Migrating Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Pros & Cons

Microsoft Dynamics GP: Migration to 365 Business Central, Pros & Cons

Introduction
This post is about the advantages and disadvantages of migrating from Microsoft Dynamics GP (GP) to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC) – both are ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems.

The on-prem. to on-cloud migration scenario is assumed in this discussion (other paths, such as on-prem. GP to on-prem. or on-Azure D365BC, are possible too).

The focus of this post is about GP, but companies thinking about moving from NAV, AX, QuickBooks and other ERP systems to D365BC may find this information useful too in order to help make an informed decision.

 
If you are looking for D365BC implementation packages or would like to learn more about what D365BC is, including its modules, its financial reporting capabilities, the industries and sectors it serves, its license types and their prices, visit the corresponding page or contact us.
 

Migration Pros & Cons
Microsoft has been creating and improving migration tools to help facilitate the process of moving from on-prem. GP to on-cloud D365BC. However, before companies may inquire into the “how” question, it is wise to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this move (the “why” question). Therefore, this section focuses on pros and cons of the migration process.

Pros:
  • $0 upfront cost – companies moving their ERP system to the cloud do not need to set up or to maintain their hardware (e.g. the server) and software (e.g. the operating system, antivirus, etc.) infrastructures;
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  • new featuresD365BC is rich in features in financial reporting and other areas, including flexible approval workflows (see “Further Reading”, section A, for details), etc.;
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  • always mainstream support – for on-prem. software, such as GP, it is common to go out of mainstream support witin several years of the initial purchase (e.g. GP 2015 and 2015R2 are out of mainstream Microsoft support as of April 14, 2020 – see “Further Reading”, section B, for details). In contrast, on-cloud D365BC remains in mainstream support indeterminately;
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  • simple COA (chart of accounts) – GP commonly uses segmented COA (each department, line of business, etc. are represented by a separate portion of G/L account number) which makes the COA complex. D365BC, in turn, relies on Dimensions which greatly simplify (e.g 4 – 5 digits usually suffice even for companies in manufacturing) the COA making it easy to work with and to maintain;
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  • easy licensing – there are only 3 key types of D365BC licenses. These are easy to understand and are quick to provision (or to drop) which may result in thousands of dollars in savings;
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  • two migration paths – it is possible to use the out-of-the-box Microsoft GP to D365BC migration tools (see “Further Reading”, section C, for details) or the classic way (via Excel) to help accommodate the needs of companies more efficiently and effectively;
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  • 40% off – companies migrating from GP to D365BC may be eligible for 40% off their D365BC licenses;
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  • modern UI (user interface) – migrating from an older version of GP to the newest of D365BC is likely to make users’ work in the system more rewarding due to the modern and convenient look;
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  • free monthly updates & fixes – Microsoft releases free monthly updates and fixes for D365BC – these updates happen fully automatically. This means that users can take advantage of new features regularly without have to pay anything extra or to spend time on time consuming system upgrades;
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  • abundant ways to integrateD365BC integrates with a variety of software, including Power BI, other Power Platform products, Outlook, Office 365 and beyond;
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  • submit ideas to Microsoft – an opportunity to request a desired feature directly from Microsoft for free. A similar feature is available for GP, but users of D365BC may be able to take advantage of their desired features faster due to regular automatic updates.

Cons:
  • unavailable functions – GP may have some functions that are unavailable in the new system;
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  • complex implementation – there are some tools to facilitate migration, but companies should be prepared to invest time and money into the migration process;
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  • privacy policy – some companies, including those in the public sector, have strict privacy policies which may be misaligned with Microsoft Privacy Statement (see “Further Reading”, section D, for details);
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  • users’ reluctance – users may be reluctant to learn the new system and to dedicate their time to the migration efforts as this is usually on top of their day-to-day business duties;
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  • new Partner – some IT companies specialize narrowly on GP; therefore, it may be necessary to find new Microsoft Partner that can implement and maintain D365BC;
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  • consistency tasks – to maintain consistency (e.g. consistent sales invoice numbers between the source and target ERP) is usually an easy task, but still may be one more to account for.

Conclusions
Migration from on-prem. GP to on-cloud D365BC has its pros and cons. The pros include $0 upfront cost, new features, indeterminate Microsoft mainstream support and a simple COA. The cons are some GP functions that may be unavailable in D365BC, implementation complexities, privacy policies and requirements, etc. Each company should weigh both pros and cons to make the decision that is going to serve well their team and business.

At Edocation our objective is to help companies make an informed decision about migrating to D365BC. If you would like to discuss your ERP needs with one of our certified Microsoft specialists or to obtain an estimate for your D365BC migration, contact us.