With so many IT delivery options now available, how do you evaluate which approach is best for your business? For a broad spectrum of small- to mid-sized businesses struggling to maintain aging on-premise computing solutions, comprehensive cloud solutions now provide a cost-effective answer.

Considerations for upgrading

Evaluate any new IT solution on the basis of current and foreseeable needs:

  • Scope of capability. Unless you have business-specific requirements or a unique need to maintain an in-house solution, cloud-computing options such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 are versatile enough to handle typical business-computing demands. These even include vertical market applications such as e-commerce, distribution, and retail
  • Capital costs. Captive IT systems typically command large capital investments. Cloud alternatives offer the benefits of pay-as you-go solutions without up-front financial commitment.
  • Future potential. For any option, consider its flexibility to evolve for expanded needs down the road. A solution that utilizes a comprehensive database, offers built-in custom analysis/reporting, and supports independent development of function-specific apps will maintain its viability longer.
  • Ease of transition. Transitioning to any new IT approach takes effort. But switching to Dynamics 365 can help you reduce development costs by 70% and cut deployment time as much as 90%.

Common business needs

Whichever upgrade approach you evaluate, look for attributes that can satisfy your most pressing business needs:

  • Unified business data. A cloud solution based on a comprehensive database makes it easier to leverage both ERP data and CRM data for more profitable decision-making. (e.g. segregated ERP/CRM systems can’t keep pace with customer-centric marketing driven by social media and mobile technologies)
  • Cloud solutions with built-in mobility features put power in users’ hands, wherever they are. This includes operational data for employees, as well as buying support for customers.
  • Analytic/reporting resources. A truly intelligent business solution provides more than just custom reporting. For example, Dynamics 365 provides built-in user-directed analytical tools that can leverage any information in its database for better decision-making.
  • Unlike on-premise IT solutions that force internal personnel to stay on top of hardware and software management and maintenance, cloud solutions provide maintenance and R&D efforts as part of your service fee.

Cost considerations

Because a comprehensive cloud solution for business management defines up-front costs and service capabilities, it saves you from costly surprises:

  • Total solutions – including hardware, software, and the support services necessary to maintain them, in one fixed monthly fee – help you avoid capital investments and specialized staffing to deal with changes in technology.
  • Defined up-front costs help you keep IT operating expenses proportional to your business volume, and enable you to project ROI in advance.
  • Cloud scalability enables you to adapt to periodic spikes in process demand or to add storage capacity – quickly and easily – at incremental cost.
  • Security built right into the cloud structure is maintained automatically even as new threats emerge.

Additional benefits

Look for additional ways to leverage extra value from cloud-computing solutions. For example:

  • Task-specific apps. Microsoft AppSource offers scores of application-specific tools to expand the power of the Dynamics 365 database.
  • Tools for customization. Built-in Power BI (Business Intelligence) helps Dynamics 365 users visualize data by their own preferences.
  • Dynamics 365 makes it easy for users to share and manage data in familiar Microsoft Excel format – to support existing analytical spreadsheets or customize analysis for specific new uses.

Don’t struggle alone

Set the stage for more efficient evaluation of cloud services vs. self-managed on-premise computing. Review these FAQs, or ask an AlfaPeople cloud solutions consultant to help you make a point-by point comparison between Dynamics 365 cloud services and your anticipated needs.