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Microsoft Dynamics GP vs. Dynamics 365 Business Central: Should You Migrate?

In this comprehensive guide, ERP Consultant Tim Duncan explains the key differences between Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and which platform is best for you.

Some of our Microsoft Dynamics GP clients have seen a lot of buzz recently about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and they’ve had a lot of questions. I’ve been asked which is the better product, whether Business Central is an upgrade to Dynamics GP, and whether they should make the move from one solution to the other.

Though of course this article isn’t a substitute for having a discussion with an expert about your particular pain points and unique business needs, I hope it will help clear some confusion.

Some of our clients are happy with Microsoft Dynamics GP and that’s where they’ll stay for the foreseeable future. Others may want to consider Business Central for the additional functionality it can offer.

Common reasons that organisations might want to migrate:

1. You feel the annual cost of Dynamics GP is too high
2. You want to reduce cost and/or risk by taking advantage of the cloud
3. You currently use a third-party add-on, which now has an equivalent Dynamics 365 app available in AppSource (more on this later)
4. There is a difficulty in GP you want to eradicate
5. There is a feature in BC you want to benefit from

Key Differences Between Dynamics GP and Dynamics BC

Cloud vs On-Premise

Both systems are available on-premises and in the cloud – but Business Central is predominantly the cloud-based solution. Using Microsoft Dynamics GP as a cloud solution simply means you’re hosting it on the cloud via a remote desktop connection. The web client, while handy for remote working, can sometimes be unreliable and some third-party add-ons aren’t compatible.

Why is the cloud beneficial?

  • Rid yourself of physical IT infrastructure
  • No up-front setup costs for servers, hardware, and other components
  • No expenses for running, maintaining, and upgrading servers

The benefits of choosing a cloud-native solution include:

  • Quicker and easier set up
  • Great for companies with little or no dedicated IT resources
  • A reliable solution for hosting your data and applications
  • Improve uptime, security, and availability

Functionality

Improved functionality in BC includes:

  • You get project accounting (known as “jobs”) which enables your finance and operations teams to work more smoothly together.
  • Integration tools, including RapidStart configuration packages, are much more user friendly than Dynamics GP’s Integration Manager.
  • Business Central offers a Microsoft Excel add-on to easily manipulate lists and data in Excel then publish back into BC.

Cost

One of the biggest reasons people choose Business Central is because it uses a full SaaS model (Software as a Service) so you pay on a monthly basis, rather than a large upfront cost.

Updates

Being natively cloud-hosted, Microsoft automatically pushes out enhancements, bug-fixes, and updates for your BC solution. The great thing is, that means no more time-consuming upgrades! Microsoft is currently rolling out two releases per year of Business Central and just one release for Dynamics GP every two years or so.

Reporting

Gain advanced reporting in BC such as more accurate forecasts and valuable analytical insights. As Business Central is connected to the common data model that holds data from all systems, it is easier to connect data to Microsoft Power BI, a data visualisation tool. Dig into financial data in new and interesting ways.

Power BI Financial Dashboard

A financial dashboard from Power BI hooked up to Business Central data
Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/dynamics365/business-central/admin-powerbi

User interface

Business Central offers a new user interface, more cohesive with the look and feel of the Dynamics 365 suite of tools for a smoother user experience. On top of that, your team can customise the interface of their system on their own to their unique needs, for example smart notifications, personalized feeds, and role-specific views – without costly third-party add-ons.

Leave the Add-Ons Behind

Sometimes Dynamics GP customers must use third-party add-ons to get the functionality they need. These add-ons can be replaced with apps from Microsoft AppSource, where you have a wider range of functionality to choose from. Your partner will be able to help you choose the right apps.

Which Platform is Best for You?

There are some basic use cases that can help you to decide which platform is for you, based on your users, employees, revenue and industry. Take a look below to learn more.

Users

Business Central: Up to 250

Dynamics GP: Up to 500

Employees

Business Central: 1000

Dynamics GP: Up to 250

Revenue (in millions)

Business Central: £5-£50

Dynamics GP: £5-£500

Industry Type

Business Central: No industry-specific customisation required

Dynamics GP: Customisable for a variety of industries including not-for-profit, wholesale distribution, financial services

Final Thoughts

Microsoft Dynamics GP will always have its place in some companies and certainly isn’t being replaced, however it isn’t as modern or intuitive as Business Central. If you’re looking to adopt cutting-edge new features, these will be implemented in Business Central a lot sooner than Dynamics GP.

Microsoft is focusing heavily on Business Central for development and improvements. They have clearly positioned Business Central as their primary solution. It’s where I think we’ll see the most exciting new features and functionality in future.

In my opinion, Business Central is the stronger of the two solutions. It is cloud-hosted, it offers fantastic functionality, and it is only continuing to get better. If you can use Business Central, I’d recommend it.

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If you're currently using Microsoft Dynamics GP, speak to us to find out whether you should migrate to Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.
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