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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group Inc.

Six Considerations for Contemplating the Cloud for New ERP and CRM Solutions


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I am speaking this week at a Michigan Association for CPAs mega conference in Frankenmuth, Michigan, and I was asked to help explain the cost considerations for using the cloud for business solutions, like ERP or CRM systems.  This is an extremely hot topic with CPAs as they navigate the pros and cons of using systems on premise on in the cloud--and it can have big savings implications for their clients.  I am going to present some of what I wrote about in the article below, taken from a local technology magazine.  You can access the article here, or read it below:

Six Considerations for a New Business System

Many companies are asking themselves, “Is the cloud right for me?” Now that the cloud is taking off in the accounting/enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) realm, there are a lot of misconceptions about it. Here are a few things to consider when contemplating a move to the cloud for your business systems.
First of all, let’s look at the multiple choices of technology deployment options out there today and define each so we’re clear on the differences and similarities of each option:
• Public Cloud is what most people think of when cloud computing is mentioned. Public Cloud solutions are totally web based and managed by a third party who typically bills on a per-user, per-month cycle.
• Private Cloud is when companies have their own dedicated servers in a data center and their data is not co-mingled with others.
• On-Premise is the traditional deployment option with software installed and run on computers owned on the premises (in the building) of the organization.
• Hybrid Approach is a mixed approach to solution deployment. For example, some businesses may keep their ERP on-premise while putting their CRM in the cloud.
Now that we’ve covered the basic principles of available software deployment options, let’s talk about exactly what you need to consider when contemplating a move to the cloud:
• Cloud-Capable Applications: Not everything is cloud-capable at this point. So the first thing to consider is whether the applications you require can even move to the cloud.
• Backup or Recovery Options: For some companies, downtime wouldn’t make or break their business; for most companies, however, downtime would be a disaster. It’s important to plan and prepare for this as it does, in fact, happen with a pure cloud solution.
• Detailed Roadmap: Planning is everything when it comes to software implementation, whether it is on-premises or online. If you have existing business and systems, you need a detailed roadmap and the right foundation before moving forward. Do not underestimate the amount of time it takes to switch over. Finding an experienced partner can help you take the right steps that end in a successful implementation.
• Solid Connectivity to Ensure Bandwidth: You need to ensure your online connectivity has the bandwidth needed to hold your cloud computing solution.
• Cost Comparisons: Cloud solutions — as most are structured and priced today — are going to cost more in the long run than licensing on-premises solutions. You also don’t have the options that you would otherwise have with an on-premises solution, such as discontinuing maintenance. If you go online, you are required to pay every month or run the risk of losing your data.
• Configuration, Set Up, and Training: Contrary to popular belief, deploying an online cloud solution is not like downloading an application to your phone so you can play Angry Birds™. Configuration, set up, and training are the proper steps to take, and if you skip any component, it’s going to fail.

These considerations top our list in importance because we find companies are misled with the hype around cloud computing today. Cloud computing may or may not be the answer to all your problems. At The TM Group, we believe it pays to be diligent when doing your research and recommend finding seasoned experts with the right experience.

For more information about what is best for your company and the cloud options available for Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM, visit www.tmgroupinc.com or contact me at kenj@tmgroupinc.com, or call 888-482-2864.  We've worked with many clients, both big and small companies, to help them evaluate the best deployment strategy for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

by The TM Group

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