Every year in March, Microsoft holds their annual Dynamics Convergence event. This is widely attended by partners from all over the world and is the key place to find out what lies ahead for your favourite Dynamics product. I’ve read through a number of blogs leading up to the event and some summaries of the event – and the product information – and here is a summary of what I see as key.
Microsoft seem to continue to make ground with adding new sites in small – medium sized businesses (SMB’s). Both Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV showed a good increase in the number of sites (9.3% and 8.5% respectively) over the past year. This can only be positive for influencing ongoing development of the products.
While as yet we haven’t seen sites using the web client for Dynamics GP, there is definite trend towards sites wanting to get rid of servers and move to some form of cloud infrastructure. Most of our clients here in New Zealand tend to use the option of a hosted desktop at this stage. Slowly but surely however, sites are moving to Office 365 and looking for options for full cloud based solutions for other aspects of their business. Globally, the cloud deployments of Dynamics GP and NAV have grown by 40% in the last year.
In August 2013, Microsoft created a new role for a SMB Channel Manger and appointed Howard Walovitch. While this is a US based role, having a focus on the SMB market in the US ultimately will mean growth in this area which can only benefit our SMB market in New Zealand. One of the significant changes they have made in the US is to try and sort prospects better and to not have Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX go up against each other.
Convergence featured the usual key Dynamics GP MVP’s – Mark Polino, Mariano Gomez, Belinda Allen and Frank Hamelly among them. I am sure the material they presented to those in attendance would have had the same wow factor as usual and I look forward to seeing some of the material on Virtual Convergence. In an interview with MSDynamicsWorld.com towards the end of the event, they were asked about the place of BI in the sales process, mobile apps and the technology behind the scenes.
All four of the MVP’s agreed that for most new sales, they lead with the BI functions – a trend I completely agree with and have been doing myself. At the end of the day the reason for having a decent ERP system is to ensure the data you can get out the other end is functional and beneficial for the business. Getting the data into Dynamics GP manually can be more time consuming than some of the smaller packages sites move from, but, there are so many ways that a lot of it can be automated this should be less of an issue than it may have been in the past.
Mobile apps are a little more difficult – Belinda commented about a session with eight MVP’s where there were eight different ideas of what was needed next! The technologies are there with the combination of Power BI and Business Analyser and the market place is demanding more and more in mobile. Microsoft has set the expectation that we should be able to work anywhere, from any device so expect to see more in this space.
The technology changes behind the scene are still not entirely clear. There is a definite move away from SharePoint based workflows (Business Portal) to dexterity based workflows within Dynamics GP. This is really good news leading into the more service based components that Microsoft is planning to release with Dynamics GP 2015 (due in December this year). There are murmurs that Integration Manager and eConnect will cease to exist – though there does not seem to be too much info in that area. Anything like that will not disappear overnight – how many of you are still using FRx and have not yet moved to Management Reporter or BI360?
So the future of Dynamics GP is looking strong. I have been working with it for 15 years now and the difference in the product is huge. The core functionality of how to enter transactions in the core financial modules is still very similar – however, with all the changes in technology, the useful information that can be extracted keeps getting better and better and easier and easier to produce.
Heather Roggeveen is a MS Dynamics GP Consultant with Olympic Software. After 15 years of working with the end user all the way from designing the solution to user training, she has become a Dynamics GP expert. Heather regularly shares her knowledge, including tips and tricks for end users in her blog articles. Follow her on Twitter @HRoggeveen to be notified of her latest articles. You can also like Olympic Software on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn or on Twitter @OlympicSoftware. For more information about Dynamics GP and how it could benefit your business, view the Dynamics GP page on our website or give us a call, 09-357 0022.