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This is the second article in a four-part series Enavate has put together to help organizations currently using Microsoft Dynamics GP understand how and where they can get additional value out of their GP environment, whether that is for their existing version, for a potential upgrade to a newer version, or for moving to the latest platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC.
The series includes the following topics:
When was the last time you updated your Dynamics GP environment?
Dynamics GP (Great Plains) is Microsoft’s legacy ERP system and has at least 15,000 active users. GP has undergone many iterations, including Dynamics GP 2015, Dynamics GP 2016, Dynamics GP 2018, 18.2 and GP 18.3. The most current version is 18.4, aka GP 2022.
Microsoft provides extensive support for newer versions of GP, including bug fixes, new features, compliance updates, service packs and more – everything you need to run your business smoothly and keep up with regulations.
Unfortunately, Microsoft recently had to sunset support for older versions to shift resources to other programs. As a result, if your Dynamics GP ERP isn’t up-to-date, you may be missing out on important security updates and functions. To get the most out of your GP solution, upgrading to the newest version is essential.
In 2016, Microsoft introduced its Modern Lifecycle Policy, which outlined how much support each version would receive over the following years. GP solutions with a fixed lifecycle receive five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support. After the extended support period ends, each version of GP will officially be sunsetted.
For instance, Dynamics GP 2015 received mainstream support (which includes updates, new features, bug fixes, etc.) until April 14, 2020. It will receive extended support (major bug fixes and compliance updates only) until April 8, 2025. After GP 2015’s extended support cycle ends in 2025, that version will no longer receive any support from Microsoft.
As a result of this policy, companies relying on versions of GP in the extended support lifecycle (2013, 2015 and 2016) may find it challenging to avoid upgrading to the newest version. For instance, in October 2022, Microsoft will disable all basic authentication for Office 365 Exchange users. This means users must use multi-factor authentication, available on version 18.3 and above, or find a workaround such as using a 3rd party ISV for emailing.
Although support for GP 18.2 and future versions will continue until at least 2028, if not longer, now is the time to consider upgrading your systems or migrating to Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Microsoft releases at least three annual updates for supported versions of GP, with each update having approximately thirty new features. When you upgrade your Dynamics GP system to the newest version, you will have access to a variety of features, including:
Your business software deserves to have the latest feature enhancements that Microsoft Dynamics has to offer. Unfortunately, not all versions of GP can be upgraded automatically to the current version. Instead, you may need to take several steps or “hops” to reach the current system. For instance, to upgrade from GP 2015, you would need to first upgrade to GP 2016, then to GP 18.3 and finally to GP 18.4.
Each “hop” to a new version requires time and resources. If you don’t upgrade regularly, you may have to deal with extended downtimes and higher upgrade costs to get on the current system.
If you want to update your Dynamics GP environment but don’t know where to start, our team at Enavate is here for you every step of the way. We will help you determine how many hops are needed to get your systems up-to-date, implement changes and update your ISV integrations.
What journey are you on with your GP system? Are you performing a health check or an upgrade? Do you want to host your Dynamics GP environment in Azure? Or are you ready to fully migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? Whichever your destination, our team at Enavate has deep experience working with GP. Get in touch to learn more and get a free assessment of your Microsoft Dynamics GP environment.
Read the next article in the series, Hosting GP in Azure.