Heavyweights Going Head to Head: GP versus AX

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dynamics gpFor over a decade, rumors have been circulating about whether or not Dynamics AX will replace Dynamics GP. Speculation about GP’s demise or Microsoft’s abandoning of the product in favor of Dynamics AX have grown from quiet murmurs on the web to sweeping blogging battles in forums. Microsoft has even courted many enterprise customers to move to Dynamics AX as their “higher” level solution. We can’t predict the future, but here’s a list we've compiled of why we believe that both products are here to stay.

In This Corner: GP

First and foremost, Dynamics GP is stronger than ever and Microsoft has given no direct indication to drop, replace or even lower its continued commitment for future development of this product. In fact, Microsoft has promised continued support for Dynamics GP by delivering bi-annual updates, continuing to add more features than ever and scheduling a major upgrade for the end of this year: Dynamics GP 2015.

In This Corner: AX

Originally known as Axapta, this product was first released in 1998 in the U.S. and Denmark. Axapta is the result of a joint project between IBM and Danish Damgaard Data. After Damgaard merged with Navision in 2000, IBM returned its rights to the product. In its original release, the product supported both Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases. Microsoft acquired Damgaard/Navision in 2002 providing Microsoft with two new ERP solutions and a new distribution channel throughout the whole of Europe.

On its PartnerSource web site, Microsoft published a "Statement of Direction" for Dynamics AX that describes future development plans. It states that increased vertical market functionality, cloud computing, and HTML 5 will be included in future versions of AX.

GP vs. AX

Dynamics GP is marketed as the small to mid-sized business solution while Dynamics AX is targeted toward enterprise organizations like those using Oracle. Features and functionality go further to differentiate the two products. AX certainly is a better fit if your organization has many offices or is spread across the globe. However, there are Dynamics GP users that have hundreds of concurrent users with offices sprawled across the globe, doing the same job of balancing the books of multi-national currency.

The most fundamental difference is that Dynamics GP is designed as an “off the shelf”, ready-to-use package that has many built-in features. Yet it also has configuration and design settings that allow for a very wide adoption rate by many types of businesses.

Dynamics AX is a more custom solution that is “tailored” to each company as it is deployed and thus can fit more exacting requirements, accommodating larger organizations.

The cost of each software product is very similar. While Dynamics GP implementations are generally outlined in terms of hours or weeks, Dynamics AX is usually a factor of five times the number of hours and thus outlined in weeks and months.

Flexing their Muscles

The strengths of Dynamics AX are in its customized workflows and its dominance in industries like manufacturing, professional services, public sector organizations, and large retail chains with 50 plus locations. Its primary competition lies in Oracle and SAP.

Dynamics GP, by comparison, has a strong core in financials and accounting. It’s ideal for distribution firms. GP is quick to implement, has well-received off-the-shelf reporting, and integrates with Microsoft Stack (Excel, Word, Outlook). GP can be single-server or multi-server based.

Dynamics GP has hundreds of add-on modules available from its independent software vendors (ISVs), many of which have been around for decades.

Dynamics AX has gained traction in the add-on space. Many ISVs have ported their solutions to work with Dynamics AX. In a space that was once clouded with add-ons for mainly GP, AX is now starting to find its groove as well.

The Right Coach (or Partner)

Choosing the right partner to assist with the implementation is absolutely key. A great Dynamics GP partner can deliver an enterprise-level solution, while a poor Dynamics AX partner can cause you to fail and lose both money and time on a much more expensive product. Good Microsoft Dynamics partners know how to help you uncover your needs and review the various products to find the one that is the best fit for your company. Don’t rush the process. Spend some time selecting your partner before you worry about which product is the right one and find your footing from there.

Don’t Throw in the Towel

Now you have the information you need to begin your journey on deciding if GP or AX is the right choice for you. One other item to keep in mind is the various modules that each solution offers, such as Project Accounting and Business Portal. Microsoft recently announced that Business Portal will not be included in GP 2015. As you’re considering these products, stay informed on features that will be included in future revisions and consider add-ons to fill in any gaps left by the products.

About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a Certified Microsoft Partner. Journyx maximizes the value of Microsoft Dynamics by adding enterprise time tracking. Journyx Accountlink for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to quickly implement a complete time tracking solution using existing business data in Dynamics. Connect with Curt on Google+.

By Journyx

2 thoughts on “Heavyweights Going Head to Head: GP versus AX”

  1. How is Dynamics GP 2015 coming along? Regardless, 3rd parties need to come along faster even though Microsoft is still nailing down the GP Web Client...... Having to break up a deployment for some user Windows and the rest Web Client and some-other no clue if they are to be Web or Windows...............

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