Nonprofits and the Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP

 In Accounting Management and ERP

Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) is fairly common software at nonprofit organizations, particularly in the small-to-midsize range. Most use it exclusively for its accounting capabilities. However, it has basic enterprise resource planning (“ERP”) capabilities as well. As such, Dynamics GP is classified an ERP product by Microsoft.

Many Microsoft products that we used to experience as installed software on network servers and workstations are now delivered as cloud services—such as Office 365. Now another ERP product in the Dynamics family, Dynamics AX, has become a major cornerstone of the new Dynamics 365 cloud service offering.

In this environment, nonprofits may well be wondering about the future of Dynamics GP.

Will Dynamics GP make the transition to a cloud service offering? Or will Dynamics GP be replaced by Dynamics 365?

The Future of Dynamics GP

Microsoft has emphasized its commitment to continuing the development of Dynamics GP. It has the largest customer base of all the Dynamics ERP products (at roughly 47,000 customers). For that reason alone, Microsoft will ensure it is properly handled moving forward. Yes, GP will change… but carefully.

Microsoft has made interim steps towards making Dynamics GP available as a cloud service offering. Recent releases for Dynamics GP included automated Azure (Microsoft cloud hosting) deployment capabilities and significant improvements to the web client. This means that GP can now be hosted in the cloud on a per customer basis.

So from a technology standpoint, Dynamics GP is clearly positioned to move in the same direction as Dynamics AX. It likely will become a cloud service sold on a subscription model. But since Microsoft hasn’t yet released a detailed road map beyond 2016, we can’t tell for sure how quickly this will develop.

Should Nonprofits Invest in Dynamics GP?

If you are currently using Dynamics GP and don’t have a compelling reason to move in another direction, we suggest staying put. Dynamics GP is going to be with us for a good long while, whether on a server in your office, in the cloud, or a combination of the two. It is a solid product.

Many of our clients don’t use their accounting package to its maximum capability, including failing to use modules that have already been purchased. There may be opportunities to improve process automation at your nonprofit using Dynamics GP without increasing your license fees. But make sure you work with a partner that wants to understand your business needs and helps you to make the correct decisions.

If you feel you have a compelling reason to change from your existing system, you should consider Dynamics GP among other options.

Our clients use a broad variety of ERP and accounting products to meet their specific needs. These include Sage, Intacct, Microsoft, Deltek, and Blackbaud products (among others). Even within the Microsoft Dynamics family there are competing products to consider.

If you feel you would benefit from having a passionately independent firm help you explore which option is best for your nonprofit, please feel free to contact us.

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