An Executive’s Perspective on the Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP

March 31, 2017, Written by 0 comment


Last week I was in Anaheim, CA attending the Dynamics GP User Group (GPUG) Amplify event for Dynamics GP Customers and Partners. I was planning on writing about my experience from a GP Partner’s perspective, but Martin Olsen wrote the definitive piece from the ISV/Partner angel. It’s a great read. If you are interested, you can read it here.

So, I thought instead that I would write about my Amplify Experience from the Customer perspective. After all, I have been a Dynamics GP user for over 20 years (I started on v2.04!). I have run two businesses on Dynamics GP over the years and grown both from the ‘S’ in SMB to the ‘M’ in SMB (SMB = Small and Mid-Sized Businesses).

As a business owner and Executive, I absolutely LOVE Dynamics GP. Why?

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It integrates with our CRM, Contract Management, recurring billing and banking apps.
  • I can do my reporting and analytics in real time in Excel without having to run reports, export them and re-format my data.
  • But most of all, as we grew to a point where it was time for me to hand the reins of my accounting system over to other Njevity Team Members, I could do so with the Peace of Mind that Dynamics GP has controls in place to protect the integrity of my data, my system and my team.

Naturally, I have been concerned about all the Dynamics 365 messaging coming out of Microsoft. What does it all mean? Is Microsoft turning its back on Dynamics GP and what does it mean for the future of Dynamics GP? Am I going to have to move to another system?

Honestly, just thinking about that makes me want to be sick. I have 15+ years of data about my business and my customers in Dynamics GP. I have countless reports and dashboards that we have built to help us manage the business and make smart, timely business decisions. I have integrations with many other apps that add considerable value to my business. And, most of our business processes have been designed around Dynamics GP.

I can’t imagine the pain, stress and expense that would be involved in moving to something else. Not to mention the tremendous loss of fidelity in our data and how that would impact our ability to make wise business decisions. Plus, we are already in the cloud. I can run GP on my iPad, so I can get quick answers about the business from anywhere. In short, I’m really happy with our Dynamics GP system, and I don’t want to be forced to change. I’m getting all stressed out just writing about it!

Fortunately, after attending Amplify, I feel much more secure about the long-term viability of Dynamics GP. In addition to seeing the enthusiasm of other customers about this product and talking with ISVs and Partners that are making huge investments in Dynamics GP, I had the opportunity to see Microsoft team members that I have known for decades talk about the bright future of Dynamics GP.

During the opening keynote, Errol Schoenfish and key members of the Dynamics GP team from Fargo showed us how Microsoft is continuing to invest in Dynamics GP and leveraging the ‘One Microsoft’ value proposition to bring GP together with Office365, Power BI, PowerApps and Flow. They also showed off so many cool new features there are too many to name.

Rod O’Conner, Microsoft Business Solutions MVP, pointed out to me that in the past few releases of Dynamics GP, Microsoft has added over 500 new features to the product! 500! Dynamics GP has had 4 major releases in the last 2 years, with another, GP 2018, slated for later this year. And there are TONS of new features coming in that release.

It seems that Microsoft is intent on making GP more valuable to customers and more integrated with other parts of the Microsoft portfolio than it has ever been before. I can’t imagine that they would be making this sort of investment in Dynamics GP if they did not have a long-term view of the product.

I also learned some new things about the Dynamics GP Roadmap at Amplify. You see, I remember the day when the Dynamics GP Roadmap seemed to stretch out for 3 to 6 years. In the recent past, it’s been hard to find a Dynamics GP Roadmap that went more than a year into the future. That was worrisome!

But I learned from Pam Misialek that the Dynamics GP Roadmap has always been limited to 1 or 2 versions out. When Microsoft was releasing new versions every three years, a 2-version Roadmap would stretch out to 6 years. Several years ago, Microsoft moved to an Agile, 6-month release cadence. Suddenly, a Roadmap that covered 2 versions only stretched out 1 year!

I saw the roadmap drop from 6 years to 1 year and it kinda freaked me out. I never noticed that it was still the same 2 versions… I was just getting them faster. Now I just feel silly for getting so worked up over nothing!

During the Future of Dynamics GP Roadmap presentation, Chad Sogge explained that Microsoft has heard from their customers that a 6-month release cadence is just too rapid to consume, so they are moving to a 1 year release cadence to help make our lives a bit easier. So now, when you look at the Dynamics GP Roadmap, it goes two years into the future (one year for each version).

But wait! They added a third year and a third version this go around! So, we have planned releases in 2017, 2018 AND 2019 and beyond meaning the future of Dynamics GP looks bright. This is Great News! And it also serves as more evidence that Dynamics GP is part of Microsoft’s long-term plan.

I think Martin Olsen said it best. Dynamics 365 is targeted at the Enterprise Space and at Small Businesses (the ‘S’ in SMB). Dynamics GP is clearly the Microsoft ERP product targeted at Mid-Size Businesses (the ‘M’ in SMB) in North America. Attending GPUG Amplify not only helped me see that, but it also got me excited about where this market and the future of Dynamics GP are headed. My business will not only be along for the ride, but we will be better off because of it.

– Chris Dobkins, President / CEO at Njevity