Microsoft continues to innovate and iterate with its popular Dynamics product line. This is good, though it can be a little confusing when it comes time to decide to stay with what you’ve got or move on to a new option. Today, our clients are asking if they should keep running Dynamics GP or migrate to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Both solutions are good, so the stay/go decision is not about better vs. worse. There are differences, though, so a company that uses Dynamics GP would be well served by looking at its needs and making a determination about moving to Dynamics 365.
Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 in 2016, offering Dynamics functional on a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in one of its sub-offerings, providing enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions for small-to-midsized businesses. At the same time, Microsoft continues to develop and support Microsoft Dynamics GP, which is designed for the same kind of customer.
Comparing Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Business Central
The two solution share a code base, so their functionality is very similar. Both offer extensive financial management features, including reporting, e-banking and budgeting. They also both support fixed asset management and general ledger account segmentation. Both have integration with Power BI, US and Canadian payroll capabilities, inventory tracking and multi-currency compatibility. They can each handle multiple entities.
Dynamics GP does have forecasting and inter-company transaction processing, which Dynamics 365 Business Central currently does not. In our experience, there are some nuanced differences between the way the two solutions handle reporting and integration with CRM. And, given that Dynamics 365 is newer, the solution offers fewer third-party add-ons right now. This will surely change over time.
Licensing and hosting are areas where the two also differ. Dynamics GP is available with perpetual licensing, where you own the license, and subscription licensing. You can host GP on-premises or in the cloud through a third-party Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) hosting provider. This latter option saves you from having to buy new hardware every three years or so.
Dynamics 365 Business Central is available as a complete SaaS. This way, your accounting and/or ERP is hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud. You will have to pay for a monthly subscription plan to Azure on top of your Dynamics 365 license fees. There are several advantages to this approach, however. Microsoft takes care of updates and bug fixes for any applications you’re running on Business Central. You also get out of the responsibility for buying and running infrastructure.
How to Make the Decision
Based on our experience with companies that are reviewing their options with Dynamics, it seems that the costs of running the respective solutions are the most important factors in making the decision. There is no imminent end of life for Dynamics GP. The best choice may be to do nothing, for now.
If we can help you determine your best path forward with Dynamics, let’s talk.