Why you (still) don’t have to worry about your on-premise ERP going away
A coworker and I were at a nonprofit trade show proudly displaying our line of supported Microsoft Dynamics solutions. A bystander came by to comment on a product name he recognized — SL, better known as Solomon in his days.
As the conversation continued, I bided my time waiting for the ever-present question. We didn’t have to wait long. “Isn’t Dynamics SL dead?” he asked.
I groan inwardly every time I hear this question. The answer is an emphatic “No!” Dynamics SL is not dead. Neither is Dynamics GP, for the record. And in case you're tracking with when this article was originally written, we're updating it to let you know that this is still true in 2020.
Microsoft does still sell both products. Microsoft still supports both products. Microsoft continues to improve both products. For those who are a bit skeptical, here’s the latest Dynamics SL roadmap:As you can see, Microsoft released a new version of SL in 2018, a clear sign that Dynamics SL is still a very viable product. They also plan to make ongoing improvements to this version.
So, what has changed?
Microsoft has shifted its focus to the cloud. They’ve repeatedly said that the cloud is the future and that further software developments will be based on cloud technology.
That’s why they introduced Dynamics 365, a Software-as-a-Service solution with two ERP options: Business Central for small businesses and Finance and Operations for large enterprises.
Virtually all of Microsoft’s current ERP marketing efforts are channeled toward this new cloud-based offering. Perhaps the message is a little too clear, considering it has current SL and GP users worried that they’re on a “dead” product. Rest assured that you can stay on Dynamics SL or GP for the foreseeable future and still expect a high level of support. SL and GP are not going away anytime soon.
If you currently use Dynamics SL (or GP), here are your three options moving forward:
1 Stay on Dynamics SL
Have we said this enough yet? Dynamics SL still works — and works well. Staying put on your current on-premise ERP is a valid option. If there’s one thing we’ve learned after 25 years in the business, it’s that Dynamics SL is a steady, stable product.
It is true that very few companies just stepping into the realm of ERP software choose SL. However, hundreds of companies that are already on SL continue to use it. In fact, one-third of our client base is still running Dynamics SL, humming along just fine with no plans to switch anytime soon.
If you’re on an older version of Dynamics SL and worried about support end dates, you might want to consider upgrading to the latest version. That will keep your ERP system running more efficiently and prolong your access to full Microsoft support.
Our own company runs on Dynamics SL 2018, and we love it. If you’d like help upgrading or need a partner to support your current software, contact us.
2 Move to a hosted environment
Perhaps you’re content with the software in general but want to move your company’s business management operations to the cloud. If that’s the case, Microsoft Azure offers a convenient hybrid, allowing you to remain on the ERP solution you choose while still realizing a cloud-like environment and its benefits.
If you’ve heard the term “intelligent edge,” this refers to the cloud-based technology Microsoft is introducing to the on-premise GP and SL solutions. This option allows current users of GP and SL to replicate their on-premise solution in the cloud. The latest Dynamics GP roadmap shows a clear focus on this cloud-based option:
Again, this is by no means a mandatory shift. It’s simply another option for those who want to continue using their ERP while at the same time putting a toe in the waters of cloud technology.
3 Switch to Dynamics 365
We are aware that other ERP solutions exist, but chances are good that if you love your current Microsoft ERP, you’d like to stay with a Microsoft solution. This is the good news that Microsoft is touting: There is now a cloud-based ERP offering within the Microsoft stack. Even better news is that it integrates seamlessly with all your other Microsoft products.
As we alluded to earlier, Dynamics 365 refers to an entire family of products, so if you’re specifically looking for the ERP solution for a small business, Business Central is your best bet.
At Boyer & Associates, we have several Dynamics SL clients who are choosing to transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central, not because they worry about the future of SL but because they like what they see in Dynamics 365.
Want to learn more? Check out our event calendar, which includes monthly webinars on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" for both Dynamics SL and GP, as well as a bi-monthly webinar on an "Introduction to Dynamics 365 Business Central."
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