For quite some time there has been a lot of buzz on how the soon-to-be launched Dynamics 365 compared to Dynamics GP and if it is GP’s replacement. After participating in ReIMAGINE, Microsoft’s premier Dynamics GP Partner Conference, last week the differences became apparent and each solution will address the needs of their target audiences for years to come.
Dynamics GP is Not Going Away
Rest assured, the message from Microsoft is that development on Dynamics GP will continue as long as customers still want it and Partners keep selling it. The product road map for the Dynamics solutions (shown above) was shared at the conference and the product road map for Dynamics GP shows ongoing development to 2019 and beyond.
But beyond Microsoft’s announcement we think that Dynamics GP will most likely be developed even more so by partners than it ever has been in the past. Customers direct their Partners on how they want their ERP solution to work and the platform supports the transformation of those ideas into new functionality for improved business processes and industry specific needs.
So why keeping Dynamics GP makes sense for Microsoft:
- Protects the Microsoft stack – GP sits on Windows and runs on SQL and Office. The message of “One Microsoft” is still intact but is changing in order to stay relevant. GP protects the stack and Dynamics 365 is trying to keep or gain customers who don’t want to own or manage the stack themselves.
- Proven solution – GP is built on accepted business processes developed over 20 years. We are confident that Dynamics 365 will offer great value to its users because that is what Microsoft is known for and it won’t change in any shape, form or fashion, but the tenure of GP gives customers an extra level of confidence.
- No one size fits all – No single solution has a path that supports every permutation of customers’ needs. That is why Dynamics GP has the strong Partner and ISV community built over decades. Microsoft is interested in providing the general functionality but needs to rely on Partners to provide the unique features, fit and finish that customers want. It will take some time for Dynamics 365 to have the same Partner and ISV involvement that GP has today.
So What is Dynamics 365?
Debuting this fall, Dynamics 365 – Business Edition is a SaaS-based business management solution for small & mid-sized businesses that runs on Microsoft Azure. Fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365, Dynamics 365 – Business Edition is a new entrant in the space from Microsoft to compete against other cloud-based solutions such as QuickBooks and Xero. Designed under the previous code name of Project Madeira, the initial release of Dynamics 365 will focus primarily on the financial modules of GL, AP and AR. There won’t be customization capabilities but additional modules from Microsoft such as payroll (which isn’t available with the initial release) and enhancements / solutions offered through ISV partners will be downloaded from an App store as they become available in the future. The beauty of Dynamics 365 as a SAAS solution is that Microsoft can push out enhancements or bug fixes automatically to the system without user intervention and it has been designed to work anywhere at any time on any device. Customers pay monthly for the service (cost per user per month) and there is no upfront cost for hardware, SQL Server, or other platform components which eliminates the higher upfront cost associated with an on-premise solution. So Dynamics 365 is a good fit for those wanting a cloud-based solution that they pay monthly for and who do not have complex needs.
Reasons to Stay on Dynamics GP
Dynamics GP, with over two decades of development history, has rich functionality with a full suite of modules, hundreds of ISV solutions that integrate with it, customization capabilities and multiple reporting options. Customers who are using Dynamics GP with manufacturing, sales, inventory, service management, payroll or human resources, or are using an ISV solution to meet a required need today most likely won’t be a good fit for Dynamics 365 until additional functionality is built into Dynamics 365 and/or ISV partners get their solutions built to work with it and downloadable as an app. GP provides flexible deployment options. If there is a desire to not have the maintenance responsibility of an on-premise solution or a desire to pay for the Dynamics GP solution monthly, then there are several partners and options available to host Dynamics GP along with integrated ISV solutions, customizations, etc. for you out in the cloud and to pay monthly for it. Just please let us know and we can help you with that.
While Dynamics 365 is an exciting announcement and offers a solution to compete in the SAAS market, it most likely won’t be a replacement, at least in the near future, for Dynamics GP users who have requirements beyond core financials. The products are positioned for different audiences. Microsoft has assured the GP community that Dynamics GP will continue on as long as there is interest in it. So the decision on which product is best for you really depends on your needs.
If you would like to discuss your needs and see which solution is a better fit for you, then please give us a call at 218-486-5095 and we would be happy to help you.