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Is Great Plains the same as Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Written by Laura Schomaker

April 27, 2023

Great Plains vs Dynamics 365, are these two popular systems the same? Not quite. While both represent solutions to help businesses better manage operations, these two ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems also have some notable and important differences. Among these include the fact that one is an on-premise solution (Microsoft’s Dynamics GP–also known as Great Plains) and the other is a cloud-based solution (Microsoft Dynamics 365.)

While the capabilities of each are similar, they aren’t perfectly aligned, and costs might vary between the two as well. Though there are notable differences between the two, one isn’t necessarily more cost-effective or useful than the other. Rather, depending on the needs of a particular organization, one may be more useful than the other.

We’ll explore a bit about each one, compare the two, and discuss the differences between the two. While Microsoft offers both ERP solutions, and you may consider them as alternatives to one another, or in some ways, equivalent to one another, there are distinct differences that make it important to understand each one.

Understanding Great Plains

Great Plains, now called Microsoft Dynamics GP, is an on-premise ERP software package, designed to help businesses manage everything from finance to human resources.

The first version of Great Plains was released in 1993. It was called Dynamics Release 1.0, and was developed by a company in Fargo, North Dakota, called Great Plains Software Inc. In 2001, Microsoft bought the company and renamed the product Microsoft Business Solutions – Great Plains. Decades later, Great Plains, now referred to as simply Dynamics GP, is among the most widely used business ERP applications and offers even more functionality than before.

Great Plains works in a range of languages and works with a range of currencies, making it suitable for businesses all around the world. It also has a range of different modules that make it easy for businesses to manage many facets of operations, such as finance, human resources, and supply chain.

Great Plains has been around for a while, so naturally there are many versions of it. At the time of writing, the most recent version is Dynamics GP 18.5, also known as Great Plains 2023. More recent versions may have smoother integrations with other Microsoft products, particularly as security protocols and other important components can shift.

Understanding Microsoft Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 is, in many ways, like Great Plains. One of the biggest differences, however, is that while Great Plains is an on-premise software, that’s often run on local hardware, Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based application suite that runs on Microsoft Azure framework. For some organizations, the benefits of cloud-based ERP solutions may far outweigh the drawbacks, though for others, this may not be the case. Dynamics 365 also offers robust integration capabilities among other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, SharePoint Online, and Teams.

Additionally, Dynamics 365 goes beyond ERP capabilities. Dynamics 365 CRM offers organizations cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions, enabling organizations to better manage their customer experiences.

Comparison between Great Plains and Microsoft Dynamics 365

One particularly crucial difference between Dynamics 365 and Great Plains or Dynamic GP, is that Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based solution that uses Microsoft Azure, while Great Plains–now known as Dynamics GP–is an on-premises solution.

For some organizations, cloud-based solutions are ideal–enabling team members to outsource maintenance and management of critical systems. For others, on-premise solutions might be more cost effective or customizable–particularly if the organization already has the resources to deploy and manage crucial on-premise systems.

Dynamics 365 also seamlessly integrates with other cloud-based Microsoft products and offers CRM capabilities that can help organizations manage not only operations but their customer experiences from a centralized system. However, licensing looks a little different between Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365; Dynamics 365 requires a subscription.

Which one is better?

On-premise solutions present both advantages and challenges, as do cloud solutions. For example, on-premise systems may create higher up-front costs to implement, but may over time be less costly than subscriptions to cloud based systems. Similarly, cloud-based systems can be less expensive to get running but can be more costly to maintain. However, these aren’t definitive rules, and the costs associated with an on-premise or cloud solution can vary widely.

Organizations looking for a seamless solution for both enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management may find that Dynamics 365’s cloud deployment, integrations, and CRM capabilities make it the better choice, while others may prefer on-premise solutions or feel that Dynamics GP is more cost-effective, long term for their needs.

With Great Plains vs Dynamics 365, one isn’t necessarily more cost effective or useful than the other. Rather, which is better for you might depend on the number of users you need, which edition you purchase, the features you need, how equipped you are to manage on-premise systems, and more. To make an informed decision, organizations may need to understand their ERP needs and compare those to the pricing of any potential system.

Great Plains vs Dynamics 365 Conclusion

Though Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics GP both offer organizations ERP solutions which make it simple to manage operations, it’s important to understand how the two solutions differ. Though they have similar capabilities and uses, some notable differences include that Dynamics 365 is cloud based while Dynamics GP is on-premise, and Dynamics 365 offers certain cloud integrations and CRM capabilities.

Some organizations may find that a cloud-based solution offers them greater flexibility, while others may feel that on-premise solutions offer them more control. Still, other organizations may prefer to use one over the other based on other factors, such as cost, convenience, scalability, and speed to implement.

Whether Dynamics 365 of Dynamics GP is a better fit for your organization depends, in part, on your needs. But by better understanding the two ERP solutions, it may be easier to see which one might be a better fit. To learn more, reach out today. Find the best ERP solution for your business. Request your one-on-one consultation with an expert today.

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