Navigating the End of Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains: Embracing the Cloud for a Bright Future
Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains was born in 1981 (1). That is the same year that Sony introduced the first 3-1/2" floppy disk (2). Granted GP has changed quite a bit since 1981, but it has reached the end of its development. Earlier this year Microsoft stopped mainstream support which creates real security risks. This doesn't leave many options for users. In fact it is quite simple: move to another platform, usually cloud based; upgrade to the latest version of GP, essentially delay the move; and do nothing.
The easiest, and roughest road is to do nothing. One might assume that this is the cheapest route too. On-premise versions are becoming increasingly vulnerable. Yes, the server in the back closet is not safe. There are security options available to reduce risk and this will require consistent effort and investment. This means doing nothing still carries costs. Criminals don't only target large firms anymore because their tools are so easy to use. Partners will still provide support for legacy systems with caveats. A few considerations are the cost to keep legacy knowledge on staff, elevated rates to access those experts, and potentially bottlenecks because consultants are re-tooling.
The mediocre road is to upgrade to the latest version of GP. Security will improve and some functionality might be picked up and this will instantly become a sunk cost because Microsoft is not investing in enhancing functionality within the product. Publishers are investing in cloud technology and treating communications and integrations with on-premise solutions as a secondary consideration. For example, the embedded Microsoft Power BI tools and Outlook integration for Microsoft Dynamics Business Central on-premise does not include all of the features available out-of-the-box for the SaaS version. Firms in your industry are already leveraging efficiency tools and advanced communications and the gap will continue to grow. Don't forget a modern platform is a consideration during the recuring process as well. This means that your competition will get more done with fewer FTE's and will have an advantage when more staff is needed. Overall, this road will be less disruptive, will have a significant price tag, and really just buy a little time.
The optimal road is to move to a modern, cloud-based platform. The mid-market has plenty to choose from that will check many of the same boxes for manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and those that just need a financial system. The real difference is your partner. Do they have technology services beyond ERP for you as the company grows? Do they have financial services to optimize the power of your cash? Tax services to protect the firm? General business advisory to lean on as the business scales? Do they have a stable, consistent delivery approach like CC Works? Is a holistic roadmap with identified tiers exist like the CC BUILD Platform included?
Are you ready to explore the possible with Citrin Cooperman? Microsoft GP is reaching the end of its time. Let's make sure that your company doesn't go with it.