Microsoft Business Solutions – Great Plains is designed to meet and extend the needs of small and mid-size organizations for its business success. Its comprehensive accounting and business management applications also provide businesses with capabilities to customize various modules of the Great Plains software to fit to their specific needs. Because of these potentials, Great Plains has been targeted to the whole spectrum of both horizontal and vertical clientele.
A number of industry-specific applications integrate well with Great Plains. This allows for more flexibility and unparalleled access to information that aids in decision-making and analysis of performance.
Crystal Reports is report-writing software that can integrate itself to Great Plains’ database. It goes beyond the report creation process of Great Plains’ own Report Writer. As a developer, Crystal Reports will help your client access decision-driving information to aid in managing their businesses more effectively. So, how do we use Crystal Reports to extend Great Plains Report Writer? Here is the brief explanation made by Satish Kartan a webmaster:
Great Plains Table Structure
When a business entity is processed, the information is written onto the Great Plains database tables. This can be found by launching Great Plains, then: Tools > Resource Description > Tables. Find the appropriate Table:
RM00101 – Customer Master File
SOP30200 – Sales History Header File
Create ODBC Connection
Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is an integration tool to connect a client application to an ODBC-compliant database. It allows exchanging information among databases and easily integrates with a wide range of present systems. Great Plains uses the ODBC drivers installed by Microsoft SQL Server.
To create an ODBC connection to a Great Plains company database, one common way is with the use of the Data Source dialog box. It prompts you to connect to the appropriate data source. Choose the company database that you are targeting that contains the data needed for your Crystal Reports report generation.
Microsoft SQL Server has a virtual table that you can access to minimize the complexity of looking at links in Crystal Reports itself. By referencing the view name in a Transact-SQL statement, a user can access this virtual table and retrieve the data for future selection to be applied into Crystal Reports.
SQL Stored Procedures
There are instances wherein you will not be able to pull all your needed data into one view. In this situation, you would need an SQL stored-procedure – defined as a group of Transact-SQL statements compiled into a single execution plan. With the help of a stored procedure, you do not need to access individual tables to use in Crystal Reports.
Calling Crystal Reports via VBA/Modifier
It is possible to call the Crystal Reports engine from one Great Plains application to do a process with the use of Modifier and VBA. For example, you want to print a Crystal Reports invoice in Great Plains from the Sales Order Processing window, use Modifier and VBA to call up the Crystal Reports engine.
Using SQL Query Analyzer can help in making sure you are getting adequate results in your report generation. In addition, it debugs stored procedures and query performance problems. It can also copy existing database objects and locate, view or work with these objects within the database.