Microsoft has announced the upcoming release of Dynamics GP 2013, and much of what we have heard so far is really exciting. Microsoft has fully embraced the cloud with this release of GP, and lost the shackles of the traditional client server architecture. With the release of the new “Web Client” for GP 2013, users will be freed from the desktop, and can now access GP from virtually anywhere.
The release of the Web Client also frees the end-user from a purely Microsoft environment. The backbone of the system will still be on Microsoft SQL Server, but the end-user will not be limited to just Internet Explorer as the browser. Microsoft has still not revealed the entire list of browsers that will be supported, but the intention is to be as browser-agnostic as is realistic to support.
This development has several significant implications, among them opening the availability of Dynamics GP to some industries that have traditionally used non-Microsoft systems. Examples would include entertainment, graphic services, education companies and others. Second, the new Web Client looks to be opening up nearly the entire Dynamics GP 2013 system to the web. Earlier speculation had focused the obvious candidates for greater access, like entering sales orders, checking inventory levels, reviewing Customer activity. It appears now, however, that Microsoft intends to make virtually the entire system web-based: Human resources, Manufacturing, General Ledger, Bank Reconciliation and the rest.
Licensing is also going to be simplified, with the price list shrunk down to just 5 items: a “Standard Pack” that is the basis of the system, an “Extended Pack” that includes all of the advanced functionality from Manufacturing, Project Accounting, Field Services and Advanced Distribution, a “Full User” with complete “read/write” capabilities, a “Limited User” with full “read” capabilities and the “write abilities to Payroll Timesheets and Project Expenses”, and a “Configuration Pack” that combines the functions from the Integration Suite and the Customization Suite.
There are some questions remaining, like where do the Smartlist Builder and the Extender products fall? Will they be part of the “Standard Pack”, the “Extended Pack” or the “Configuration Pack”? These are two of the most popular extensions to the GP product, and I cannot imagine that GP would not include them somewhere in the mix.
What happens to the Business Portal? In GP 2010 and older versions of GP, the Business Portal was the place to go for web-based inquiry and reports, and the web-based transacitons of Requisitions, Order Management and Employee Self-Service. Will all of this functionality now be available thru the Web-client (either with a “Full User” license or with a “Limited User license)? Following the mantra of “Keep it simple”, I can see Microsoft rolling these functions in to the Web-Client of GP 2013 ad dropping the Business Portal altogether.
Very excited to see the ongoing release of information on GP 2013, and I hope I can share answers to some of these questions soon.