Monday, April 27, 2009

Automatically post batches in Dynamics GP: Post Master by Envisage Software

UPDATE:  Envisage Software has released Post Master Enterprise, a new product that runs as a Windows Service, allowing it to post Dynamics GP batches without requiring the GP client to be running or logged in.




I recently developed an eConnect SOP integration that needed to import up to 40,000 orders a day into Dynamics GP from an e-commerce web site.

At first this seemed like it might be a challenge due to the sheer order volume, but based on some tests I performed with sample data, I found that eConnect was able to import over 500 transactions per minute. This import speed would be more than adequate to handle 40,000 orders throughout a day.

But, there was a second challenge. Although I could easily import 40,000 orders into GP throughout the day, the client would have to post those order batches in GP. And posting a SOP order in GP takes quite a bit longer than importing the orders using eConnect. Additionally, because the orders were coming from an existing operational system, they did not need to be reviewed in GP prior to posting, so there was no need for human review and manual posting.

To accommodate the posting of the SOP batches, I searched for an auto-posting solution for Dynamics GP. I found a handful of auto-post add-ons for GP, but the one that impressed me the most was Post Master by Envisage Software.

To my surprise, Post Master is written entirely in .NET and does not install a custom Dex dictionary--just a few DLLs in the AddIns folder. Andrew Dean, the developer of Post Master, explained that he was able to push Visual Studio Tools to its limits, allowing him to manage the entire posting process without writing any Dex code.

Because it is written in .NET, one great feature is that an icon is displayed in the system tray, allowing you to see that Post Master is running, see the agent status, and start or stop the agent.








As someone who has become accustomed to the 'self-contained' nature of GP development, I thought the system tray icon was a brilliant idea, as it allowed me to quickly assess the status of the posting process by quickly glancing at the system tray, and without having to open menus or windows within GP.

A second key feature of Post Master that makes it shine is that it allows you to specify whether or not you wish to generate posting reports for each batch source, and allows you to select which reports you want to generate. For each batch type, you can have each of the posting reports saved to a file, e-mailed to a user, or you can turn off any of the posting reports for that batch source.




Another key feature for GP customers that are looking to automate batch posting for different types of batches that may be imported or manually entered, Post Master offers an Auto-Detect feature that will automatically post batches based on batch source and batch ID filter that you specify.



So if you have a client that wants accurate data throughout the day, doesn't want batches piling up, and doesn't want to have to check the series or master post windows regularly, Post Master will automatically process batches as they are created throughout the day.

Finally, Post Master includes a key feature that will be highly valued by anyone that has had to support an automated or scheduled integration or process in GP. It has a separate monitor agent that will detect if the GP posting process has stopped responding, or if Post Master is unable to perform the posting process, and will notify a system administrator via e-mail.

There are several other very nice features that round out the product, but I wanted to highlight these key benefits that I thought were most compelling.

If you have a client with high transaction or batch volume, or a client that has to regularly sit around and wait for large batches to post, I'd definitely recommend checking out Post Master.


Update:  Given the success of Post Master for Dynamics GP, I am now working with Envisage Software to resell Post Master in North America.  If you have any questions regarding Post Master or would like a trial version, you can contact Envisage Software Solutions, or contact me directly.


Steve Endow is a Dynamics GP Certified Trainer and Dynamics GP Certified Professional.  He is also the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.

http://www.precipioservices.com

6 comments:

victoriayudin.com said...

Hi Steve,

This sounds great, thanks for sharing your experience with us! I was curious if you could also share what other products you found for this during your search.

-Victoria

Steve Endow said...

Hi Victoria,

It seems that previous to Post Master, which is relatively new, the only other serious contender is Posting Server by Alba Spectrum.

http://www.albaspectrum.com/Products2.htm

Posting Server was written in Dex, and has some fundamental limitations compared to Post Master. For instance, it cannot handle batch posting report dialogs, so you must turn off all posting reports for any batch source that you wish to auto post, and the posting reports cannot be saved or e-mailed during posting.

Also, the product does not have a means to automatically detect and post GP batches--you must manually insert a record into their SQL table for a batch to be detected by the program. That record insert would normally be done as part of an integration, but if the client wants to auto post batches that are manually keyed into GP, you would have to write a routine to add the batch record to the Alba table.

Finally, the Alba Product does not have a means to detect when the GP posting fails or the posting server stops responding. Someone needs to check the machine to make sure it is working properly.

There were a few other obscure solutions that I found during my search, but they didn't seem to be full-fledged products like Post Master or Posting Server.

victoriayudin.com said...

Steve,

Thank you very much for all this information - it is very helpful and I really appreciate it!

-Victoria

Tim said...

From your post here we have now had a trial, bought and implemented Post Master for posting stock transactions to automate stock requisitions between two GP companies.
It works over multiple companies and posting can be controlled by inserting rows in a control table. Automatic detection of batches can be restricted to days and hours of week.
It installed and running in literally 20 mins from getting the installer.
We now are thinking of other uses for it.

Manikandan said...

Hi,

Can "Post Check" is possible using Post master tool?

Thanks,
Mani

Steve Endow said...

Hi Mani,

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by Post Check, but Post Master can call Pre and Post stored procedures, similar to eConnect. This allows you to write custom SQL scripts that can be run before and after batches are posted.

If you need additional info, please email sales@envisagesoftware.com.

Thanks!