30 March 2009

Weekly Dynamic: Dynamics GP 10 Roles vs. Classes

In Dynamics GP 10, the User Class functionality that was previously used to assign security to groups of users has been superseded by the new role based security design in Microsoft Dynamics GP 10. But, user classes still exist as part of the user setup. Lets look at what purpose User Classes still serve in GP 10. The move to role based security means that classes are now divorced from their primary security role and it proves to be a good breakup because it adds flexibility to the system.

One area that still relies on User Classes is Organizational Structures. Organizational Structures are used to control access to accounts when Account Security is turned on. A user class is assigned to a level in the organizational structure. This limits the accounts in the chart of accounts that are available to a class of users and can be much simpler than adding individual users. For example, a set of AR users assigned to Division 1 can be put in a Division 1 class tied to an organizational structure that limits their chart of accounts access to Division 1 P&L accounts and company wide balance sheet accounts. This means that AR users and AR supervisors could be in one class even though they have different security roles. [One caveat, turning on Account Security without defining organizationl structures makes it look like the chart of accounts has been wiped out so turn this feature on carefully.]

Additionally, user classes provide two benefits in SmartLists. First, users can make a SmartList favorite visible only to their class. Previously this would have meant that an AP clerk would have access to a favorite but not an AP supervisor since they might be in different classes for security. That's less likely now that each would have a separate security role. This shows the added flexibility that classes bring to the new role based security structure.

Second, the system administrator can force Navigation Bar shortcuts like SmartLists down to user classes. When this is done, the individual user cannot remove these shortcuts. This means that it's easier for the administrator to ensure that all related users have a common subset of shortcuts. For example, it's easy now for a company to put a shortcut to an office supplies ordering website on all Purchasing user class members regarless of their level in the organization.

Contrary to my initial thoughts that Role Based Security in Dynamics GP 10 would make user classes obsolete, the opposite has happened. The continued presence of user classes has actually added flexibility to the system.