Microsoft Dynamics GP, formerly Great Plains, has been a staple ERP solution for small and midsize businesses for over 25 years.
However, as technology advances, many GP users find themselves needing to evaluate gp to business central migration.
While GP and Business Central share some high-level similarities as offerings within Microsoft’s Dynamics product portfolio, looking under the hood reveals significant differences in architecture, functionality, cloud capabilities and overall vision.
Moving to Business Central was absolutely the right long-term decision for us but the key is approaching change management carefully.
This article shares my insights from having now worked extensively with both platforms.
A major area where GP and Business Central diverge is their technical architecture and deployment methods.
GP is built on an aging .NET framework while Business Central leverages state-of-the-art web and cloud capabilities.
- GP uses an on-premises client/server model requiring local IT infrastructure. Complex modifications are common for customization.
- Business Central runs as SaaS using Microsoft Azure. Modifications use extensions within the standard codebase instead.
Because of its legacy architecture, scaling up GP servers to meet growing data processing demands can get quite expensive compared to Business Central’s cloud elasticity.
However, some organizations prefer keeping systems in-house to minimize reliance on internet connectivity.
Dynamics GP covers core financials, supply chain and project management capabilities most businesses depend on.
In contrast, Business Central delivers those baseline functions plus many modern process improvements.
- GP handles budgeting, fixed assets, payables/receivables, inventory, and more but manual workflows lead to data latency
- Business Central bakes real-time into financials, sales, service and operations for continuous alignment
I especially appreciate Business Central’s embedded Power BI for data visualization and advanced reporting.
We used to rely on stale monthly reports but can now adjust on-the-fly as needed.
The wider Dynamics 365 integration also brings CRM, workflow automation, AI and other tools into one platform. GP simply can’t match the performance or extensibility.
Upgrade Paths and Planning
All software reaches an eventual end-of-life. Microsoft provides version upgrade paths for GP but there is no clear long-term roadmap.
In contrast, Business Central’s future as Microsoft’s strategic ERP offering is certain.
Most GP environments run older versions without the latest enhancements. Migrating to Dynamics 365 centralizes everything on Azure with seamless updates twice annually.
Despite the work involved, we felt BC offered a far more future-proof solution.
The key is proper preparation. Rushed ERP transitions risk major business disruption so you should budget 12-18 months to plan communications, end-user training, data migration validation and testing. Treat your people right through changes!
Transitioning from Dynamics GP to Business Central summons complexity so be sure to get help from professionals experienced assisting these specific ERP platforms.
In closing, I suggest every GP customer Should evaluate their growth trajectory relative to BC’s cloud scalability and next generation capabilities. As with any IT shake-up, changes won’t always be comfortable but unlocking better performance across accounting, sales, operations and analytics is truly liberating long-term!