The care and feeding of ERP systems can be likened to the ongoing care of any living, breathing thing. You do everything in your power to keep it healthy, protected, and ensure that it has plenty of room to function and grow. In addition, your system may have specialized needs, interactions (integrations with other systems), and characteristics (such as proprietary data) that cause you to think the care process can never be left to a person outside your organization.
Many times, I hear from customers that tell me they have evaluated cloud options and not found a solution that precisely meets their needs. They cite a variety of 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, or any ERP solution for that matter.
1. Multiple systems, multiple sites, and integrations? Not a big problem in the right cloud.
While some public cloud options might not support integrations, customizations, or multiple sites and solutions, this isn’t the case when within a private cloud. In fact, one of my favorite customer stories involves an organization who is actively moving 18 locations onto AX into a managed private cloud environment. In the meantime, many of their locations are still on a variety of on-premise ERP solutions while the project moves forward. 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 – enabling a true extension of your existing datacenter. Extending your data center with a private cloud solution allows for integrations with other cloud (i.e. public or hybrid) and on-premise solutions. Delivering a hybrid model - not an island - is the way it’s meant to be.
2. Higher SLA, Governance and 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 ERP solutions, 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.
3. Tighter Control.
It seems counter-intuitive to say that using a managed cloud platform delivers stronger control, but with the right provider, it certainly can. When workloads are moved to the cloud, you still have access to back-end systems or database servers. Many private cloud companies - not all, will give customers complete administrative access into their environment. 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.
4. Costs aren’t as high as you think - and there is more value.
After several years of assessing the costs of private cloud over our customers existing on-premise deployment, we can certainly make the observation that a managed private cloud can deliver a higher SLA and economies of scale that also compete on price point. Ensuring an apples to apples comparison is key.
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.
If deploying your ERP solution in a managed cloud is a consideration for your organization what’s next? Consider starting with a total cost of ownership assessment of your environment across the various options you have in front of you. For more information,click here.
Or, watch our On Demand webinar “How Much Does it Cost for Dynamics in the Cloud.”