Before you commit to upgrading to Dynamics GP 2018 from GP 2013, perhaps you should consider other software alternatives. We have two such options we highly recommend. One is another Dynamics product if you would like to stay in the Microsoft world called Dynamics 365. The other is an Oracle product called Netsuite. Dynamics 365 includes CRM and ERP all in one, and is powered by data and intelligence, to help capture new business opportunities. Netsuite also offers CRM and ERP in one solutions and is actually the world’s most deployed cloud ERP solution, with over 30,000 organizations across 100+ countries. Before you officially choose one of these alternatives, we’ll perform a business process analysis of how you are currently using GP, and how either Dynamics 365 or Netsuite would better fit your needs. From there we will be able to communicate both the costs and efforts involved with moving to a new ERP.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 for finance and operations released a few years back and was most similar to a Dynamics AX, an enterprise level solution, so most of our GP clients were not yet considering it as a viable replacement. Microsoft released a new version on April 2nd called Dynamics 365 Business Central. Like Netsuite, this is a cloud-based solution that will bring your ERP and CRM together in one product to eliminate the need for multiple, integrated solutions as well as on premise hardware.
As another side note, if you do stay on Dynamics GP but need a CRM system, you can still move forward with just Dynamics 365 for Sales and Marketing, which includes all of the customer tracking, marketing and campaign management features, sales opportunities and forecasting, and more.
The sales and marketing portion includes marketing with basic campaign management as well as sales and retail. Create and run multi-channel campaigns to attract the best leads from email marketing, web landing pages, LinkedIn, webinars, phone calls, and events with event management. It also allows you to easily connect your sales and marketing teams to close more deals by using the familiar Office 365 tools most businesses already use. This tool also gives you marketing analytics as well to evaluate and improve your ROI.
Other features of Dynamics 365 include:
- project management and service order management for Field Service, Customer Service, and Project Service Automation;
- the Dynamics 365 Advanced Financial Management feature that contains built-in data analytics to give better insights into the business to prevent issues, improve processes, and in turn deliver better customer experiences;
- functionality for Supply Chain Management and Discrete Manufacturing, allowing for easier production planning, project management, operations and activity scheduling, and cost management; and
- the Talent portion, which includes employee entities and payroll integrations.
Consider Your Cloud Options
Of course one of the top perks of moving to a cloud solution means it eliminates on premise IT costs. There will not be a need anymore for the upkeep of hardware as well as various software packages. As already mentioned, Netsuite also includes all your ERP functionality, CRM and eCommerce all in one. With GP as your ERP system, it requires the purchase of Microsoft CRM (now called Dynamics 365 for sales) as well as a third party eCommerce system. This not only eliminates integrations to three different products but cuts processing times and possible errors that could occur from entering data into different systems.
Netsuite also includes real-time dashboards and analytics to give better visibility into your business which hopefully means it eliminates spreadsheets as well.
One of the biggest perks about Netsuite is that it is browser-based. This means no more VPN access or trying to connect to the Network when you are out of the office or working from home, then needing to rely on your IT Help Desk with any issues connecting. You can log right into Netsuite via a web browser or even your phone or tablet.
Netsuite also handles global entities very well. With the advanced financial management, it allows for multi-subsidiary and multi-currency intelligence that scales as your organizations grow.
Since Netsuite has industry specific IPs, it cuts down greatly on the customizations and third party products. This helps keep the product streamlined and allows you to customize with confidence without risking being locked into that version forever, because depending upon the number of customizations, an upgrade would just be a nightmare!
The automated upgrades deliver you the latest features and functionality, without needing to lift a finger. If you have attended any of the Sikich user groups, or GPUG summit, you know what while it is fun to network with other users and talk about how they are using GP, it always seems like everyone is on a different version with different functionality available to them. But with Netsuite, everyone in the world are on the same version, making it easier to bounce ideas off each other.
Sikich has a Netsuite practice of about 20 consultants. The team can assist with the implementation and training of the product, as well as on-going support just as we currently do for your GP system. Sikich also happens to be the President of and hosts quarterly Netsuite user group meetings to connect Netsuite users. If you do decide you want to learn more about Netsuite, attending a user group to get feedback directly from other users could be beneficial.
Still Unsure of SaaS vs. On-Premise?
Not to sound like a broken record, but there are many benefits that come with a cloud-based, SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution that you would not get with an on-premise solution like Dynamics GP. Most companies see a 93% reduction in IT costs after moving to a cloud product associated with maintaining, integrating, and upgrading separate applications. Also, since you pay per month, you avoid large upfront payments for both the software and your hardware. You never have to pay to upgrade again since all users are on the same version. Upgrades will be pushed down from the cloud, just like your iPhone, for example. You will also no longer need to pay annual enhancement renewals for your ERP and third-party products, which may be costly, depending on the size of your organization. Sikich can sit with you to complete an ROI analysis year-over-year to understand the cost savings down the road.
Some other benefits include packaged solutions via unique industry IP. This allows you to avoid customizations and third party products with integrations, which can add to the complexity and up keep of your system. For example, Netsuite has IPs unique to the retail industry, with applications built into the product for your Point of Sale system. Also, as more and more solutions are starting to move to the cloud outside, such as Office 365, you may want to move everything to the cloud to avoid any on premise hardware at all.
This is a lot to consider, especially with the clock ticking for users of Dynamics GP 2013. Never hesitate to contact us with any questions or to start your upgrade/ERP replacement process!