#MSDynGP Microsoft will lose its Dynamics GP customers to competitive products


David Meego - Click for blog homepageSorry about the click bait title, but it got you to read this opening paragraph. This article is my opinion on Microsoft’s current marketing strategy for its Dynamics accounting/ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) product range and how, with a couple of minor changes, Microsoft can convert all of its Microsoft Dynamics GP customers to Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions in due time.

To understand what the problem is and what the simple solution is … read on …

DISCLAIMER: I am not directly involved with end customer sales of Dynamics GP or Dynamics 365 BC (Business Central). I have never used Dynamics 365 BC. These are my opinions based on my observations, as well as discussions and anecdotal stories with both customers and partners in the Dynamics GP community.

I am writing this article after attending the User Summit conferences in Johannesburg, South Africa and Melbourne, Australia followed by the GP Technical Conference in Fargo, ND, USA. At these three conferences I saw a big disconnect on the marketing messages from “greater” Microsoft vs the Microsoft Dynamics GP product team. It is this disparity that is causing problems in the market.

Microsoft Dynamics GP has an estimated client base (it is impossible to get accurate figures from Microsoft) from 35,000 to 48,000 sites. It is still a viable product with ongoing development and a new release scheduled for October 2019, which will move the product to the modern lifecycle with the product losing the year from the name to just be named “Microsoft Dynamics GP”.

I will not be comparing Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC as there are other people out there much more qualified than me to do so and that is not what this article is about. What I will say is that the products are different and don’t expect to be able to match the products feature for feature.

What I am seeing from “greater” Microsoft, at general sessions and keynote presentations, is a complete blank when it comes to Dynamics GP. There is not a mention of it anywhere in any of the sessions or even on the Microsoft.com Dynamics 365 website. Now, if you do an actual website search, you can find the Dynamics GP webpage, but only if you go looking for it.

This total lack of Dynamics GP mentions helps perpetuate the incorrect perception that Dynamics GP is discontinued and is scaring customers into thinking that they need to move away from Dynamics GP.

Once that seed has been planted, customers are going to re-assess their ERP system and look at the full range of products available from Microsoft and its competitors. Based on the stories that I am hearing from many partners and customers, while some customers do migrate to Dynamics 365 BC, many are moving to competitive products and leaving the Microsoft family entirely because Dynamics 365 BC is not handling their requirements yet.

Changing Accounting/ERP systems is a very time consuming and expensive exercise and this should not be considered prematurely, especially when there is no reason to move away from a perfectly functional Dynamics GP system.

So, what could Microsoft do differently….

Simple, just show Microsoft Dynamics GP some love. Mention it (even in passing) at keynotes, give it a little more development resources so that it can keep getting improvements (and bug fixes). All this while continuing to develop Dynamics 365 BC along with a migration tool for Dynamics GP.

With this change in approach, existing Dynamics GP customers will feel comfortable to remain on Dynamics GP while watching the current status of the Dynamics 365 BC product and waiting until they feel that the core BC product and its ISV addons are ready to handle their requirements.

A small change in marketing and Microsoft would be able to move almost all of their current Dynamics GP customers to Dynamics 365 BC product within the next 10 to 15 years.

Please read my previous articles on the “future of Microsoft Dynamics GP” topic:

What do you think? Please comment with your opinions…

David

This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.

9 thoughts on “#MSDynGP Microsoft will lose its Dynamics GP customers to competitive products

  1. As much as I wish this will happen I highly doubt it. This has been going on for almost a decade now. It started out with announcements where marketing would blatantly state that D365 was a replacement for GP and then us resellers would complain and Microsoft would say that is not what they meant. We always wondered why Microsoft was putting so much focus on NAV, now we know.They are now fully engrossed with what is in the new shiny box. Fortunately our business clients are in business to make money not to jump from one ERP to another. I look for to many more years insuring they remain solvent!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Buying an ERP is not like buying a car. Many consumers become attached to a make of car. You are a Ford guy. You will only ever buy a Dodge. If it is not a BMW I will never buy it.

    The problem is that Microsoft do not receive this kind of brand loyalty when it comes to ERP.
    Microsoft are not famous for ERP. There are not mid market companies out there thinking ‘I love what Microsoft has done with GP/SL/NAV so much that I will never switch to another brand and my next ERP will be Microsoft for sure.

    When it comes time for a company to change ERP’s they should always ‘evaluate their current needs togehter with the projected needs over 10 years’. You then take these requirements and search the market for the best possible solution for your business. This is an important decision and can potentially make or break a business’s success. There is not and really should not be any brand loyalty when selecting an ERP.

    Now there is partner loyalty. Most customers love the partner that implemented their solution. They love their expertise and advise. They love the level of support. They see the partner as the trusted adviser. I think Microsoft’s best bet would be investing the partner channel. Reviewing partner margins. Reviewing available resources. Investing in partner training. Reinvigorating the partner channel so that they stay loyal to Microsoft.

    What I see is traditional partners, the ones that are good at implementing complex ERP’s, hedging their bets. Almost all partners have ‘picked up another product’ just in case Microsoft do not get this right. That may be Netsuite, Intacct, Acumatica or something else. The problem now is that when a customer is ready to change ERP’s they call their partner who will present them with the ERP that they are most excited about selling to this customer. They make this decision based on many factors: a requirements match. margin, ERP future direction, Vendor support, in house expertise etc. For many Microsoft partners the next ERP product they recommend may not be a Microsoft one.

    I agree that investing a little in GP is a great idea. I also think Microsoft need to invest in their partner channel to ensure that the people a customer actually listens to are still recommending Microsoft ERP.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve gone through this several times with MS. When you can’t find a product on the website it is a non strategic product that is being phased out. In spite of the product team’s slide decks on future roadmaps and that updates and investments will be continuing the product just fades away. Two previous examples that went through the identical transitions are Silverlight and Foxpro.

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  4. I have a live example on how that translates to the bigger players in the game.. Last week we were scheduled for our Q3 GPUG Chapter meeting and had one of the largest local partner in town scheduled for a presentation about Power BI and GP reporting.. They sent me an e-mail a week before to cancel their attendance, saying that they had not renewed their GPUG partner membership this year because they think they have spent enough money and time with GP and will now focus on 365BC..
    Sad, bad true story.. not 10 years ago, there were 5-6 major MS partners in town supporting GP. I heard it first-hand from a member during our Chapter meeting last week, who was once working for one of the big 5’s in town, and practically within one month he got no work anymore, as the partner decided to jump the boat and get rid of all their GP customers. Only 1-2 large partners exists now that try to support existing GP Customers and what doesn’t help is that the customers have lost trust in the Microsoft Partner Channel… as they witness first-hand how their partners let them down one after the other. I was referred customers already several times by former partners and/or former partner consultants because they don’t want to upgrade or support them anymore :-(.. That might be good for small partners like me that are independent consultants, but sends a very bad message to existing clients who see where the wind is blowing.. and frankly I can’t blame them to fear for their hard invested ca$h when you how Microsoft treats them. A real shame..
    Microsoft in Fargo might well be hard-working on the next versions of GP, but without good marketing, the sales will just keep going downhill and at some point, someone in Redmond will decide that enough is enough and pull the plug on GP.

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    • They have already decided that enough is enough. They will keep reducing the resources allocated to GP and then slowly watch as it dies on the vine. One can only hope that they agree to sell it before that happens. I knew the day that Microsoft bought GP back in 2001 that this would happen.They have using the cash that GP brings in to finance D365 or BC or whatever name they want to give it. I remember the days when resellers were never charged for support calls, then we had 50, then 25 and now we get none. To open a support call it now costs $499. Name another ERP solution provider who charges that ridiculous amount of money. I wish I were independently wealthy and I would buy it and breathe new live into the product. Maybe we can band together to rescue a solution that has supported us for over 25 years. Since Microsoft sees no future in GP sell it to someone who does.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Richard,
        I assume you guys are not paying for the support plan that usually includes in the annual renewal. I don’t recall the exact number but you would get at least 4 technical support requests with that. The number of unused support requests do get roll over to next year so you might want to look into that.

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      • With the volume of support calls we get and the crazy things clients do 4 support calls would be a drop in the bucket. I miss the old days when we could call and get people we knew on the other end.We would only call with true support calls. The volume was low. Resellers should be first people clients should call. The problem there was since Microsoft would sign up anybody some resellers could barely spell GP so they were instantly calling. You would have thought Microsoft would have made some allowance for the more knowledgeable resellers. Now we search internet sites and are left completely on our own. How would you feel if you bought a car and it breaks down and you have to fix it yourself? Sure their are some basic repairs you could perform but I doubt you could rebuild your transmission.We are selling their product. A little support would be helpful.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello David,

    I was at the Dynamics Summit a couple of years ago in Tampa Bay when Microsoft launched Dynamics 365. To much fanfare and excitement, they basically stated that they had hitched their ride to the Dynamics 365 product and that was going to be their ERP of the future. A couple of years prior in Fargo ND there were rumors that Microsoft moved much of their GP development staff from the GP team over to a different development team for a ‘special’ project. Up to 50% of the GP development team was moved over to 365 and not replaced. It’s very apparent that Microsoft is not trying to win GP customers, any new customers of Microsoft ERP solutions will be directed towards 365.

    The good news is that we still have between 35k and 45k active GP sites which means the product isn’t going anywhere, but I am willing to bet that instead of seeing growth in GP we will be seeing a gradual decline.

    I have faith that GP will be around for at least 10 more years, but if you are just starting your career in GP, I would not count on being able to make a 40 year career out of it.

    Sincerely,

    Brian M. Lambertz
    GPUG MN Chapter Chair

    Liked by 1 person

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