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Jack Boyer, Boyer & Associates

Should we move to a cloud ERP and if so, when?


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Answering the Big Question: Should we move to a cloud ERP and if so, when?

As cloud becomes more mainstream, if questions shift to when

 

Microsoft. Cloud. Put these two words together, and the result is impressive cloud technology and a soaring company stock.

Why does this matter to you? As a Microsoft ERP user, you should know that the company’s recent cloud improvements extend to accounting/ERP software. Perhaps you’ve heard the name Dynamics 365. Maybe you’ve even wondered if it would be a good fit for you.

Now’s your chance to decide if it’s the right software for you — and the right time to switch. As you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of switching to a cloud product, we’d like to give you our two-cent’s worth. We’ve had several clients look into this option, some choosing to stay put with their on-premise solution and others deciding to make the move. Here’s what we’ve seen:

Benefits of Cloud ERP

Better Excel — Dynamics 365 Business Central has better integration with Excel. Users can write back using security rules of business layer.

Integrated Reporting — The full power of Microsoft’s PowerBI reporting dashboards can be leveraged and even embedded in pages (screens) easily.

Mail Integration — You can place your Sales or Purchase Order from right within Outlook. Users can also see vendor and customer transactions and account balance.

Flexible Subscriptions — You can add or remove the number of named users your subscription has in any given month. This is especially helpful if you run a seasonal business and are likely to have a dramatic change in the number of employees for part of the year.

No Maintenance Bill — Are you currently on an annual maintenance plan with Microsoft? This goes away entirely. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, it’s one fee per user per month, no hidden fees.

Automatic Backups — You are no longer responsible for your own backups. Neither do you need to make sure that the system still works after someone installs a new program on your server and disrupts the backup. Microsoft will take care of this for you.

No Hardware — You will never need to invest in remote hardware such as Terminal Servers, a Citrix box, AWS or Azure as long as you run your accounting/ERP system on the Dynamics 365 cloud.

Maintenance-Free —Your I.T. people will have one less thing to “maintain.” This includes not just the server hardware and operating system, but also any necessarily patches and updates to the server itself. Again, Microsoft will handle those and update automatically for you, generally in the middle of the night to avoid any disruption during working hours.

Depending on which of these benefits are most important to you, your company might reach a different conclusion than another one would. Is moving to the cloud right for you? Only you can say for sure, but we’d be happy to discuss the options and help you determine what is the most cost-effective way to reach your main objectives within your ERP/accounting software.

Cloud ERP: Not an If but a When

Even if you know you want to eventually make the move to a cloud accounting solution, knowing when to begin that process is yet another big decision. Timing can make a huge difference in the overall cost and success of your implementation. Below are some thoughts to consider on whether the timing is right for you to make the switch.

Stability

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: With this software being relatively new, you might be wondering if it’s truly stable enough to warrant the move. After all, nobody wants to be the “test” subject when it comes to software.

There’s no need to worry. First, Dynamics 365 Business Central is built on the already-solid Dynamics NAV platform, reducing the “bug” factor at the outset. Second, the full strength of Dynamics 365 Business Central has been available for a full quarter already. Third, we can vouch for its stability. We already have a dozen customers on this new cloud platform, and they love it! We believe we can confidently say that the “this might be disruptive” phase is over.

Current Hardware

If possible plan your move to the cloud in tandem with when your server is getting old and needs to be replaced. That way you can kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. Dynamics 365 Business Central requires no hardware. If you’ve just invested in costly hardware, you might want to make use of that investment before moving to a hardware-free solution.

Supported ISVs

Microsoft partners and third-party vendors are quickly making their products compatible with Microsoft’s new cloud offering, but they’re not quite all there yet. If you currently use any Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to supplement your Microsoft ERP software, make sure there is a viable cloud option available. To check, visit the App Source store. You might decide it’s worthwhile to wait until a key ISV product is available.

Microsoft Maintenance Plan

If you’re a Microsoft ERP customer who is current on your annual maintenance plan, there are two things you should know:

  1. It would be to your benefit to time the move just before your annual maintenance plan is due. This way, you can use that lump sum of cash toward your implementation costs. If you’re a Boyer client and don’t know when your maintenance fee is due, contact our Client Services representative Carol Simonson at csimonson@boyerassoc.com.
  2. Microsoft is discounting their already low cloud ERP subscription costs by 40 percent until July of 2020 for all current users of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, GP and SL. You must be current with your maintenance plan to cash in on this hefty discount.

New Features

If you’re content with your on-premise solution, rest assured that Microsoft will keep Dynamics SL, GP and NAV current, supportable and stable.

However, the company is definitely shifting to a cloud-focused mission mentality. This means that any new features and integrations with their other impressive products will not advance as quickly for their on-premise solutions as for their new cloud product. If you’re wanting to stay on top of the latest and greatest in Microsoft features, you will likely want to transition to the cloud sooner than later.

Making the Transition Easy

We understand that changing out your accounting system can be stressful. Microsoft and Boyer are both dedicated to making this process as smooth as possible for you. Here are just a few of the ways we’re prepared to help make this transition easier for you:

Transferring Data

Rest assured, you won’t have to give up your current data and start new. Microsoft has tools available to help you move over key data such as customers, vendors and items so you don’t have to rekey that data into the new system. Boyer can help you transfer your General Ledger history as well as any open purchase or sales orders and open customer or vendor invoices.

Fixed Fee Options

Boyer has developed our own Fixed Fee pricing options to take the guesswork out of your cloud implementation costs. These fixed fee options cover implementations of Dynamics 365 Business Central, specifically for the following modules: General Ledger, Accounts Payable and Receivable, Banking, Fixed Assets, Sales Order, Purchase Order and Inventory.

Consultant Help

We can help you assess the need for any additional integrations. For example, if you use the Project Accounting, Distribution or Warehouse modules within Dynamics NAV, GP or SL, these can be migrated to your new system with a little extra help. The same is true of any third-party product implementation required for those key ISVs mentioned earlier. Having an experienced consultant help with the implementation process will make these additional integrations a much easier and faster process.

Making Businesses Better

If you’ve heard about Boyer at all, you’ve likely heard this mission statement. It directs all we do and is the reason behind this blog. While we might benefit from helping our clients with yet another upgrade, we understand the importance of putting our customers first — and moving to a solution that requires no upgrades and no fees might just be that better business option.

To learn more about Dynamics 365 Business Central, attend one of our introductory webinars or contact 763-412-4315 today.

2 Responses to “Should we move to a cloud ERP and if so, when?”

  1. ERP is a very useful software & it may help to increase the productivity.You can also use cloud erp software for your organization. This article is very useful. Thanks for sharing it.