The Future of Dynamics GP and Misconceptions About Moving to the Cloud

By: Michael Marinaro

With cloud migration as a top technology trend for businesses looking to modernize their systems, you may be wondering what’s in store for on-premises systems like Microsoft Dynamics GP. We even presented a webinar specifically for Dynamics GP users looking to migrate to the cloud with Dynamics 365 Business Central since Microsoft has been offering incentives and discounts to those still relying on their on-prem platforms.

In early February 2023, AccountingWare released a report on what the future looks like for Dynamics GP. The report is comprised of survey results of finance and accounting professionals who are currently using Microsoft Dynamics GP. The survey aimed to find out whether companies plan to stay or move away from Dynamics GP, their current decision-making timeline, the primary factors in their decision and their confidence in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

The findings may surprise you — let’s dive into the results and address some common misconceptions about migrating your ERP to the cloud.

Microsoft’s Development Priorities

Microsoft updated the Dynamics GP community with their current development priorities for Dynamics GP in October 2022. Mike Morton, Microsoft's VP for Dynamics 365 Business Central, said that while Microsoft is committed to supporting their Dynamics GP customers, Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance + SCM are the products that will see most of Microsoft’s ERP investments.

But don’t panic — Dynamics GP has a roadmap for support and updates through 2028. Functionality to existing modules will still be added and you will continue to get your payroll and other tax updates each year. Although most of Microsoft’s investment in new technology is going toward Dynamics 365 Business Central, updates to the existing modules in Dynamics GP are continuing to be made.

Survey Results

The results of the AccountingWare survey reflect what we are seeing with our own clients. Many companies have made a significant investment in their Dynamics GP solution. They feel that replicating their current solution in a cloud ERP platform would require too great an effort, despite the incentives being offered by Microsoft, and many are choosing to stay with Dynamics GP. They also fear that the current migration path to Dynamics 365 Business Central that Microsoft suggests may not offer as robust a solution as they currently have with Dynamics GP.

So, What Are People Doing?

Although Dynamics GP users are choosing to stick with their current ERP solution, many recognize the benefits of moving to a cloud infrastructure. Some are moving Dynamics GP to their own Azure-based infrastructure where they have more control over the environment. Others are turning to solutions like PowerGP where they do not have to worry about maintaining the actual infrastructure and can use Dynamics GP like most other cloud-based ERPs. While Microsoft does have a clear migration path from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central, many are taking the opportunity to evaluate what the best path forward may be for them — even looking at non-Microsoft ERPs like NetSuite. Once they have evaluated the benefits and functionality of a cloud ERP solution, some are choosing to move from Dynamics GP to a new cloud-based ERP solution.

Although many users are in favor of a cloud server, there are still major misconceptions about cloud-based ERPs among those who want to keep their system on-premises.

Misconceptions About Moving to the Cloud

Here are some common myths about moving to the cloud that keep organizations clinging to on-prem systems.

Myth 1: There’s Less Security

Simply put, some people still don’t trust their financial information in the cloud. They don’t feel like they have enough control and may feel it’s more secure on-premises — which isn’t true.

The level of security with a cloud-based ERP is elevated because regular updates are released, adding layers of security to your platform in real-time to account for the ever-changing landscape of cyber security. Not only that, but all your financial information can be housed in one place with the cloud, so there is no paper-based information stored in multiple locations that could potentially get into the wrong hands.

You also don’t run the risk of a bad actor accessing the location of your on-prem system and wreaking havoc.

Myth 2: It’s Difficult Integrating Applications

Another misconception has to do with integrating applications. If a company moves to the cloud, they may believe they cannot just hook into the database to run reports and accomplish other tasks like with an on-prem database. This is also not the case but requires a different approach.

Depending on the cloud ERP system, there are various add-on applications, be it within the system or through third-party integrations. Because your system is in the cloud, all the data is current and accurate across applications. Application integrations with your ERP can be more direct and seamless in the cloud than with on-prem systems, given the push to make cloud processes more innovative and intuitive.

Myth 3: The Cloud is Unreliable

Some businesses may be wary about handling all their processes in the cloud should the system go down or be inaccessible for a period of time. However, overall accessibility is greatly enhanced with cloud ERPs compared to on-prem ERPs. You have the ability to access your system from anywhere with an internet connection and you’re not solely dependent on where your ERP is located. If some sort of disaster or hindrance were to affect the location of your on-prem ERP, you would not be able to access your information. That’s not an issue with the cloud — no matter what happens at your headquarters, you still have access to everything in real time.

Myth 4: A New Cloud-Based ERP is Too Expensive

Even if the initial investment in a cloud-based ERP has a significant price tag, making the transition modernizes your processes, thus increasing efficiency and saving your company time and money in the long term. It can also allow for more growth across your organization to increase your revenue and customer base. Staying with your on-prem ERP may seem like a smart financial decision now, but over time it can end up costing you more to maintain the system, resolve hiccups with outdated processes and keep up with competitors as industries continue to innovate in the cloud.

Myth 5: The Migration is Too Complex

This depends on how complex the installation of your on-prem ERP is. In the case of Dynamics GP, there are straightforward migration paths available that make the transition seamless with little downtime, whether you’re moving to a new ERP system all together (like Business Central) or staying with GP but moving to the cloud with a solution like PowerGP.

Ways to Move to the Cloud With PowerGP

You can contact us about options to move your current Dynamics GP system into the cloud with PowerGP Online, so you retain Dynamics GP while adding the flexibility and accessibility of the cloud.

PowerGP Online offers a migration tool that makes it quick and easy to move to the cloud while ensuring you bring all your Dynamics GP data with you. But you may be thinking, “what changes?”

The difference with PowerGP Online is that there is:

  • No servers or hardware to buy and maintain
  • No backups to create and test
  • No server patches to handle
  • Accessibility anywhere with an internet connection
  • Additional functionality

And what stays the same?

  • All the capabilities of Dynamics GP on-prem (now securely accessible through the web app or a remote desktop connection)
  • Full integration with Microsoft Office 365 and PowerBI
  • The ability to add industry-specific and feature-enhancing ISV solutions
  • Support from the Microsoft Dynamics GP community of partners, customers and Microsoft team members

Key Takeaways

Although there seems to be a mad rush to the cloud and Microsoft’s priorities are shifting in that direction, GP users seem to be steadfast and loyal to sticking with the on-prem system for the foreseeable future based on AccountingWare’s survey findings.

So, what should you do? It’s worth planning for your organization’s future and considering when a cloud migration makes sense for you. But if GP is meeting all your needs currently, don’t feel obligated to jump ship. There will still be updates and support through 2028, and there are options, like PowerGP, to help you transition to the cloud without having to overhaul your ERP system.

Here are some additional resources to help you through the decision-making process:

Need Help?

We’re here to assist you with your GP needs and whenever you decide to transition to the cloud. If you have questions or need help, please contact us online or give us a call at 410.685.5512.

Published April 17, 2023

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