3 reasons why companies should migrate Dynamics GP to Business Central

What is Business Central and why should we consider it?

Dynamics 365 Business Central is a mid-market ERP system from Microsoft that is the enhanced version of the venerable Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Versions 13 and 14 of Business Central actually ran on the NAV client software, because it was in fact the same product.

For those customers who have GP or Great Plains, you may recognize the Dynamics NAV name as a sister product to Dynamics GP. Once known as Navision, the NAV system is a good ERP system for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Microsoft defines this as companies with up to 250 computers.

Microsoft often compared the two products as being sold in the same market. They considered them mid-tier sister products. The reality is that GP was sometimes sold to businesses where the sophistication of accounting needs exceeded what NAV could do. The opposite was true in the supply chain and manufacturing.

Dynamics GP to Business Central? it depends on your business

Our experience is with Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365 Business Central in manufacturing and supply chain. We believe moving from Great Plains to Dynamics NAV/Business Central makes a lot of sense for these companies.

The distribution and manufacturing capabilities of Dynamics Business Central are (in our opinion) a bit better than Great Plains. This is especially true once complementary products for BC are taken into account. Companies in this space that choose to migrate from Dynamics GP to Business Central will be very happy with their decision. The capabilities of the system are best suited to your needs.

If you run Dynamics GP in a more financially complex environment, things get more complicated. The core functionality in accounting is much stronger if you need the multi-layered approval processes that are out of the box in Great Plains. If you have controllers at plant level that are overseen by controllers at division level and maybe this reflects on a corporate team, GP supports that.

The ability to post to subledgers and leave the final General Ledger posting for review and approval is not available at all in NAV/Business Central.

The fact is that we have never seen this as a desirable feature of GP. This is probably because our experience is very limited in the pure financial space.

3 reasons why Dynamics 365 Business Central is the upgrade path for GP

For those companies that are in the right space, we would say that migrating from GP to Business Central is extremely logical and probably the right way to go.

  1. Business Central is ultramodern and is being heavily invested by Microsoft. Dynamics GP will be supported, but even investments in it often make it easy to migrate to BC.
  2. No chance for Microsoft to invest on making GP a cloud-ready solution, and there are no plans to build the same AppSource (Microsoft ERP add-on store) capabilities on GP. GP add-on vendors flock to Business Central. Unfortunately, GP is a dead-end technology if it’s not moved to the cloud.
  3. Microsoft and partners they are making a real effort to cut costs and ease migration. Also, this could be a great opportunity to review those problem areas in your business that the GP system is not handling.

If you’re in manufacturing or distribution, unless you pass my description of complex accounting needs, you’re a great candidate for Business Central.

Maybe we need Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations?

If you need the complex accounting controls and approval I mentioned earlier, you should probably look at the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations product. This product is much more sophisticated and advanced than Business Central. It comes with a matching price tag, but typically those very complex needs will be met by F&O and not Business Central.


There is much more we can say about this process, including a discussion of the costs of this upgrade; some of the automated tools Microsoft is developing to help; and the opportunity for business process reengineering that this can create.

We will leave that for another time.

Overall, upgrading to GP’s Business Central is worth a look.

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