5 Easy Steps to Migrate from Dynamics GP to Business Central
"If you're looking to migrate from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central, this blog post is for you. Learn about the crucial steps, reasons, and best practices for Dynamics GP to Business Central Migration.”
Microsoft Dynamics GP helps businesses keep track of money and other important stuff. Sometimes, businesses want to switch to a cloud-based program called Business Central – an all-in-one ERP solution for all your business needs.
But how to make sure that all business data/old information gets moved over to the new program?
First, let me elaborate, moving all that information is called "migrating."
Second, this blog gets you to learn how you can migrate your crucial data from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Third, the article also introduces you to a step-by-step GP to Business Central migration process, so you don't lose any information important to you.
Now, Let’s begin with something about Dynamics GP.
The initial version 1.0 of Dynamics GP was released back in Feb. 1993 by Great Plains Software.
Since then, Dynamics GP has been a backbone software application for many organizations across different industries to fulfill their enterprise resource planning (ERP) needs for many years.
But there's a new smart kid around the corner making waves.
It's Dynamics 365 Business Central – a popular cloud-based ERP software used by businesses in various industries to manage their daily operations, including Business Intelligence (BI), financials, warehouses, and inventory.
Business Central's popularity can be attributed to the surge in cloud technology adoption.
“There is no question that providing consumers with secure and reliable financial services means greater demand for cloud-based technologies.”
Deputy Secretary of the United States Treasury, Wally Adeyemo
Compared to Dynamics GP, Business Central offers more flexibility, scalability, and integration with other Microsoft products like Office 365, Outlook, and Power BI.
Migrating from Dynamics GP to Business Central involves data migration, customization, and training and it can be a decisive move for a more sustainable future.
Let's see what the potential reasons can be to migrate from Dynamics GP to Business Central.
What can be the reasons to Migrate from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Here are some crucial reasons to consider when migrating your data from legacy ERP systems like Dynamics GP to Business Central:
Cloud-Based Solution - Helps keep the business up to date with features and functionalities that meet users' expectations.
Personalized User Interface - Allows users to move around with ease and provides a customizable user experience with easy-to-use and role-based functionalities.
Online Data Processing - It helps you avoid hung batches or interrupted posting used for simultaneous transactions and promotes automatic system integrations.
Office 365 Integration - It can integrate with a wide range of office 365 products such as an Outlook integration which makes recipient searches, and more.
Flexibility - Users can access the application from any device (laptop, tablet, or mobile), and across several operating systems such as Windows, Apple, and Android.
What are the Benefits of moving to Business Central?
Upgrading your business's legacy system from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365-based ERP platforms like Business Central offers a host of benefits that can have a positive impact on your operations.
From automatic upgrades and streamlined processes to integrated Microsoft tools and improved data analysis, Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive business management solution that can transform the way you do business.
Benefits of Upgrading GP to Dynamics 365:
- Availability of automatic upgrades for improved functionality and security.
- Anytime, anywhere access for enhanced productivity and flexibility.
- Empowering you to operationalize valuable data and optimize processes.
- Helping you to unify accounting and finance with the rest of the business for more streamlined operations.
- Assists you in avoiding challenges and risks associated with fragmented ERP solutions.
- Helps your teams eliminate costs associated with managing third-party solutions.
- Easily gets integrated with your familiar Microsoft tools like Excel, Teams, Outlook, and eCommerce plus warehouse management solutions like Sana Commerce and Insight Works WMS add-on, respectively.
- Syncs data among all connected business management modules and apps for seamless workflows.
- Enables you to perform daily tasks in one place, minimizing errors and non-compliance risks.
- Frees up your team’s time for strategic tasks like analyzing data in context.
- Includes Power BI for building customizable dashboards and creating interactive visual reports.
- Improves sales, cash flow, and inventory forecasting with baked-in powerful BI.
- Provides end-to-end visibility into company performance for better decision-making.
Built on the low-code Power Platform, Business Central makes it easy for non-technical users to create customized solutions and do more with less.
Now, before I move onto explaining the GP to Business Central Migration process, let’s know a bit how different these two ERP systems are.
Dynamics GP vs Dynamics 365 Business Central
Both GP and Business Central are ERP solutions developed by Microsoft, but differ in architecture, licensing, and functionality.
GP is an on-premises ERP system installed on local servers (that you purchase), while BC is cloud-based (that Microsoft offers and maintains all your hurdles and updates) and can be accessed via a web browser.
GP, on the other hand, requires a one-time payment for a perpetual license, whereas BC is licensed on a subscription basis (Pay-as-you-GO model).
Dynamics 365 Business Central offers more advanced features and benefits from being a newer cloud-based ERP solution, with enhanced automation, built-in AI and language models like ChatGPT, and better integration with other Microsoft products like Power BI and PowerApps.
Below is the key differences table for your reference:
What does Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Migration involve?
Migrating your business processes from GP to the cloud involves unifying all business tools, data, and processes into a single ERP platform, not just moving a few data sources from GP.
