With Dynamics GP's lifecycle extended to 2028, should we make plans to stay or switch to Business Central?

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Microsoft recently published the Dynamics GP lifecycle, which extends at least to 2028. This is great news for organizations using Dynamics GP right now: You don’t have to go anywhere, and you can keep using the application you are familiar with.

Though there’s no definitive sunset date on Dynamics GP, now is an ideal time to consider migrating to the future of Microsoft mid-market ERP, Dynamics 365 Business Central, or moving Dynamics GP to the cloud. This is not a process that can or should be rushed, so though 2028 seems lightyears away now, the time will slip by quickly. Being informed and having a plan for what’s on the horizon is good common sense.

Switching to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Though GP—Microsoft’s tried-and-true ERP solution—is not going anywhere at the moment, there are strategic advantages to migrating to Business Central. To clarify: GP and Business Central are both mid-market ERP solutions, achieving the same things in different ways. Released in 2018 as an “all-in-one business management solution,” Business Central has a more modern user experience than the legacy application GP. As part of the Dynamics 365 platform, Business Central integrates directly with Microsoft 365 apps such as Excel and Teams and can be customized to integrate excellently with other Dynamics 365 applications, such as Sales and Field Service. Business Central is faster and has a more modern interface where all data is processed and hosted online. As a native-cloud solution, Business Central is accessible from anywhere at anytime, accrues low IT costs, boasts heightened security thanks to Microsoft Azure, and is easier to upgrade.

So, for companies hosting GP on-premises, the switch to Business Central removes all costs and worries associated with servers, including the regular maintenance and any upgrades, and improves security and accessibility. Business Central Software as a Service (SaaS) licenses are paid per user per month starting at $70 and are hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Paying per user per month allows for scalability and flexibility—add or remove licenses as needed and only pay for what is being used at the time.

Moving to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud

If your organization is not ready to part with Dynamics GP, it’s understandable. Migrating to a new ERP solution is a large undertaking and is a decision that requires much consideration. An alternative option for organizations using legacy Dynamics GP on-premises is to migrate GP to the Azure cloud, and these organizations can also use Azure Active Directory for sign-in security. Dynamics GP licenses hosted on Azure start at $149 per user per month, and two large benefits of this migration are cost and flexibility. First, and just like with Business Central, licensing per user per month allows organizations to add or remove as needed. The second and even larger consideration is that migrating to Azure cloud eliminates the costs associated with hosting a datacenter, such as maintenance and upgrades. When an organization is ready to consider a switch to Business Central, they won’t be held back by any large infrastructure costs recently deployed for on-premises servers.

Consider this migration to GP on the Azure cloud as a middle-ground transition that will benefit the organization in the moment while making a future switch to Business Central easier. As our CEO Janelle Riley discusses in a blog series on the direction of Microsoft’s ERP investments, Microsoft continues to support GP, but “the majority of new development is happening in Business Central.”  It’s important to be informed about Microsoft’s ERP strategy and the direction they are headed to make the best business decisions for the present and the future.

What's the takeaway?

Microsoft Dynamics GP’s lifecycle has been extended to 2028 and beyond. While this is reassuring, organizations can benefit from switching to Business Central or migrating their current Dynamics GP to the Azure cloud.

Business Central and the legacy Dynamics GP are both mid-market ERP solutions, but Business Central has distinct benefits: It is cloud-native, fast, cost-effective, scalable, flexible, and integrates seamlessly with other Dynamics 365 apps and Microsoft 365 apps like Teams and Excel.

Even if your organization decides it is not time to move ERP solutions, moving GP from on-premises to the Azure cloud is a strong move to enable future migrations.

Put together a plan

If your organization is evaluating a transition from Dynamics GP, our team can provide recommendations and a plan for your future. Contact us to get started.

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