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The Fastest (and Smartest) Ways for Companies Using Microsoft Dynamics GP to Get to the Cloud

The Fastest (and Smartest) Ways for Companies Using Microsoft Dynamics GP to Get to the Cloud

Between the pandemic and mounting pressure from market forces, the last two years have been a wake-up call for Dynamics GP holdouts—shining a light on the infrastructure and functionality limitations of on-prem hosting.

While the most recent version of GP was designed to operate in the Azure Cloud as a hosted system, it’s not a true cloud application.

Updates are not automatic and you’ll still need to use middleware solutions like Remote Access to work with GP data in the cloud. You’ll also need to invest in integrations and customizations to access features that come standard in the cloud-based Business Central.

And—with more people working remotely, more resources are needed for maintenance, support, and cybersecurity. In other words, GP loyalists are overspending on a system that no longer meets their needs.

Migrating to the cloud is a no-brainer—but GP users face some unique challenges in getting there.

GP is a totally different product than Dynamics 365, so there’s no official “lift and shift” path to get you up and running fast. Still, moving from GP to cloud isn’t as complicated as you might think. Below, we’ll go over four tools that can’t support your journey.

Run the Cloud Migration Tool to Get Started

The fastest way to bring Dynamics GP data into Business Central in the cloud is Microsoft’s Cloud Migration tool.

The migration tool is an assisted setup guide found directly inside your BC dashboard that can be used to migrate the following types of data from the on-prem system:

  • Chart of Accounts (CoA) master records are converted to BC Dimensions
  • Customers & open receivables transactions
  • Vendors & open payables transactions
  • Items & inventory on hand (at time of migration)
  • General Ledger (GL) accounts & summary transactions history
  • Purchasing, inventory, and sales data is converted to BC Extension tables
  • Checkbook master data
  • Supporting data for active accounts — payment terms, sales rep ID, shipping method, etc. (all converted to BC Dimensions)

Users can also create a diagnostics run to validate the data before moving forward with the migration–which helps reduce the chances of a failed migration.

The Data Migration Tool is intended to support a “one-time move” from GP to Business Central Online. In other words, it’s best suited for organizations that are prepared to start using BC as their primary ERP solution.

Replicate GP Data in Intelligent Cloud

If you’re not ready for a “permanent” move to the cloud, you can replicate the same GP data sets covered by the migration tool in BC with Intelligent Cloud.

Intelligent Cloud allows you to sync Dynamics GP data from your on-premises system to BC on a recurring schedule using Azure Data Factory (ADF). This option allows you to keep some GP data on-prem and use other data sets in the cloud along with the BC feature suite, Power BI, and other connected apps.

It’s important to note that Intelligent Cloud only provides a one-way connection from GP to Business Central. That means that transactions or updates made in the cloud will not sync back to the on-prem GP platform. You’ll need to re-enter data into the on-prem system and run manual or pre-scheduled updates to ensure accuracy between GP and BC.

It’s best to think of Intelligent Cloud as a temporary solution that can help you start leveraging financial records and sales data with the rest of the ERP system.

As an example, you might use this feature to help you with inventory planning or sales forecasting while you’re still in the process of setting up your ERP. But–relying on replication long-term can put your business at risk.

If you, say, fail to re-enter data from BC in GP, you may end up with two different data sets–which in turn, undermines your ability to make decisions or forecast accurately.

RapidStart

So, again, the Cloud Migration Tool and Intelligent Cloud won’t migrate the full range of data stored in your on-prem GP account.

RapidStart is Microsoft tool—designed to shorten deployment times and improve the chances of a successful implementation by applying automations to recurring processes.

This tool also allows you to import more data from GP—including POP, SOP, and manufacturing data, as well as more detailed customer data that can be used to enhance sales and marketing performance, forecasting, and more.

Users can create Configuration Packages in Excel to migrate historical transaction data, batch out journal entries, and create custom quick-start templates to accelerate set-up and implementation.

Migrate Dynamics GP Data to Azure Data Lakes

Moving from GP to Business Central means you’ll need to dedicate a good amount of time to figuring out what you’ll do with your legacy data. So, you might start with the Data Migration Wizard—which migrates the financial data you need to get started. Then from there, you might use the Intelligent Cloud to bring in additional insights so that you can run reports with the latest insights.

But those tools only support a fraction of the data stored in your on-prem GP system—and should only be used on data sets that you’re absolutely certain belong in the new system.

For everything else—there’s Azure Data Lakes — a Microsoft service that helps users manage and store large, complex data sets spanning a variety of sources and formats–both structured and unstructured.

Users can move their GP database to a data lake, where data is stored in its raw format–and can be used for long-term storage. That way, historical data is stored in a secure, cloud based environment, separate from the ERP used to manage daily operations.

The key benefit here is you’re no longer dependent on your on-prem system for record-keeping, data prep, or daily tasks. At the same time, it buys you some time to figure out what to do with the rest of your legacy data.

Using a data lake doesn’t fast-track the process of mapping, preparing, and migrating GP data to BC. But–it does enable users to break away from their on-prem system—and the costs and inefficiencies that come with the territory.

Final Thoughts

If two years of pandemic living has taught us anything, it’s that business needs to happen in the cloud. Whatever methods you use to support the big move, choosing the right partner is a critical step toward finding success in the cloud.

Velosio experts know the ins and outs of GP, the limitations of its on-prem infrastructure, and GP’s unique approach to integrations and customizations.

They also understand precisely how GP functionality translates to Business Central–and how clients can get the most bang for their cloud ERP investments.

Get in touch with an expert today to learn more.


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