The Real Story about the Long-Term Future of Dynamics GP Support
I've seen a number of people put forward comment that Dynamics GP is going away and you have to get off of that solution immediately. It seems to be coming from competing software solutions who are saying that GP will be unsupported as of 2025 so you should make the move to their product as quickly as possible. We have written about it in the past but I want to do that again to clarify it since the message appears to be pretty cloudy yet.
What Are the GP Support Policies?
Microsoft released an update on the Dynamics GP lifecycle that we highlighted in a blog last year. It showed the mainstream and extended support timelines for each version of Dynamics GP as part of their "fixed" lifecycle support. Microsoft also introduced something called their "Modern Lifecycle" approach so let's define each of these before we go any further.
Fixed Lifecycle GP Support
When a product switches to extended support, you no longer receive non-security updates and you aren't able to request changes to the product. You can still call in for support and you will be supported by Microsoft.
Microsoft has started a new policy called "Modern Lifecycle" which means that a product will continue to be supported as long as customers remain current on the plan. It is primarily designed for cloud solutions as those are "evergreen" products that don't require upgrades in the future but have regular updates to the applications.
Microsoft has moved the latest version of Dynamics GP into the Modern Lifecycle policy which means that there is no end date to support the current version of Dynamics GP. Microsoft is intending to make consistent updates to GP for the foreseeable future and support would extend beyond the final date of updates made to the product.
Current GP Support Lifecycle
As you can see, Dynamics GP 2018 has extended support through 2028 today (10 years from its release). Any talk about a 2025 end date for GP is not accurate unless you are specifically talking about the Dynamics GP 2015 product. The Modern Lifecycle for the current release extends out beyond 2028. If you are on Dynamics GP today, you can feel very comfortable that you'll have support for a long time.
Should I Stay on Dynamics GP Forever?
Microsoft has been pretty clear that its future investments in ERP are focused on Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management and Business Central. Microsoft doesn't say it's not investing heavily in Dynamics GP but it's pretty obvious based on the feature additions. Microsoft is investing in Dynamics GP but at a much smaller pace than they are investing in Dynamics 365 Business Central, for example.
So you can stay on Dynamics GP for a long time, and if you're happy with it, you should stay on it. If your business is experiencing change (like an eCommerce initiative, an acquisition, or something like that), you should look to move to a cloud-based ERP system at the time as opposed to upgrading Dynamics GP. Microsoft is investing heavily in its Dynamics 365 product lines and if you want to take advantage of the new enhancements, you should consider migrating to those products.
Are There Things I Can Do to Make the Transition to the Cloud Easier?
Yes, there are quite a few things you can do.
First, I'd recommend moving the hosting of your Dynamics GP instance to Azure. This improves the security of the system and makes it less likely you can get hit by ransomware. You can make this transition without having to go through an upgrade or significant change to your user base. It's a technical transition so you can secure your system better.
Second, I'd recommend taking advantage of Microsoft's Power Platform with your Dynamics GP instance today. Microsoft is investing heavily in Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate, and those are all products that can work with Dynamics GP today. You can build reports through Power BI that connect to GP via SQL or an OData connection. Power Apps is Microsoft's low code/no-code solution which allows you to add on the capability to your system that you can use from a tablet or mobile device. If you need a solution like that, build it in Power Apps and it's easier to migrate in the future. Power Automate is Microsoft's workflow engine so you look at the system and trigger an action based on an event from the system - like sending an email when a sales order flips to the invoiced status, for example. Again, if you build it in Power Automate, it's something that will be easier to configure if you migrate ERPs in the future.
If you expect to move to Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain someday, you will be using the same financial reporting tool - Management Reporter. Build up knowledge from your team of that product and they will be able to use that capability to build great reports on Dynamics 365 when you get there.
What is Stoneridge's Guidance for Clients?
We want our clients to do what's in their best interest. We will talk to clients about their future system initiatives and recommend different courses based on those initiatives. If the goal is to stay the course, you should remain on Dynamics GP until there's an event that triggers a change. If you are experiencing change or growth and need the additional capability, we'll suggest you go to Dynamics 365 Business Central or Finance and Supply Chain Management based on your company size and system needs.
I hope this helps clear up the support timeline for Dynamics GP and what guidance we provide our clients as they look to the future.