always take a backup before performing any combiner or modifier processes – once the process is run, there is no undoing it!

Locking users out of GP during scheduled system maintenance

When performing certain types of maintenance, either on the server or within GP, you want all users to be out of the system.  The IT resource performing this task can make sure everyone is logged out when the maintenance begins, but how do you prevent a user from logging in after maintenance has begun?

The PSTL contains another tool called the “Database Disabler,” Which prevents users from logging into the GP company you specify. (Note: this does not affect users who are already logged in).

Here are the steps:

  1. In PSTL, select Database Disabler from System Tools and then click Next.
Screenshot of locking users out of Microsoft GP 2013 during scheduled maintenance

 

  • Select the Disable checkbox next to the company name(s) to be disabled.
    Screenshot of Database Disabler in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013
  • Click OK.

 

Once a database has been disabled, users who are already in that company can continue working, but users who try to log in or change a company will not see the company listed for selection. This would actually be a great tip for running other routines in the PSTL where users cannot be in the system (see above–Combiner and Modifier). If you disable the database to run a Combiner process, no users will be able to log in while it is running.  Once the Combiner process is done, then you would re-enable
the database.

Using master record triggers to keep your vendors in sync between databases

Finally, the PSTL has a feature that can be extremely helpful when you have multiple companies that you would like to keep in sync. Turning on payables master triggers, for example, allows you to identify one company database as the main database, and then you can select which master records (accounts, vendors, or customers) you would like to synchronize between companies. Once this has been enabled, for vendors as an example, then any vendor that is created in the “master” database will also be replicated to the other companies indicated in the setup.

Screenshot: Sync Vendors Between Databases with the Master Trigger in Microsoft Dynamics GP

When this is turned on, it is a good idea to limit security access to the master record in the destination databases, since any vendor added in a database other than the main would not be synchronized between databases.

The PSTL has many more amazing tricks up its sleeve. To see what it else it can do, download Microsoft’s Professional Services Tools Library PDF.

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