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Beyond Great Plains: What you may not know about Dynamics GP


If you think Microsoft Dynamics® GP hasn't changed over the years, think again. It is not the same Great Plains enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform you evaluated or implemented five years ago, or even last year. The platform is mature, but not outdated, and Microsoft continues to invest billions in its Dynamics products to keep them on the cutting edge of innovation.

Some organizations that evaluate Dynamics GP, and even some current users, do not realize the platform's depth of functionality. The product has recently integrated new tools and functionality, and a product road map has outlined planned evolution to enhance the user experience. Dynamics GP has evolved into a streamlined and efficient product with the latest technology, generating more information to help your business grow.

In the business world, the buzz is around business intelligence, big data and data analytics. With advances in technology, you require rapid ways to analyze your business. Sifting through piles of paper or a 5,000-line spreadsheet is not efficient; you have invested a lot in your ERP system and need it to yield quick metrics that allow you to be agile and make immediate, informed decisions. Dynamics GP addresses this need and takes it two steps further with its new Business Analyzer application.

Business Analyzer is a free tool within Dynamics GP that allows you to publish key performance indicators (KPIs). In fact, you will immediately receive metrics and KPIs written for you out of the box. In addition, Microsoft's fall release of Business Analyzer will allow for the publication of Management Reporter reports (financial statements) and will also leverage Excel dashboards within the platform.

Business Analyzer is accessible to system users that aren't Dynamics GP users, extending your functionality and allowing you to get more value from your ERP system. Many ERP platforms require you to buy an additional user license to view this data; however, this is not the case with Dynamics GP. In addition, Business Analyzer has its own security feature. Reports and KPIs are only visible to users with authorization to view that information.

If printing, scanning, attaching and then emailing are part of your ERP process, you should strongly consider the new functionality within Dynamics GP. The platform has undergone several advances to streamline processes and automate many previously manual tasks, eliminating the need for workarounds. Those previous external tasks are now integrated into Dynamics GP, so users can email directly from the screen and send documents as a PDF, .xlsx or .docx. By deploying Word documents and email functionality, users can save a significant amount of time and avoid risks that come with working outside the system. 

In addition, with Dynamics GP's new Document Attach functionality, sending additional information with an email is now an easy process. Document Attach allows users to seamlessly include any additional documentation for vendors, customers, purchase orders, sales invoices or item documents, such as:

  • Terms and conditions
  • Vendor W-9s
  • Packing slips
  • Item drawings
  • Item allergens

Any attached document can flow directly to purchase orders or sales invoices, with the images actually attached and saved on the SQL server. Documents no longer reside in shared folders, and better yet, silos of individual workstations storing company data are eliminated. Any file type can be attached, including .bmp, .xlsx, .docx, .jpg, PDF, etc.      

Another way Dynamics GP has advanced is by making your day-to-day processes a little easier. Users often ask how many clicks it takes to get through a particular window, process or task. 

Navigation lists are one of the most compelling features in Dynamics GP and are often overlooked.  These lists provide a single, dedicated location to look up a master record (customers, vendors, etc.), create new master records, transact on these records, run reports on master records and see a snapshot of key information like quantity on hand, on order and allocated. These lists streamline your processes and save you clicks.

Excel refreshable reports allow you to refresh data in spreadsheets with a click of a button. Dynamics GP includes hundreds of pre-built reports, or you can create your own using the SmartList Builder tool. This additional data can then be leveraged for increased analytics; you can add a power pivot to the report and publish it on your company SharePoint site or email it to a stakeholder. All of that functionality is integrated within Dynamics GP.

Dynamics GP is not just an on-premise solution anymore, raising the bar by providing several access options to fit your business needs. Dynamics GP can be deployed on premise, in a private cloud or on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, delivering the software you want, where you want it.

In addition to several deployment options, Microsoft has increased the frequency of updates to Dynamics GP, ensuring that users have the most powerful technology available. In the past, users had to wait for more features until a new version of Dynamics GP was released, but that is no longer the case. To bring further advances and functionality to the platform, Microsoft has committed to two feature pack releases per year for Dynamics GP. No more waiting until the next major version to get the features that you want to better run your business. Dynamics GP 2013's second feature pack was released in May 2014 (Dynamics GP 2013 R2), and Microsoft will release additional enhancements as they are developed.

Microsoft is releasing a new full version, Dynamics GP 2015, at the end of 2014. Among other new features, the new release will include apps (Android, Windows and iPhone) that will give remote users access to enter their time, create a requisition and more. Recent literature states that there will be 40 new features added during this release, including additional work flows, electronic funds transfer enhancements, multiple purchase order prepayments, split shipping of kits and more. Even more outstanding is these features came from suggestions posted by Dynamics GP customers. Yes, Microsoft is listening.

While Dynamics GP's history is rooted in the Great Plains ERP platform, the system has made significant strides and will continue to integrate new features to help you build a competitive advantage. In the future, Microsoft is committed to enhancing Dynamics GP to give your business the best technology and return on your ERP investment. The platform will continue to be a mature, trusted solution with modern functionality and agility to fit your business and data needs.


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