October 27, 2023

    5 Key Considerations Before Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics GP

    Some organizations approach their Microsoft Dynamics GP upgrade with the attitude of “If it’s not broken, we’ll leave it alone.” However, that way of thinking can, at best, mean that you aren’t making the most of your Dynamics GP investment, and at worst, mean that you are putting your critical business data at risk. 

    Watch our “5 Things to Know Before Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics GP” webinar on demand. 

    Here are the five most important things you should be considering when evaluating your next Microsoft Dynamics GP upgrade. 

    1. Staying Supported 

    Understanding Product Lifecycle Support for Microsoft Dynamics GP 

    The Microsoft Dynamics GP support you receive depends on the version of your instance. Therefore, it’s important to understand your support agreement and the support lifecycle for the version of Dynamics you are using.  

    Timeline- GP

    Dynamics GP offers Fixed Lifecycle and Modern Lifecycle Support. Under the Fixed Lifecycle policy, each version of Dynamics GP has a clear-cut end date for support under their roadmap through 2028.
     
    The Modern Lifecycle plan was launched in 2019 and follows a continuous service and support model without end-of-support dates. On this plan, you still receive support even if you don’t upgrade to the latest version that year. 

    Mainstream and extended support dates are also attached to product upgrades. Mainstream support typically covers the first five years of the product version. Extended support generally covers the remaining five years for that version.  

    Mainstream support includes full assistance for the Dynamics GP instance, including security, feature and tax table updates, plus requests to change products, designs and features.  

    Mainstream-extended support dates

    Extended support, on the other hand, includes limited assistance for security and critical non-security updates. 

    Support plans are not completely cut and dry. There are a few complexities that you should keep in mind as you consider an upgrade:  

    • Clients still on version GP 2010 or GP 2013 should understand that, while Microsoft support has ended, the Enavate team can still provide support services. 
    • GP 2015 users still have Microsoft’s Extended Support through April 8, 2025. 
    • The Modern Lifecycle solutions often require ‘hops’ when upgrading to a current version. For example, users cannot migrate straight to the current version of Dynamics GP from GP 2015 (14.00.0725 or later). Instead, an organization using GP 2015 would have to upgrade first to GP 2016, then to GP 18.3, again to GP 18.4, and finally, to GP 18.5.

    Ideally, your organization should upgrade every year to avoid these complexities and higher costs associated with the ‘hops.’ 

     

    Read more: What You Need to Know About Microsoft’s Dynamics GP End-of-Life Announcement 

     

    2. Staying Compliant 

    Regularly updating your Dynamics GP version is essential for complying with payroll and tax filings and the security upgrades required with current data privacy rules. 
     
    Regular updates from Microsoft for Dynamics GP include:  

    • Year-end updates that include new features, updated W2s, 1099s, magnetic media and additional reports 
    • Tax table updates are released several times yearly as the tax code is updated. If you’re on the latest version of GP, you get these updates automatically. However, if you’re not, the tax tables in GP must be manually updated. Updating is particularly important for payroll, sales order processing, or invoicing.  
    • Security updates, including bug and hot fixes, are critical to address the latest cybersecurity threats as they arise. 
    • Bug fixes and hard updates affect everything from feature glitches to cybersecurity. 

    3. Staying Current  

    Leverage New Features

    Microsoft releases new features three times a year. Each new update release offers approximately 30 new features. When you upgrade Dynamics GP, sometimes you don’t notice these changes because your team has established workflows and feature-use habits. However, the new features can bring extensive benefits as Microsoft improves their functionality. That’s why Enavate offers features and updates trainings with each new product version upgrade.  

    For example, some of the latest new features include: 

    • The 1099-NEC form includes a built-in format with boxes and lines 
    • End-users can now print the form one-wide on blank paper 
    • GP 18.5 now has Print Cash Receipts functionality that lets you print or email a cash receipt directly to the customer 

     

    Check out our Microsoft Dynamics GP tutorial content for more Dynamics GP tips and tricks. 

