Great Plains Annual Enhancement Program & Annual Mainenance Program Queries

My company currently is using MS Dynamics GP V8 for their accounting software. Currently, we had plans to upgrade on recommendations from the GP vendors for additional security features for SOX compliance.

We have been paying AEP & AMP yearly as I read from the web, my company should entitle for free version upgrade. However, can the vendor charge us for the following scope of work.

a)      Test Upgrade Existing MBS  From GP 8 to GP 8 service packs 5 To Version 10.0 (For one company, Trio Tech, only)
b)      Actual Upgrade Existing MBS  From GP 8 to GP 8 service packs 5 To Version 10.0 (For four (6) companies, Trio Tech Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, SHI International and PT SHI International only)
c)      In-House testing on SQL 2005 upgrade for databases
d)      Install SQL Server 2005
e)      Configure SQL Server 2005 to meet Dynamics GP Requirements
f)      Install/Configure Dynamics GP 10 on SQL Server 2005
g)      Install Software Version 10.0 On All Workstations (9 workstations)
h)      Test Upgrade for Reports/ Documents
i)      Actual Upgrade for Reports/ Documents
j)      Modify and Touch Up 18 Reports
k)      Install Reports/ Documents
l)      Test Printing Of Reports/ Documentsw
m)      Acceptance Test
n)      Users Training on new version 10 features

I hope someone can enlighten me on GP licensing scheme as it is confusing as compared to other MS Software License
Who is Participating?
Victoria YudinOwner / Dynamics GP ConsultantCommented:
The Dynamics GP yearly maintenance plan that you buy from Microsoft (or MBS in this case) is very similar to Software Assurance for other Microsoft software.  It covers software licensing upgrades and access to various online resources that Microsoft may have (such as KnowledgeBase, service pack downloads, online training, newsgroup/forum access).  Some annual plans also include a number of support incidents directly from MBS, this depends on the specific plan that you purchase.

To get more specific on the question you are asking: software licensing upgrades that are part of the MBS annual maintenance include ONLY software.  So if you are current on your Dynamics GP maintenance plan and a new version of Dynamics GP comes out, you are entitled to that new version at no additional charge.  Just like with Software Assurance, if you bought Exchange Server 2007 with Software Assurance, if your Software Assurance is still valid when Exchange Server 2010 is released, you have the right to the new version at no additional charge.

Now, some companies can take a new version of software, whether it is Exchange Server or Dynamics GP and perform the upgrade on their own.  Other companies may require consulting services to help them perform the upgrade.  Typically, in a complex Dynamics GP environment with multiple companies, modified reports, customizations, etc. a company's IT department will want to use the services and experience of their Dynamics GP partner to either perform the upgrade completely, or at the very least help with it.  Since these needs can vary greatly for every company, this is not part of what is covered in the MBS maintenance plan (just like it would not be covered by Software Assurance) and is typically provided by Dynamics GP Partners under a separate agreement with each company.  In my experience, the items that you have listed are all typical chargeable services in a Dynamics GP upgrade.  

Hope that helps answer your question.
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVP - Dynamics GPCommented:

Yes, the GP partner can charge for the additional services related to an upgrade.  And you are free to choose whether you want their services, or want to try and do it yourself, or if you want to shop for someone else to do it.

The enhancement plan is a fee you pay to Microsoft for receiving upgrades of the software only.  It does not include implementation or training services that are often required for upgrades.  

If you choose one of the more expensive Dynamics GP enhancement plans, you may get some support cases included, but my recommendation is to opt for the least expensive enhancement plan, and then just pay for support separately--it is much more economical for most customers.

As for your partner proposal, it is perfectly normal for them to offer a proposal to help you perform the upgrade.  As the task list indicates, this involves installation, configuration, testing, reports, and training  If the partner is experienced and competent and has done many upgrades, this is a very valuable service.

With that said, you ARE free to get proposals from more than one partner, and if you find a partner that you think is better for your organization, you can switch to that partner at any time by filling out a one page document and faxing it to Microsoft.  If a GP partner ever tells you that you cannot switch, or that they are your exclusive assigned partner, I recommend finding a new one, as such a statement is untrue and dishonest (it happened to one of my clients).

However, there can be hidden costs to switching partners.  If your current partner is familiar with your organization, your business processes, your environment, and your users, that knowledge saves ALOT of time in terms of the upgrade, support, and training.  If you switch to a new partner, that partner has to understand your business, environment, users, etc., which takes time and often more billable hours.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


Steve Endow
Dynamics GP Certified Trainer
Dynamics GP Certified Professional
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