Sunset for Microsoft Dynamics GP Business Portal

With last week’s release of GP 2015, Business Portal is now officially a dead product destined to remain in history with GP 2013 R2 for it’s final resting place.  This relatively complex product built on Active X, SharePoint, Web Services and of course GP will probably continue to server many of our customers and colleagues for a few more years as the transition to GP 2015 slowly marches forward.

In its final iteration we were presented with two options for installation, both in 64-bit, but built to accommodate the two supported flavors of SharePoint.  Business Portal 6.0 for SharePoint 2010 with Service Pack 2 and Business Portal 6.1 for SharePoint 2013. One caveat being that you must set SharePoint 2013 in 2010 visual mode which in my opinion more or less defeats the point of installing 6.1 in the first place.  Certainly there will be circumstances where 6.1 is required and I applaud Microsoft for making options available.

Installing BP can be accomplished in many different ways across multiple servers and in several combinations, however if simplicity is your game (and it should be since you’re not going to be using this product for long) then installing BP on your GP SQL server is the way to go.  It not only negates the need for an annoying Kerberos authentication configuration to make the KPI functionality with SRS work correctly, but also seems to side step some of the existing bugs with the Business Portal installation process.  Bugs that leave the BSS and HRM installations lacking files or configuration options in some cases.  While all of these issues have work-arounds or procedures to overcome them, how much of this kind of effort do you want to exert in the installation of a disappearing product?

Finally, there are two very helpful tips I have for you should you find yourself installing this for perhaps your last time. The first relates to the Active X control.  It’s a bugger to install sometimes on modern versions of Internet Explorer with it’s increased focus on secure browsing.  Save yourself the hassle and just make it a manual install.  The MSI is located in the installation files in PreReqs\ActiveXControl.  Typically I copy the folder on to the server and make it a public share.  Then you can either instruct your users to install it themselves or have IT setup a group policy to complete the install at next login.  The second tip relates to BSS if you’re using it.  A recent patch exists which addresses a flaw in the way BP queries the database for displaying BSS details.  Save yourself the trouble of discovering this error during configuration and just apply the patch after install.  You or your Partner can download the patch here: https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/northamerica/deployment/downloads/service-packs/MDGP2013_BP60_patchreleases

Here’s hoping for successful last installs of Business Portal and for robust HRM and BSS features in GP 2015 – more on that to come.

For more information contact Andy Casper, SharePoint & Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant with Premier Computing.