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Welcome to the Dynamics Blog hosted by the professionals at Armanino. This blog is about anything that may be helpful to others regarding Microsoft Dynamics' software. The topics can be anything from Microsoft Dynamics GP, AX, CRM, SharePoint, MAS 90/200, .NET development, accounting, compliance and more.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Insights on When to Upgrade Dynamics GP

Posted by Rob Klaproth

When to Upgrade Dynamics GPGP2015? GP2015R2? GP2016? GP2016R2???! It’s an exciting time to be a Dynamics GP customer! Microsoft has increased the release cycle of their products and is releasing a new version of GP almost every year, as well as the R2 releases in the mid or year-end cycle of the product. These releases bring many exciting new features, but can lead to a lot of anxiety and confusion when you are trying to decide when to upgrade. Gone are the days where you would see a release every 3 years for your ERP software. The market is rapidly changing, and your software needs to keep up with the needs of your business. Read on for some insights on when to upgrade Dynamics GP.

Many clients have asked me when they should upgrade and to what version they should upgrade. The answer to that question is never easy because, let’s face it, everyone uses GP a little bit differently. Many of you may have 3rd party (ISV) products such as a job costing system like WennSoft or a credit card processing solution such as Nodus. Each ISV has committed to Microsoft that they will release a compatible version of their product within 6 months of a major release from Microsoft. This can lead you, the anxious GP user who wants to take advantage of the latest features on the sidelines until your ISV product releases a compatible version of their product that works with the latest version of GP. However, many ISVs have gotten better at beta testing their products in parallel with Microsoft so they are nearly ready to go on day 1.

The smartest thing you can do before deciding what version or when to upgrade is to review all of your modules that you are using with GP and contact your vendors to ensure they are compatible. It’s also very important to check with your partner or your developer if you have any customized code in your system that they wrote. Sometimes it requires an update to the code. For example, in GP 2015, Microsoft switched the Credit and Debit columns around so Debit comes before Credit. The move made perfect sense to all the accountants in the room, but this required all of the developers of 3rd party products that talk to those tables to update their product. Some are still working on this, unfortunately.

With that said, if your business demands the cutting edge functionality from the application and there is a must-have feature in the new release, your best bet is to try to update to the most current version. For example, for those wanting to deploy the Web Client, GP 2016 is the most logical choice because it is now fully HTML5 compliant. Maybe you want to take your business intelligence to the next level with Power BI and ODATA and you need to use those with GP? Perhaps your accounts payable department is paying a lot of invoices via credit card? Then you definitely need to go with GP 2016! Keep in mind you will need SQL 2012 or higher to run GP2016, so now might be a good time for you to get a new server and install the latest version of SQL as well!

On the other hand, if you are all in with GP, and you have a ton of customizations and third party products, it’s sometimes best to wait until the first service pack or the R2 release come out. This gives your vendors and developers time to update the products, as well as allowing some of the early-release “unintended features” to be worked out of the product. Speaking of service packs, I have some exciting news to share! I’ve been told by a few Microsoft birdies that GP 2016 R2 will be released on December 11th, so there’s never been a better time than now to start planning for your GP 2016 upgrade. Still not sold? I don’t blame you for being cautious, if you’re not ready to upgrade to 2016 but still want to get some great new features from 2015 such as workflow, document attachments and payables all-in-one document viewer then you may want to still consider upgrading to GP2015R2 now to take advantage of some great new functionality and ensure your version of GP is still supported by Microsoft for several years to come.

With that said, I always recommend if you can go for the latest version, go for it! Do check with your vendors and your GP partner to make sure everything you are using is going to work with the new version. Upgrades have gotten much smoother as Microsoft has streamlined the process and made the product more stable, so whatever version of GP you choose you’ll be in good hands. One final closing note, it has been my experience that the more up-to-date your system is, the cheaper and easier it is to upgrade. If you stay up to date, your upgrades will cost you a lot less then when you fall several versions behind, so what are you waiting for?

Contact the Armanino Dynamics team to learn more about when to upgrade Dynamics GP for your business. Discover more best practices for your Dynamics solutions throughout this blog and with Armanino’s ERP, CRM and BI experts.

Rob Klaproth

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