Another Upgrade Already? A Guide on Which Dynamics GP Upgrade is Right for You

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Does this scenario sound familiar?

For the past six months, you’ve worked to successfully implement Dynamics GP. Now the implementation is done and you finally know the product well enough to be getting useful data from it. Just when everything is going smoothly, your partner calls and says a new version of the product has just been released and its time to schedule your update.

Wait, I just invested thousands of dollars to get my system installed and running, and now I have to change?

Maybe upgrading is for the best or maybe you don’t need to. Here’s what you need to know about the different versions, as well as the benefits and risks of constantly updating and how it will impact your understanding of the product and its costs.

The Need for Speedy Upgrades

Microsoft Dynamics GP has committed a hefty amount of time and money to its software community, providing upgrades approximately every six months. Your continued enrollment in the Software Maintenance Program is what entitles you to receive these upgrades, service packs, and software fixes from their development teams at no additional fee. It is not uncommon for a customer to have purchased Dynamics GP over 10 years ago and be using today’s version, 2013R2. This delivers tremendous value and ensures that your system benefits from all the improvements, current technologies and product enhancements.

While there are many advantages, the downside can be that it requires many hours of conversion and database validation to take on a major upgrade. Also, if you have custom reports, you may need to re-format these due to database changes. If this is the case, customizations may need to be recoded and redeployed for use.

Oftentimes, ISV third-party modules are not available at the initial release of the new version and you may have to wait a few months for them to catch up. This may limit your options in regards to upgrading and/or impact scheduling.

The Features Just Keep on Coming

With each new release, Microsoft publishes documentation of changes and enhancements, including any database updates. It is very important that you review this list with your IT manager to determine any necessary changes to your infrastructure, such as deploying a new operating system or obtaining a more current version of a software package such as Microsoft Office.

Once you have determined the impact and costs for any needed changes, you can then weigh this information against the value from new features and functions and decide when and if you will upgrade. It is not uncommon for some firms to skip versions where little or no value to them would be gained.  However, this creates other challenges in terms of support and “bug” fixes.  For this reason alone, it is always best if the product is maintained at the most current version.

From version 2013 to 2013R2, hundreds of enhancements were provided, such as:

-Sending attached documents in emails directly from Dynamics GP

-The ability to select which printer destination you want at the time of printing

-Save the “sort order” of lookups

-Use SmartList Designer to create new smartlists based on an existing smartlist

-The ability to reprint payable forms and check stubs

-Support for form 1096

-Combine vendors and edit vendor IDs

-Select multiple serial numbers at one time in distribution modules

-Purchase orders now support prepayments

There are always some limitations as to how long your partner can support multiple versions of a product.  Most partners and ISVs support the current version and previous two. It is important that you are familiar with your partner’s policies and capabilities.

Final Thoughts

Certainly, there are ongoing costs and time investments in keeping your version of Dynamics GP current. However, this is your best option for many reasons.  You are assured of the most stable and bug-free code, that you have all of the current technology links and most current features and thus are getting the best value from your system.  In the long run, your total cost of ownership is far less than if you skip releases and try to catch up later, especially once you factor in any support costs.  Dynamics GP is a community and by maintaining the most current version, you are actively participating in that community and allowing your team to gain all the advantages that Microsoft, your VAR and the ISVs have to offer.

About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a Certified Microsoft Partner. Journyx maximizes the value of Microsoft Dynamics by adding enterprise time tracking. Journyx Accountlink for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to quickly implement a complete time tracking solution using existing business data in Dynamics. Connect with Curt on Google+.

by Journyx

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