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Publication date: August 16, 2021

Migrating Great Plains To Dynamics 365 – What You Need To Know

Back in 2019, Microsoft announced their Modern Lifecycle Policy for Microsoft Dynamics GP. Essentially, the policy is Microsoft’s method of migrating their “fixed lifecycle” clients to their cloud-based solution – Dynamics 365.

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Written by Angela Polania

Angela Polania, CPA, CISM, CISA, CRISC, HITRUST, CMMC RP. Angela is the Managing Principal at Elevate and board member, and treasurer at the CIO Council of South Florida.

Based on current versions, Microsoft has issued extended end-dates for Migrating Great Plains to Dynamics 365 ranging from 2023 through 2028.

Migrating Great Plains to Dynamics 365
Fig. 1

As is custom with Microsoft, mainstream end dates are announced, market feedback is assessed, and then dates are extended based on feedback results. The following is a snapshot of current extended end dates, by version:

Product Mainstream Support Extended Support Link to MS Schedule
Dynamics GP 2013 / R2 4/4/2018 – Ended 4/11/2023 Dynamics GP 2013 / Dynamics 2013 R2
Dynamics GP 2015 / R2 4/14/2020 – Ended 4/11/2023 Dynamics GP 2015 / Dynamics 2015 R2
Dynamics GP 2016 / R2 7/13/2021 – Ended 7/14/2026 Dynamics GP 2016 / Dynamics 2016 R2
Dynamics GP 2018 / R2 1/10/2023 7/14/2026 Dynamics GP 2018 / Dynamics 2018 R2

As technology evolves and adapts to harmonize with today’s largely remote and tech culture, some software implementations will reach their maturity date, or their virtual “end-of-life”.  

Since Microsoft acquired Great Plains Software in 2000 and rolled out the Microsoft Dynamics GP, the program has become one of Microsoft’s most established ERP solutions. Regardless of its’ popularity, MS Dynamics GP is among the anticipated retirees, which Microsoft had initially indicated they would transition out of their supported inventory by 2023. Microsoft has since updated its roadmap to illustrate continued support past 2028, with latter versions supported through the beginning of 2028.  However, the buzz surrounding the eventual cessation does foreshadow an eventual change. So, what now? While change is never easy, it’s best to prepare early.  

We advise our clients that they always have options.  While migrating to the 365-cloud environment is a recommended solution, based on your organization’s needs, environment, and overall IT maturity, you may want to examine the following options and decide on the best solution for your needs:   

  1. Migrate to the Cloud: Those loyal to the Microsoft brand may select to transition to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, offering extra support from Microsoft on the conversion to the cloud-based platform. Choosing to remain with Microsoft’s product will offer the additional peace of mind of compatibility with current systems, and familiar aesthetics for fewer training speedbumps.  
  2. Support On-Prem: Engage a third-party support team. Often support can be identified in a smaller tech support company, but the important thing to keep in mind with this method is that your ERP will continue to be functional, but will be restricted to the current functionality and become increasingly obsolete as the years continue and tech evolution continues.  
  3. Consider Other ERPs: Evaluate your organization’s needs and use this opportunity to review the various ERP systems available on the market with the intent to identify an alternative solution. It is helpful to have a full understanding of the organization’s needs and include research such as independent reviews and professional endorsements.  

With reported support dates extended up to 2028, a process-upgrade is not an emergent decision—and it is always possible that Microsoft will continue to extend support based on customer response. Staying in touch with the available options and updates is an advisable practice. Implementing a new ERP program can be an intrusive and involved process. The best offense is a good defense, and more understanding of the organization’s needs and the available solutions will provide the best possible outcome for your company’s choice in ERP.  

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