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Microsoft Corporation — Microsoft Dynamics GP


From the Dec. 2007 Review of
High-End Accounting Systems

Microsoft Dynamics GP continues to be one of the flagship products in Microsoft’s
mid-market accounting lineup. Version 10.0 of Microsoft Dynamics GP, released
in June 2007, only helped strengthen its already strong position in the market.
Microsoft has improved Dynamics GP by continuing to focus on molding the user
interface to look and feel more like Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office
2007. Previously Microsoft discussed plans to converge its ERP products on a
single code base, however; more recently the company reinforced its commitment
to support all four ERP products in the markets they serve, with the applications
increasingly sharing technologies over time. The decision to keep Microsoft
Dynamics GP appears to have given developers the motivation needed to take the
product to the next level.

Modules/Scalability – 5 Stars
Microsoft Dynamics GP offers business solutions through components such as Financial
Management, Business Intelligence and Reporting, Supply Chain Management, Project
Management, Customer Relationship Management, Human Resource Management, Manufacturing
and Workspace Collaboration. Microsoft’s mid-market ERP products all use
a flat pricing model known as “Business Ready Licensing,” where
the products are sold in one of two pricing bundles or tiers consisting of an
entire suite of modules.

Tier one is the Business Essentials Edition for customers who need core financial
management and trade functionality including Basic Financial Management, Basic
Supply Chain Management, Basic Business Intelligence and Reporting, and Configuration
and Design tools. Tier two is the Advanced Management Edition for growing, mid-market
customers who are looking for an adaptive solution with a broad set of functionality
that includes all functionality found in the Business Essentials Edition in
addition to Business Intelligence and Reporting, Manufacturing, Advanced Supply
Chain Management, Advanced Financial Management, Project Management, and CRM-Field
Service and Collaborative Workspace. Additional components are also available
a la carte for all editions to serve unique business needs.

With proven code and a wealth of modules running on a solid MS-SQL platform,
Dynamics GP continues to be a highly stable and scalable solution capable of
easily supporting hundreds of end users. Users will not be disappointed with
the current available modules and the scalability of the program.

Usability/User Experience/Security – 5 Stars
With an Outlook-like appearance and the use of custom home pages for users,
I found GP to have a very comfortable look and feel. Version 10.0 extended the
Office look and feel beyond the home page to nearly all areas within the program.
Home pages can be modified to include quick links to commonly performed tasks.
It also lists outstanding “To Do” items, offers access to Outlook
e-mail and calendar items, provides displays of quick business metrics and launches
preferred reports. The ability to tailor custom home pages by user significantly
improves accessibility. Other nice features include the use of toolbars across
the top and a navigation pane down the left side that enables users to quickly
jump to screens, reports and functions they use most often.

Data-entry screens were improved from prior versions allowing users to adjust
the screen size, which was a common complaint in previous versions. One of the
important enhancements that was made in Version 10.0 was the ability for users
to have multiple data input screens open at once. This will allow users to minimize
all other screens except the data-entry screen in order to operate more efficiently.
Users can set individual preferences to highlight required fields on data-entry
screens and underline fields supported by lookup lists. In addition, navigation,
print and Help functions are clear and easy to access. Version 10.0 also introduced
users to action panes and lists much like the look and feel of Microsoft Office
2007. Action pane functionality seems to be a key reason for upgrading to version

Microsoft Dynamics GP’s tight integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint
Server is another key improvement with Version 10.0. Integration with SharePoint
is important for the workflow process that GP offers. SharePoint allows users
to view reports in Microsoft Outlook without accessing the GP software. SharePoint
gives users a powerful search tool that can be used with built-in filters to
locate information in an efficient manner. Company data can be accessed without
a GP license and without SharePoint. However, with SharePoint, it is much easier,
and data can be rendered on a SharePoint page. Product security is comprehensive
and well thought out, enabling administrators to control the use of the product
by company, user, user class, function and field. There are over 400 different
tasks in version 10.0, and many new roles were added. The new role-based security
approach gives administrators the rights to limit users to only those areas
in the system that is necessary.

