ERP decisions are tough. But for Dynamics GP customers, the decision is likely one that’s even tougher. It’s understandable. Many companies have relied on the product for decades, upgrading from one version to another to stay in the support window.
An Unclear Future Requires an Exit Strategy
Upgrades were always a challenge, but they were never unbearable—a change in server, a slightly different way of doing things, and a bit of risk in the configuration and migration process. Still a reasonably straightforward path from 10.0 to 2010, 2010 to 2013 or 2015, and the like.
Now? The name is simply Dynamics GP—a software promising all the benefits of the Modern Lifecycle: Thrice-yearly updates, continuous support for customers who keep up with updates, and a relatively connected experience. But as we’ve discussed over the past year, there’s still a big question mark for Dynamics GP support after 2024. And it’s not simply first-party support either; many of the trusted names in GP are eyeing the exit, either shifting their focus to break-fix support or working to transition customers to Dynamics 365 or one of the many other Dynamics GP Alternatives.
After discussing questions to ask as you eye an exit, we would today like to help you understand your first steps to take on the way out.
Starting Your Path to a GP Replacement
Something that we’ve discussed above, GP has been one of those products that has been trusted for decades. It did what it could, even with a few hiccups and oddities along the way. Microsoft users are known to take their products well-beyond their expected life. Much like the ongoing use of Windows XP past the end of support, Dynamics GP users stood by the product.
Yes, you may have risked file corruption, had to schedule resource-intensive processes like the year-end close to run overnight, and spend time, money, and effort to run an archive, but people were comfortable. This is going to be one of the things that makes a move away from the product tough.
Getting to Know How Change Management Works
Change is hard, and you’re going to spend a lot of effort trying to convince users that they will need to learn how to use a new product—no matter how easy today’s solutions are for end users.
Before you even get to a traditional step like documenting your needs, you’re going to need to understand how change management works. According to the Business Software Education Center, change management means different things to different people:
“Change refers to “any event or program that causes disruption to daily operations” and change management is the process that allows people to adopt and feel good about said change. [According to Sheila Cox of Performance Horizons], “Organizational change management ensures that the new processes resulting from a project are actually adopted by the people who are affected.”
Say you implement a new ERP software. Change management would refer to the process of getting people to use it so it doesn’t turn into shelfware.”
Planning for change will require you to help users understand what kind of shock to the system this change will present while taking steps to keep motivation and enthusiasm high.
Get Support from Executives and End Users
According to our blog on the dangers of going into an ERP decision blind, one of the biggest challenges is getting support early on. You can select the best possible solution for your business, but if your executives aren’t on the same page regarding timelines and budgets, the process is doomed. The same goes for end users. While an unmotivated upper management might pull the plug too quickly, unmotivated end users might end up ignoring the software altogether.
Executing this will require a little bit of math and a lot of good communication. Receiving executive approval will require you to present the benefits to your company in terms of ROI, payback, and lifetime value. User support will require you to explain the benefits, but also to ask them about how you can help them improve.
Document Requirements with User Input
No one in an ERP decision can feel like they are being left in the dark. Luckily, one of the best ways to get what you need and to improve morale during an ERP decision is to simply ask users what problems they’re facing. As we said, GP is reliable, but there are a lot of hiccups—and if you can promise to make those hiccups go away, you’re much more likely to sell a hesitant user.
An added benefit of this? Soliciting user input will help you to shape your ERP search. Users are in the trenches, so if you ask them what challenges they currently face, you can use this information to prioritize functionality in your next product.
Look for an Easy Transition and a Solution That Doesn’t Require Extensive Re-Integration Work
When looking at ERP, you also need to look beyond ERP. It’s likely that you’re relying on other products that were either shoehorned into your GP product or offered connectors. Your new solution should be able to cater to this as well—and often, these integrations are a lot easier than they were in GP.
“Functional requirements are often the make or break of whether a vendor makes the shortlist or not, and you have to ensure the vendor can deliver—or connect with something that can. Much like functionality requirements, you may have a solution you already use for a specific process like AP and AR. Will the solution integrate and will they be able to deliver this affordably and easily?”
Your Move to the Cloud: Robust, Reliable, and Easy to Understand
GP has been a reliable product for companies, but with an unclear support window, it pays to start looking for an exit strategy sooner than later. Many say that the move to the Modern Lifecycle is a big deal (we did). But when comparing the GP Modern Lifecycle to others—even those in Microsoft’s catalog, it doesn’t stack up.
As we discussed in our True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud whitepaper, more and more companies have found a ton of value in their decision. True cloud products generate new value and deliver high levels of performance. Implementations are easy, and updates are even easier.
Though there are many partners you can choose, if you’re a GP user looking to forge ahead, you’d probably benefit from a company who has worked on both sides of the migration. We’ve helped a variety of companies like yours to recognize the advantages of moving to the cloud, put a solution in place that will facilitate your business, and provide you returns for years.
Learn more about Dynamics GP alternatives.