I recently attended reImagine2014, a Microsoft event directed to GP partners. This event provided a sneak peak at Dynamics GP 2015 for consultants, developers, and sales people. While there are many good features and functionality being delivered in GP 2015, there is one that really stands out in the crowd – Service Based Architecture (SBA).

I would love to be able to show you many screen shots of this new feature, but unfortunately, it’s not a feature that has a pretty face to show off.   However, it definitely has the ability to change how you use Dynamics GP and potentially how you do your business. My hope is that, by reading this, I can provide you with an overview of SBA, why Microsoft added it to Dynamics GP, and how you could use it.

So, what is Service Based Architecture? Service Based Architecture is a functionality delivered as a service call over https that adheres to the pattern of Service Oriented Architecture. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a software design and software architecture design pattern based on distinct pieces of software providing application functionality as services to other applications. In layman’s terms, it is a service that exposes functionality in Dynamics GP that can be accessed using a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier). This means a user or consultant could use this to access a SOP Order.

Why Service Based Architecture? The main purpose for Microsoft adding this feature is access to your data from anywhere at any time. Access to your data from any number of devices, including mobile devices, is now easier to implement with Service Based Architecture.

I think the best way to explain is to provide some factoids from reImagine2014:

Cloud

  • The worldwide cloud computing market will grow at a 36% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5B by 2016.
  • Azure becomes #2 cloud provider with 162% growth in Q2, 2014

Mobile

  • 81% Growth of smartphone usage in 20121
  • 70% Growth of global mobile data traffic in 20121
  • 51% Traffic on mobile devices from video in 20121
  • 45% American adults who own a smartphone2
  • 44% Cell phone owners who have slept with their phone nearby because they didn’t want to miss a notification.

How could Service Based Architecture benefit your business? In a demo of one of the sessions for Service Based Architecture, they demonstrated posting an Inventory batch in Dynamics GP 2015 from a mobile device. Being able to access and manipulate your data from multiple devices from multiple locations is very powerful and flexible. If your organization has invested money in a third party product or custom code using Dexterity, then that investment is not in vain. Microsoft added functionality to be able to extend Dexterity based applications using Service Based Architecture. You might ask: if I’m accessing data on a phone or iPad, is it secure? The answer to that is yes; Service Based Architecture is built on a secure platform and uses HTTPS.

This is a very high level look at Service Based Architecture. I hope I was able to at least provide a basic understanding of its power and flexibility. There is a reason I believe this is the most powerful feature added to Dynamics GP 2015. It allows logic in any dictionary, including ISV products, to be exposed as service operations. As you think about what your business can do with Service Based Architecture, think big. Narrow your focus as you go and refine what you need, but certainly don’t limit yourself.

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