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    August 9, 2023

    All Paths Lead to the Cloud: Obstacles, Options and Opportunities

    This is the first article in a series about the many benefits and potential risks of moving from a legacy on-premises ERP system, such as Dynamics NAV, SL or GP, to a Cloud-based system, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Here are the topics we covered: 


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    As with any major business undertaking, the prospect of migrating your ERP system to the Cloud can be a bit daunting. If you’re considering migration for your organization, it can be useful to break it down into three categories: 

    • Key obstacles you may need to overcome in order to migrate 
    • Migration options available to you, from planning to financing 
    • Forward-looking business opportunities 

    Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories, especially as they pertain to Cloud platforms, specific Cloud-based ERP solutions, and the potential business impact of making the jump.  

    3 Common Obstacles to Cloud Migration 

    When considering migrating your organization's ERP solution to the Cloud, you may initially have concerns about potential obstacles. Upon closer examination, you'll discover that these perceived hurdles are often insignificant or non-existent. 

    Obstacle #1: Platform concerns 

    Initial migration concerns usually relate to the concept of the Cloud itself. Can the Cloud really be safer and more secure than the physical server living in the office closet? What about performance—will retrieving data be a slower process when it’s happening remotely? What happens to your years or even decades of transaction data? And even if you’re sold on the Cloud, maybe you’re not interested in the SaaS model.  

    Obstacle #2: Solution concerns 

    Then there are solution-specific obstacles. Some solutions may not do everything that your current, non-Cloud solution does right now. After all, you’ve spent years tweaking and customizing your setup to your liking—if you switch to the Cloud, won’t all that work go down the drain only to be replaced by something you’re not familiar with? Your current solution isn’t broken, and you know what they say: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Plus, there’s the concern that a new solution may not integrate and communicate with your other systems. 

    Obstacle #3: Business impact concerns 

    Even if you’re fine with migrating to the Cloud and adapting to a new solution in theory, you may be worried about the business impact in both the short and long term. If you’re crunched for cash right now, you may be concerned about the upfront costs of migration. And since the Cloud comes with a subscription, it may feel like long-term costs will be a burden as well. Besides, you’re too busy running a business to think about all this stuff, and ultimately all the change could really slow you down. 

    Options for Overcoming Obstacles 

    Navigating the challenges of Cloud migration can be a complex process for any company. It's rarely a straightforward journey. At times, overcoming a hurdle can be as simple as sidestepping an obstacle. Yet other times, a daunting task feels like scaling a steep incline. But just as the view from a mountain peak justifies the tough climb, successfully navigating the complexities of Cloud migration brings its own substantial rewards, leaving no room for regrets. 

    No matter what obstacles are on your path to the Cloud, there is always an option to overcome it. 

    Options for platform concerns 

    Let’s address all those concerns, starting with the Cloud platform. In terms of security, Microsoft’s platform has the most credentials in the industry, with 118 global certifications and $4 billion spent on cybersecurity each year. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are a priority target for hackers, with 20% of all security breaches and 82% of all ransomware attacks affecting SMBs. Those breaches and attacks have an average cost of nearly $22,000. To avoid taking that kind of hit, your SMB may want to switch from a vulnerable on-site server to a Cloud platform with the cybersecurity might of a giant like Microsoft.

    Microsoft actively monitors its environments to catch issues before they have a significant impact on system performance. And you can always fine-tune your configuration if necessary—although performance issues are often local or ISP-related, rather than being anything to do with the Cloud itself. 

    As for your old transaction data, don’t worry. When you migrate to the Cloud, none of it gets left behind, and all of it gets saved to the Cloud via automated archiving. Additionally, with packaged archive reporting, you can easily see what’s being archived and where it’s going. 

    Of course, there is valid hesitation for SMBs to not want to jump into Dynamics 365 Business Central right this minute. But as we’ve established, staying on-premises is risky. You could opt to “lift-and-shift” from your physical server to our Azure Cloud and still get many of the benefits listed here. 

    Options for solution concerns 

    Just like with legacy solutions such as Dynamics NAV, GP and SL, Business Central offers add-ons to meet your specific needs. We’ve pre-vetted those add-ons and ISVs that deliver them, so you don’t have to worry if they’ll work for you. Migration tooling also identifies customizations so that we can optimize your transition—it’s a good opportunity to update your processes and procedures. Think of it less as undoing all your prior customizations and more as a new iteration that builds on your prior work. 

