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The reality of how we work and the priorities of business leaders have shifted, bringing about interest in migrating from on-premises, legacy environments to the Cloud.
“The state of the economy around the world has made things more complex and harder for businesses. That’s where I think the need for digital transformation is really heightened. Ninety-two percent of business leaders agree there’s a need to enable process automation to flourish in a post-pandemic world.” – Pam Johnson, Senior Channel Partner/Marketing Manager, Microsoft
Enavate team members Kevin Armstrong, Jennifer Ranz and Denise Adams, and Pam Johnson of Microsoft spoke about Cloud migration.
They’re shepherding a common migration pattern: moving from on-premises solution Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) to Cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Here’s a snapshot from their discussion on how Enavate helps clients plan for migration success, a conversation that will continue at the 2021 Community Summit, October 12-15.
Many businesses aren’t necessarily aware of their ERP’s uses and specifications. That’s where a migration assessment can help you avoid any surprises during the migration process.
“How do we help our customers figure out their transition to the Cloud? How do we inform a great conversation? We created an assessment tool that gives us a snapshot of their environment. We look at metadata behind the process, the version of the product they’re running on-premises, the version of SQL, the amount of data they have within those products, the types of data. The assessment informs those conversations.” – Jennifer Ranz, Product Leader, Enavate
Enavate’s assessment tool helps determine a step-by-step plan for your move to the Cloud, based on your current infrastructure, requirements and business conditions. Whether you’re a small or large organization, the assessment tool takes a few minutes.
Enavate then analyzes the results, which fuel a conversation about the next steps. For instance, we can identify how to easily transition the functionality you gain from independent software vendors (ISVs). We can discover if the functionality you need is already in Business Central or if you must find its equivalent in AppSource, where there are more than 1,500 compatible apps.
Outside of infrastructure and functionality, it would be good to consider business concerns such as seasonality and tolerance for downtime. Common business concerns around moving to the Cloud:
The right migration path for your business may depend on your risks and requirements, so it’s essential to identify these and plan strategically to ensure a smooth transition.
“Clients need to take a step back and evaluate all of their risks. As trusted advisors, we need to consider all of that so we can make the best recommendations for our clients. That’s why we take a proactive approach. We make sure we are engaging in strategic business and planning meetings well in advance so that clients can plan accordingly.” – Denise Adams, Client Sales Leader, Enavate
It might be that you’re able to deploy a quick turnkey option, such as Enavate’s rapid, standardized fixed-fee deployment of Business Central. This offer is a templated and repeatable approach, allowing for faster and easier implementations.
“It also allows our clients to enter in at a lower price point,” Adams says. “Our offering includes moving to the sandbox first so clients can test, train and get familiar with the solution before they go live.”
On the other hand, your path might involve several incremental steps over months or years, migrating functionalities methodically, so you’re accommodating priority business concerns. A partner like Enavate can help you get the most value for your investment upfront, building a stronger foundation with each step.
One of the primary questions around Cloud migration is: Why? Businesses want to know why they should migrate and what value they’ll gain from the effort and technology investment.
“These decisions are about technical environments, but we focus on business value and needs as well, including where you’re going and what your three-to-five-year plan is, and understanding how the technology will really serve you.” – Kevin Armstrong, Global Strategy Leader, Enavate
Migrating to a Cloud-based option like Business Central means mitigating concerns about securing data and operating amid a disaster or disruption.
“The solution comes with automatic monthly updates and two major updates every year. It also removes the expense associated with the upgrade services clients are used to paying for. So, their total cost of ownership is easily achieved as far as their expense versus the value they’re going to get out of the solution,” Adams says.
Businesses also benefit from keeping up with technology updates that don’t feel so jarring to users. “We were doing three-year to five-year upgrades across multiple versions of products. They would come in and be like, ‘What just happened? I have 300 new features!’ And it was a learning curve for them,” Ranz says.
“But if a customer moves to Business Central, they get that every single month. There are two major upgrades –major in the fact that there’s more functionality, more research, and pieces put into the product, but not more work for the customer. They come in, and they’ve got the latest and the greatest. And that keeps them always ahead of the game.”
Johnson remarks that “the integration with productivity, with Power BI and the dashboards you can create; solutions like that are so powerful from an end-customer perspective and what they can do.”
Microsoft’s integration with Teams is another powerful value-add. “How much better can it be?” says Ranz. “I’m talking to you and, all of a sudden, I have a question from a customer. I can type in the customer’s name in Teams, and it’ll integrate into Business Central. The amount of productivity changes, the amount of features in BC takes a GP customer even higher. You can just do so much more with Business Central.”
Working with a partner that factors for business value also means you’ll get the right-sized technology for your business. “Not only for today,” Armstrong says. “But where you’re going to be.”