The Intelligent Edge and Dynamics GP. Don't believe some of the tweets!

Visit Website View Our Posts

When it comes to technology, a misworded sentence can sure stir up the chickens.


Last year in Orlando Marko Perisic, GM at Microsoft in Denmark, proved this rather emphatically.


I was at the GP Tech Conference recently in Fargo ND.  The conference is always a good one, and invariably some new technology is discussed.  Windi Epperson of Advanced Integrators and fellow Canadian MVP Jen Kuntz from Energy+ have both blogged well about the actual conference, and that's not what this post is about. (Windi's, Jen's)


In amongst all of the really cool Power App, Power BI, Flow, SQL, and (of course) Dynamics GP sessions there was a very small segment discussing the Intelligent Edge, and how it might impact Dynamics GP in the future.  Long time Dynamics GP MVP Mariano Gomez put up a good post on the Intelligent Edge concept a couple of weeks ago, so again I am not going to dig in with too much detail.


Ostensibly, the Intelligent Edge technology could allow Dynamics GP - an on premise solution - to take advantage of features already enjoyed within the Dynamics 365 suite of products.  For example, it would expose Dynamics GP to the AI that Dynamics 365 uses for things like forecasting and KPI calculations which require access to the common data model, which is in the cloud.


To be honest, the presentation didn't have much meat, and it sounded a lot more like an idea than a coded product.


But there were 3 particular sentences that the segment has generated as responses that, in my opinion, might be misleading to folks who weren't there.


"Hybrid Dynamics GP is coming soon!"

In the session, it was suggested that the gateway for Dynamics GP to access the elements of the common data model required to utilize some of the AI features would be an otherwise unused instance of Dynamics 365 Business Central.  The communication would be one way, transferring specific data elements required for the intelligent cloud.


The Cambridge dictionary defines a hybrid as "something that is a mixture of two very different things".  The key word there is mixture for the purposes of this post.  The best elements of each "very different thing" are blended into one cohesive, functional output.  Like when a zebra and a donkey are asked to generate a zonkey.  That zonkey is a hybrid.  (So's a Liger!)


At no point in the session, nor in the Microsoft Docs post on the subject, did I get the impression that GP and BC are being combined to form a single product.


At best you'd have to say "symbiont Dynamics GP is coming eventually".  Dynamics GP could live alongside Dynamics 365 BC and take advantage of some of the goodness that BC provides.  Maybe it will even give a little goodness back.  Who knows?


But again, nobody has shown us anything concrete.


"This is the beginning of a conversion tool to move GP Users to Business Central"

Anyone who has worked with both solutions will tell you that they are vastly different in some core ways.  Not in that they do different accounting, or even that the general business processes are handled differently.  What I mean is that there are core concepts that are handled differently between the two solutions.


One very simple example is in how the two solutions handle intercompany.  In Dynamics GP, intercompany transactions are handled through the GL distribution only, and are only available on certain transaction types.  Business Central tracks intercompany transactions as a customer/vendor transaction, and allows you to settle it like any other arms length transaction.  I honestly don't see a clean path to establishing that link.


I think that the idea of the Intelligent Edge is a good one.  Get what data you can into the Common Data Model, so that it can be used by the Intelligent Cloud.  While I don't necessarily agree with the technology presented, there are a lot smarter folks than me working on the problem and if they say that Business Central is the best gateway to AI then I'll take it.  However, I personally don't see a day where I can pull a trigger and have my GP - history and all - appear in Business Central.


Of course, this might be one of those things people throw in my face in 10 years.


"This is just a marketing ploy to move GP users into Business Central"

Maybe.  I don't work in the marketing department at Microsoft so I really can't say this is 100% untrue.


But I feel like it's at least partially untrue.  And even if Microsoft marketing is doing this for the wrong reason, I think that they are inadvertently doing the right thing.


By allowing on premise solutions to take advantage of cloud technology with very little integration effort on the part of the customer, Microsoft is only strengthening an already terrific product.  Martin Olsen from eOne Solutions worded it best during his presentation at the conference:


When deciding which Dynamics product is best for them, though, many customers are drawn to the sexier elements of Dynamics 365 (AI and analytics in particular) rather than looking at core functionality.  If you put equal sexy in both products, you're at a point where you can see beyond it and look at core functionality again.


I love GP.  And I love Business Central.  And anyone who's being honest should tell you that neither solution is perfect for every business.  Aligning the sizzle simply helps customers make the right decision.


What I really think

When I decided in 2013 that Briware Solutions was going to be my full time gig, I went to my first partner conference.  As with every year since, I met lots of people and learned lots of things.  At the time, Microsoft was trying to convince GP partners that the cloud - and Azure in particular - was what we should be focused on.  There were 3 general responses from the partners I spoke to:


  • Some chose to ignore it.
  • Some chose to listen and watch, but wait.
  • Some embraced it.


The folks who embraced it properly are doing very well today.  The folks who were watching generally picked their moments and dove when they were ready.  The folks who chose to ignore it are currently learning to embrace it and trying to catch up.


I personally feel like the intelligent edge as presented is akin to Microsoft's decision to use Silverlight for the first couple of releases of the web client.  They knew that HTML5 was the right way to go, but Silverlight got them to market that much faster.  I'm curious if this symbiotic relationship is simply the path to the true eventual solution, where GP writes to the Common Data Model directly so that the intelligent cloud technologies can be used without any confusing connection to Business Central.


I feel like I am going to embrace this one.


If you'd like help debunking rumours you may have heard about Dynamics GP, Dynamics 365, or how they can fit into your infrastructure strategy, please reach out to me at 844-BRIWARE or


By Briware Solutions,


Follow me on Twitter: @Briware_Rod

Originally posted at:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons