You might have heard about the “announcement” made by Mike Morton (Vice President, Dynamics 365 Business Central and SMB, Microsoft) during the Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session and his subsequent retraction and clarification.
I decided to write this article to provide my thoughts on what happened and the bigger issues it raises.
I do not want to give any airtime to the misinformation shared in the GP General Session other than to say that the perception of what Mike Morton’s slides said was:
- Incorrect that there would be no more new features after the v18.5 release. Just tax and forms as required by legislation.
- It encouraged customers to contact one of four partners to help them “migrate” to Business Central.
The second half of the GP General Session was a rushed demo of Dynamics 365 BC showing some of the bells and whistles features without getting into the core functionality required by an accounting system.
What Happened Immediately After
When I went backstage after the session to find the packing box for the GPUG All Star award, I was told by people who attended the rehearsals that the information and slides just shown were not included during the session’s rehearsal.
Seeing Mike Morton backstage, I took the opportunity to talk to him saying:
Microsoft’s aggressive sales drive to push customers from Microsoft Dynamics GP to Business Central is unnecessarily scaring GP customers away from Dynamics GP. Most of those scared off GP are going back to the market and usually move to competitive products rather than going to Business Central. Microsoft is cannibalizing its own customer base.
I am not alone in thinking this.
What Happened Next
A rather hastily organized meeting between Mike Morton and members of the Microsoft Dynamics GP community took place the next day. It was attended by partners including VARs (Value Added Resellers), SAAS (Software As A Service) providers, ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) and a few concerned customers. The community members explained that regardless of the intent, the perceived message was harmful to everyone’s businesses and damaging to the community confidence in the product.
Thank you to Pam Misialek and John Siefert from Dynamic Communities for their efforts in organizing the meeting and getting an apology from Mike. Also, a special thanks to Chris Dobkins from Njevity for helping facilitate a very emotionally charged meeting. People tend to get upset when their business has the rug pulled out from underneath it.
The meeting resulted in Mike posting a clarification on LinkedIn. To quote a relevant section: “New releases will also include updates in usability, reliability, addressing top customer issues, and other areas that are critical in ensuring businesses run successfully on GP.”
In summary, the situation has not changed. Microsoft Dynamics GP’s lifecycle is still mapped out to 2028 and beyond. There is no end date on the official Microsoft Dynamics GP lifecycle page. There WILL be feature enhancements (usually based on product suggestions) as well as the required security fixes and legislative changes to tax rates and forms. There will not be any new large features added, but as Microsoft Dynamics GP is a mature product, it does not require new large features. The GP customer base was not expecting any new large features.
The ISV community are continuing to develop new functionality and enhance their products. So additional features and functionality can be added by the community.
Many customers cannot tell the difference between what is core Dynamics GP functionality from Microsoft and what has been added or changed by a customization or ISV product. Because of this they do not differentiate between Microsoft code and ISV code. To them everything is just “Dynamics GP”.
What Happens Now
As far as I am concerned it is “business as usual”. I foresee at least 10-15 years of Microsoft Dynamics GP being a viable product in the ERP market. There is no reason to move away from GP any time soon. This sort of misinformation has happened before, and it will probably (and sadly) happen again. I have been hearing about the exaggerated demise of Dynamics GP for over 20 years now.
But don’t stick your head in the sand. It is important to stay abreast of what is happening in the ERP market, and it is just as important to keep on a current version of Dynamics GP, leveraging all the functionality available.
While I have very limited experience with Business Central, talking with people who do, leads me to want to debunk the phrase that you can “simply migrate from Dynamics GP to BC”.
Moving to Business Central is not a Migration. It is a complete re-implementation on a completely different system with a completely different user interface, completely different processes and completely different data model and does not bring in any historical data. It will require time and expenses to implement as well as time and expenses to train users. This is a very costly process and one that is completely unnecessary any time soon.
I know of many GP Customers who do not want to, cannot or are legally prevented from moving into the cloud. It could be due to customizations and integrations. It could be that internet is not reliable or fast enough. It could be that laws prevent them storing financial data in the cloud. It could even be that the costs of a cloud subscription are too expensive. There will always be a need for on-premises solutions.
What Happens in the Future…
This is what I think Microsoft should do moving forward (Please tell them every chance you get):
- Stop scaring the existing GP customers (and partners) by spreading misinformation that negatively impacts confidence in the product, and then needs retraction and/or clarification afterwards.
- Stop aggressively marketing Business Central to the existing GP Customer base. Anecdotal evidence I have heard is that when a customer decides to leave Dynamics GP, they go back to the market and evaluate all available options and that only about one in ten actually goes to BC. Microsoft’s competitors are loving this uncertainty. Many partners have diversified to allow them to value add to the customers and provide alternative options.
- Work on making Business Central the best product ever. Make sure it includes all the functionality and stability offered by core Dynamics GP and all the Microsoft owned Dynamics GP addon products.
- Strengthen the Business Central ISV community so that the huge range of vertical and horizontal solutions available for Dynamics GP also become available to BC.
- Continue working on a seamless migration path that brings all data from Dynamics GP into BC and not just master records and opening balances.
If Microsoft backed off a little and let the products do the talking, there would be a natural progression from one product to the next.
Microsoft needs to stop helping competitors by spreading misinformation and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)! The vibrant Microsoft Dynamics GP community including the partner and ISV ecosystem will ensure that the product will continue many years into the future. To quote Mike Morton: “If you are an existing GP customer, you can be confident in using Dynamics GP to run your business for years to come.”
Here are some articles on the topic from other Partners:
- David Musgrave: #MySummitNA Clarification of Microsoft Dynamics GP Lifecycle
- Amber Bell: Summit 2022…Microsoft Dynamics GP Looking Forward and Looking Back
- Cavallo: The Future of Dynamics GP
- Anya Ciecierski: The Truth About the Microsoft Bombshell Dropped at the Dynamics GP Session at Summit NA
- Bob McAdam: Enterprise Software Podcast Episode 157 – Community Summit Recap and Hurricane Redmond
- Terry Heley: Microsoft is fully committed to supporting our Dynamics GP customers for years to come
- Todd McDaniel: Microsoft Dynamics BC Myth Busters
Here are the previous articles in this series:
- 22-Oct-2022: #MSDynGP Microsoft, Stop Scaring Microsoft Dynamics GP Customers
- 08-Jul-2021: #MSDynGP It’s official: Microsoft Dynamics GP is here to stay
- 27-Jun-2019: #MSDynGP Dynamics 365 BC is not an upgrade from Dynamics GP
- 11-Sep-2018: #MSDynGP Don’t Believe All The Microsoft Sales Hype
- 27-Mar-2018: The future of Microsoft Dynamics GP …. again!
- 01-Feb-2017: The future of Microsoft Dynamics GP
Thanks to the entire Microsoft Dynamics GP Community for your support.
Feel free to share this article if you agree.
23-Oct-2022: Added link to Bob McAdam’s report on the Enterprise Software Podcast.
25-Oct-2022: Added link to Terry Heley of Microsoft blog article.
01-Nov-2022: Added link to Todd McDaniel’s blog article.
02-Dec-2022: Added links to other articles in the series.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.