In 2019, Microsoft released the Dynamics GP ‘modern’ lifecycle, aka GP 18.X. It was designed to simplify the ongoing upgrade of Dynamics GP versions. It was also the start of major technological transitions that would keep Professional Advantage (PA) busy for most of 2022.
Here are five obstacles encountered with Dynamics GP during the calendar year and how they were effectively resolved.
1.) BAS reporting.
When Microsoft released Dynamics GP 18.4 RTM, it was applied to a large client, and PA were alerted that they were unable to run BAS reports or produce any trading documents generated in Word.
PA were able to replicate the issues internally and subsequently logged them with Microsoft. While a hotfix was being developed, PA was able to manipulate the Dynamics GP install so BAS reporting and Word templates could be generated. This allowed the continuation of upgrading clients to GP 18.4.
Microsoft later released a patch for 18.4 which is still being used as of writing this.
2.) The phaseout of basic authentication.
Microsoft announced they would phase out basic authentication and replace it with modern authentication from 1st October 2022. This meant existing Dynamics GP clients using Exchange and Office 365 had to update to the Dynamics GP modern lifecycle or risk losing the ability to email from it.
To enable modern authentication, an ‘APP ID’ had to be entered in Dynamics GP, before connecting to the Azure portal and validating as a one-off exercise. Some clients received error messages during this process. Microsoft have provided various articles on how to troubleshoot the errors which have produced mixed results.
Fortunately, Microsoft extended the deadline to 31st December 2022 so clients were able to continue using basic authentication until the teething issues were resolved.
3.) The Workflow Bugs.
Minor issues within workflow have existed since it was introduced in GP2013R2. However, with the introduction of modern authentication came a swath of major bugs. Here is a highlight of those bugs and how they were resolved.
- In 18.3, modern authentication timed out without notice whilst logged into Dynamics GP. The workaround was to close and reopen Dynamics GP every hour. This was fixed by Microsoft with the 18.4 release.
- In 18.3, users were unable to send document attachments in workflow submissions. The workaround was to disable or not include document attachments. This was fixed by Microsoft with the 18.4 release.
- In 18.4, document attachment filenames exceeding 255 characters did not send. This was fixed by Microsoft with the 18.5 release.
These bugs are directly related to point 2 above. The extension of the modern authentication deadline has allowed clients facing these issues to continue with basic authentication as a workaround.
4.) The 3rd party product delays.
Microsoft releases new patches quarterly thus requiring all their partners to constantly update their product compatibility. Partners are not always flush with time and resources to update and test their 3rd party add-ons immediately, thus the challenge of balancing the completion of daily work requirements and trying to bring clients up to date with the compatible 3rd party products within the modern authentication deadline.
5.) The ‘end of Dynamics GP’ rumour mill.
Dealing with rumours about the end of a product’s life is as much an obstacle as software bugs. When Microsoft announced they would be investing more in the Dynamics 365 space, this was taken by various commentators that Dynamics GP would be retired. This is despite Microsoft never making such an announcement and even releasing a 10-year Dynamics GP roadmap. This doesn’t stop clients from expressing concerns they are using an unsupported or inferior product. At PA, we work to dispel such misinformation as quickly and effectively as possible.
Overall, despite these obstacles, PA has received the greatest number of upgrade and patching requests than any other year. With the release of any new technology, there are going to be teething issues. PA will continue to deal with these issues as has been the case for the last 30 years.