Dynamics GP Activity Tracking or Monitoring User Work

Published: 14th March 2011
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Sometimes you have concerns about specific user and would like to track what this employee is looking at in your Accounting or Corporate ERP system. You may suspect this user is trying to look something which she or he should not have access to, but you are not sure if access is blocked by security or not. In other situation you as manager might be on the business trip and users are emailing you that they are working hard and you would like to verify that claim. Let’s take a look at the options, available in Microsoft Dynamics GP. We’ll base our instructions on the new interface, introduced in version 9.0, 10.0 and 2010. If you are on older version of Great Plains Dynamics, you should use traditional interface via Tools -> Setup -> System -> Security and -> (System) Inquiry: Let’s begin with Activity Tracking activation:

1. Click on the Administration button on the left pane and then Activity Tracking on Setup content pane in the System series (usually on the left side, upper or middle section). In the form we recommend you to mark the UserID you would like to audit, then company and then go through Activity type Drop Down List selection and events marking. Which evens could be tracked? These are Login/Logout (successful or unsuccessful – here you may suspect that somebody knows your id and password and tries to look at Salary info, for example – in this case you should track activity of your own user id), Access (successful or Unsuccessful accessing file, opening window, print report, open modifier, report writer), File (addition, modification or deletion to master, setup, or transaction table), Process (Maintenance, Utilities or Routines), Posting (every form from where you can post transaction, and corresponding batch entry form). When you are done with selection, click Done on the bottom section of the form and Activity tracking is happening from that moment. Now you can leave on your business trip (or maybe even tropical island vacation, whatever it is – system should do the auditing job, be sure that you have several gigs on your hard drive to pile up records of every user action)

2. Activity Tracking Inquiry. Ok, now you are back with numerous new business prospects (or maybe with great tan and underwater camera scuba related photos). Click again on the administrative tab on the left pane and Inquiry on the System section (typically on the bottom section of your left side of the central pane). Let’s assume you would like to see when the user A was entering Sales Order Processing Transactions in the company B. Select the company, user id, and File, Activity Type as File Tracking and the Activity as Additions to Trx files. The records you should be looking for are something like this: The STDINV254 record was added to Sales Transaction Work File, record date and time on the right side. Let’s now take a look on which exactly record was created

3. Tables Structure. To get the physical name of the table, please open Tools -> Dynamics GP -> Resource Description -> Tables, switch series to Sales, and find the table mentioned. It should be SOP10100 in our case study . Very good, let’s now find the record directly via you Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio interface (SQL 2005 or 2008, for SQL 2000 it is SQL Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer)

4. Open MS SQL Server Management Studio, create new query, where DB should be your company database. Type in SQL query: Select * from SOP10100 and execute it as result in grid, scroll to the right and all the way down. Here find the record with exact the same time stamp (adjusted to your local time versus London UK, which is where zero GWT is located) in DEX_ROW_TS column (Dexterity Row Timestamp abbreviation). Why GWT is use in this DEX_ROW_TS? The answer is simple, if you are implementing Dynamics GP for your Worldwide international offices, where time zones are different – the system should use absolute time

5. Stop tracking. This could be done in Activity Tracking Setup window by unmarking user ID, or elements of the tracking. If you would like to free up SQL DB space (table SY05000 in Dynamics database) – click Administration series on the left pane and then Activity Detail in Utilities section. Work in Remove Activity Tracking Detail form to remove records by ranges (or simply print reports)

6. More sophisticated ways to track security related info or custom user activity with complete details. If you are working in IT department in large multinational corporation, consider custom Microsoft Dexterity programmed module to be coded for you by one of the leading Great Plains Dexterity Source Code partners. Dexterity has unlimited power over Dynamics GP and Dex programmer can code the routine which should be able to log all the details with drill down functionality to the original documents. You should check with your GP reseller on the advanced activity tracking programming options, or maybe simply search Google, Yahoo, Bing (Microsoft Search engine)

7. Current Versions of Dynamics GP. As we are writing these lines in March 2011, the most recent version in 2010/11.0. Version that are still supported directly via Microsoft Business Solutions tech support (customer or partner source) are 2010, 10.0 and 9.0 (for this one support should expire shortly). For large businesses, especially when they are looking for Dexterity custom programming, we recommend first to upgrade to the most current version, as the technology is changing rapidly

8. International Implementation considerations for Dynamics GP. Please, review Corporate ERP localization guidelines for your subsidiary targeted country. GP is localized for North America (US, Canada, Mexico), plus for Spanish speaking South, Central America and Caribbean basin (it is not localized for Brazil where Brazilian Portuguese is substantially different from Latin American Spanish). It is also localized for English speaking countries worldwide (UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa). Also it is available for some Arabic speaking countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, plus some other countries. GP is often seen implemented in South East Asia and Pacific Oceania, where English is used as the language of business transactions. We do not recommend Great Plains for such countries as China (if you would like to still implement it there, please consider deploying such add-ons as NJ Star), Korea, Japan, Russian Federation, Continental Europe (there are some historical clients still active in Poland and Lithuania – we support these installations). There are also customers across the Europe: France, Germany, Austria with legacy versions of Great Plains – we support these customers, assuming that support is acceptable in English, Spanish or Russian

9. If you feel that your concerns are not addressed or your question is not answered, please feel free to contact our office. Support domestically in the USA, Canada, Mexico and internationally. This option is possible via Web Sessions, Skype or Phone conferences and direct visits onsite (in the case of the large scale project). Our consulting team speaks English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Filipino. Feel free to call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904, or email help@efaru.com

Andrew Karasev is Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, help@efaru.com 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project http://www.efaru.com and founder of Alba Spectrum information space

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