As you may know, Microsoft has ended support for Dynamics GP 2013 (and older versions) on April 20, 2018. We refer to this as a software’s “end of life.” This means that Microsoft will no longer offer any bug fixes and patches, end-of-year service packs, or support. In addition, all third-party compatible apps will no longer update. This is extremely important if your business uses GP for payroll, as Microsoft will no longer provide those end-of-year service packs with all of the payroll and tax updates for the following year. In addition, GP 2013 will eventually no longer be compatible with other operating systems. For example, if your IT team wants to upgrade the servers to SQL 2018, GP 2013 will not be able to work with this system.
We at Sikich will, of course, still continue to support you as your GP partner and assist in any way that we possibly can. However, we won’t be able to go to Microsoft to help with any major problems, such as data corruption.
Thus, all those who currently use GP 2013 must plan to transition away from this legacy version. If you want to stick with Dynamics GP, we can upgrade you to GP 2016R2 or GP 2018. GP 2018 released this past December, and Microsoft recently rolled out the first patch for bug fixes. We like to wait until the first patch releases for new software before upgrading, and now that the first patch is here, we are ready to upgrade to 2018 (and we have).
Dynamics GP 2018 Features
Comprehensive Doc Attach and Scanning Capabilities
GP 2013 had the doc attach feature, but it’s come a very long way since then. In GP 2018, doc attach is now available for master record windows, inquiry windows, and transaction entry windows. Many users utilize this feature by attaching contracts, signed documents, and pictures. All you have to do is scan the document into GP, and GP will automatically store these documents into its SQL database. As a result, GP directly maintains all document security, thus removing the need to rely upon IP for security.
Enhanced User Experience
GP 2018 has made numerous improvements to the user interface to make an overall easier user experience. For instance, there are new sorting options on many windows, giving the user easier access to find information. There are no more prompts for that system security password. The web client has a better user experience with auto-complete smartlists in bank reconciliation as well as mobile web compatibility. Smartlist favorites now have unique password protection as well.
Workflow Approval with Email Functionality
This particular feature has been around since GP 2013R2, but it has considerably enhanced since then. The four original workflow approvals available were purchase requisition approval, purchase order approval, time and attendance approval, and project timesheet approvals. GP 2015 introduced approvals for general ledger batch, payables batch, receivables batch, vendors, project expense, direct deposit, employee skills and training, employee profile, and W-4s. All of the GP 2015 additions include email functionality as well.
With GP 2018, you can now add reminder messages within these workflow approvals. Users can also set up workflow templates by copying workflow steps, renaming steps, and even adding sub-steps. There is also now a new workflow history report functionality. Users can easily filter the report by workflow type, approvers, status, or approval date.
Add Power BI to Homepage
You can now add Power BI right to your homepage when you log into GP. Power BI is an analysis tool from Microsoft that connects hundreds of different data sources to easily report on your business. With Power BI on the GP homepage, you can see at a glance business performance and all of your BI dashboards.
Please note that this list is only a handful of the new features found in GP 2018. Plenty of features were added in GP 2015 and 2016 that are in 2018 as well.
Key Considerations Before Upgrading
First and foremost, ask what your desired end-state for a software system would be. What do you want an upgrade to do? What are you unable to do now? What business improvements are you looking for? Answers to these questions will lead you down to what software system your particular organization needs.
Next, consider on-premises versus a cloud solution. Dynamics GP does not have a true cloud option, but you can still host GP on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. If your current hardware needs an update to use GP 2018, then perhaps installing GP on Azure is the more cost-efficient solution. With Azure, you won’t have to purchase new servers, and Azure can be your test environment before making the complete switch from your legacy GP to 2018.
Before starting the upgrade, make sure your accounting and IT teams are on the same page about the upcoming upgrade. All need to be in sync when it comes to testing and especially when it comes to training users.
Other Potential Solutions
There’s no better time than a software’s end-of-life to evaluate if this is the direction your company wants to continue. Is it possible you’ll move to a true cloud solution in five years or will the next five years continue to run on-premise?
Two software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud solutions we offer are NetSuite and Dynamics 365. The biggest benefits for moving to a complete cloud solution include the following:
- packaged solutions via unique industry IP,
- rapid digital marketing and sales,
- all-in-one ERP and CRM,
- subscription revenue models,
- automatic upgrades, and
- no need for hardware.
When you talk with your Client Account Manager about your upgrade, be sure to ask about these other options if you’re considering moving to the cloud.
Want to learn more? Check out our full webinar regarding end-of-life planning for Dynamics GP below: