Last week I was at GPUG Summit in Phoenix with almost 2,000 Dynamics GP Users. During the GP Opening Session, Microsoft showed the Intelligent Cloud for Dynamics GP. But here’s the problem: If you are a Dynamics GP Customer, you don’t need to buy ANYTHING to get the Intelligent Cloud…You already HAVE something BETTER!
Let’s break this down. Here is the Microsoft Pitch:
If you own Dynamics GP, you can add the NEW Intelligent Cloud feature for $20 per named user per month. Then, you install an Azure Data Factory agent on your server and configure it to push your Dynamics GP data up to the Dynamics365 Business Central cloud. Then, you can use certain generic Business Central Power BI Dashboards and have the promise of to-be-developed AI predictions. Hmmm… sounds interesting. But, dig deeper and you will find a few key pot holes in this road to the cloud:
1. Microsoft is requiring you to purchase FULL D365BC licenses to use the Intelligent Cloud. The $20pupm price is a promotional, discounted price. In a little over 2 years, that promotion will end, and you will be paying $70 per named user per month for the Intelligent Cloud add-on.
2. You have to commit to a full year of D365BC, even if you never really use it.
3. Today, the data sync only sends GP master records and summary balance information to D365BC. That’s: Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Products, Account Balances (not by period, just as of today), Open AP, Open AR, and On Hand Inventory QTYs.
4. Each day when the sync runs, yesterday’s data is deleted and replaced with today’s data. That’s NOT a lot of data to have available for Trend Analysis and future Predictive Intelligence.
5. Microsoft is hoping to have sales and purchasing history available to Sync some time in 2019. But because the D365BC and Dynamics GP data models are irreconcilably different, this history will sync to Extension Tables (custom tables), not the D365BC transaction tables. This will require all of the Power BI dashboards in D365BC to be repointed to the Extension Tables.
6. If you have key business data in your Dynamics GP ISV products, well, you are just out of luck. That data won’t sync. Ever.
7. None of the AI predictive Intelligence actually exists today. This is all speculative future feature development.
8. You have to upgrade to Dynamics GP 2018 R2 before you can plug in the Intelligent Cloud add-on.
Based on what I learned and the discussions with others, the Intelligent Cloud does not seem worth the time and effort. I can’t think of a single scenario that would give an existing GP customer any value…especially considering that you can:
1. Download the FREE Power BI Gateway to connect ALL of your On Premises or Hosted Dynamics GP Data to Power BI.
2. Install Victoria Yudin’s FREE SQL Views so you don’t have to learn the Dynamics GP tables.
3. Get a little bit of training on Power BI.
4. Start Developing your own Power BI reports and Dashboards specific to YOUR business using ALL of your Dynamics GP and ISV Data.
5. Do all of this on the version of Dynamics GP you are already using (No Upgrades Required).
If you don’t want to make the investment in learning Power BI, you can hire your Partner to create dashboards for you. But once you get the hang of it, its all really easy. Remember when SmartList Builder seamed complicated and confusing? Then you got a little bit of training and played around with it for a bit, and now you can create awesome SmartLists simply and easily. Power BI is like that. Only WAY cooler!
The point is, you don’t need to sign up for an expensive subscription to D365BC just to get some Power BI visualizations that aren’t even tuned up for your business. You’d be better off using the FREE SRS Visualizations that come with Dynamics GP.
Bottom Line: you already have ALL of your data. And you can light up that data in the Power BI Cloud for free. You already have EVERYTHING you need.
So, before you click on that “Intelligent Cloud” link on your Dynamics 2018 R2 Home Page and sign up for a 12 month commitment, ask yourself, “How Intelligent is this Cloud?” and better yet, “How Intelligent would I be to pay for something that is not as good as something that I can get for Free?”
Turns out that the MOST Intelligent Cloud for Dynamics GP is just simply YOUR Dynamics GP