Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics GP: Necessary or Not?

If you’ve been a long-time Microsoft Dynamics GP user, you may love the software, but we’re betting there is something that you don’t love as much — upgrades.

Software upgrades, especially manual ones like GP uses, have been called many names, including “a necessary evil,” “pain in the rear end,” and others that we won’t repeat here due to this being a family-friendly space. 😉

We want to address these notions. Yes, GP upgrades can feel burdensome, but at the same time, they provide important security and functional updates.

The key is knowing whether your business truly needs to upgrade — or if you can hold off for another year.

Here are some common scenarios that might warrant an upgrade:

a)  Your support date is ending

Let’s get the elephant in the room (er, blog?) out of the way: support end dates.

This is the reason that most GP users upgrade and it’s unavoidable!

Unsupported software leaves you open to security risks, software bugs, and legal and compliance issues. Not to mention that new upgrades often add functional capabilities, which you could be leaving on the table if you don’t upgrade.

There comes a time when every past version of GP becomes unsupported – so you need to pay attention to when that is for your program and plan accordingly in advance.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Support End Dates 

For GP, there are several support end dates to mark on your calendar:

  • Dynamics GP 2010
    • Mainstream Support End Date: Ended
    • Extended Support End Date: October 13, 2020
  • Dynamics GP 2013 R2
    • Mainstream Support End Date: Ended
    • Extended Support End Date: April 11, 2023
  • Dynamics GP 2015
    • Mainstream Support End Date: April 14, 2020
    • Extended Support End Date: April 8, 2025
  • Dynamics GP 2016
    • Mainstream Support End Date: July 13, 2021
    • Extended Support End Date: July 14, 2026
  • Dynamics GP 2018
    • Mainstream Support End Date: January 10, 2023
    • Extended Support End Date: January 11, 2028

Dynamics GP 2016 and 2018 isn’t ending tomorrow, but the mainstream support end for 2016 is only a year away. The sooner you start preparing for this, the better. More time will give you more opportunities to look at business-critical decisions, such as whether you want to upgrade or move on, and truly identify any problems that need solutions.

Even if you choose to stay with your current version past the support end date, you need to work with a software partner who can continue to support you as best as possible to avoid the challenges outlined previously.

b)  You have a new business process

A new business process — whether its been formed internally or is available in a newer GP version — is another popular reason to upgrade.

GP upgrades include new features and functionality. For example, the latest version includes a longer Description field in Payables, a document attached in Bank Reconciliation, and new workflows for mapping and automating approvals for G/L accounts and purchase invoices.

In some cases, changing a business process can transform your whole operation. If an approval bottleneck is holding up a key part of your business, automating the workflow can pay dividends.

Rather than switching to new software, the answer could lie in leveraging an update, which is a much simpler (and cost-effective) solution.

c)  You want or need new technology

GP upgrades are only released every two or so years. As they are coming less frequently, it means that more is being included in the newer versions — and you need to take a much harder look at what is being added.

For instance, you may be able to host Microsoft Dynamics GP in a cloud environment, depending on the version.

GP 2018 also has increased capabilities for supply chain management (such as Advanced Picking and an automated PO generator), field service management (such as contract administration and depot management), human resource management (such as automated payroll processing and a PTO manager), and more.

Skipping the latest version doesn’t just mean waiting a year for the next one. It means waiting at least two years. And in that time, processes and technology can move quickly.

And if you’re still using an older version – such as GP 2013 or 2015 – upgrading to a new one can come with a lot more functionality that can save you time and money.

Making the Decision to Upgrade

Upgrades can seem to be a necessary evil, but there are times when they really add more value to both your software and your business. However, you need to know when that is the case for you.

Don’t skip an upgrade just because you think it’s not necessary. Instead, look for a partner that you can trust who will help you make that decision.

At SHEA, for instance, we won’t tell you to upgrade GP (or any other software) just because. We’ll honestly assess your business and look out for your long-term needs. That may mean recommending an upgrade, or it may mean simply refining an internal process.

We are experts in GP and the Microsoft product suite — we’ve worked with GP even before it was part of the Microsoft family, since 1994. We know why you love it and we love it, too — and we also know how you can get the most out of it. Some of our clients have been using GP in their businesses for more than 20 years, and we’ve guided them along the way.

Want to chat more? We’re here to assess your GP needs and beyond. Reach out to us today.

What is your GP upgrade philosophy – necessary or not? Share with us on social media. SHEA Global is on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.