     

    4. Staying Secure 

    Dynamics GP instances feature transport layer security (TLS), a cryptographic protocol that provides end-to-end protection of data sent between applications over the internet. Since 1994, TLS has been the go-to security protocol for end-to-end encryption. In 2016, PCI-compliant organizations (typically credit card companies) were put on notice that TLS would no longer be the required security protocol.  

    Over the years,  that subsequently were patched via software upgrades. The current version is TLS 1.2. As a result, Microsoft depreciated basic authentication for email in TLS 1.0.  

    What this means for your organization is that if your Dynamics GP is version 18.2 or older, the system must now enable Basic Authentication and TLS 1.0 for both Exchange and Workflow.

    5. Staying Connected 

    Email Functionality

    Email functionality has been difficult for any clients using older versions of Dynamics GP. In 2022, Microsoft released email security changes for Office 365 that didn’t play well with the functionality in Dynamics GP. Some instances of Dynamics GP prevent email transmission in Microsoft Office 365 and related tools such as SQL Server. This issue affects all Dynamics GP systems 18.2 and older using Office 365 for email. 

    If you are running these older versions, you may have already struggled with email outages.  

    Some examples of processes that may be affected in your organization could include:  

    • Automated or user-driven invoices 
    • Workflow approvals notifications 
    • Electronics fund transfer (EFT) remittance notices 
    • Sales and PO documents 

    Starting with Dynamics GP 18.3, the October 2020 release, you can use Multifactor Authentication (MFA) for email functionality. MFA requires additional verification to prove your identity when logging into an account. For example, when you sign in for the first time on a new device or a web browser, the software requires more than just a username and password. You need a second factor to prove who you are. An example would be a text message with a code you use to log in. 
     
    MFA replaced basic authentication in 2022 when they disabled the older TLS versions—with a few exceptions. In some instances, even though the version is no longer supported, the Microsoft servers still allow clients to use older versions of TLS when connecting to the SMTP AUTH endpoint (smtp.office365.com).  

    Basic Authentication vs. MFA: Who does this affect? 

    The move from basic authentication to MFA affects: 

    • Dynamics GP users with older instances up to GP 18.3 
    • Companies using the Exchange Server type  

    To determine your setting in Dynamics GP, go to Tools>Setup>System>System Preferences—then click the dropdown under email preferences. You will see:  

    • Exchange 
    • MAPI  

    If you are using the Exchange setting, you don’t have to have Outlook open to send email. If you’re using MAPI, you do, and in this case, Outlook handles the user authentication.  

    MAPI screenshot

    Workflow and MFA 

    Dynamics GP Workflow emailing is an unattended email setup. To use it, all instances of Dynamics GP need to enable SMTP in Exchange online.


    workflow and MFA screenshot

    The Final Word: Migration Paths to Your Next Upgrade

    When you have decided that you need to move away from your current version of Dynamics GP, you have multiple options: 

    Migration map

    For more information, download our ebook: Understanding Your Dynamics GP Options. 

    Enavate can support your Microsoft Dynamics GP journey. We have extensive expertise with Dynamics GP across dozens of industries. We can roadmap a migration and help you upgrade or support your existing products.  

    Enavate experts Pamala Turner, Senior Technical Consultant, and Tim McHale, Senior Solutions Consultant/Architect, guide you through these five key considerations for your Microsoft Dynamics GP upgrade in this on-demand webinar. 

    Pamala Turner

    Pamala Turner brings 24 years of experience in Microsoft Dynamics products, plus many years in Microsoft Technical products. Pamala has been part of a team that gained the Microsoft Inner Circle and Partner of the Year recognition. Pamala is a Microsoft Dynamics expert that is dedicated and relentless in helping customers and the Enavate/DXC team achieve success with Microsoft Dynamics products.

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