No! A thousand times no!

I hate click-bait headlines, but based on the confusing messaging out there, it seems you have to have one for people to pay attention. If you don’t know who to believe, you may be scared away from buying or continuing to use Dynamics GP. The messaging has been at times exceptionally clear, and at other times, exceptionally fuzzy, and often both from Microsoft!  There are rumours being spread by god-knows-who that GP 2016 is the last release that will be available for Dynamics GP.

WTF.

GPUG Collaborate Canada

Last week I attended the GPUG “Collaborate Canada” event in Toronto, which was a full day version of the UG meetings that happen quarterly. It was held over two days, and day 1 was AXUG and CRMUG groups together, and day 2, the day I attended, was GPUG and NAVUG groups together.

The morning was the “non-UG” portion and *even as a partner*, I sat there and listened to the messaging shaking my head. I have heard directly from the Microsoft Dynamics GP product team in Fargo what the roadmap is and yet, here is Microsoft standing up within the first 5 minute of the day, proclaiming to the room (of existing users I might add):

Dynamics365 is going to affect everyone in this room.

Yes, it’s a keynote, and yes, we’re in the Microsoft offices, but seriously… let’s start off what should be a great user group experience by scaring the people in the room with misleading statements. Ya, that’s a great idea. There was at least one person in the room that isn’t even live with Dynamics GP yet, I can only imagine what they are thinking. Did we buy the wrong product? What the hell?

At least, at the UG Summits in Tampa last month, it was obvious this was a new product, not the death of the existing product lines. Or, it was obvious to me. That doesn’t mean it didn’t confuse the heck out of the audience of primarily existing users of Dynamics product lines but at least it seemed clearer then what it was and wasn’t.

I have no issue with introducing a new product but if you are presenting at a USER conference, as in, existing customers, perhaps the approach should be “hey, we wanted to show you our newest product that we’re really excited about!”.

We sat there ’til approximately 11:30am before the roadmaps were brought in to reinforce the “no, Dynamics GP isn’t dying”. (nor is Dynamics NAV but I’ll let the NAV partners fight that fight). Two and a half hours of this before getting to the part about “don’t worry, your significant investment is ok”. FFS. I don’t get that.

Rumours and Innuendos

Prior to attending the GPUG Toronto event, fellow Microsoft MVP Steve Endow tweeted this:

tweet-steve-endow

Again, seriously? I’d love to know who tells customers this, so we can collectively social-shame them. Brutal…

And yet another example, reading an article on LinkedIn “If you heard this rumour it is wrong, Dynamics GP is NOT going away!” and reading the comments, again I’m shaking my head. C’mon man, it’s ok to be an “evangelist” of Dynamics 365 and NAV, but it’s not cool to make completely inaccurate statements like this. It’s not about making friends, it’s about simple honesty.

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My take on things

Dynamics 365 is a new product line with two editions – Enterprise and Business.  I say new, but really it’s the rebranding of two existing products into one.

  • Enterprise is AX + CRM and both of those products are being rebranded as Dynamics 365 for Enterprise, according to the roadmaps presented at the UG Summits in October.
  • Business is the former “Project Madeira” and it’s based on NAV but by varying accounts (I can’t find one source of truth here), it’s not quite 100% of today’s NAV on premise, but it sounds like it is expected to be full function NAV within a year or so. Again, it’s hard to find the truth out there, IMHO.

Dynamics GP, SL and NAV – on premise – are not going away. There is continued commitment and development plans for all 3 of those product lines, even though NAV has been “SaaS-ified” to have a Dyn365 sibling.

From this point on, I can only talk about GP, as I’m not aware of details on NAV or SL to comment further.

  • Yes, there is a Data Conversion utility built to pull data from Dynamics GP into Dynamics 365. Some customers will consider switching. It is a completely different product so it’s no different from switching to NetSuite or any other separate product. Don’t be fooled into thinking because there is a connector that somehow switching to Dynamics 365 is any easier than switching to any other product Microsoft or otherwise.
  • I tried hard to remember any clients I’ve dealt with over my 15 years of working with Dynamics GP, who uses only Financial modules (GL/AR/AP). At this point, I can’t even think of one. I know they are out there, but I can’t name one off the top of my head. I know some clients who really only use Financials and Distribution, but even still, those are not too common. In GP terms, Financial & Distribution modules are essentially what Dynamics 365 for Business functionality covers today.
  • The vast array of out of the box modules you have available to you with Dynamics GP simply are not there with Dynamics 365. Over time, that will surely change, as Dynamics 365 evolves and grows. Perhaps they will add more functionality to make the two systems comparable in feature set but they don’t resemble that today in my opinion. What’s unknown at this point is at what stage functionality will simply not be available for the “Business” edition and force you to upgrade to the “Enterprise” edition to get more robust functionality. Time will tell. It will be interesting to see how a conversion of that nature will work, with this common data model and all. Everyone’s going to make it sound like it’s just a licensing change, but it’s two different products underneath the covers, AX vs. NAV, will it really be that simple?
  • If you are waiting for the day that Dynamics GP announces it’s SaaS-ified version, don’t hold your breath. From what I hear, that day will never come. Microsoft *is* cloud first, mobile first, but that doesn’t mean it is rebuilding every product to be a SaaS or PaaS product. If you want true SaaS, look at Dynamics 365, either edition, and evaluate it vs. any other SaaS product on the market. Microsoft’s stack will ensure it’s fully integrated and a strong performer, I have no doubt about that.
  • If you want the more robust functionality of Dynamics GP, the customization options available, the wide array of ISV products available, or you simply are not ready for a hosted/cloud solution, keep using GP! It’s not going anywhere.
  • If you want a hybrid, talk to your partner about one of the many solid hosting partners out there that literally do nothing but host Dynamics GP. Don’t want to maintain your own server? Go with hosted solutions. There are tons and hosting is an option, even if pure SaaS is not.

The messaging has been horrible. Microsoft itself is the culprit at times, with each hand saying things the other hand perhaps isn’t aware of. At reImagine in Fargo this year, Errol even seemed slightly annoyed at the concern over whether GP was here to stay or not. That concern and confusion comes from mixed messaging… even what I witnessed in Toronto, from “Microsoft Dynamics” people themselves, the messaging was not the same as what I heard elsewhere.

It’s no wonder people are confused.

Long live Dynamics GP!