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How to Build a Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Strategy

Read how to build a Dynamics ERP cloud strategy, before you start the move to Cloud
Hamish Haldane
August 13 2016

ERP software has had a dramatic impact on businesses. The same is true of how the cloud has revolutionised information technology systems. It is not surprising then that Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions in the cloud have become such a powerful and popular tool.

However, moving to this platform is not a 1-click process, especially for moving from traditional on-premise IT setups. It requires immense planning and coordination between your in-house IT team, project team, and your Dynamics managed cloud services provider. You should know how to build a Dynamics ERP cloud strategy before you pay your first bill and start the move.

Establish your business goals first

The first step should be to create a detailed list of what you expect to gain by moving to the cloud with Dynamics ERP. Document all of the goals you want to achieve with the transition. These goals could be delivering services to mobile devices, streamlining specific tasks, cost savings or productivity improvements – such as eliminating paperwork and other physical ties to satellite offices.

You are also going to want to quantify some benchmarks. These benchmarks are important because they will allow you to track the progress and success of the overall migration to the cloud. Establish clear benchmarks, based on your current performance, so progress can be accurately measured. Try to avoid vague concepts such as improving efficiency. Check those goals and benchmarks regularly after the transition is complete to ensure your strategy is working.

Review and revise your IT budget

Moving from a full in-house IT infrastructure to the cloud will have serious implications on your budget. The next step in developing a strategy is to figure out what your new budget is going to look like. Running and maintaining an in-house IT system usually requires large, infrequent capital expenditures, depreciated over the course of many years.

The opposite will be true once you are using Dynamics ERP in the cloud. You are going to be mostly dealing with regular, predictable operating expenses, once the project “Time and Material” costs are dealt with. Cloud-based software services rely on monthly, quarterly or annual fees instead of single outright purchases.

There might also be fewer expenditures on specialised IT staff, infrastructure, maintenance and product licensing. It is important to assemble a new budget that reflects the shift from primarily capital expenditures to mainly operating expenses.

Think about what you will need in the future

One of the most difficult parts of building a Dynamics ERP cloud strategy is to determine your possible business requirements for the future. You need to look ahead at your current business plan. See exactly how the new cloud ERP suite is going to fit into that plan. You specifically want to figure out what the software will have to do in the future in order to remain useful as the business changes, expands and becomes more complex.

Look at each of the packages included in the Dynamics suite (Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP) and assess possibilities of each to meet these business requirements. This is going to help you establish strategies early on that do not tie you to a process or a customised system that will ultimately need to be completely overhauled.

Use this information to make a realistic strategy for gradually integrating more functionality into the ERP system and incorporating the cloud into daily workflows.

Look at the real consequences of moving to the cloud

A very serious step in developing a strategy is to understand exactly how moving to the cloud is going to affect all of the parts of your business. There are many issues to consider. The first is to review exactly how your IT infrastructure is going to have to change.

You may no longer need server racks in a server room, or powerful workstations for each employee. You can interact with all Dynamics ERP through mobile devices, so what is the policy for managing those devices?

You could require less staff for IT maintenance and administration, or different skills in your existing team. Determine what assets you can keep, what assets you can get rid of and what you will have to purchase to make the change.

Additionally, look at important issues that need to be resolved. These issues can include legal and regulatory compliance, security and staff training. Security is especially important since you are relying on the Internet and remote data centers to transmit, store and process your data. Dedicate part of your strategy to implementing these significant changes.

Explore multiple providers before making a choice

The final step is to compare the providers offering Dynamics ERP cloud hosting and infrastructure. You want to look closely at all of the details of what each provider is offering beyond basic hosting infrastructure services. Otherwise you may end up with a system that you don’t know how to manage and maintain, without the skills and experience to do it.

Look for proper security certifications and regular auditing. You want a provider with scalable solutions so that you can grow easily. Check the guaranteed minimum uptime percentages to ensure it is as close to 100% as possible. Review the contracts, pricing structures and support options. You might also want to consider choosing a provider that has industry and product expertise.

SaaSplaza would love to be considered as a partner for your move to cloud. After more than 1500 Microsoft Dynamics cloud implementations across the globe, SaaSplaza has the experience and expertise to make your move to Dynamics Clouds a world-class experience. Contact SaaSplaza today to learn more.

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