Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Automatically generate and create batch IDs in Dynamics GP using VBA

By Steve Endow

This has probably been done a few thousand times by a few hundred people over the years, but I don't recall ever doing it before.

A customer wants to automatically generate batch IDs in Dynamics GP.  They don't want to have to type the batch ID or create batches when entering transactions.  They want to be able to open the Payables Transaction Entry window, have the Batch ID automatically generated and just starting entering a transaction.

Here is a link to a Word document with the instructions and the script.


Once the code is installed, if you open the Payables Transaction Entry window, a new batch is automatically created and the batch ID value is populated in the Batch ID field.

The customer didn't want to use the date, but wanted a sequential numeric batch ID that would be unique.  I used the username, plus the two digit year, plus the day of the year.  This ensures a unique batch for each day, and it's a way of using the date in the batch ID without using the full date.

Make sure to following the instructions in the Word doc and add a VBA Reference to Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects 2.8 Library in the VBA Editor.

Option Explicit

Dim conn As ADODB.Connection
Dim cmd As New ADODB.Command

Private Sub Window_BeforeOpen(OpenVisible As Boolean)
  Set conn = UserInfoGet.CreateADOConnection
  conn.DefaultDatabase = UserInfoGet.IntercompanyID
  cmd.ActiveConnection = conn
  cmd.CommandType = 1  'adCmdText
End Sub

Private Sub Window_AfterOpen()

    Dim interID As String
    Dim userID As String
    Dim shortYear As String
    Dim dayNumber As String
    Dim currentDate As Date
    Dim sqlDate As String
    Dim batch As String
    Dim sql As String
    interID = UserInfoGet.IntercompanyID  'Get the database name (INTERID)
    userID = UCase(UserInfoGet.userID)  'Get the GP user ID
    currentDate = DateTime.Now
    sqlDate = Format(currentDate, "yyyy-MM-dd")

    shortYear = Right(DateTime.year(currentDate), 2) '2 digit year
    dayNumber = DatePart("y", currentDate) 'Get day number (out of 365 / 366)
    batch = userID & "-" & shortYear & dayNumber  'Ex:  jdoe-17134
    'Create the batch if it does not already exist
    sql = "EXEC " & interID & "..taCreateUpdateBatchHeaderRcd '" & batch & "', '', 4, '" & sqlDate & "', 'PM_Trxent', 0, 1, 0, '', 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, '" & userID & "', 1, 0, 0, 0, '1900-01-01', '', '', '', '', '', '', '', 0, ''"
    cmd.CommandText = sql
    'MsgBox (sql)
    'Assign the new batch ID to the batch field on the window
    batchID.Value = batch
End Sub

You can also find him on Twitter, YouTube, and Google+

Enhancing the reliability of complex Dynamics GP integrations

By Steve Endow

I had a call today with a customer who is implementing several complex Dynamics GP integrations.  One of the integrations involves the following steps:

1. A SmartConnect map imports a large AP Invoice batch once per day
2. Once the batch is fully imported, SmartConnect inserts a database record telling Post Master Enterprise that the batch is ready to post
3. Post Master Enterprise posts the AP Invoice batch
4. Once the batch is finished posting, Post Master Enterprise automatically fires a stored procedure where the customer will have custom SQL script
5. The stored procedure will verify the batch posted successfully and then call a SQL command to trigger a second SmartConnect map
6. SmartConnect will then import AP Manual Payments and apply the payments to the posted AP Invoice batch
7. Once SmartConnect is done importing the Payments and Applications, it will then insert another database record telling Post Master to post the AP Manual Payment batch

In theory, this process will work just fine, as both SmartConnect and Post Master can be configured to work together to coordinate in this manner.


In any system integration with many steps or processes, there is a chance that one of the steps may not work properly, may encounter an error, may fail, may not fire, etc.

And in any system integration that is synchronous and tightly coupled like this one, any such problem in the chain of events can prevent the rest of the process from completing.  What if in Step 2, the SmartConnect map has a problem telling Post Master that the batch is ready to post?  What if in Step 3, Post Master finds that the Fiscal Period in Dynamics GP is closed, and it is unable to post the batch?  What if the batch fails to post due to a data error?  What if 682 out of 700 Invoices post successfully, but 18 fail to post due to invalid distributions? What if the custom SQL script in Step 4 encounters an error or table lock that prevents it from completing successfully?  What if SmartConnect encounters an error applying the Manual Payments to the posted Invoices?

In isolation, each of these issues is relatively small, but collectively, there are probably at least a dozen such minor problems that could potentially prevent the entire sequence from completing successfully.  Between the 7 plus different steps in this system integration and the dozen plus potential errors that can cause a failure, I would anticipate that this integration will have some reliability issues over time.

But that's okay.  That's what happens with complex systems--you often have equally complex failures and reliability challenges.

So how do you deal with this?  How do you manage such a complex integration?  And how do you increase reliability?

