Belinda Allen, Microsoft MVP Business Solutions

The Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP

Last Friday Morning, as I was returning from GPUG Amplify in Chicago, I read a blog post from my friend and NAV community leader, Mark Brummel, entitled All roads lead to Sweden with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Mark was sharing his thoughts and opinions on the future of the Microsoft Dynamics family.  As much as I respect Mark, I disagree with most of his blog post, even going so far as to state that it has some incorrect facts about Microsoft Dynamics GP that I would like to clear up.

GP outside of English speaking countries

Mark, I will agree with you that Dynamics GP does not have as large a presence in the non-English speaking areas of Europe as it does in other parts of the world; being originally developed in North America, this is not a huge surprise.  Although, it has always had a footing all over the world.  Having been a partner of GP, formerly Great Plains, since 1991, I was around to watch it grow Globally in major ways.

I recall one year at the GP Partners annual pilgrimage to Fargo, attending the GP conference called Stampede, our leader, Doug Burgum (who is currently the Governor of North Dakota) was excited that 6 out of 7 continents where represented at our event.  Sadly, nobody attended from Antarctica.  😊 I guess the 100 or so Scientists who live there do not use any ERP systems, but perhaps they use ML or R.  Sorry, silly Belinda joke.

Fond memories of Stampede aside, I was around when Microsoft purchased GP (and SL, which Great Plains had purchased less than a year earlier.)  I was also around when Microsoft purchased NAV and AX and began working on Project Green.   Having been around during this time, I never saw Microsoft reduce their commitment to GP in any parts of the world, or in any way for that matter.  In the non-English portion of Western Europe, GP never had as strong a presence as NAV.  Outside of North America, GP does have a strong existence in the Middle East and South (Latin) America, along with (the English speaking) UK and Australia.  I am still seeing growth and adoption in these areas, as well as North America.

Is GP Retired and in Maintenance Only Mode?

Microsoft Dynamics GP is NOT retired, or in maintenance only mode.  I’m not sure from where Mark heard this rumor, but it is not anywhere close to being correct.  This has been made very clear by the Microsoft team at every customer and partner facing event that has been held over the years, with the sharing of the Roadmap.  The GP Roadmap always shows 2-3 versions out, unlike other Microsoft products (which are also not retiring) that show 1-2 versions out.

Roadmap of Microsoft Dynamics GP

Microsoft has been, and is continuing to be committed to their existing and new customers in the GP space.  Yes, I said new customers/users.  Microsoft Dynamics GP continues to be purchased and implemented on a regular basis, not just in the US but worldwide.  Neither GP nor SL have been merged into Business Central.

Before I began writing this article, I reached out to Jeff Trosen, Engineering Manager at Microsoft, sharing Mark’s post.  Jeff quickly replied:  GP Engineering is happily working on features for the fall release of GP, we did not go into maintenance mode.   If you look at our communications on GP, nothing has changed.

Microsoft Dynamics GP in the cloud

While I’m in the writing mood, I’d also like to clear up some confusion that might exist about GP in the cloud.  I first began working with GP in the private cloud around the year 2000, before Microsoft purchased Great Plains.  The Private cloud was a good solution then, and it’s still a good solution now.

So, what about the public cloud, or Software as a Service (Saas)?

There is a public cloud offering of GP.  It’s called PowerGP Online.  It’s a company and concept so amazing, I merged my company into this product’s company (Njevity, Inc.), and became the Business Intelligence Program Manager for both the public and private GP cloud offerings (NjevityToGo and PowerGP Online).

www.PowerGPonline.com

PowerGP Online is Dynamics GP running on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, with amazing additional features added.  Some of these additional features include an iPad App, a Cloud API on a secure RESTful platform, Integration tools, Report Libraries and more.  As the BI person, I personally developed 5 (with a 6th one on the way) Microsoft Power BI Public Content Packs for PowerGP Online.  (AX has 3, NAV has 3,  and CRM has 2 at the time this blog post was written.)

Short story, GP is FEATURE RICH, AVAILABLE IN THE CLOUD AND AMAZING WITH A SOLID FUTURE.  The all caps were because I was singing, not yelling.

I’m not the only one committed to the GP Community

As part of the ever-ongoing restructuring of the Microsoft Dynamics Team, Dynamics GP Veteran product marketer, Pam Misialek was let go on January 21, as were her counterparts on the AX and NAV team.  It appears that Microsoft was working to create a more unified Marketing team across all product lines, rather than having marketing for independent products in the Dynamics family.

Why do I bring this up?  Like most employees or large companies, Pam is not able to disclose knowledge of the innerworkings of Microsoft.  Although, knowing whatever it is she may know, she is staying in the GP community.  Pam officially begins her new role with Njevity as the Director of Cloud Applications, and my new boss.  I could not be more thrilled.  If there really was a plan to end/retire GP, Pam would have never accepted this position.  Trust me, she was offered a lot of jobs, many with Microsoft’s competitors and partners.  She had a lot of choices.

In conclusion: