Will Microsoft Beat the Legacy Enterprise Resource Planning Meltdown?

3 minute read
David Roe avatar

Gartner recently warned enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors to move to the cloud or face extinction. Microsoft beat the rush last June, when it pushed its Dynamics GP ERP solution to the cloud. This week it announced that Dynamics GP's next major release will be unveiled in November.

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a mid-market business accounting and ERP Software package that uses either Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008 or 2012 to store data. The current version of Dynamics GP 2013 (Version 12) was released by Microsoft in December 2012, evolving from a pure client-server application to a web-enabled application.

Roadmap to Dynamics' Future

However, fans of the ERP and accountancy software won’t have to wait until November for some new GP love.

According to a post by product manager Pam Misialek on the Microsoft Dynamics GPblog,Microsoft will also be releasing GP 2013 R2 in the middle of this year, probably in July, as well as the full GP 2015 release in November.

If GP 2013 R2 will contain some interesting added functionality -- like identity managementand new workflow functions -- and will also include a set of companion apps for the first time, although the timeline doesn’t offer any details as to what they will be.

By  2015, Dynamics will be in the full swing of its six month release cycle with new functionality and technology added on in strict half yearly cycles.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap.jpg

But there are some other interesting nuggets in the post by Misialek, including the fact that Microsoft is now working off a six monthly release cycle to offer releases on a more regular basis to its customers.

The post also mentioned that Microsoft has created a new small-to-medium (SMB) sales team in the US that will be dedicated to selling GP and its sister app, Dynamics NAV, across markets worldwide.

Microsoft ERP in the Cloud

When Microsoft pushed Dynamics GP 2013 and Nav 2013 onto the Azure cloud last June, they joined two other services already on Azure provided by SAP, with its Business ByDesign offerings, and NetSuite.

Learning Opportunities

The result gave enterprises the option to get these products on a secure private cloud, or on a secure Azure Virtual Machine. It also offered easier access byproviding them through the Web, a desktop client or a mobile device.

Call it foresight, or just lucky, the move to the cloud appears to have been a smart move in light of Gartner's prediction of the demise of ERP legacy apps.

According to the report, Predicts 2014: The Rise of the Postmodern ERP,these applications are doomed to legacy status or even the trash bin, unless vendors move them to the cloud. Gartner claims this will start happening within two years time.

For the record, Gartner describes a legacy system as any system that is not sufficiently flexible to meet changing business needs.

One final interesting element in these releases: They will be the first Dynamics releases under the new Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, who worked in the Dynamics division between 2001 and 2007. So he knows ERP applications and the people who uses them.

He also knows Dynamics CRM and is a champion of cloud computing having previously argued that a vendor needs to have its own SaaS applications running on its own cloud. Nadella may be bringing changes to Microsoft, but who wants to bet that one of the places he leaves as is will be the Dynamics business?