Latest Release Provides Existing Customers Good Reasons To Upgrade

Redmond, WA based Microsoft Corporation announced its Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 (a.k.a. GP 11) product on April 20th, 2010.  Available May 1st 2010 in Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, the Middle East, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the announcement perfectly coincides with Convergence 2010 in Atlanta, GA.  The latest release delivers on five compelling themes:

  • Improvements in the role tailored user experience. Microsoft enhances and adds action panes, business portals, notifications and work flows by role to keep the experience relevant to how people work.  Unlike legacy ERP systems, the design mantra does not force fit a set of best practices on generic users. Point of view (POV):  Users get started right away with familiar Microsoft user experiences (i.e. Windows 7 and Office 2010).  The 33+ pre-defined roles (e.g April, Charlie, Connie, and Vince) will help users in all sizes of organizations improve productivity from the get-go.
  • Additional investment in analytics and insight. Tighter integration with SQL Server 2008 BI Tools allows users additional control on how they share information.  Pre-built KPI’s, SQL Server reporting (i.e. SSAS cubes), and Microsoft Office forms can be served up with role relevancy.  Reports can then be shared with other users via Sharepoint’s document library. POV: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 makes it easy to access key information and insights without expensive configuration and customization.  With over 400 SQL Server reporting services, 200 Excel reports, 80 SRS reports, and pre-populated smart lists, users gain an integrated and embedded BI solution that should meet most requirements.  Refreshable Excel reports take advantage of Power Pivot to save users time and keep information up to date.  Drill back views provide a great way to get insights into GP 2010, Office Excel, and SQL Reporting Services (see Figure 1).
  • Deeper ERP and SCM product set features. Significant enhancements cut across financials, payroll, supply chain management (SCM), and service management.  Financials gain key features such as encumbrance management, project accounting, and lockbox capabilities.  Payroll includes needed updates such as overtime rate calculations and multiple W2 box mappings.  SCM enhancements include automated lot numbering, vendor portals, customer portals, multi-site MRP, and sales forecasting windows.  Service management features add preventative maintenance and labor-payroll integration. POV: This release sets the stage for expansion into the public sector and additional project based industries.  Encumbrance management provides key public sector requirements in fund accounting.  Project accounting enables services based business revenue recognition.  Preventative maintenance features add to service based requirements.
  • CRM Integration and choice of deployment options.  The new GP CRM adapter allows GP users native integration back to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  More importantly, customers can choose between hosted or on-premise Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the option to migrate to either option over time. POV: Microsoft smartly offers both the on-premise and on-demand versions.  SMB customers still express a preference for on-premise over on-demand.   Customers can also choose to host with partners or directly with Microsoft.
  • Extension features for Microsoft Dynamics Partners. Partners gain more control with the Extender Product.  Partners can add more purpose built functionality into the product with less effort. POV: In conversations with over 17 partners, they expressed excitement about being able to not only attach to existing GP forms, but also extend forms.  Other areas of interest include adding to smart lists and automatically attach to a role while managing user security parameters.

Figure 1. Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Showcases Improved User Experiences

The Bottom Line For Users – Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Continues To Improve

Microsoft shows its seriousness and commitment to GP 2010 with this eleventh release.  The latest investments highlight the priority in winning the small to mid-market and taking market share from Epicor, Exact, and Sage.   Strong user experiences, tighter integration with Microsoft tools and technologies such as SQL Server, Sharepoint, and Microsoft Office should provide comfort to existing customers and new prospects.  More importantly, the integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM now provides users a full suite of critical end to end business processes required to managing a small to mid-market organization.  Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 should remain on short lists for on-premise SMB ERP products for manufacturers, distributors, public sector, retailers, and service based industries.

Your POV

Does this announcement change your view of Microsoft Dynamics as your go -forward solution?  Are you considering GP 2010 as part of your core strategy or a two-tier ERP approach?  If you are a customer, how have your experiences been to date?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

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Related resources and links

Microsoft Press Pass on Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010

20100420 IDG News Service – Chris Kanaracus “Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 features integrations BI”

20100420 eWeek – Nicholas Kolakowski “Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 to Arrive May 1″

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