Dynamics GP + Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy
One of the biggest changes with switching Dynamics GP to the Modern Lifecycle Policy is that each version of Dynamics GP is now only supported for a year. This means that to receive full product support from Microsoft in any given year, you must be on one of the versions of Dynamics GP released during that year.
Going from 10 years of support down to 1 seems extremely dramatic. So, let’s break down it and learn what this change genuinely means for you…
Limited Support vs. Unlimited Support
Under the previous Fixed Lifecycle Policy for Dynamics GP, each version has an absolute end date for support. Under the new Modern Lifecycle Policy, support is never-ending as now there is no fixed end date.
With the new policy, Microsoft will permanently answer your support questions and help you to better understand and use your software. You will no longer hear, “That version of Dynamics GP is no longer supported.” This will be a welcome change for many Dynamics GP users.
Conversely, if you’re using an older version of Dynamics GP and experience an issue that has been fixed in a newer release, Microsoft will no longer offer alternative solutions. To fix the problem, they will require you to upgrade to the new release.
Complicated Upgrades vs. Streamlined Updates
With the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, Microsoft released versions of Dynamics GP inconsistently. The timing was sporadic, and it could be over a year before new functionality was released. For example, Dynamics GP 2013 was released in March 2013 but, 2013 R2 was not released until thirteen months later in August 2014. Because of this, Dynamics GP upgrades have historically been bulky, complicated, and costly. It was also hard to budget and plan as no one could predict when they would be released.
Under the Modern Lifecycle Policy, Microsoft has committed to three updates a year on a fixed schedule… tax updates in June, new features in October, and a year-end update in November/December. This means the updates will be considerably smaller, more controllable, and less expensive. Most importantly, easier to integrate into your part of your yearly business plan.
Overall, the basic idea behind the new plan is to make upgrades more like a patch, and less like a full-scale project. Microsoft expects that you would now update your Dynamics GP system annually because they have made it more streamlined, and less complicated.
Upgrades are Still Optional
While neither Express Information Systems nor Microsoft recommends it, there are still plenty of companies still using Dynamics GP 2010 or older! There are tons of benefits to frequently upgrading your software like new features, tax compliance, and better security. In the end, upgrades are still optional, even with the Modern Lifecycle Policy.
As we mentioned above, the biggest issue with not upgrading will be resolving issues. If you run into a problem that has been solved in a newer version of the software, you will have to upgrade to fix it. At that point, you will still have a choice but, Microsoft will no longer offer alternative solutions.
Time to Upgrade
It is very important to note, the Modern Lifecycle policy only applies to the October 2019 release of Dynamics GP and beyond. If you are still operating on a previous version of Dynamics GP, it does not apply. So, when should you make the change?
On average, Express Information Systems recommends that companies factor an upgrade to your Dynamics GP system into your overall 3-year strategic plan for your business. Ultimately you’ll have to decide what’s best for you.
Here are some things to consider when talking about upgrades and the Dynamics GP Lifecycle:
- If you’re using Dynamics GP 2010, Extended Support ends in a few months on 10/13/2020. You need to start planning for an upgrade as soon as possible.
- If you’re using Dynamics GP 2013, Mainstream Support ended on 4/10/2018. This means you are not receiving tax and year-end updates, so you should be thinking about an upgrade now.
- If you’re using Dynamics GP 2015, Mainstream Support ended last week on 4/14/2020. This means you will not receiving tax and year-end updates, so you should also be thinking about an upgrade now.
- If you’re using Dynamics GP 2016 or 2018, you can take advantage of several more years of mainstream support under the Fixed Lifecycle Policy. However, you should be thinking about your 3 to 5-year strategy and when it makes sense to schedule an upgrade.
Dynamics GP Lives On
Microsoft has been making some big progress with the development of Dynamics 365. The release of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (now split into Finance and Supply Chain Management) and Dynamics 365 Business Central especially had left many wondering about Microsoft’s commitment to Dynamics GP.
At Express Information Systems, we see this shift to Modern Lifecycle Policy as a solid indicator that Microsoft sees Dynamics GP as part of its long-term strategy. Currently, Microsoft uses Modern Lifecycle support for numerous products, including Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365 Business Central, and Power BI. Adding Dynamics GP to this list signals that Microsoft intends to continue to develop and support the product.
The Modern Lifecycle Policy also references a Dynamics GP Roadmap for the future with releases through 2024. This is further into the future than anything else we’ve seen from Microsoft about Dynamics GP in the past few years. With that said, we feel very confident Microsoft has every intention of backing this product well into the future.
If you have questions or just want to learn more about the Modern Lifecycle Policy, please contact us! We are here to help as the Modern Policy Lifecycle will change the way we all manage our Dynamics GP systems.