Long Live Dynamics GP! 

News and information move very fast these days and unfortunately, misinformation moves just as a fast. Such is the case with the recurring, and somewhat bizarre claim, that Microsoft Dynamics GP is “dead”, “retired”, or in the latest case “in maintenance mode”.

This latest claims comes from an MVP, Mark Brummel, whose blog post “All roads lead to Sweden with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central” makes the incredible claim that “Great Plains and Solomon are retired and in maintenance mode. Sorry guys. There are extensions that can help migrate data from GP and SL into BC”.

No source is given for this information, and at the time of this writing, the above quote has been carefully removed from the post without any notice of the correction, but the evidence of its original state is easily found through a web search of the responses.

 

First to jump on this was Belinda Allen, an MVP specializing in Dynamics GP, who posted “The Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP”. Belinda had reached out the Jeff Trosen, an Engineering Manager at Microsoft, who quickly responded that “GP Engineering is happily working on features for the fall release of GP, we did not go into maintenance mode. If you look at our communications on GP, nothing has changed.”

 

David Musgrave, a long time Dynamics GP consultant, posted “The future of Microsoft Dynamics GP …. again!” to also set the record straight, along with noted GP blogger Mariano Gomez “Microsoft Dynamics GP is not in “Maintenance Mode

 

It’s Not the First Time

At first thought, this seems like a trivial matter. That was before I read David Musgrave’s post about this being a recurring thing, and so I dug around the web to see what I could find, and in minutes was able to find a posting from early 2017, “Dynamics GP – Fear and Loathing in the Dynamics 365 World”, with claims that Microsoft is will “…kill off the Dynamics GP product line…” and “It’s foolish to assume Microsoft will continue to develop aging legacy products such as Dynamics GP…”. Their evidence of these claims is based on assumptions from Microsoft’s behavior in promoting other Dynamics products such SL, NAV, AX, etc. and the lack of a road past 2018. Yes, you read that right, the lack of a road map past 2018 at very start of 2017, with 23 months to go, was used to justify claims that Dynamics GP would fade away.

The Roadmap of the Future

What is the truth? Where is Dynamics GP headed? In March 2017, barely 6 weeks after the two postings I mentioned prior, Microsoft releases the updated Dynamics GP Roadmap at the GPUP Amplify conference.

Here Microsoft outlines a clear intent to continue development of Dynamics GP through 2019, and beyond. Indicated by the plus symbol that follows 2019, this was a subtle, yet effective inclusion to quell rumors and speculation. This plus symbol was also present on the first 2016 roadmap, but was missing on another later roadmap, likely by accident. Regardless, the Dynamics GP roadmap has always generally extended a year or two beyond the roadmaps of other Microsoft products, of which none are planned to be retired anytime soon.

Looking at the bigger picture, Microsoft Dynamics GP remains a highly profitable product which a very active customer base and partner community with the support of well over 1000 ISVs.

While the roadmap doesn’t say much, customer demands for new features and customizations remains high with hundreds of new enhancements added in the time span between the release GP 2013R2 and now. New features such as Azure backups, Web Client, Identity Management, Workflow, Doc Attach, Named System Database, Multi-tenancy, PowerShell extensions, Service Based Architecture, Business Analyzer, Power BI integration, OData, and so on.

Below is a short list of some of the enhancements for Dynamics GP 2018:
  • One systems manager login allows multiple system access from a single login.
  • Expanded document attach capabilities which add the ability to attachment document to many transaction entry and inquiry forms.
  • User enhancements for sorting and smart lists.
  • Workflow 4.0 which greatly improves and expands workflow functionality to GL account, and purchases, receives and invoices.
  • Improved Business Intelligence support with OData paging and filtering capabilities.
  • Several enhancements to the vendor maintenance, user access of Trx dimensions, payables management, purchase orders, requisitions, and employee payroll records.

What about Dynamics Online?

Microsoft has been touting a “Cloud and mobile first” strategy with the with Dynamics 365 Finance, Operations, and Business Central. The existence of these products doesn’t change anything, nor can they replacement Dynamics GP. Dynamics GP remains usable hosted on a cloud and many companies have compelling reasons to keep their Dynamics GP systems on a private network or cloud.

Customizing Microsoft Dynamics GP

As if the incorrect blog statement I first mentioned wasn’t enough, it was followed by a second follow up blog post, “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ≠ Microsoft Dynamics NAV,” in which an opinion of two brands of sport utility vehicles is used as an analogy to Dynamics GP stating “The [Land Rover] Discovery is a poor man’s Range Rover. It will still take you anywhere you want. They are not as customizable as Defenders and don’t hold their economic value over a longer period.”

This is simply not true at all. Microsoft Dynamics GP has a good number of customization routes available. Form and scripts can be added through Dexterity, forms can be changed through Modifier, Addons can be coded in C#, and while limited to the desktop, customization using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) remains available. There is no decline in the “economic value” of Dynamics GP as it had continued to grow with new customers along with customer growth, the number ISVs, and Dynamics GP Partners has grown as well, provided customer with applications enhancements and company specific custom modifications.

Need Help?

A good Dynamics Partner like KTL Solutions has the knowledge and experience to help with migration, deployment, customization development, and support for Dynamics 365. KTL Solutions understands that every organization is unique with its challenges and needs.  Our experience working with hundreds of clients will provide best practices, recommend improvements, and software customizations you need to help your business succeed. To get your business solutions on track get in touch with KTL today.

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