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What Microsoft can learn about cloud ERP adoption from veteran ISVs

by Jason Gumpert

How does Microsoft encourage a happy on-premises ERP customer to move to a cloud ERP platform? In the case of organizations running Dynamics GP, the answer after several years of trying appears to be: with care and patience. One winning tactic for Microsoft could be to embrace the independent solution vendors (ISVs) that have both a successful on-prem legacy and a promising plan for a future in the cloud. These organizations, which have earned the trust of long-time Microsoft customers and may have more to teach about making cloud ERP a reality for more organizations.

Cavallo, makers of the popular SalesPad distribution and order management suite for Dynamics GP, also have a new and more focused set of offerings for Dynamics 365 Business Central. At their recent PANELS’23 conference, they provided an update to customers and partners about both their continuing commitment to their GP-based products and their roadmap aligned with Business Central. The company’s BC plans build on some of their most popular and sophisticated offerings, but not all of their GP-focused modules will be going to the cloud.

Delivering a Business Central-focused solution portfolio

Cavallo’s Business Central plans focus on their core strengths and a more targeted feature footprint that will look different from SalesPad, company officials told the PANELS’23 audience. A modular set of solutions for BC will include Order Management Dashboard, Order Management Workflow, Order Entry, and Customer Management, along with credit card processing powered by Nodus. In areas like warehouse management and shipping, the company plans to build partnerships with other established BC ISVs.

Their Business Central roadmap calls for a range of features in the next two quarters, including support for custom fields, bulk actions, business rules notification, and the launch of the Order Management Dashboard. Further into the future, the company will also launch their distribution-focused Profit and Margin Analytics package as well as more advanced order splitting capabilities, more support for Power Automate, and additional payment integrations.

GP users want clarity

Microsoft’s guidance on the future of Dynamics GP has been prone to confusion, sometimes by accident and other times intentionally. Cavallo VP Bob McAdam wanted to make sure the audience at Cavallo’s PANELS’23 event, which included a substantial GP-focused contingent, would gain total clarity about the ERP product’s future.

“Make sure you are not getting the wrong information,” McAdam urged the audience. It could come in the form of disinformation from competing ERP vendors, guidance from misinformed Microsoft partners, or perhaps a user who hasn’t followed the latest updates. But McAdam re-iterated Microsoft’s latest plans, including the shift to the Modern Lifecycle support model and a commitment to continue to support and update the software at least until 2028 for existing customers.

Older versions of GP do have end dates for support, with extended support for GP 2015 R2 ending in April 2025 and extended support for GP 2018 R2 ending in January 2028.

But McAdam told MSDW that Cavallo is showing that the good news on GP’s stability can be paired with a message about the future of mid-market ERP in the Microsoft channel through D365 Business Central. He thinks most GP users are at least open to hearing the perspective, even if they have no plans to change course.

“I think a majority of our customers are looking to stay put on Dynamics GP,” he said. But a well-attended panel at the event on moving from GP to BC suggests that more users are starting to change their perspective. “There's enough pressure being placed on them by Microsoft and partners where they're at least contemplating what potentially they could be doing. But I still think that the majority of our customers will stay put for now…Because some of these [organizations] are so invested [in GP] between customizations, integrations, the time they've put in for them to move would be really a big, big deal.”

Matt Abbott, Cavallo’s chief strategy officer acknowledges that the company will be serving customers on two ERP products, with an increasing number transitioning away from GP in the coming years.

“We find ourselves in a balancing act,” said Abbott. “We want to encourage people to start making the move, but they have to find that inflection point where we've addressed enough of their needs to do it. And so it's critically important, but also a challenge for us: educating customers on what BC can do, what other ISVs can do.”

The company has always partnered with other ISVs to some degree, Abbott said, but the world of Business Central has increased the importance of finding aligned vendors in a product ecosystem with many mature solutions. “We have over time made conscious decisions to partner rather than develop, but that's accelerated in the BC space,” he said. “In BC, we're not going to do warehouse management, we're not going to do shipping. It doesn't make sense for us to do that. There are other great ISVs out there that we are already working very closely with [in those areas].”

GP customers weigh their options

Jason Jasperson, executive vice president at National Band Saw, a major independent manufacturer and supplier of replacement parts for the food machinery service industry, says that the benefits his firm gains from running GP and SalesPad on-premises mean they have no plans to change ERPs. The latest multi-year outlook for GP gives them confidence in the investments they have made.

“We have no interest [in Business Central] at this time. Having our own on-premises service like we do right now, it has its limitations and its glitches. It also has its advantages. The advantages that BC offers at this point in time, for us as a single location with no outside or remote workers, just are not there. With all the limitations that GP has, which is why SalesPad's successful for us, they are the limitations that we have learned to work with.” he said.

Jasperson added that understanding Microsoft’s support outlook for GP helps in planning for his firm’s operations. “Knowing that Microsoft is committed to at least keeping the desktop on-premises version going for a few more years is definitely encouraging. The other factor for us is that we have financial investments in hardware that is on the relatively new side. So I think, outside of a server or hardware issue, we will be GP- based for the foreseeable future.”

Lewis Yuan, director of operations at chemicals company Chem-Impex International, a GP and Salespad customer, noted that getting clarity on Microsoft’s plans for supporting GP was important for his long-term IT plans. Whether it was intentional or not, confusion in the marketplace over extended support end dates and the modern lifecycle model left questions about how long they could stay on GP.

“GP 2015 might reach end of support in 2025, but if we upgrade to GP 2018 R2 or [newer] versions we'll be fine at least until 2028,” he said, adding that the organization is not likely to change ERPs for at least five more years, perhaps more. “I think if we were to upgrade, I think D365 Business Central would be the ideal next step. Only because one, we already have built this tech ecosystem around GP, including SalesPad capabilities. If we were to move to SAP or something else, we obviously couldn't use SalesPad anymore. We'd have to figure out, okay, how to redo a lot of business processes with the different ERP system?”

Experts eager for parity in BC and beyond

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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