Extensibility – 5 Stars
The core product is mature, and there is a large independent developer community.
As well, a great number of highly specialized applications currently exist to
help make Dynamics GP a strong fit for many industries including Education,
Non-Profit, Professional Services and Distribution. These specialized solutions
can be easily located on the Microsoft Solution Finder website.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 is a modern business management system that provides
a consistent look and feel of Microsoft Office and extends access to business
information through Microsoft Office Excel, Word and SharePoint Server and adapts
to business needs through Microsoft.NET tools and service-oriented Web services
architecture. For customers seeking deep vertical functionality, Microsoft Dynamics
GP 10.0 has hundreds of ISVs (independent software vendors) providing enhanced solutions for a variety of industries and verticals.

Integration/Customization – 5 Stars
Dynamics GP seems to be very customizable and provides tight integration with
the tools your staff already works with — Microsoft Office. Screens can
be easily modified, enabling users to add or hide fields, modify screens prompts,
change tab sequence and globally modify field terminology all by using the built-in
Modifier tool. Version 10.0 greatly simplified the Extender tool set, a feature
that allows the user to easily link additional windows into existing forms,
expand note fields, add additional fields, and create data-entry templates and
customize lookups.

The Integration Manager can be used to design re-usable import templates that
integrate data from outside programs, and it has been improved in version 10.0
to take advantage of the eConnect code. eConnect code allows the Integration
Manager to share information both ways with web-based applications. There is
a preconfigured import available in the software that allows for importing of
information from ADP directly into the General Ledger. The eConnect Enterprise
Application allows for real-time access to Dynamics GP data. It offers a way
to add up-to-date back office information to existing front office applications
like web storefronts or service applications. eConnect also allows multiple
applications to share financial management data. The eConnect interfaces can
support a number of independent applications, allowing changes to financial
data in Dynamics GP to be simultaneously available to all applications with
an eConnect connection to that company in Dynamics GP.

Reporting – 5 Stars
Report Writer is a tool that is included with Dynamics GP. Users can also install
the SQL Reporting Services reports, which use the reporting tool for the SQL
Server database or use Microsoft Office Excel Reports. Users can create as many
report options for a report layout as needed, but Dynamics GP comes with many
report layouts and report options already defined for SQL Reporting Services
and Microsoft Office Excel. However, if your business needs a report that is
not among the predefined reports, numerous options are available that can help.
The predefined reports can be modified and stored in the Reports Library for
easy access. These reports have been modified based on the requests of customers.
In addition to Report Writer or SQL Reporting Services reports, users can use
Crystal Reports for Microsoft Dynamics GP to design new reports for Dynamics
GP data using the industry standard Seagate Crystal Reports.

Support, Training & Help – 5 Stars
Microsoft Dynamics GP users have multiple means of getting the support and training
needed. One of the really helpful features, especially with release 10.0, is
the “what’s new” document provided with each new release.
All product manuals are available in *.PDF format and are easily accessed and/or
printed from the Help menu. Unlimited web-based training is available, which
can be a valuable resource for you and your staff for module-specific training.
An online knowledgebase quickly and easily addresses common issues. Microsoft
also provides contracts for telephone support, and additional support and training
is available through VARs. I think the Help, documentation and training tools
within Microsoft Dynamics GP are some of the best of all the products reviewed.

Overall Assessment
Microsoft Dynamics GP’s latest release made more substantial improvements
than any other software I have seen in this year’s review. Many of the
usability issues that were identified in previous versions were solved with
Version 10.0. Microsoft Dynamics GP remains a truly diverse and solid product
capable of supporting large numbers of users across a variety of industries
with strong reporting, customization and extensibility capabilities.

2007 Overall Rating: 5 Stars