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How we revamped Business One demo databases (part 2)

Hellow and welcome back! 

In the How we revamped Business One demo databases I briefed why we initiated a project to build new demo databases. Right now, we’ve completed 15 country versions of OEC Computers, to find out if your country/region is on the list, please check SAP Business One Demo and Evaluation Center (access restricted to SAP Business One Partners).

My blog on this topic doesn’t end here – I’d like to continue sharing how we did this proect and what lessons we learnt. If you want to build a demo database or something with similar approach, this 2nd part of blog is for you.

First thing first, we need an efficient way to replicate data from OEC Computers (SBODemo_US) to other localizations. Considering SAP Business One now has more than 30 localizations, and we need to do localization for most of them, manually copying/inputting/translating isn’t a preferable approach. Then we considered using Copy Express add-on, even though this tool helps copying master data/user settings/general configurations from one database over to another, transactional data is out-of-range. In the end, we focused our eyes back to an “old” add-on tool – DTW (Data Transfer Workbench).

DTW supports importing data for most of Business One data types: general settings, master data as well as transactional documents. You need to prepare several Excel sheets in a specific format beforehand, save them to flat text files (.csv/.txt), feed the files to DTW, then ‘bang’, they’re in the database. Our approach falls into 8 steps:

  1. Preparing raw data: we abstracted the principal data from OEC Computers (SBODemo_US) database. Most of them are master data of Item, Business Partners, BOM, etc. We kept these master data in several groups of Excel sheets (with the format templates provided by DTW). We made additional amends to these Excel sheets, making data concise yet suffecient for demonstrating common Business One functions. You could download the Excel sheets here: 05 Master
  2. Localizing raw data: I call this process “localizing” because it’s more than translating: some data, such as currencies, people names, customer/vendor company names, addresses, telephone numbers… you have to turn them from an “American-look” to a “local-look”. Open the Excel sheets you download above, data columns highlighted in yellow means “need to be localized”
  3. Creating database: we build local versions of OEC Computers from scratch: create a company, choose localization, define posting periods, make general settings…it’s like implementing a mini project. Here’s another upload – a complete walkthrough of building a database: 02 Global Demo Database Localization Guide.doc. Addtional reference for how to define initial settings such as users, item groups, payment terms, please refer: 03 Initial Settings.xls
  4. Importing master data: using Excel sheets build from Step 1 and 2, we could easily import master data via DTW. Quick review of part 1 of this blog: good thing is in every localized database we build, we have same codes of items, customers and vendors; better thing is, item descriptions, customer/vendor names are in local languages, same for contact person’s addresses, telephone numbers, emails…everything expect codes is localized!
  5. Adding opening balance: Again, it’s like implementing a mini project. The localized OEC Computers we build started using Business One since Jan 1, 2006. We assigned opening balances to G/L accounts; we gave initial stock quantity to items. Use this Excel as a guideline: 04 OpengingBalance.xls
  6. Importing transactions: super automatic step! We prepared transactions for 2006 and 2007, in various transactional document types: purchase order, GRPO, A/P invoice, sales quotation, order, delivery, A/R invoice, production order, production goods receipts, sales opportunities, etc. We prepared these transactions in DTW data templates too. Thanks to the unified master data codes, we only need to prepare these Excel sheets once, then we import them to any of the databases we build from previous steps. Transational data sheets download: 06
  7. Manual postings: recurring journal entries, bank payments, year-end-closing, we preferred doing these manually and periodically – to give a max flexibility to every country we localized. Guide line could be found from upload document in step 3
  8. Test, adjust, refine and roll!

Whew! This is the “simple” procedure we used to build local versions of OEC Computers. I’ve shared the complete “localization tool-kit” with you through above steps, hope they’re helpful in case you’re considering building you own demo database.

It was not the first time I used DTW, but the first time for me to use DTW so much, so heavily. I collected quite a few tips and tricks on using this tool through out the entire project, which I love to share with you in part 3 (the last part) of this blog, please stay tuned!

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