Our Journey from Microsoft Dynamics GP to the Business Central Cloud Part 3: The ImplementationOver the last couple of blog posts talking about “Where We’ve Been” and “Where We’re Going”, we’ve looked at all the history of our financials management and our transition to being a true SaaS-based software and services company. In this post, we will look at our process of going through the Business Central implementation.

Decisions to make

As mentioned previously, an important decision you need to make is which Dynamics partner you will engage to ensure your migration is successful. As organizations decide to make the change from Microsoft Dynamics GP (or other financial systems) to Dynamics 365 Business Central, they should read about the conversations you need to have as well as some of the key things to consider when changing payroll systems. These same concepts apply to changing financial management systems as well.

For Integrity Data, our decision-making process started with an email to Dan Doolin, who arguably knows every key player in the Dynamics partner space. Given our size and relatively simple Dynamics GP implementation, he recommended a great partner and Microsoft MVP that we felt was a great fit for our situation.

The conversation to move forward with Business Central occurred about 6 months prior to our desired 1/1/2021 go live date. The decision was made to get together and start the actual implementation efforts in late September 2020. This would give us three full months to complete our implementation. For many organizations, three months is likely not nearly enough time. For Integrity Data, given our internal expertise in Dynamics GP and financial systems implementation, we felt that would be sufficient time.

Discovery, preparation, documenting, and processes

Our implementation process began like most should, with a systematic review of our current usage of Dynamics GP. This effort is commonly referred to as “discovery”. This process helps us identify the critical areas that need to be considered as we do business in Dynamics 365 BC. Specifically, we reviewed the following areas:

  • Company Setup Info
  • Security
  • General Ledger
  • Banking
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Payroll

We took time to document all our key business processes. This included things like payroll compliance reporting, invoicing customers, paying vendors, and generating monthly financials. We pulled in all the team members that were responsible for entering data and pulling reports from Dynamics GP to ensure we understood the “how” of these processes. We identified some areas that would require some special attention during the implementation:

  • Recognizing deferred revenue
  • Integration of sales invoicing and customer payments from our SaaS billing solution
  • Financial reporting by product line and team (what became our “Global Dimensions”)

Understanding that we had been using Dynamics GP for over 15 years, it was clear that we did not want to just copy our current account structure (GL accounts) and customers. We took the time to redefine our chart of accounts, financial statements, and customer/partner accounts. This cleanup effort was made much easier since we were migrating to a new system. If you are migrating to a new system, make sure to take the time to improve your processes and reporting capabilit