This includes merging GP data into a cloud-based system your team is already using or performing multiple migrations simultaneously.
And before beginning the migration, you must clarify the game plan.
In any case, let's look at the steps you need to take to get ready:
Step – 1: Carryout an Audit
In case you're beginning with a fragmented system, expect to spend additional time and resources on the audit process. The objective is to assess the system holistically and create a map of all interconnected components of your current ERP system.
Step – 2: Analyze Your Operations
Create a map and analyze your business processes, data flows, and applications. Determine the tools and processes that each team uses and identify what's effective and what's not!
Step – 3: Find out Business Requirements
Collaborate with your different teams to comprehend their work processes, challenges, and desired improvements by migrating your business data to the Business Central.
Step – 4: Make Room for Improvement Opportunities
Think about how new capabilities can address issues or seize potential opportunities. How can integrating financial data with other business areas (and vice versa) benefit your organization?
Step – 5: Assess External Solutions and Partners
Look for a certified Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner like Dynamics Square that is experienced in GP migrations and has a knowledgeable team. They can also assist in identifying the right cloud solutions and external applications or add-ons that increase the value of your D365 investment.
Wizards to Migrate Data from Dynamics GP to Business Central
To migrate to Business Central, GP users can use Microsoft's inbuilt migration tools to transfer data to the cloud.
The migration wizard is only compatible with GP versions 2015 or later, requiring an upgrade to migrate from older versions or choosing a complete implementation.
Also, it should be ensured that your on-prem system is using SQL Server 2016 or a later version and that your database's compatibility level is at 130 or higher.
Here's an overview of the GP data transfer process to BC:
Migrating Data Using the Data Migration Wizard
This tool eases the process of migrating GP data to the new system and is intended for companies looking to transition from on-prem to BC as their primary solution, in a one-time move.
The cloud migration tool transfers the following GP data to the cloud:
- Inventory items
- Chart of Accounts master records
- Checkbook master data
- Outstanding transactions from the Payables module & vendor master records
- Excellent outstanding transactions via Receivables module and customer records
- Payables, Receivables, PO processing, Historical data from Inventory, and Sales Order processing
Note: This tool doesn’t migrate everything from your on-prem system to BC, I've explained the process to do that later in this blog.
For instance: The migration wizard excludes data linked to closed transactions, POP, SOP (standard operating procedure), and manufacturing transactions. Additionally, it doesn't migrate the breakdowns of accounts, and totals are instead recorded in the account number. To allocate them across various segments, journal entries need to be created.
Moving the remaining GP Data to Dynamics 365 Business Central
Here are some alternatives to migrate important financial data to Business Central's cloud:
1. Migrate with RapidStart
Utilize “RapidStart”, import transactional data. Note that it is not in the migration wizard. This allows you to create Configuration Packages in Excel to migrate transactions and set up the new system more efficiently.
2. Transfer Your Dynamics GP’s database to Azure Data Lake
Move your GP database to Azure Data Lake to store historical data securely in the cloud for later use.
3. Azure Data Factory
Use Azure Data Factory to rehost data in the cloud and integrate data from ISV solutions with Dynamics 365 automatically.
4. Replicate GP data with the intelligent cloud
Replicate GP data with the intelligent cloud to temporarily access financial data in the cloud while finishing the migration process or deciding what to do with historical data.
Remember: You can keep your GP data on-prem for historical records.
What challenges you might face while moving your operations from GP to BC?
Migrating to the cloud is a crucial step to support your business to evolve into a growing organization. However, it's not a smooth ride as it might seem.
Different obstacles may arise.
Below are some of the major hurdles you may find on your journey to migrate from Microsoft GP to Dynamics 365.
1. Alternate Solutions to Replace GP Features
GP's 3rd-party integrations and customizations add complexity to the ERP system. Whereas Business Central eases this by providing streamlined customization development and a robust suite of tools.
However, unraveling existing customizations and integrations is necessary before reaping benefits.
2. Giving Room to New Functionality
Business apps from Dynamics 365 like Business Central simplify financial data analysis through dimensional accounting and embedded intelligence.
Dimensions provide a comprehensive overview to allocate resources, purchase inventory, and adjust strategy. However, it may be challenging for long-time GP users. A phased migration process from a certified cloud solution partner (CSP) may ease the transition for overwhelmed teams.
3. Transforming Financial Records from GP to Dynamics 365
Migrating your data from Dynamics GP to business management apps in Dynamics 365 suite is a complex process that occurs in multiple stages.
It involves two separate systems, and the data migration wizard only transfers open transactions and master records.
Critical information needs implementation through other methods. Though solutions like Azure Data Lake & Data Factory simplify the process, it remains complicated and requires planning from the outset.
Dynamics GP will continue to receive Microsoft support until 2024, allowing time for strategic planning and resource allocation for an upgrade. And continue to use the legacy system can cause long-term damage or losses, and inaction poses a significant risk to make progress.
To help you avoid all of that, you can connect with Dynamics Square experts and understand the GP upgrade process. The team will also provide rapid implementation options for Business Central's benefits.