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FRx – Microsoft Great Plains Reporting: design, upgrade and migration overview for consultant

Written By: Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is main ERP application targeted to US mid-size businesses market. Microsoft Great Plains is now moved to Microsoft SQL Server and so exposed to standard Reporting tools, such as Crystal Reports based on internal Crystal links or SQL Server view and stored procedure. Also Great Plains, built on legacy Great Plains Dexterity technology has ReportWriter which is good, when you are modifying Sales or Purchasing Invoice form. When we are dealing with Financial Reporting traditional and very powerful tool is FRx. FRx connects to General Ledger and there you can apply account mask to summarize financial data at your will, create reporting tree, or combine Great Plains and Excel data on the same report.

We usually do not see problems in FRx report design, however consultants are reporting multiple issues with FRx upgrade or remapping FRx when you migrate Great Plains from legacy platform (Pervasive SQL or Ctree) to MS SQL Server. Let us give you typical troubleshooting steps:

  • SYSDATA. FRx stores its report in one directory, named SYSDATA, so when you move FRx or upgrade it you upgrade files in this directory. Be sure that FRx points to the proper SYSDATA directory.
  • Directories Structure problem. When you move FRx to different server or change directories structure on your workstation, typical issue is hardcoded report output path mismatch. You can see it if you look at report output destination tab. The hint FRx stores output directory in SYSDATA on the server, so if your workstations are not structure-unified you may have this issue.
  • Service Pack fixes. FRx is known to be unstable in CD version and you typically apply latest service pack from Microsoft Business Solutions partner source (or Customer Source if you support your Great Plains internally)
  • Back Arrow problem. This is very typical and funny issue. When you install FRx you should never hit Back button. If you do FRx installation will be corrupted. Just for you to know. This was FRx 6.0 very-very known issue
  • Corrupt Catalogue. Well this may happen with every application. FRx is not an exception. If you have strange error message you may try export and reimport. The same is applicable to Great Plains ReportWriter
  • Drilldown Viewer problem. This happens when you are upgrading. You should check that you are selecting XML Drilldown Viewer this is newest version. Old report tries to keep old Drilldown Viewer and you get error message when launching it.

You can have such a nice tools as Explorer to imitate Sales or Financial reporting for you and then dump it to Excel with the click of the button as good alternative to FRx, but we would recommend you to stick to FRx for regular financial reporting this is the tool of the choice for controller.

You can always have us help you, give us a call: 1-630-961-5918 or 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com

About The Author

Andrew Karasev is consultant and CTO in Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ) Microsoft Business Solutions partner, serving clients in Illinois, California, New York, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Virginia, Washington, UK, Canada, Australia. He is Microsoft Great Plains certified master, Great Plains Dexterity, Microsoft CRM SDK C#.Net, Crystal Repots developer. You can reach Andrew: akarasev@albaspectrum.com.

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