What to Expect in a Dynamics GP Cloud Migration

By Stoneridge Team | December 12, 2023

Developed by the North Dakota–based company Great Plains in the 1980s and acquired by Microsoft in 2000, Dynamics GP has a long history as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and mid-sized businesses. Although Microsoft’s current development efforts are focused on its Dynamics 365 cloud platform, Microsoft has indicated unequivocally that Dynamics GP isn’t about to disappear as a product offering.

Versions 2018 and 2018 R2 are supported under Microsoft’s fixed lifecycle policy until January 2028, and the current version (18.x) will be supported indefinitely under the company’s modern lifecycle policy.

But as the Dynamics 365 platform continues to mature and blossom, more and more businesses are eyeing the benefits of the cloud—alongside the limitations and costs of on-premises solutions—and considering making the leap to the cloud.

Stoneridge Software is a Microsoft Inner Circle Partner with a well-established history of partnering with client companies to:

  • Implement and support on-premises Dynamics GP systems
  • Migrate on-premises GP systems to the Azure cloud
  • Migrate on-premises or cloud-based GP systems to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Whichever path you choose as a Dynamics GP user, Stoneridge can help you move forward.

The Limitations of On-Premises Software and the Benefits of the Cloud

The limitations of on-premises software go hand in hand with many of the benefits of cloud software, so we’ll discuss them together.

In recent years, remote work has skyrocketed in popularity, and at times—including during the COVID-19 pandemic—has become a necessity. With an on-premises ERP system, you need virtual private networks (VPNs) and remote desktop protocol (RDP) to configure access to your system. With a cloud-based system like Dynamics 365 Business Central, users access your ERP securely through a web browser—facilitating work anywhere, anytime, and from any device.

Our increasingly connected world offers many advantages—but it also comes with liabilities. You must secure physical and user access to your on-premises system, which is no small task. The Microsoft Azure cloud is housed in dozens of geographically distributed and highly secured data centers, and Microsoft’s cutting-edge cybersecurity protects your data from online threats.

In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, it’s important to control costs and maintain an edge in business intelligence. Shifting to cloud-hosting in Azure or a Dynamics 365–based solution eliminates the need to purchase on-premises server infrastructure and spend money on related human resources for maintenance and upgrades. The shift to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions comes with predictable subscription costs and the flexibility to scale in minutes.

An upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central brings access to Microsoft’s rapidly developing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. This includes built-in access to enhanced business insights with Power BI—but the benefits don’t stop there. There are also opportunities to streamline your supply chain, production operations, and other business processes with automation and machine learning.

Not clear about the difference between Dynamics GP and Business Central? We’ve spelled it out on our blog.

What to Expect in a Migration to Cloud-Based Business Central

A migration from Dynamics GP on-premise to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud is a big undertaking—but it’s likely to be the last new deployment you’ll need for a long time. Let’s explore what you can expect in a migration to Business Central.


If you’ve been using your current Dynamics GP system for years, you may have outdated or inefficient processes, because your business is always evolving and growing. A migration to Dynamics 365 is a golden opportunity to reassess how you do business with an eye toward greater operational efficiency, integration, and insight.

When we partner with a client for a cloud migration, we recommend beginning with an enterprise process review. Together, we’ll look at your current business systems, processes, customizations, and integrations.

Are there processes that need tweaking or a complete overhaul? Do you have customizations or integrations that won’t be needed in the new system? Are there functions in Dynamics GP (e.g., payroll) that need to be covered by an independent software vendor (ISV) extension in Business Central?

Bottom line: Take advantage of the opportunity to rethink how your business runs.


Changing from one ERP to another, even if it’s from Dynamics GP to another Microsoft solution, is a major change and a significant investment. Be sure to account for subscription and development costs—but don’t forget to budget for user training and organizational change management.

We’ve seen the difference that user training and change management make in boosting user adoption and maximizing the return on your investment. That’s why we offer training during the migration process and as part of our support plans. We also provide organizational change management consulting.

Bottom line: Systems and people are equally important, so plan to care for both.


Microsoft has established clear procedures to migrate your on-premises Dynamics GP solution to a cloud-native Business Central, and Stoneridge Software is here to guide you.

  1. Set up your Business Central environment with a paid subscription and at least one SUPER user. You may choose to set up a production environment as the migration target and a sandbox environment for user training.
  2. Map the data in your source tables to the appropriate tables in the destination solution. Note that you can’t have multiple source tables go to a single destination table, but you can migrate a single source table to more than one destination.
  3. Tables that have code customizations won’t migrate to the new solution. To migrate these tables, you must turn the customization into an extension in Business Central and install the extension in both Business Central and your on-premises system.
  4. Make sure you have sufficient storage space in Business Central to migrate all your data. Note that data are compressed in Business Central online. You can increase your storage capacity if you need to.
  5. Use the Cloud Migration Setup assistant in Business Central to set up your migration, then use the Cloud Migration Management page to manage the process. You will likely need multiple migration passes to move all your data, especially if you’re still using your on-premises solution during the process.
  6. Once the data migration is complete, set up your integrations, then set up your users and permissions. Then, it’s time to go live!

Bottom line: As your migration partner, Stoneridge will be with you every step of the way—even after your system launches—as we provide ongoing training and support.

To learn more about the migration process (or for inspiration), browse our case studies.

Partner With Stoneridge for Your Dynamics GP Cloud Migration

If you’re ready to move your on-premises Dynamics GP solution to Dynamics 365 Business Central, Stoneridge Software is the partner you need to ensure a smooth transition.

Contact us today to get started with your cloud migration.

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