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Navigating Great Plains (GP) for End of Life – Planning your future solution

Posted 2nd November 2023

Microsoft have formally confirmed that Great Plains (GP) is now sunset and heading toward End of Life. For many organisations this will mean no new operational functionality will be added to the latter version of the solution, with only hotfixes and regulatory functionality added where necessary. Over the last number of years, Microsoft have shifted their investment to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, benefiting from a new coding language, a modern interface and feature rich cloud-enabled technologies that help organisations further streamline and automate their workflows.

Any organisation running on a version prior to GP 18.5 will be aware that they have been out of mainstream support since the start 2023. Extended Microsoft support will be concluded by 2028. The routes for the organisations in this scenario will either be:

  1. Update GP to a version beyond 18.5 or later to ensure the solution is in support. This option will still be a costly exercise with a limited time window for updates and additional functionality.
  2. Upgrade and migrate to Dynamics 365 Business Central. With regular product releases and an exciting feature rich product roadmap, Microsoft’s investment will ensure that organisations using Business Central are not left behind with almost seamless product updates monthly and two version releases annually. Difficult and complex upgrades become a trauma of the past. Click here to access our quick and easy ERP budgeting tool.
  3. Indecision or do nothing. A word of caution, this may put you at risk of security breaches or compliance issues, as there will be no new features or bug fixes for you to call upon. For those who follow this route, protecting your IT estate and ensuring security vulnerabilities are closed is key. For many IT professionals, protecting the IT estate, including business-critical software supporting it is the fundamental challenge to overcome.

Before embarking on a specific path, we recommend reviewing all options and seeing what suits the business, your objectives and longer-term plan. The team at BCN can help support you on this journey.

Microsoft have circulated that new licenses for GP will end from 2026, meaning this product will be supported by fewer organisations as many partners and providers transition to support Business Central. As a result, GP customers may find it increasingly difficult to find good GP support and resources.

Did you know:

A crucial part of disaster recovery planning is ensuring that your business insurance provides sufficient coverage for the costs of remediating a disaster. Therefore, the policy wording and terms must meet your business needs. Note: Some policies mandate that software used is actively in support by the vendor (Microsoft) and up to date where possible.

We have listed Frequently Asked Questions below to address key questions raised when considering what to do next:

Can Dynamics 365 Business Central cover all the functionality that GP had?

Dynamics GP has been offered by Microsoft for more than 20 years and is a mature, on-premise solution with a large user base. Business Central delivers the next-generation, cloud-based ERP system as part of Microsoft’s suite of business applications.

Microsoft have and continue to invest heavily in the research and development of Business Central and customers have the advantage of benefiting from two major releases in April and October. Each release provides access to the latest features and functionality with Business Central means you benefit from always being on the most up to date version.

What are the functionality differences / what more do I get in Business Central?

The main difference between Business Central and Dynamics GP is the design of each product. Dynamics GP is a legacy product initially developed for on-premise deployment, updated in recent years to support some cloud functionality. Business Central is a newer solution built to replace GP and NAV specifically for the cloud.

GP and Business Central both provide similar functionality for:

  • Bill of Materials
  • eBanking
  • Fixed Assets
  • Sales Order Processing
  • Project Accounting
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Manufacturing
  • Inter-company Processing
  • Multiple Currencies
  • Multiple Entities
  • SQL Server Reporting Services

For a full list of the complete functionality of Business Central, click here.

How do I migrate all my data over?

Moving from a legacy ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution to a new cloud solution can be tricky but with our BCN experts to help you manage the transition. Each migration is individual to the business, and partnering with an experience organisation such as BCN, can help you unlock the full power of your IT investment.

Microsoft have provided documentation to support this route for organisations, available here:

Migrate Dynamics GP data to the cloud – Business Central | Microsoft Learn, and here

Compare Work in Dynamics GP to Business Central – Dynamics GP | Microsoft Learn

I don’t have the capital for an update, upgrade or a new solution. How do I protect myself?

The first suggestion would be to undertake a review on your IT estate. This would include infrastructure, service providers and software vendors used across the business.

A RAID assessment of the estate will then provide a list of actions and priority list to tackle first and protect your organisation. Should you not have the skills in house to deliver this BCN can support and provide resources to support this initiative with you.

Many organisations may not be aware that there are funding options available for digital transformation projects. This can be in the form of loans and grants from local and regional bodies. If you would like an indicative idea of the investment required for a new or upgraded solution, click here to obtain an indicative ballpark view.

What do I do next?

At BCN we have prepared a few resources for you to help on your journey.

  1. Book a no obligation call with one of our team to discuss what option works for you.
  2. Download the GP VS BC comparison list infographic
  3. Click here to complete our free self-service BC investment survey today.

Start your journey to planning your future solution today

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