Dynamics 365 versus Dynamics GP – Not Necessarily Better, Definitely Different

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Everyone is talking about it.  Does the release of Dynamics 365 signal the end of Microsoft Dynamics GP?


crowd-goes-wildThe answer from Microsoft is a resounding NO. In fact, the theme “GP GOES FORWARD” was emphasized over and over again to the hundreds of Dynamics GP partners gathered in Fargo this week.  Errol Schoenfish, the Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft, even had the entire crowd of more than 400 Dynamics GP partners get out of their seats, stand up, and repeat “GP Goes Forward” to really drive home the message.


Errol discussed product lifecycle and showed an updated product roadmap of the entire Microsoft Dynamics portfolio of products.




The roadmap clearly points to future development of Dynamics GP. Errol made sure to point out that there are dots to show the product moving forward after 2017 and an arrow on the Dynamics GP track just like all the other products.  (The focus on the dots was a reference to earlier this year, when Microsoft released a rather ambiguous image without the dots and arrows that caused quite a bit of to do.)


Another Microsoft executive, and long time Dynamics GP supporter, Pam Misialek, told the audience that “[Microsoft] will keep developing Dynamics GP as long as [Partners] keep selling it.” Since there are literally thousands of Dynamics GP resellers and tens of thousands of users, that should be a very, very long time.


So what is Dynamics 365?

Microsoft is saying that Dynamics 365 Business Edition (formerly called Project Madeira) is an alternative to Dynamics GP.  It is for customers who want a SaaS (cloud) only model, and do not want an on premise system. For example, companies coming off of QuickBooks online that want to stay online but also want a good product.  There may also be some existing Dynamics GP customers that want to move to Dynamics 365 in order to get into the cloud, and there will apparently be a conversion path.  But Dynamics 365 is not an upgrade to Dynamics GP.  It is not necessarily better, it is just different.


I've only heard US pricing for Dynamics 365 so far but the Business Edition seems to be reasonably priced.  The official release of the product is October 11th at Summit 2016.  Then we will have all the details (and hopefully a Canadian price list).


There will be both a Business Edition and an Enterprise Edition of Dynamics 365. The business edition is really just core financials including GL, AP, AR, Fixed Assets. There is also a project (Job Cost) module, inventory, and some supply chain management such as purchasing.  I haven't dug in yet, but I did also see some references to currency so I am assuming there is multicurrency functionality.


One thing that I do like is that it fits inside a lot of the activities that you are already doing.  You can view information directly from Outlook, either the Office 365 web client or the fat client on your desktop. You will be able to open an email from a customer, click on the Dynamics 365 link, and it will automatically bring up a pane inside Outlook that gives you a current graphical snapshot of that customer.  The same can be done for vendors.


An example they showed was an email from a customer looking for a quote.  With the email open on the screen, the user can click on the Dynamics 365 link and see everything about the customer - including how much they owe, their outstanding quotes and more.  Then the user can click on “New Quote”, build the quote in the pane and reply to the email with a PDF form and all of that is written back to Dynamics 365.  It was pretty slick.


There are some shortcomings to Dynamics 365 as far as I can see. There is no payroll yet, but they are apparently trying really hard to get it in there (No mention about US vs Canadian).  They don't do manufacturing, but they do have a project or a job-costing module. It was said that the reports in Dynamics 365 are very, very lean.  However, Microsoft is working with an ISV (add on product) vendor to improve that.  (Yet another JetReports integration opportunity?)


There is no denying that Dynamics GP is a really pretty product when you open it up on the screen. But again, it’s not better, it’s just different. There are still plenty of reasons why a company would need the more robust functionality and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics GP.


I know I, for one, plan to keep selling Dynamics GP.  I have confirmation that Microsoft will continue developing Dynamics GP.


If you are interested in evaluating Microsoft Dynamics GP contact us at 844-BRIWARE or rod@briwaresolutions.com.


By Rod O’Connor, Briware Solutions, www.briwaresolutions.com


Follow me on Twitter: @Briware_Rod

3 thoughts on “Dynamics 365 versus Dynamics GP – Not Necessarily Better, Definitely Different”

  1. Dynamics 365 is a combination of CRM and ERP. Microsoft introduces many new features in dynamics 365 for developers enable companies to engage customers, empower employees, transform products and optimized operations more intelligently than ever before.

  2. Hi Lou,

    I think we need to keep in mind the niche this product is trying to fill. If the customer has simple processes and wants an easy to install and configure solution that doesn't involve a huge investment for infrastructure and training, then Dynamics 365 could be a fit. If the customer has complex operations and needs a highly configurable solution then Dynamics 365 isn't the tool for them (at least not yet).

    I also don't think that Dynamics 365 is quite as immature as a lot of other version 1 products out there. It's based on the NAV engine (as much as that pains me to type) and they have incorporated a number of features previously only available in GP. Freshbooks has built quite a user following with less codebase and less functionality than Dynamics 365 will offer out of the gate.


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