Let's review a 3rd Party addon for Great Plains today. We recently purchased Liaison Messenger http://www.liaisonsc.com/liaisonmessenger.html to automate business form generation and distribution to customers and vendors. Specifically, our ROI will come from automating invoice printing and e-mailing to customers as we generate hundreds of invoices everyday. The cost of the time required to process those invoices and the postage/supplies necessary get them distributed justified the investment in such a system. In time we'll do the same for customer statements and vendor POs. I would recommend that everyone check out this product.
I'll give Messenger 4 out of 5 stars. First, the Liaison Team is outstanding. Every issue we've had or change we've requested has been handled diligently and effectively under our support agreement. Their customer support and service is outstanding and by far the best I've seen from a 3rd Party solution provider. Secondly, Messenger fills a significant gap in GP. Being able to automate invoice distribution helps us to controls costs and turnover assets both of which are critical priorities for our business. There's no doubt that this purchase was a good decision.
The Messenger system is by no means perfect but they know that and are working on improvements. First, it doesn't run as a service but rather as an application so you have to have the Messenger Server installed and running on a PC or Server that is logged into at all times. We are running it on a process server (Not GP Process Server) that performs a variety of functions such as polling new EDI files which also requires an application to be running which can make for a rather unstable or inconsistent environment. I understand that they are currently working with MSFT to build Messenger to run as a service which will eliminate this as an issue.
The second thing that make Messenger less than perfect is the performance. I'll qualify that by saying we are still on GP eEnterprise v7 and I am told that Messenger performs much better with Dynamics GP v9. We have millions of SOP HIST records and print invoices from the History tables so it was taking hours to process a days invoices. If we were using Messenger the way it was designed, against SOP WORK, this problem would not have persisted but we are seeing and working through similar issues with customer statements. To resolve this problem the Messenger support and development team was stellar. They implemented some changes to our system and now our invoices print in minutes. We are working to do the same for statements now. I'll let you know how that turns out.
In summary, regardless of what product you select to help solve your business problems you will run into issues or gaps in functionality. It's inevitable. If you have a need to automate business form generation and distribution I can't recommend Liaison Messenger more highly mostly because their team is dedicated to ensuring that your expectations are met and the product works well in your environment.