While speaking with the customer, a few things came to mind.

1. Error notifications.  Both SmartConnect and Post Master Enterprise can be configured to send notifications in case of an error.  As soon as a problem occurs, an email should be sent to a power user or administrator that has the tools to resolve the problem.

2. Proactive monitoring.  Sometimes problems occur, but notifications don't get sent or received, or are simply missed in the torrent of email that we all receive daily.  To supplement the error notifications, a monitoring job can be created that independently checks the status of the process.  Did the Invoices get imported by 1pm?  Did the Invoices get posted by 2pm?  Did the Manual Payments get imported and applied by 3pm?  Did the Manual Payments get posted by 4pm?  Each of these checks is just a simple SQL query against the Dynamics GP company database, and these checks serve as a second layer of notification in case there is a problem or delay.

3. Asynchronous design.  In my experience, synchronous, tightly coupled system integrations tend to be less reliable than asynchronous, loosely coupled integration.  So an integration could potentially be modified or redesigned to decouple one or more tasks in the chain, adopting more of a queue based integration rather than a real time integration.  In this particular integration, that would likely be challenging and would require a redesign.

4. Integration "Supervisor".  Rather than SmartConnect and Post Master working independently and simply handing off messages to each other, a "Supervisor" process or solution could be utilized that manages, or supervises, the entire process.  The Supervisor asks SmartConnect to run a map, monitoring that task until the import is complete.  It then hands a request to Post Master, monitoring that task until the posting is complete.  Rather than having to monitor two different applications and get notifications from each, this central supervisor service could potentially reduce the administration and monitoring of the overall process.

While these steps may help manage the process, they won't directly resolve the issues that cause failures or reliability issues in each step.  To increase reliability, I think you have to target the specific failures and eliminate the causes.  Increase data validation, add error handling, design each step to be able to proceed if some errors occur, and also utilize diagnostics to quickly track down the causes of errors.

There isn't a single answer for managing complex system integrations or improving reliability, but I think it is always a good idea to approach such complex integrations with an understanding of the potential errors and failures and an expectation that some additional measures may be required to increase reliability.

What have you done to make your complex system integrations easier to manage?  Have you used any techniques to increase overall reliability?

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP for Dynamics GP and a Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional in Los Angeles.  He is the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.

You can also find him on Twitter, YouTube, and Google+

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Importing Paid AP Invoices into Dynamics GP: Payment Numbers and Distributions

By Steve Endow

I recently developed a Dynamics GP import that created AP Invoices for employee expenses.  One thing that was different with this integration was that some of the employee expenses had already been reimbursed or paid, either with cash or by credit card.

It seemed pretty straightforward at first, but while designing the integration, I learned two interesting things.  When importing Paid AP Invoices into Dynamics GP using eConnect, you'll want to pay attention to the Payment Numbers and Distributions, as they will vary depending on whether the invoice was paid with Cash, Check, or Credit Card.

When importing an AP Invoice paid via Credit Card, on the Payables Credit Card Entry window, the Payment Number field should be populated with the next AP Voucher Number, not the next AP Payment Number.  And the Credit distribution for an invoice paid with a Credit Card should be Type of Cash, with the GL account being the AP account from the Credit Card vendor (my customer uses a different AP account for their Credit Card vendor).

Here's a video sharing what I learned about the proper values for Payment Numbers and Distributions when importing the paid invoices using eConnect:

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP for Dynamics GP and a Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional in Los Angeles.  He is the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.

You can also find him on Twitter, YouTube, and Google+

Bug in GP ribbon buttons when AA is installed

By Steve Endow

Today I was doing some testing in GP 2016 R2, where I have Analytical Accounting installed, reviewing some imported AP Invoices.  I opened the invoice, clicked on Distributions, and then moved my mouse up to the ribbon to click on the Default button.

But...the Default button wasn't in the ribbon.

I only had View, Additional, File, and Tools buttons in the ribbon.  I was puzzled for a few seconds until I noticed the Delete and Default buttons were at the bottom of the window.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dynamics 365 Financials Training - Day 4: Sales, Bank Rec, and GL

By Steve Endow

Today I attended day 4 of the Dynamics 365 Financials training class organized by Liberty Grove.

Here are links to my summaries of the prior days of the class:

Day 1 - Navigation, Company Setup, and Posting Groups

Day 2 - Dimensions, more Setup, and Financial Reporting

Day 3 - Payables and Inventory

Day 4 covered a lot of content and I found several items that I think are important to note, so this will be a long one.

And on a side note, I think I'm going to organize a contest to come up with some good abbreviations for the D365 products, since constantly typing out Dynamics 365 Financials gets old.  And I'm obviously not the only one with this issue:

I may use D365Fin or D3Fin or maybe even D3F eventually, but for now I've setup a keyboard shortcut in my FastKeys app that will automatically replace "d3" with "D365 Financials" as I type it.

And with that, let's get started.