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Organizations saw the benefits of working with collaborative tools like Microsoft Office 365 and Teams when they shifted to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many still had their mission-critical solutions, such as their ERP, on-premises. As they heard more about the benefits of digital transformation and adopting a Cloud infrastructure, they became curious about whether moving from on-premises to the Cloud might work.
“They already realize the benefit of collaborative tools like Teams. When we talk about leveraging that SaaS (software as a service) model with their business solutions and what they could do from an anywhere, anytime, any device standpoint, it starts to make sense – particularly with the last year and what the world’s gone through with the pandemic. It starts to create the ‘a-ha’ moment for those business decision-makers.” – Chad Sogge, Enavate Business Pod Meister™ – Enterprise and Partner Services
One option for small to midsize businesses using an on-premises ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics GP and SL may be to migrate to a Cloud-based solution such as Dynamics 365 Business Central. What that means for an organization can differ based on its needs. That’s why a good place to start lies with conducting an assessment.
Chad Sogge and Jennifer Ranz from Enavate discussed the importance of a Cloud migration assessment on The MSDW Podcast. For businesses who have been using an on-premises solution, the assessment is a great first step to building a case for making a move to the Cloud.
A Cloud migration assessment can gauge your readiness to migrate, as well as help you determine a migration plan. Then, you can make decisions about when, how and even “if.” An assessment helps you consider factors related to your solution, as well as business issues:
A Cloud solution such as Business Central can be outfitted to serve your industry. When you work with a partner who understands the specific needs of organizations like yours, they can help you implement the best functionality to suit your business.
Enavate has developed a free assessment tool for clients using Dynamics GP, as well as SL who may be considering a migration to Dynamics 365 Business Central.
“Our assessment tool will not only see what they’ve installed for third parties, ISVs, but how they’re using that data inside of GP. We can take that assessment and map it to the migration tool available in Business Central and help them build out that plan to move from the GP on-prem product to the Business Central SaaS product.” – Jennifer Ranz, Enavate Product Pod Meister™
The beauty of Enavate’s assessment tool lies in its simplicity. Clients complete a 10-question form and download the assessment “wizard” to understand their environment in under 5 minutes.
You can then learn what migration tools will work for you and whether you need support and adaptations. The assessment lets you determine next steps and how much time and effort will be required to migrate your data.
“It does a lot of work, but it’s very simple to take the assessment. That’s the heart of what we tried to accomplish: It can do a lot of things, but it’s super simple to run.” – Chad Sogge
Enavate’s migration assessment tool places your organization’s data into one of three categories.
The GP/SL assessment tool can determine if your current solution can easily map to a migration that is fixed fee with a fixed implementation time.
Your partner will need to do some additional work to ensure the data carries over after you migrate, allowing you to retain the necessary functionality.
“When looking at that yellow bucket, we know it won’t be a quick run of the migration tool and then the customer is up and running. It might be that we can use the migration tool, but then we need to do additional things to make sure that customer’s data gets into Business Central and they're good to go.” – Jennifer Ranz
Your migration will be more involved, requiring additional time and resources to ensure data transfer and full functionality. You may need to redesign some processes to be operational in Business Central.
For example, according to Sogge, if you’re a manufacturer using the GP manufacturing module, your module may not necessarily line up with Business Central’s manufacturing module. That would place your business into the red category. In this scenario, you’d have two options:
Knowing the level of complexity and the cost of migration can influence the decision-making process. For instance, if your systems fall into the yellow or red category, and this is your busiest time of year, you can opt to migrate during a slower period. If you don’t currently have the budget to pay in full, ask if your partner offers a payment schedule, so you don’t have to choose between the migration and a necessary piece of equipment.
There’s also the opportunity to migrate in phases. Microsoft offers a package to move to a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) model, changing your subscription from an annual fee to a monthly payment. You’ll have access to Business Central, including licenses, while keeping your on-premises solution, giving you a chance to see how it works for your organization.
“It is truly a journey. You can move to CSP, you can move directly to a SaaS solution, or you can move into a hosted model and then into a SaaS solution. It depends on what works best for your business.” – Chad Sogge
Finally, if you do decide to eventually stop using your Dynamics GP/SL solution in lieu of another ERP such as Business Central, you will have a critical decision to make regarding what to do with your historical data. In that case, you should consider moving your data into a storage option like Azure Data Lake. Azure Data Lake is a low-cost option that allows you to use Power BI and Power Apps to report historical data. You can also take advantage of machine learning to build out predictions and forecasts.
Enavate can work with you to determine the right Cloud migration option for your business. Reach out to one of our experts to learn more about how you can get access to our free assessment.