With cloud computing being the new standard for small and medium sized businesses, making the move from an on-premises Dynamics GP to the entirely cloud based Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) is a significant decision companies face when considering an upgrade or server replacement. The main question is: is the jump from Dynamics GP to Business Central the right choice for your needs?
The question is not a one size fits all decision. Although Microsoft is providing migration tools to improve the transition process, experienced consulting is necessary to help arrive at the right decision. Most of the online marketing materials published by both Microsoft and Dynamics channel partners communicate how to migrate, but there is sparse information around the value for companies should they make the change. Partners and consultants need to be able to articulate the value of upgrading, or else they have not done their jobs correctly.
There are often three main reasons why companies are considering migrating to Dynamics Business Central.
1. They have outgrown GP due to continual business growth, the addition of multiple locations, multi-currency and more.
2. Companies require industry specific functionality not available in Dynamics GP.
3. There is an interest in moving to the cloud due to aging/unreliable infrastructure or to mitigate other technical risks.
All three reasons require deeper discussions around the changes to business processes as most often the costs and benefits to businesses moving to Business Central are process based. Dynamics GP can be moved to the cloud. Migrating to Business Central so that users can have an updated user interface may feel like a step forward, but Business Central has it’s functionality limitations and differences that may not be exposed until a detailed analysis is conducted.
For example, while the migration process may seem simple, making the change from GP’s segmented chart of accounts to BC’s dimension-based chart of accounts can come with unexpected problems. Microsoft’s own marketing materials make it seem simple, so consultants are often overlooked. However, Dynamics GP customers that have been using the system for a decade may not even know of all the customizations, but when you have used the software for that long, it is easy to miss modifications. Other factors to account for include data quality, customization, ISV solutions and more. An often overlooked but important question is should current processes be replicated or re-engineered?
A conversation with Dynamics Business Central professionals before you make any drastic changes can help you determine if it is the right decision. Besides timing and making sure BC fits your needs, there are other nuances to discuss when transitioning, so it is best to talk to a professional about how it is going to improve your business processes.
Ultimately, moving to the cloud will most often have the most benefits, but nonetheless it needs to be the right fit for your business. Transitioning to Dynamics Business Central can be the best way to fill the gaps left by GP and help your business succeed. However, organizations need to stay engaged and continually educate themselves and resist the lure of a migration to something new if there is no added value.
If you would like to learn more about Business Central, please contact us. Our experienced consultants are always available to help you streamline your business processes.