Microsoft Dynamics GP: An Overview



Microsoft Dynamics GP is an accounting software package which works in conjunction with Microsoft SQL Server databases. It was originally created and marketed by a company called Great Plains Software, which was a small independent company located in North Dakota, bought out by Microsoft in April 2001. Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0, released in June 2007, is the latest version; prior versions were called Microsoft Great Plains, Microsoft Dynamics, and, before the original company was purchased by Microsoft, simply Great Plains Software.

Great Plains Software was one of the first accounting-specific software packages with macro capability. With Visual Basic macros, a Great Plains Software user could export data from an Excel spreadsheet or Access database to Great Plains, but a new macro had to be created for each specific set of data to be brought over into the program. Early versions of the package were written in, and dependent on, a programming language known as Dexterity. Once Microsoft took over development, however, later versions were integrated with industry-standard technologies such as Microsoft’s BizTalk Server, Microsoft’s .NET Framework, Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ), and XML, among others.The package comes with several customizable “modules” and tools, which can be used for specific accounting and other business purposes, including human resources and supply chain management. It is typically intended for mid-size companies that are stable or growing. If the package is integrated with Microsoft’s SharePoint Server 2007, the business’ employees can access and analyze data created and stored with Microsoft Dynamics GP even if they are working in another software program, such as Excel. The “business portal” tool allows access to data and processes from intranet or Internet portals, enabling employees to share information with co-workers and customers, in-house or anywhere in the world.

As with the Office suite of programs, Microsoft Dynamics GP uses and builds on the toolbars and icons that have become familiar to workers worldwide. This cuts down on training time, as employees come into use of the package with a basic familiarity with the on-screen framework, and employees can use the skills and products they already know to access and communicate the data that is managed within the package.

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