Is Dynamics GP too old to keep up with Dynamics 365?

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Who would you rather have running your business?  A 54 year old experienced executive or a 22 year old wunderkind?

A year ago I wasn't selling online solutions. Today I am getting more calls about Dynamics 365 for Financials than I am on Dynamics GP.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the shiny new toy that everyone is interested in and Microsoft is Marketing the crap out of it.  It is new technology for a “young and modern mobile generation”.  It is the 22 year old wunderkind.

So where does this leave Microsoft Dynamics GP? Is it outdated? Ready to be put out to pasture? Or could it be that there is value in choosing a solid, stable system with proven technology and a rich, mature feature set?  In case you’ve not guessed yet, Dynamics GP is the experienced 54 year old executive for the purposes of this post.

This is a question I have been asked more and more within the past couple of months – especially since my last post - because now I am selling both Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365.

I’ll be honest, it’s a very hard question to answer.

Or maybe not.  The Readers’ Digest answer is…it really depends on what your company needs.

The Value of Maturity

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a very mature product that has been around for almost 25 years at the time of this writing.  That means a lot of the bugs that come with writing software have already been worked out.  In the past few years alone, there have been hundreds of enhancements or changes that have made the product really slick.  

You can implement Dynamics GP quickly, relatively inexpensively, and it's mostly configurations as opposed to integration or custom build.  So if you don't like the way a purchase order workflow is working, you simply change the workflow and the PO still integrates to your Payables Management.  It just happens.  And the change is simple, inexpensive, and non-invasive.

ISV Solutions

For a company that has more complex requirements than GP can meet out of the box, there's more than 350 add-on products.  You just don't have that kind of depth with other mid-market ERP products.

Partner Channel

In the world of ERP implementation, the Dynamics GP partner channel is still the standard that other software providers aspire to.

Microsoft Dynamics GP has a huge partner channel, many of whom have decades of experience and hundreds of implementations under their belt.  The passion that GP partners and ISV Solution providers have for their product is pretty difficult to match.  Just look at the other blog posts on the subject of Dynamics GP right now if you need further proof of that. 

Is Dynamics GP too old? 

I was speaking with Microsoft MVP Belinda Allen recently, and this subject actually came up (we’re nerds like that).  Unknowingly, Belinda wrote this entire section for me in that conversation.  Belinda brought up Excel.  

According to Wikipedia, Excel was on version 5 in 1993 - the same year that version 1 of Dynamics (from Great Plains of Fargo, ND) was released.  

Do you consider Excel old-timey?  Are you looking for a replacement?  Likely not.  Like the rest of us, you likely get excited every time Microsoft announces a new feature for Excel and try to figure out how it can be applied to your daily life.  And Excel is 4 revisions older than GP!

Making Way for Progress

A year ago, 80 percent of the people that I talked to were still looking for an on-premise solution.  They were not interested in “The Cloud” because they didn't trust it.  Sony had just been hacked and it was a big deal for everyone.  So when Microsoft first said “We’re All In”, like many other VAR’s I kind of tried to ignore it.

 Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a 100% SaaS offering, running in the Azure public cloud.  It was designed right from the start to embrace mobile, social and REST API integrations. This opens up a whole new world of options from a development and delivery standpoint.  It’s inclusion in the Office 365 experience also makes it the most Office integrated solution I have personally ever worked with.

ISV Solutions 

Admittedly, Dynamics 365 for Financials doesn’t boast the level of ISV availability that GP does.  However, the market is wide open and the technology is in place (hint hint ISV providers).  I’ve even started building a couple of add-ons I think might be worthwhile! 

The add-ons that are out there today are pretty cool and easy to use though.  For example, I implemented the PayPal integration a few days ago in about 5 minutes and took my first credit card payment immediately.  That included setting up my PayPal account. 

Is Dynamics 365 too young? 

Dynamics 365 is obviously a much less mature product since it was only released in November 2016.  But with that said, lots of people are putting lots of money into it at this point, especially Microsoft.  I think that Martin Olsen from eOne Solutions said it best: “Microsoft wants the ERP cloud to be huge – so they are investing heavily.” 

And the product they’ve released so far is great for the right company.  Of course it doesn’t have the deep out of the box feature set that GP has, but there are many companies – especially smaller ones – that simply don’t need a complex system like GP.  

I personally do feel that this product is a wunderkind, provided it is sold to the right customers and implemented properly.

The future according to Rod 

I believe that Microsoft is going to continue to build on Dynamics GP.  But they will put more effort into building Dynamics 365 – both the Business and Enterprise Editions.  More effort is needed for Dynamics 365 if we’re all being honest.  

So for my own business’ planning and budgeting I have Dynamics GP in my revenue mix for a good 10-15 years.  For the a mid-market company who has more complex business requirements, you are very hard pressed to find a better value solution than Dynamics GP.  And with visionary hosting providers like Watserv and NJevity, Dynamics GP as a SaaS or IaaS solution is now more than realistic. 

But I’m also pushing Dynamics 365 Business Edition.  Let’s not forget that Microsoft always rocks version 3+.  Look around the next time you’re at the airport.  How many Surface 3’s, 4’s, and Books do you see?  Remember the reviews for Surface 1?  I am excited to see where Dynamics 365 for Financials goes! 

I think that any Dynamics GP partner who hasn't looked hard at Dynamics 365 needs to reconsider their commitment to the industry and to their customers.  The world is changing the way that people buy and consume software and implementation services.  I don't think it's changing quite as quickly as some other people would like it to (or like us to believe), but it’s definitely changing. 

 In short, Dynamics GP has matured over 25 years but it was born 25 years ago.   

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition is still too young to be a real contender for larger or somewhat complex companies and Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition is too big for Mid-Market companies or smaller partners.  But both will be improving rapidly (in way less than 25 years).  I plan to be ready for that, at least on the Business Edition side.  And in the mean time I will continue to help my customers choose the product that makes the most sense for their business, depending on the level of maturity they require.

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1 thought on “Is Dynamics GP too old to keep up with Dynamics 365?”

  1. Hmm, you missing that Dynamics 365 for Finacials is based on Dynamics NAV which has 100.000+ installations world wide and the first release had started development in 1983 as Navision... they share and will share the same plattform and business logic, but Dynamics 365 for Finacials was reduced in order to be polish and self-explaining. In the coming years more and more NAV modules, which mostly exists for more the 15-20 years will be released on Dynamics 365 for Finacials, but this take time for Microsoft. there are also a huge amount of horizontal and vertical solutions from Microsoft partner which have to refactored to be released on the cloud.

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