history of dynamics gp

The Past, Present, and Future of Dynamics GP

The development of GP365 marks the beginning of a new era in the history of Dynamics GP. The superior capabilities and pricing model of this next-gen GP iteration may lead many to forget the humble beginnings of this ERP software. We are going to take you through a brief history of Dynamics GP. Beginning with when it was still known as Great Plains and ending with the state of the industry as it stands in 2019. Dynamics GP is just one product in a suite of business-oriented Microsoft applications. While providing an overview of the development from Great plains to GP365, we will be briefly mentioning some of the other Microsoft CRM and ERPs. This should help give a sense of how GP evolved alongside its sister applications. So, without further adieu, here is A Brief History of Dynamics GP.

Building an Empire

An independent technology company, from Fargo North Dakota, named Great Plains Software first developed Microsoft Dynamics GPP. The first release of Great Plains software (Known as Dynamics Release 1.0) launched in February of 1993. This software was one of the first multi-user accounting programs available in the United States. Great Plains marketed the early editions of the software as an administrative assistant, geared toward the US market.

Great Plains continued to improve its program through periodic updates over the following seven years. By the year 2000, Great plains had seen seven full updates, culminating in the release of Dynamics 8.0. Each new upgrade to the system added to its interface and functionality. These improvements made Great Plains an excellent admin tool for US companies. Within the same year (2000) Great Plains bought out Solomon Software who had been distributing their own ERP solution for the last nine years.

Microsoft Focuses on Acquisitions

Late 2000 additionally saw an announcement from Microsoft where the technology giant stated their intention to acquire Great Plains Software. Microsoft completed this acquisition in August of 2001. Putting both Great Plains and Solomon Software under Microsoft’s roof. Within the same year, Microsoft also purchased Virginian company iCommunicate, the developers of a web-based CRM program named iCummunicate.net. The intention behind the purchase of these companies was to launch a Microsoft branded business solutions arm. However, these companies alone were not comprehensive enough to accomplish this vision.

Microsoft continued its acquisition spree with the purchase of joint company Navision Software/ Damgaard Data. This purchase included the Navision ERP, which was developed to aid in financial, manufacturing, and advanced distribution management; and Axapta ERP, which focused on finance, inventory, and production management. With all these specialized business software products firmly under Microsoft’s control, the tech giant began releasing the applications as branded Microsoft programs.

Microsoft Business Solutions Axapta launched in 2002, Microsoft Business Solutions Navision and – Microsoft Business Solutions Customer Relationship Management (based on iCommunicate.NET) released in 2003, and finally, Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains issued in 2004. These newly branded programs benefited from Microsoft adding role-based interfaces, SQL-based reporting, and Microsoft Office integration to their functionality in the years leading up to the rebrand.

Project Green

The dream for Microsoft was to consolidate its four ERP and CRM programs into one powerhouse business solution. This endeavor was dubbed Project Green and proved to be more complicated than Microsoft initially planned. Microsoft continued to overhaul each application and gave their unique interfaces a more Microsoft feel. Bringing them in line with products such as Office and Outlook.

By 2006 Microsoft still had not released its unified business solution. Instead, they took the rebranding of the individual programs one step further – the Dynamics dynasty was born. Navision became Dynamics NAV, and Axapta became Dynamics AX. Great Plains was now Dynamics GP, Solomon was Dynamics SL, and Microsoft CRM became Dynamics CRM. By 2007 Microsoft had given up on Project Green. Microsoft announced that it would be focusing on developing each software as a stand-alone solution to fit the specific needs of any customer.

Into the Clouds

The funeral of Project Green sparked the beginning of what would become the future of the business software industry – online hosting. 2007 marked the release of Dynamics CRM Online. This software was a web-hosted version of the software that clients could access through either Microsoft’s dedicated CRM online service or a Microsoft partner. Dynamics CRM online marked the beginning of the move away from the difficulties associated with on-premise hosting. Moving towards a future of convenient and flexible business solutions.

In 2011 Microsoft announced in 2011 that they would be moving to a bi-annual upgrade schedule. This release schedule would allow for the newest innovations to reach the market faster. By 2013 both GP and NAV received web client upgrades. By 2016 many of the applications have been paired with mobile apps. Mobile apps allowed users to take their business solutions with them wherever they go.

The Future of GP   

Today, Dynamics GP is a mid-market ERP solution. Marketed in North/South America, UK, Ireland, the Middle East, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. The software covers areas such as financial management, business intelligence, and reporting, procurement, inventory, field service management, supply chain management, and project and job accounting. The most recent release of GP from Microsoft is Dynamics GP 2018 R2.

The update brings enhancements to the financial, sales, human resources, and workflow capabilities of the program. Features requested by the Dynamics GP community. For those in the Dynamics GP community, or those looking to implement GP into their business, the future of the ERP software beyond 2019 may very well be GP365.

Offering Dynamics GP in a SAAS model makes sure clients are always using the most up to date version of GP. GP365 is working in line with Microsoft’s vision of convenient and flexible business solutions that fit the needs of its customers. Conveniently fixed pricing, adjustable user licensing, and no-hassle from on-premise hosting make GP365 the perfect choice for users looking to get the most out of their Dynamics GP software. 

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