SAP Business One Modifications Combining User Defined Settings and SDK Programming

Published: 16th November 2011
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This is true that Business One allows you add user defined fields to existing tables and create new tables with automatically available user interface. And this fact is sometimes emphasized in executive presentations and presented as complete flexibility and customizability. Modified business logic should be analyzed on several parameters. First one is the question: ‘Do we need just additional field in user interface for reporting purposes or it should be animated via our own programming?’ If the answer inclines to be ‘only for reporting’ then it is probably fair to rely on User defined objects in Settings. However in real life situations you often need user defined tables and fields for integrations with external business management applications. If the word ‘integration’ is present in your business requirements then you should not buy the promise to modify your SB1 without single line of C# or VB code. Let’s take a look at typical SAP B1 customization project in some details:

1. Integration specification. Let’s assume that you have external Ecommerce, EDI (with proprietary format where commercial EDI products do not support it). Here you have to feed Shopping Cart or EDI into Sales Order tables cluster. There are several ways to upload the batch of shopping carts into SAP B1. Popular ones are web service and http post. Both methods are computer platform neutral and you may call web service or http post from MS Windows server and pull data in the XML or text format from Linux, Unix, MySQL on PHP and other computing frameworks

2. User Defined Tables. This paragraph doesn’t require any programming. Following the previous paragraph described requirements we usually recommend to bring SOAP XML web service originated records into user defined table as looping through one-by-one download might be time consuming. Here is how you create new user defined table in settings. Please in user interface follow the path: Tools -> Customization Tools -> User Defined Tables Setup. If you are planning to feed in sales order or invoices we recommend you to review ORDR (Sales Order Header) and RDR1 (Order Lines) tables and their required field

3. Additional User Defined Fields to existing tables. Let’s now consider more sophisticated scenario where you would like to alter standard sales order business logic. For example you would like to provide alternative cost levels for financial, managerial and amortization cost accounting. Then you need to add new cost level fields to Inventory Item (OITM) and Order Lines (RDR1) tables respectively. And now how you add the user defined field to existing table: Tools -> Customization Tools -> User Defined Fields Management. From here you might need some help for directions. Sales Order lines table should be accessed by expanding Marketing Documents (a bit misleading direction, isn’t it?) and from here highlight rows and click on Add button in the bottom. And here you go with adding new fields to RDR1 table and OITM as well

4. SDK programming. Now we have to program the integration from web service call or http post. As a fresh air we would like to share some observations. Http post was one of the most important EDI and ecommerce shopping cart integration technologies back in late 1990th and earlier 2000th. Web Service SOAP protocol was designed as an alternative to http post however http post is still very popular in the second decade of the XXI century as it was reliably programmed in Java Applets and others non-Microsoft technologies. Whatever is you preference you program in SDK download shopping carts to newly created user defined table and then you begin creation of Sales Orders one by one

5. Reports design with User Defined Fields and Tables. As you might be aware SAP acquired Business Objects and its product Crystal Reports and now it is recommended as replacement to Microsoft Excel reporting. In our opinion reporting tool selection is up to you assuming that your preferred tool is comfortable to pull data from Microsoft SQL Server company database. If you are reports designer we recommend to base your CR on SQL View or Stored Procedure where Stored Procedure is more powerful as it allows you to create temporary tables in order to produce final records set. Such tools as Crystal Reports, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (web based interface advantage probably), MS Access report over ODBC or even Microsoft Excel should be able to do the job

6. SAP BO customization on the international market. If you are expanding internationally with the need to implement accounting package in such regions as Brazil, China or Russia then SB1 is a good fit as it is localized in the majority of international regions

7. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representatives pick up the phone in Naperville and St. Joseph, MI call center). We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese. One of our experiences is international Corporate ERP and Consolidated Financial reporting

Andrew Karasev is SAP Business One consultant and Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, MCSE and MSDBA, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project and founder of Alba Spectrum information space

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