The term “misinformation” gets tossed around in modern society quite a bit these days, frequently by lawmakers, political pundits and public figures. The word is so ubiquitous that it could have easily been in the running for Merriam-Webster’s “Word of the Year” in 2021, even though “vaccine” won out. When users reference the term, or a post on social media is flagged as misinformation, it’s done to dispel rumors and let the reader know that the veracity of a claim is questionable or unknown. You can probably think of examples of misinformation about something you know to be false, regarding an event that is serious or silly. From “fake news” to “misinformation” to “alternative facts,” whatever it’s called, misinformation is a fact of life.
It seems that half-truths are spreading into the world of enterprise resource planning software, and more specifically, Microsoft Dynamics GP. Word has it that Microsoft Dynamics GP, the business management solution formerly known as Great Plains that is leveraged by thousands of small and midsized businesses for its automation and accounting capabilities, will no longer provide mainstream support after this year.
There’s no truth to that claim. Here, we won’t just tell you why it has zero credibility, – we’ll show you. We’ll also let you know how this rumor came about and who or what put it out there.
The issue at hand concerns Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy. Essentially, Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy is Microsoft’s promise to provide continuous, year-end updates and mainstream support for Dynamics GP in perpetuity, meaning as long as customers keep up with a publisher’s licensing and servicing requirements. In other words, if customers have a license to use the product, Microsoft is contractually obligated to provide ongoing support on an as-needed basis. A few years back — 2019, to be specific — Microsoft announced it would end the Microsoft Dynamics GP business and accounting solution offering by 2028.
But several Microsoft competitors — including Netsuite — have misinformed the public by claiming mainstream support for Dynamics GP will conclude not in 2028, but in January of next year.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and we hope that this was a misunderstanding rather than intentional. Regardless, there are a few important points that should help to separate fact from fiction.
Support for GP 2018 R2 set to end next year
There are many different releases of Microsoft Dynamics GP, which believe it or not, was originally launched in February 1993. It was one of the original multi-user accounting solutions to run on Windows software. Some of the more recent versions include:
- Dynamics GP 2018 R2
- Dynamics GP 2018
- Dynamics GP 2016 R2
- Dynamics GP 2016
- Dynamics GP 2015 R2
- Dynamics GP 2015
Two others are Dynamics GP 2013 and GP 2013 R2. Extended support will come to an end in 2023 and mainstream support for these versions has already concluded. So it’s possible that Netsuite was referring to this specific version. But even if it was, that information is wrong, since extended support remains in place until mid-April, rather than January like Netsuite erroneously stated.
Different types of support
Similar to other software providers, Microsoft offers multiple types of support. For its enterprise resource management solutions, there are two kinds: mainstream and extended. Mainstream support refers to Microsoft promising to provide updates, patches and fixes from the time the product is first released to a certain date. Generally speaking, mainstream support lasts for a minimum of five years but often runs for far longer.
Extended support picks up where mainstream support leaves off. So when the latter ends, the former begins and remains in place for another five years. The updates and features provided during extended support may be less comprehensive than the mainstream version.
By failing to provide context on the type of support that is ending, Netsuite and other Microsoft competitors can lead users to draw the wrong conclusions.
Different types of lifecycles
Another important component to the support of an ERP product is the lifecycle. Here as well, Microsoft Dynamics GP has two: fixed and modern. As Microsoft points out on its website, the Modern Lifecycle Policy refers to the products and services that are supported without interruption. So long as customers are licensed to use the product and are current — meaning they’re applying at least one update per year — Microsoft assures users they’ll receive continuous support.
The Fixed Lifecycle Policy, on the other hand, refers to software solutions sold through retail or volume licensing. A Fixed Lifecycle Policy varies in length and services depending on the product. Generally, Fixed Lifecycle Policy includes five years of mainstream support, followed by extended support when mainstream stops.
The current version of Microsoft Dynamics GP is governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy, which means support is guaranteed through 2028 and beyond. Microsoft has used this policy for all Dynamics GP versions since 2019. While older versions of Dynamics GP were governed by a Fixed Lifecycle — GP 2013 and R2, GP 2015 and R2, GP 2016 and R2, among others —a lack of specifics about the ending lifecycle is misleading at best and borderline deceitful at worst. While mainstream support has ended for Dynamics GP 2013, Dynamics GP 2015 and Dynamics GP 2016 — along with the R2 versions for each — extended support remains for all of them, including Dynamics GP 2013 and R2.
Bottom line: Microsoft Dynamics GP isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics GP and enjoying what you’re getting out of it, you have nothing to worry about. But don’t take our word for it. On its website, Microsoft shows every Dynamics GP product lifecycle, which is fixed along with update schedules due for release. For example, updates regarding taxes, regulations and hotfixes arrive in June, whereas new capabilities for the solution typically arrive in October.
Just as Dynamics GP supports your business needs, Microsoft is fully committed to updating Dynamics GP for the duration. If you have any questions about Dynamics GP, its capabilities and how you can maximize its usage, The TM Group is ready and willing to help. We not only offer a wide variety of implementation services related to Microsoft Dynamics GP but also transition services for any GP clients that would like to switch to Dynamics 365 Business Central. We’ve won over 65 awards since our partnership with Microsoft and we were one of the first five companies in the world to attain certification in Great Plains implementation when the Dynamics GP was first released back in the early 1990s. Contact us today to learn more.