Microsoft Dynamics GP, is a mid-market business accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software package that was part of the Microsoft Dynamics suite of intelligent business applications, has been a popular choice for larger businesses, particularly in the distribution industry, for many years. However, Microsoft has announced that it will stop supporting Dynamics GP. When that support specifically stops depends on your licence and software version (see the full list of Dynamics GP versions and lifecycle end dates here)
We do know for certain that Microsoft are officially stopping sales of the accounting software package in 2025 and 2026. This means that it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft lose interest with the resellers, move onto something new and cease any kind of technical support, bug fixes, or security updates for Dynamics GP.
Dynamics GP was first released as “Microsoft Great Plains” in 1993 (Wow!) after the North Dakota software company it was developed by and has since gone through multiple versions and updates including Dynamics GP 2010, Dynamics GP 2013, Dynamics GP 2015, Dynamics GP 2016, and Dynamics GP 2018.
Support for Great Plains and earlier versions of Dynamics GP has already ended or will end soon, with Dynamics GP 2010 and 2013 confirmed as no longer supported. Microsoft did announce that it will continue to provide mainstream support for Dynamics GP 2018 until 2023 but a backlash from users who around the new licences and migration meant that they extended support until 2028. Clearly there are still a lot of functions and features Finance Teams Dynamics GP that users are find valuable. Plus the resource cost of migrating a Finance System that quite possibly could have been running for decades is huge and the Mid-Sized businesses with £3-10m turnover that use GP just aren’t able to tackle that challenge effectively.
One of the main reasons for Microsoft's decision to de-support Dynamics GP is that the software is based on an outdated Microsoft SQL technology and written in a programming language called “Dexterity” which was specifically designed for graphical accounting software. Nowadays a graphical interface is basic functionality for almost all software and Dexterity’s use is redundant. The dated code language is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain with less developers who know how to work with it. Microsoft’s solution to this is its cloud-based intelligent business applications which it has poured investment into. Dynamics GP’s “direct” replacement is Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Part of the huge Microsoft Dynamics Business Central package. This offers more modern and flexible solutions for businesses looking to upgrade from MS Great Plains/Dynamics GP, but obviously the switch to a more modern accounting solution comes with it’s own drawbacks and complications especially for medium-sized businesses that don’t have “on-tap” IT and Tech support.
And it’s that technical resource requirement that’s the issue: Dynamics GP was known for its strong financial management capabilities, its complex technical requirements but the need for on-premise installations and complicated system integrations that require a tech team on hand to implement and support have made it less and appealing for businesses to adopt in the past decade. Cloud systems are now the mainstream choice for most software applications due to cost and accessibility. If you were looking to move from Dynamics GP then any online cloud accounting software would have most if not all of the features Great Plains would have claimed were “revolutionary” or “game changing” back in the day and would be the first place someone looking to upgrade their finance system should investigate.
However, that same complexity and need for specialist tech resource is also it’s saving grace...in a way...
Because Great Plains is complex legacy software, very few people know how to use it, both internally and via third parties. So all the workarounds, hacks and quirks and “quick fixes” of the common day to day use of an accounting system that are still being used are embedded into the foundations of a Finance Team’s working practises. Changing the way invoices are processed, monthly reports are run, is extremely difficult. Especially when considering lots of the tasks Finance Managers and Admin teams do daily could be years old, created by third parties or ex-employees. It’s completely justified that senior stakeholders aren’t sure what will break if they suddenly stop doing them.
Microsoft’s Great Plains replacement; Dynamics F&O, again requires high technical skill to set up and maintain (or an ongoing support subscription from a third party) and It’s complicated licensing structure has also put off a lot of mid-sized enterprises from making the move to migrate.
Those SMBs that chose Dynamics GP when it was a safe and popular choice in (1993!) need to take action soon. Microsoft's decision to de-support the software reflects the market and culture. People want a more modern solution. The bar of how you interact with any piece of software is significantly higher than the last version of Dynamics GP and worlds apart from MS Great Plains. Businesses still using Dynamics GP should immediately get the ball rolling and start planning for migration to a newer accounting and finance system software solution as support for the platform wanes. Migration can take anything between 3 – 12 months and businesses will want to ensure they can have at least some form of technical support on their old system during the migration.