Managed Private Cloud for Dynamics AX: Five Surprising Benefits

When it comes to the care and feeding of Microsoft Dynamics AX, you may sometimes feel like the parent of a toddler. You do everything in your power to keep it running, protect it, and ensure that it has plenty of room to function and grow. In addition, it has specialized needs, interactions (integrations with other systems), and characteristics (such as proprietary data) that cause you to think its care can never be left to a person outside your household.

Many times, I hear from Dynamics AX customers that they have evaluated cloud options for Microsoft Dynamics and not found a solution that is up to the challenge – citing reasons such as housing proprietary data, integrations with other in-house solutions, or pure cost factors. If this sounds familiar, keep reading. I’d like to discuss some surprising benefits of managed private cloud platforms for Dynamics AX.

1. Highly complex solutions, with integrations, can perform better in the cloud.

Some people have a misconception that migrating their Dynamics AX application into a cloud environment will break a customization or an integration with other on-premise systems.  While some public cloud options might not support integrations or customizations, this isn’t the case with a private cloud for Dynamics AX.  In fact, one of my favorite customer stories involves an organization who is actively moving 18 locations onto AX into a managed private cloud. In the meantime, many of their locations are still on a variety of on-premise ERP solutions as the project progresses. Their reporting uses a data-warehousing approach within the cloud, and achieves consolidated reporting for the entire organization. 

Many private cloud providers allow VPN or MPLS connectivity into the cloud environment to truly be an extension of your existing datacenter. Extending your data center with a private cloud allows for integrations with other clouds (i.e. public or hybrid) and on-premise solutions. And delivering in hybrid model - not an island - is the way it was meant to be.

2. It doesn’t cost as much as you think – and you get more value.

I’ve consulted with many business leaders over the last few years and helped them compare the costs of a managed private cloud versus their existing on-premise deployment or other cloud options. The bottom line is that a managed private cloud can deliver a higher SLA and more features at an economy of scale that is comparable in price if not better than other options. This awareness happens when you truly take the time to compare apples to apples. Rob Curls, Business Solutions Consultant, discusses what goes into assessing cloud costs in his blog “Cloud Costs: What Drives Up My Fees?” - including considerations for SLAs, available bandwidth, license costs, physical servers and system redundancy.

3. You have less risk and stronger data security.

Many organizations with robust IT teams consider whether they should build their own private clouds. Some come to the realization that they need to allow their teams to focus on the organization’s strategic objectives. Others go through the process of understanding where other toolsets can work internally for certain applications, and in someone else’s cloud for others. It essentially comes down the acceptance of risk across the technology portfolio.  Microsoft Dynamics AX, as an example, may be an application that is truly assessed at requiring the ‘four nines’ all-inclusive SLA, as well as enhanced security packages for compliance requirements. In addition,  pre-defined security protocols are delivered with an economy of scale that is difficult for an internal IT team to achieve in a pragmatic manner.

4. The cloud can make your organization more profitable

Research proves that companies running ERP in the cloud are truly more profitable. The Aberdeen group published a survey (available here) of midmarket companies with cloud ERP solutions and compared with similar companies running on-premise ERP. The results were surprising: organizations that had deployed ERP in the cloud saw nearly two times the improvement in profitability as compared with customers who had deployed ERP on-premise.  The study also showed significant advantages in operating costs, scheduled compliance and on-time delivery.  Ultimately these benefits were as a result of the agility of an organization’s cloud ERP solution and its improved ability to make key decisions and streamline processes.

5. Your team remains in control.

Loss of control is a commonly named fear of IT professionals when evaluating the cloud – especially for mission-critical ERP type systems. When workloads are moved to the cloud, you still have access to back-end systems or database servers.  Many private cloud companies, but not all, will give customers complete administrative access into their environment. What is also just as important is the ability to seamlessly integrate with other applications. When evaluating a provider, ensure that you gain a team of infrastructure experts inclusive of SAN administrators, network engineers and database performance experts to back up your existing IT organization.

If deploying Microsoft Dynamics AX in a managed private cloud is a consideration for your organization, what’s next? Ensure that you start with a total cost of ownership assessment of your environment across the various options you have to choose from.  For more information on the Concerto Total Cost of Ownership Deliverable, click here.