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Migrating from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 – Keys to a Successful Project

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Dynamics 365 Business Central is an option to replace Dynamics GP. Both area suite of operational and accounting business software who was created for growing small and medium-sized businesses. As a Dynamics GP of Micro Force, you probably have been enrolled in a program that can provide you with the licensing for Dynamics 365 Business Central for the same annual maintenance fee that you have been paying for Dynamics GP. If you have met with our team and have decided to plan for a migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, what should you keep in mind to assure a successful migration project?

What are the Biggest Hurdles Clients Must Overcome to Successfully Migrate from GP to Dynamics 365?

It’s important to emphasize that the real difference between Dynamics 365 and Dynamics GP is that they’re two distinct products. While Microsoft does offer tools that can help you bring existing data and business processes into the new system, “migrating” from GP to D365 isn’t a true upgrade. GP represents one of many ERP tools in your stack. So, what you’re really looking at is a two-part process.

First you’re consolidating all relevant data and processes. Then from there, you’re migrating what you want to keep to the new system.

Here’s a look at some of the challenges you’ll want to prepare for:

Rethinking Everything About How You Work

Moving to the cloud has a significant impact on how employees work. Understanding the differences between the two systems is important. Business Central is a new system that requires you to rethink your business processes.

This problem can be addressed by removing the features you don’t need and optimizing the ones with the greatest impact on the business. But, it takes a lot of planning and documentation to get this right.

Customizations & 3rd-Party Apps

One of the main benefits of migrating to BC is you’re relying less on ISV solutions and 3rd-party vendors to run simple tasks like cutting a check. At the same time, consolidating all these data sources represents one of the biggest challenges organizations face during the migration process.

With GP, reliance on 3rd-party applications can make migration difficult. In part, because you’ll need to learn the language that different vendors and apps use to describe processes and organize data. That means, you’re adding this extra layer of difficulty to the process. First, you’re decoding the various nuances and terminology from each system to ID gaps and overlapping functionality. Then, you’re making that decision about which processes to migrate, replace, or improve. Beyond the logistical challenges of tracking down processes from disparate systems, clients also struggle to evaluate potential solutions.

You’ll find that within Business Central, most of the functionality you relied on ISVs for is included out of the box. A variety of extensions and application enhancements can be found on AppSource. Your partner can help guide you to choose the best ISVs for your needs.

Migrating Data

Data Migration Wizard

At Micro Force we were not satisfied with the out of the box data migration that Microsoft provides. Based on our extensive knowledge of the GP data model, we created our own data extraction routines. This significantly reduces the amount of data bloat required to move to a new BC system and along with the in the box BC configuration packages (import tool) makes for a much cleaner migration. The Micro Force Extraction routines include :

  • Chart of Accounts

  • Vendor Master& open payables

  • Customer Master & open receivables

What Separates Successful GP Migrations from Those That Fail?

An Adaptable Internal Culture

Dynamics 365 is designed to help businesses quickly adapt business processes and tactics to reach key business objectives. You can add modules, ISV solutions, change up the metrics in your financial reports, automate back-office processes, etc–putting the rest of the system at risk. Adaptability is about being prepared to take advantage of new tools and technologies as things change. But it’s more about culture than technology, and you’ll need to put in the work of shifting your organization’s collective mindset to ensure your implementation leads to sustained, long-term gains.

It comes from a strong culture of data literacy, knowing how to operationalize data and move fast. It’s also about establishing strong governance policies and controls for keeping data organized, compliant, and easy to find.

Long-term, you’ll want to monitor system performance–is it continuing to deliver the desired outcome? Are there opportunities to improve? New capabilities you can use? Ultimately, you’ll need to get away from rigid solutions and processes to make the most out of this flexible new system.

Commitment from Leadership and Internal Experts

Top-down commitment, along with support throughout the organization is essential for staying aligned when multiple groups with competing goals are working together.

Ideally, clients also have a dedicated project manager or champion who can act as the main point of contact–essentially, leading and ‘quarterbacking’ efforts internally. This person should have a solid grasp of finance and operations–and understand how these areas impact the rest of the business.

Collaboration with Your Implementation Partner

Enlisting some help from an experienced implementation partner goes a long way in making sure your D365 migration delivers the desired outcome, as efficiently as possible.

When you bring in outside experts to support these high-level projects, it’s important to understand what that entails. What that means is, your partner can’t do all of the work for you. Internally, you’ll want to:

  • Evaluate your strategy, goals, and business processes before reaching out to potential partners.

  • Get real clear on what you want out of this project.

  • Figure out what’s working–or not, using employee feedback as your guide.

You don’t have to have all of the answers, but you should be able to communicate your goals and what kinds of changes you’d like to see come from this implementation.

All apps, processes, and workflows must connect to a specific goal and support users in their work. The more details you can provide to your partner, the more likely they are to find solutions that address those goals.

Reach out to our experts to discuss whether you should plan to move from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

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