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Microsoft Partners take different approaches to advising their Dynamics GP customers

by Linda Rosencrance
Contributing Writer, MSDW
April 05 2019

As Microsoft focuses its digital transformation strategy for business applications around Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and Dynamics 365 Business Central, customers are likely wondering about the fate of Microsoft Dynamics GP.

To be clear, GP has not gone away. The product has a new annual release planned and a roadmap that extends to 2020 and likely beyond. Still, discussions about moving from on-premises GP systems to something else, whether GP in a cloud environment or another SaaS ERP, show no sign of diminishing. So MSDW reached out to several Microsoft partners to find out how they're helping to guide their GP customers on whether to stay the course, listen to the Business Central marketing, or look at other cloud ERPs.

Different GP customer reactions

"What we're seeing with either the GP users or several GP partners that we're talking to is that there are really kind of two camps among users," says Michael Hollingsworth, founder and CEO of Centerprism.

Some GP users are thinking about moving to the cloud, either with Business Central or other cloud ERPs, such as NetSuite, he says. But many others like the application and don't want to transition to the cloud. They're worried about the costs associated with moving their data to the cloud, and about giving up control of their data.

"From a pure accounting perspective, people love Great Plains because it's a robust accounting system," says Andrew King, managing director, WebSan Solutions Inc. "But the problem is that you're getting pressure from Microsoft not to sell GP, [...

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About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. Rosencrance has over 25 years experience as an reporter/investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. Rosencrance has been writing about information technology for the past 16 years.

She has covered a variety of IT subjects, including Microsoft Dynamics, mobile security issues such as data loss prevention, network management, secure mobile app development, privacy, cloud computing, BI, big data, analytics, HR, CRM, ERP, and enterprise IT.

Rosencrance is the author of six true crime books for Kensington Publishing Corp.

Rob
Submitted by rdhansen on Sat, 04/06/2019 - 21:10 Permalink

Not trying to post a rude or biased response, but the decision to adopt Acumatica rather than Business Central is questionable and might be why CAL has not converted any customers to it. It's great that it was born in 2010 as a true cloud solution...but there's no substitute for over 20 years of experience building out the depth of features NAV/BC has. To say it's better to go with a cloud-from-the-outset solution just because of the platform...not the #1 criteria. The depth of functionality in BC...supplemented by the available apps...is massive. And it's not like it's been shoehorned to work in the cloud...it's been significantly restructured to make it optimal for that. Not the best path chosen by CAL...but the lack of customer conversions attests to that.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Don
Submitted by DonPugh on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 12:23 Permalink

A cloud based Great Plains can be easily done with Terminal server and SQL being hosted at a data center. A customer can do this them selves, or use a hosting company such as RoseASP. You get all the "cloud" advantages of backup, remote access, security etc, without the hassles of learning a new system. There is no retraining, because the windows and business process is exactly same. The virtual desktop can have not only the GP application but also Excel, Word, etc. Any old cheap machine can run Remote Desk Top to get there, even a Mac. It is more secure than an html/web based system, because all communications are via a VPN, and no data actually moves over the internet. The GP software base has been tested and debugged for many years, and is solid and full featured. Many clients have been using terminal server like this locally in their own data center for years. Moving to the cloud would not be a big deal. I do not understand why this approach is not used and publicized more widely. Why are folks so enamored with the "Web based / HTML" feature, when they should be focused on solving business needs. So if one wants a real cloud based GP, go to a hosted GP with terminal server. Don Pugh Consultant for GP for over 25 years.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Carol
Submitted by carol.livingst… on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 21:23 Permalink

GP Customers are the most loyal customers that Microsoft has as far as business applications. There is a roadmap from Microsoft for development enhancements with some modern features like Intelligent Edge and Power Platform. I think partners need to help customers understand that they can confidently extend and maximize their investment in GP, move GP to the Cloud and wait out the confusion from Microsoft's push to BC and other partners wanting to convert GP customers to something else. GP is the most flexible and stable package for SMB customers with best ISV's available for maximizing the investment in GP. GP Rocks!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Brenner
Submitted by bklenzman on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 11:48 Permalink

Microsoft has a long history of spending a lot of money on the next thing, pushing partners hard to adopt it, then dropping it. In recent memory just look at Windows Phone and Zune. Going back in time a bit more, we got a taste of this internally with a new accounting package from Microsoft called Office Accounting 2007. We started using it, and on an invitation from Microsoft, started developing Manufacturing functionality for the product. A short time later they "immediately" dropped all support for the product and our development investment was lost (and we had to change accounting software again). We've learned to take a deep breath and stay focused on developing new functionality for Dynamics GP, which has been a reliable mainstay for small to mid-sized manufacturers for decades.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)