This is article 1 of 7 from the series Microsoft Dynamics GP Architectural Foundations Series - featuring Microsoft's Tim Brookins
Tim's whitepaper was originally published in 1999 and it's reproduced here with his permission.
Microsoft Dynamics GP Architectural Foundations SeriesIntroduction
Business managers have an overwhelming challenge in evaluating new business management systems. Even a minimal evaluation of product functionality and technology can be a huge undertaking. However, as Chief Architect at Great Plains, I urge you to expand your evaluation past the basics of functionality and technology into the area of product architecture.
Product architecture describes how the various pieces of the business system are assembled and integrated with each other. You may be wondering: “Why should I care how the business management system is designed?” Architecture is important to your evaluation because a product with a solid architecture will move gracefully into the future, while a product with a poor architecture will be unable to move forward with advances in functionality or technology.
This document addresses not only the important area of product architecture, but also describes the basic foundations and philosophies of the architecture. In other words, we describe why the Dynamics architecture was constructed in its current form.
The importance of these three areas (existing functionality and technology, product architecture, and philosophies of the architecture) can best be described by way of analogy. Instead of buying a business management system, consider an example where your business was acquiring another company. Of course, you would spend a great deal of time studying the other company’s current sales, profitability, and general financial health. I would equate this to the basic evaluation of a business management system’s existing functionality and technology.
In addition, before the purchase you would want to…