When the author got his first position as the Great Plains Technical Support Consultant back in the 1990s, the standard was phone calls to the Great Plains Software Support Center in Fargo, ND. Somewhere around the previous 2000 consultants already preferred to open support cases directly on Partner Source via web forms.
Today if you are a final customer - consider opening the case on customer source. Well, this is good news, but it can be a complication for you, as the customer receives support directly from Microsoft Business Solutions. In this little paper we want to come back to support options and the media. Lets start with the recommendations, where your company does not have the current annual support agreement with Microsoft:
You do not have an annual support agreement. Well, that does not mean you can not get support directly from MBS. You can, but have your credit card ready when you call and expect full list price (if you have a support agreement, the case may be included in the plan or you have a big discount per case). Unfortunately, you can not self-help by searching the Knowledge Base (formerly known as techknowledge)
You have current support plan with Microsoft, but you have an outdated version, such as 8.0, 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, 4.0. Microsoft may be in place just to make a recommendation to call one of the technical partners, who still support older releases. You should understand that MBS can not support any ever released versions (it must train and certify its techniques to be able to support version, the majority of support requests are associated with some new versions to understand the challenge)
Whos out there to help me with my old Great Plains version? Well, usually the reseller carrying consultants with ten plus years of active practice offers old edition support. The oldest versions weve ever seen over the past five years were Great Plains DOS (9.5, 9.2, a customer was on GPA on Mac and one used the Windows GPA 9.5 interface). There are a certain number of customers on the Great Plains Dynamics Select on Pervasive SQL 2000: 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5 (and some of them on fairly old versions 5.0 and 4.0, where the database platform was Btrieve - in Essentially, it is the predecessor of Pervasive)
Popular support issues. Current versions 2010 / 11.0, 10.0, 9.0 are quite stable, where old known issues are solved (or working around suggested and included in the user interface). If you are in the old release, popular topics are: Batch Recovery, Ghost User Delete (to enable user login to the system), data recovery via SQL Server Management Studio 2008/2005 (or Query Analyzer in SQL 2000), MS Access ODBC -linked tables (for Pervasive SQL / Btrieve or Ctree). We also have a fair share of FRx technical advice (G32 files deletion and recreation, Sysdata move, corrupt directory file export and recreation). If you are on Pervasive SQL 2000, you may need to call in case you move your Dynamics folder (with system and company folders) and you receive error messages about Location Translation. Report Writer Reports.dic file often requires consultant contact (do it centrally by placing this dictionary in the network - settings must be changed in Dynamics.set file, rebuild corrupt glossaries via export and re-import of all report definitions)
Efficiency, eConnect, VBA Modifier, Integration Manager with VBA, Extender Adaptation and Modification Support. Here you need to locate VAR or ISV, which has Personality Programmers (as well as eConnect, Extender, VBA Encoder). You need to do your homework, but as a general observation - only regional and nationwide retailers have the luxury of carrying the diligence development plant with access to so-called source code (Dynamics.dic with scalability codes that are not removed and available to trusted programmers)
FAQ for remote support. Please read whitepapers on web sessions and their techniques. Such tools like Gotomeeting (Citrix) let you open the web session, invite the consultant, share the desktop (allowing the consultant to take control of your keyboard and mouse) and let him / her do the job as if the consultant is sitting next to you in your office cabinet. Web sites and such things are phone conferences (Skype, Tango, Microsoft Office Communication Services), so you can have virtually free VOIP phone forums, including customers in remote US and Canada rural areas and internationally (provided your foreign site has decent Internet bandwidth). Skype and other VOIP tools also provide the opportunity to showcase your consultant phase and imitating via the webcam (this is usually the accessory for modern laptop or desktop Windows 7 computer)