What is Dynamics GP? Great Plains ERP Explained

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When you're talking about ERP, Microsoft Dynamics GP is a name that's hard to ignore. You might know it as Great Plains, its original name. Either way, it's made a significant impact in the ERP arena.

In this guide, we're going to dive deep into Great Plains. We'll explore its inner workings, trace its journey from the Great Plains era, and unpack the powerhouse of features it brings to the table.

But this isn't just a history lesson. It's about understanding how Great Plains has evolved to keep pace with the ever-changing business landscape. It's about recognizing the immense value it brings to businesses of all sizes, all over the world.

So, whether you're new to GP or you've been using it for years, stick around. There's plenty to discover. Let's get started!

What is Microsoft Dynamics GP?

Dynamics GP Logo

Dynamics Great Plains is an accounting software specifically designed for mid-sized businesses. It utilizes Microsoft SQL Server for data storage. Developed in the Dexterity programming language, it is a vital component of the Microsoft Dynamics suite - a collection of intelligent business applications.

The History and Evolution of Dynamics GP

Dynamics GP has a rich history that dates to its inception as Great Plains Software in 1981. Interestingly, it was one of the first accounting packages developed in the United States that was designed and written to be multi-user and to run on microcomputers.

In 2001, Microsoft acquired Great Plains Software, marking its entry into the ERP market. Consequently, the product was rebranded as Microsoft Dynamics GP as part of Microsoft's broader Dynamics line of ERP solutions.

Dynamics GP in the Microsoft Dynamics Family

It holds a unique place in the Microsoft Dynamics family. While other Dynamics products like Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations are primarily cloud-based, Dynamics GP continues to be a popular choice for businesses looking for a robust, on-premises ERP solution.

Despite the shift towards cloud-based solutions, Microsoft continues to support and update Dynamics GP, ensuring it remains a viable and competitive ERP solution for businesses.

Read also: What is Dynamics NAV ERP? 

The Transition from Great Plains to Dynamics GP

The transition from Great Plains to Dynamics GP was more than just a rebranding exercise. It was an evolution. It was a step towards harnessing the power of modern technology to deliver a more potent, efficient ERP solution.

The Dynamics GP Support Ecosystem

One of the key aspects of GP is the robust support ecosystem that surrounds it. There are numerous Dynamics GP support partners out there. They provide businesses with the necessary assistance to leverage the full potential of this ERP solution. These partners offer a range of services. They provide troubleshooting and maintenance to comprehensive upgrades. This ensures that your Dynamics GP system remains in top shape.

The Dynamics GP Upgrade Process

The Dynamics GP upgrade process is a testament to the solution's forward-thinking design. Upgrades are designed to be seamless. They cause minimal disruption to your business operations. They bring with them a host of new features and improvements. This ensures that your Dynamics GP system stays at the cutting edge of ERP technology.

Migrating from Dynamics GP to Business Central

Microsoft has introduced a new player to the field - Dynamics 365 Business Central. Some businesses might find themselves contemplating a migration from Dynamics GP to Business Central. This is a significant decision. It should be made with a clear understanding of the benefits and implications.

D365 Business Central Overview

Business Central brings to the table a host of modern features. It offers seamless integration with other Microsoft products, cloud-based operations, and a flexible pricing model. However, migration from Dynamics GP to Business Central is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of your business needs, resources, and future growth plans.

Dynamics GP vs. D365 Business Central:

As we delve deeper into the world of Dynamics GP, it's crucial to understand the new player in the field - Dynamics 365 Business Central. Some businesses might find themselves contemplating a migration from Dynamics GP to Business Central. This is a significant decision. It should be made with a clear understanding of the benefits and implications.

Feature Comparison

While both Dynamics GP and Business Central offer comprehensive ERP solutions, they differ in several key aspects:

  • Deployment: Dynamics GP is traditionally an on-premises solution. Business Central offers both on-premises and cloud deployment options.
  • Integration: Business Central offers seamless integration with other Microsoft products. This provides a unified business management solution.
  • Scalability: Business Central's cloud-based operation and flexible pricing model offer scalability. Dynamics GP can't match this. As your business grows, Business Central can easily adapt to your changing needs.
  • User Interface: Business Central features a modern, intuitive user interface. It's consistent with other Microsoft products. This makes it easier for users to navigate and use.
  • Updates: Dynamics GP has a planned release cycle. Business Central, being a cloud-based solution, offers the advantage of automatic updates. This ensures you always have the latest features and security updates.

Benefits of Migrating to Dynamics 365 Business Central

business central benefits

Migrating from Dynamics GP to Business Central comes with several benefits:

  • Unified Business Management: Business Central integrates your financials, sales, service, and operations. This provides a comprehensive view of your business. With connected data, predictive analytics, and actionable insights, you can make informed decisions to drive business growth.
  • Improved Productivity: With seamless integration with Office 365, users can work within the familiar Office tools. This enhances productivity. For instance, you can create quotes, process orders, submit invoices, and more without leaving Outlook.
  • Anywhere Access: As a cloud-based solution, you can access Business Central from any device, anywhere, at any time. This provides the flexibility modern businesses need.
  • Reduced IT Overhead: With Business Central, Microsoft takes care of all the IT infrastructure. This reduces the cost and complexity of managing on-premises systems.

Dynamics 365 Business Central outcompetes with the only fully integrated stack, on the world’s most trusted and comprehensive cloud

However, one should not take the decision to migrate from Dynamics GP to Business Central lightly. It requires careful consideration of your business needs, resources, and future growth plans. It's recommended to work with a trusted Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner. They can guide you through the migration process. This ensures a smooth transition with minimal disruption to your business operations.

The Future of GP Support

It's crucial to understand its lifecycle and the support provided by Microsoft. In October 2019, Microsoft introduced the Modern Lifecycle Policy for Microsoft Dynamics GP. This policy offers continuous support and servicing. This includes bug fixes and the latest tax updates. Customers are advised to adopt at least one of the three yearly planned Dynamics GP releases to stay current.

However, it's important to note that the support for older versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP, governed by the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, is ending. For instance, the extended support for Dynamics GP 2013 and GP 2013 R2 ends on April 11, 2023. For Dynamics GP 2015 and GP 2015 R2, the extended support ends on April 8, 2025.

The Modern Lifecycle Policy governs the current version of GP, version 18.x. If you're a Dynamics GP customer and want to migrate to the cloud, you can choose to migrate to D365 Business Central or Dynamics 365 Finance. This allows you to take advantage of the cloud. Your partner can help you migrate data. If you don't want to migrate to the cloud, you can choose to keep up-to-date with the latest version of Dynamics GP or migrate to Dynamics 365 on-premises. We at Dynamics Square UK support both scenarios.

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