When companies prepare a business case for a new IT project, they estimate the expected value of the solution. It may be that the solution enables customer service to reach 20 percent more inquiries during the day, or that it cuts an hour of salespeople´s preparation time for meetings.

The precise example is not so important. The point is that the business case is based on the effect of the functionality available in the solution.

When comparing on-premise solutions with cloud solutions, there may be a big difference between the functionality that the solutions contain by default. With Microsoft´s “cloud first” strategy, the relation between the two options is such, that the solutions contain the same at least, but the cloud solution usually contains more functionality than on the premise solution.

What does it mean for your business’ business case? This means that if you rely solely on the effect of the functionality available on-premise, then the missing part is that the business case would be completely different if the company had access to the full pallet of collaborative tools, bots, artificial intelligence-packages, frameworks etc. in the cloud.

Read more: Should IT Maintenance Be Teamwork or a Solo Performance?

And as if that is not enough. If the company decides to build and maintain some of the functionality on-premise that automatically accompanies the cloud solution, the business case should also include the additional cost.

You probably know where I´m going with this.

For many companies, it simply does not make sense to stay in an on-premise variant of a business-critical solution. Compared to a cloud-pendant, it´s a worse and more expensive variant.

Recently, Microsoft launched the Field Service module, which is a brand new module for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service is not available on-premise. It is only available as a cloud solution. As a company, you can, of course, choose to build a similar solution and gain access to the same functionality. But why should you? Why have trouble and hassle to do that, as one of the world´s largest technology companies has put all sails on doing it for you? Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service is just one example of many. With a click in a box, companies today can very quickly start using chatbots and artificial intelligence. And because the frameworks and interfaces are developed by Microsoft, the solutions automatically integrate with the rest of the Dynamics 365 environment in the cloud.

Read more: A Trusted Advisor Must Lead – Not Sell – The Journey To The Cloud

I want to go so far and say that in many cases, it will be cheaper for a company to migrate a solution in the cloud and add a chatbot based on the Azure bot framework and AI, than it is to remain in the on-premise solution and even build a chatbot from scratch.

Therefore: When you have to calculate in the future whether it is worthwhile to move in the cloud, you have to count on the value of the functionality, that you´ll miss out of if you do not move one or more of your solutions in the cloud. Just as you have to take into account, the full cost of paying more for the same or inferior functionality on-premise.

That calculation becomes more and more pronounced as Microsoft expands the capabilities of existing cloud solutions and complements the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform with new business applications.

Below you find functionality available only in Microsoft Dynamics 365 per July 2018 (*):

  1. App designer and Sitemap designer
  2. Connected Field Service (IoT)
  3. Data export service
  4. Customer insights
  5. Azure Cognitive services
  6. Document suggestions
  7. Exchange booking integration
  8. Gamification
  9. Learning path
  10. Mobile – with Relationship insights | Intune device management | Mobile offline | Task-based exp.
  11. Office 365 Groups
  12. Portals – Partner Portal | Customer Portal | Self-Service Portals
  13. Project Service Automation
  14. Relationship Insights
  15. Relevance Search
  16. Resource scheduling optimization
  17. Azure Machine Learning | Product Recommendation | Knowledgebase suggestions
  18. Organization Insights dashboard
  19. One note integration
  20. 3rd party S2S inbound authentication
  21. Bulk data loader service
  22. Cortana Integration for Sales | Sales Digest | Account overview | Deal Overview | Meeting prep
  23. Customer backup and restore – Azure storage
  24. LinkedIn connector for Lead Gen
  25. Relationship Analytics

For current status, click here.

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(*) Source: Article, Dynamics 365 Community “Dynamics 365 online or on-premise

Sourcing and Service Director at AlfaPeople

Working with AlfaPeople since 2014 inspiring global organizations to discover opportunities and embrace today's technology.