This post is just an extension of what Janakiram (DynamicsBlogger) had posted. Microsoft Dynamics products line (CRM, AX, GP, NAV) are all heading towards Cloud. And Microsoft is quite serious about it for sure.
Janakiram had expressed some doubts (or concerns, if I may say) about this offering.
I would like to clarify these points as much as I can. I just happened to attend Microsoft Open Door Gulf event today and also have been closely watching this area (of Dynamics GP & Cloud model).
According to what I have understood:
1. Microsoft is NOT listing Dynamics GP as PUBLIC CLOUD enabled product at all. Having said that, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client is just a beginning to attract customers towards GP as an ERP. GP had long been considered as a stagnant product in terms of extended functionality or its technology. With this web client, both are now quashed.
Web Client will enable customers to get rid of several H/W & S/W costs. Terminal Server licenses will be immediately abolished, which will certainly save some hard cash for customers.
It also enable Partners top expand their business from being “mere Partners” to “Partners & SaaS Providers”, by allowing them to host Dynamics GP for customers. It’s going to be win-win situation, at least for another 5 years from the time Dynamics GP 2013 is released.
Hybrid Model? YES. That’s because you can have a private cloud on your environment and also you can have desktop clients. You can also have your GP data mirrored to your on-premise server and can have clients accessing that as well. It’s more like your Microsoft Office 365, wherein you can have your email server hosted on cloud and can also have the same being synchronized on your On-Premise server. Decision is up to customers.
Microsoft Dynamics GP Public Cloud is NOT going to be realized anytime soon.
2. Microsoft is not going to abolish the Dynamics Partners model at all (at least for another 10 years). That’s for sure. If you closely watch Microsoft Dynamics business, it’s always been Partners who have driven this and not Microsoft. Microsoft indeed has worked a lot on improving it’s Dynamics products but it’s always been partners who have taken these products to end customers.
Microsoft recently took a clean up act on Partners, by reducing the number of Partners and also downgrading some and also stripping their “Gold Certification”. MSFT also toughened the criteria for anyone to become a Microsoft Partner. This was both condemned as well as praised. Ultimately, the incidents of customers getting a negative impression with Microsoft Dynamics (& Partners) got a bit reduced.
But never did Microsoft take the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics Products from partners. Never ever.
You also have to have a Microsoft Partner to avail the license for any Microsoft Dynamics product. This is true for even Microsoft Office 365 implementation. We, as customers, can never get out of Partners anytime soon.
So Partners need not worry about.
3. Microsoft Dynamics GP has been a great product NOT because it’s great out-of-box. It’s because, it is flexible and can get extended by having proper and correct customizations. It also made easy for a customer to avail a Partner or Freelance Consultants or In-house Consultants to manage their GP environment with so many value added enhancements.
In my experience, I have never seen one single GP implementation without a single customization. Oh yes, there was indeed one, but that was for a Non-Profit company and they used ONLY GP Finance Module (GL, AP & AR) and that’s it. Trust me, that’s all about it.
Till now, GP never had a built-in, user-friendly, technology-friendly reporting tool (no offense intended to Report Writer). It supports external tools such as Crystal Reports, SSRS, etc., but that had to be CODED by consultants/developers to get it work. Not one single GP implementation was done without having to write one single Custom SQL Stored Procedure for any kind of business requirement. It’s not just GP. You take any ERP solution in current market. And you will certainly understand that, without additions, it’s highly impossible.
Why am I talking about this? Because, with cloud hosted GP, there comes several restrictions such as denial of access to SQL Server on which our GP data is going to lie. Oh well, we won’t even know on which server our data is hosted and in which country the server is located AT A GIVEN POINT OF TIME. In such cases, who will take care of extending our business requirements? It’s a big question, trust me.
Till we get an answer to the above question, no customer would ever want to go for a public cloud.
4. Consider that your GP is on cloud now, hosted by none other than Microsoft. Customers will gain A LOT. I mean it. I am a consultant and I still say that customers will gain a lot.
Why? Because they don’t have to worry about upgrades, backups, downtimes, H/W maintenances; well at least theoretically and also by agreement, they don’t have to.
Microsoft has ensured (and also boasting) that the uptime and availability is a staggering 99.99%. Which means A LOT for a customer. IT expenditures on backing up the data, preserving the H/W resources, upgrading H/W resources are all quashed.
As far as support is concerned, the only support that you may have with Microsoft, when you are on cloud, is the non-availability of the service itself. You won’t complain to them about a missing transaction. Worst case scenario, you may miss your entire company data due to a server crash or malfunction happened on their servers.
5. Cloud Services are a BIG PLUS for customers who have an unlimited & fast bandwidth internet connectivity. Not all countries (let alone cities) enjoy this. And this will play huge part on customers’ psyche. There are so many customers who pay for their data usage. For them, on premise cost would be less than data usage cost.
Even for customers who have a faster line connection, the upload bandwidth is still crazily low.
Simply, it’s not always possible for all customers.
Alright, I have much more that I can share with you about this. Above are all my understanding about this Cloud concept in accordance with the product Dynamics GP. I have been working on this product for 8 years now and my thoughts shared above are based on that.
I welcome you all (readers of this blog) to share your thoughts on this.