Microsoft Reseeds Great Plains

Unlike many microsoft products, dynamics GP, the company's Great Plains ERP application, is on a fast track.

Unlike many Microsoft products, dynamics GP, the companys Great Plains ERP application, is on a fast track.

Next January, Microsoft Business Solutions is set to deliver Great Plains 10.0. Even Microsoft officials admit that may be too soon for some customers. But the company is out to make sure it hits the converged Dynamics platform due out around 2009.

Microsoft is sticking closely to the Microsoft Business Solutions road map it outlined a year ago, according to officials attending the Convergence conference here for partners and customers March 25-28.

To do so, Microsoft Business Solutions is moving toward more frequent, iterative releases of its flagship enterprise resource planning and CRM (customer relationship management) products. For now, Dynamics GP is on the most ambitious schedule, slated to sync with Office 2007 and then on to an 18- to 24-month ramp, said Lynn Stockstad, general manager for Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL.

Microsoft is delivering the Great Plains 9.0 extensions in stages, Stockstad said, with users able to download any new features and functionality as soon as theyre available.

Microsoft will deliver 240 Web services as part of the Dynamics GP 9.0 extensions release starting in April, Stockstad said. Other new extension features that will be downloadable between April and June include support for compliance audit trails and electronic signatures, a new connector enabling deeper integration between Great Plains 9.0 and Microsoft CRM 3.0, new field-service applications, and new human resource pay-step functionality.

"The predictability of [ERP] releases from Microsoft is great," said Mark Polino, a controller at Transit Television Network, in Orlando, Fla., a Great Plains user. And even though Microsoft is cranking out Great Plains releases, "you want to make sure you arent more than two releases behind," Polino said.