    Now, here’s the thing about “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” especially as it pertains to legacy ERP: It may not be broken now, but as those systems age and become unsupported, it’s inevitable that they will someday break. Maybe they’ll fail tomorrow, or maybe it won’t be for a few years—but they will fail eventually. Migrating to the Cloud is a chance to avoid that day altogether.  

    Once you do migrate, the mostly Cloud-native new ISVs and add-ons will ensure that you have safe, viable options to keep your remaining critical on-premises resources fully integrated and talking to your new Cloud-based ERP. 

    Options for business impact concerns 

    If you are worried about those upfront and long-term costs, keep in mind that the entire process of migrating to the Cloud is often less expensive than a single Dynamics GP capital upgrade—and you can bundle your actual costs in a fixed-year subscription. Speaking of subscriptions, Business Central subscriptions typically cost the same or slightly less than Dynamics GP business ready enhancement plan (BREP) annual costs. The advantage of the subscription model is that you know exactly how much you’ll be spending on a regular basis, whereas the costs of maintaining an on-premises server can fluctuate in ways that are hard to anticipate.  

    We understand your concerns about how much time and effort your staff will have to invest in Cloud migration, not to mention the work that goes into adapting to the change. But when you migrate with Enavate, you’re not alone. Automated factory and industry templates will optimize your staff’s involvement, and our highly trained and experienced team members will do most of the heavy lifting for you. Plus, we provide both direct training and access to self-training resources so that your team won’t get lost as they adapt to the new system. 

    Business Opportunities Presented by the Cloud 

    Take a moment to ask yourself each of these questions: 

    • Are there specific business processes in your organization that could benefit from custom applications but have been held back due to development costs or complexity? 
    • Are you lacking a solution for creating custom, comprehensive reports from your business data? 
    • Is your team spending too much time on repetitive tasks that could be streamlined with automation? 
    • Is your current tech stack agile enough to adapt to new business needs or industry changes? 
    • Could your current tech solutions be more well-integrated with each other? 
    • Do you have any data silos or disconnected workflows that are causing inefficiency? 
    • Are there any employees in your organization who have innovative ideas for apps or automation but lack the coding skills to bring these ideas to life? 
    • Do you face any limitations with your current data analysis and visualization tools? 
    • Could your business be using AI-driven insights to improve decision-making and strategic planning? 
    • Does your current tech stack have room for improvement when it comes to quickly and effectively responding to changes in market conditions or customer behavior? 
    • Does your organization find it challenging to keep up with the ever-evolving tech landscape? 

    If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then migrating to the Cloud is a great opportunity to improve a key aspect of your business. Microsoft Dynamics 365 isn’t just about Business Central; there’s also a wide array of programs that can address just about every issue imaginable, from marketing to human resources to supply chain management. Moving to the Cloud also means you can take advantage of things like Power BI and easily develop your own Power Apps. 

    If you already have a Microsoft partner, Enavate can work with them to facilitate your migration process. We specialize in working with other Partners, and our unique programs can help them help you take advantage of all those opportunities. 

    What now? 

    You don’t have to make any decisions about migrating to the Cloud yet. But you should start thinking about the Cloud if you haven’t already.  

    For Dynamics GP or SL users, to help you get started down the right path, first utilize our free and easy Cloud migration assessment tools. It only takes about 5 minutes for our tools to assess your current system, and they only need read-only access to your SQL databases. You won’t even need to log out of your Dynamics GP or SL solution. You’ll automatically receive an easy-to-read assessment report, which will give you a clear picture of what your migration process might be like.  

    Watch our webinar on demand, All Paths Lead to the Cloud: Obstacles, Options and Opportunities today.  

    Or, if you’d like to chat, feel free to reach out to our team of experts or your Account Manager!

    Tag(s): cloud

    Robert Shurtleff 

    As the Global Microsoft Solutions Evangelist, Robert is responsible for helping our clients with their end-to-end digital transformation journey within the Microsoft solutions and Cloud ecosystems. With over 20 years’ experience in the Microsoft channel – he helps our clients with Hybrid Cloud architectures, strategic and technical road-mapping, DevOps automation, Packaging, and deployment, navigating Microsoft App Source, partner relationships and more.

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