At the annual Convergence conference earlier this year, there were “rumors” that Business Portal will be replaced with the launch of Microsoft Dynamics® GP 2015 in the Fall. Business Portal (BP) will remain supported for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, including SP 2013 and version R2 but obviously there now are some concerns about what this replacement is going to look like in GP 2015. However, don’t worry, be happy – although we don’t know exactly how this replacement is going to look, there are quite a few reasons for excitement:
1. Expanding access to data: Non-Microsoft Dynamics GP users, such as sales resources or employees have been able to access business data within Microsoft Dynamics GP using BP, a SharePoint-based application. With the new technology, users will still have that access to GP back office data but it will be rendered through web client instead of being SharePoint dependent. Users can be assigned a type of “limited users’ license” to access data using the web client. They will then be able to see the data but not edit it. This continues to protect the integrity of your data while allowing more colleagues to see it and put it to use.
2. New opportunity for analysis and more: The current BP technology is somewhat limiting, making it difficult to add the features needed to accommodate the requirements of today’s (self-service) users. By upgrading the technology, the products and features that are now in BP can be expanded and improved more rapidly and provide a more stable environment. Users may see quicker cadence of feature add-ons. This could also mean broader adoption of the functionality since eventually there would be more uses for it.
3. Nothing will be discontinued: To our current knowledge, nothing in the portal is being discontinued, per se. The changes are how we access the data and an expansion of the potential features of the functionality. As with previous Microsoft software rollouts, there will be a phased release of the current functionality to the new platform. So prior to upgrading to GP 2015, checking to see what is available will be key!
4. Potential mobility: Since the marketplace is embracing mobile technology, data in the web client may be accessible by mobile apps which can further expand options for the user experience. For example, the interface for an employee to enter timesheets in the current portal is fixed. With the new technology approach, the flexibility to modify or customize the feature to match the user’s way of doing business may be possible.
At the end of the day, changes to this functionality may allow more users to access critical business data and perform tasks that impact back office data. In addition, the flexibility to modify the user interface and expand capabilities is critical to keeping up with each organization’s unique business needs. Sometimes change is good and we anticipate that these changes will be very good. Contact Integrity Data for additional guidance on these and other updates to your Microsoft solutions.
By Integrity Data, a Microsoft Dynamics GP ISV out of Illinois