Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of On-premise vs. SaaS – Derek Singleton @ Software Advice

This is a guest post, authored by Derek Singleton at Software Advice.

As Cloud technologies continue to evolve, more and more software buyers are seriously evaluating software as a service (SaaS) solutions against on-premise offerings. While there are many factors that influence which deployment model is best for any particular business (e.g., ability to manage IT internally and speed of deployment) the cost of the system is often a key factor. But comparing the true cost of a Cloud-based system against an on-premise system can be time-consuming and is often a complex undertaking.

For instance, most buyers understand that on-premise licenses are typically purchased with a large, upfront investment and SaaS licenses are purchased for a relatively cheaper subscription price. But many forget to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their investment. That is, they don’t look beyond the licensing costs to consider how other factors such as the need to customise the software and integrate it with existing applications can influence the TCO of their software purchase.

Even then there are intricacies like maintenance and support and training requirements that can make creating an apples-to-apples comparison of the TCO on-premise and Cloud software difficult. If you’re not a seasoned veteran in modelling all these costs, comparing them can become overwhelming.

To help buyers ballpark the true costs of each software model, I recently created an interactive TCO calculator at Software Advice–where we help buyers with software pricing–that buyers can use to compare SaaS against on-premise software over a 10-year ownership period.


The calculator models annual and cumulative costs over this time period and shows buyers at which year of ownership the TCO of a SaaS system will equal that of an on-premise solution, based on user inputs. Although the data comes pre-populated with an example case, users can override every value to see the impact that changing any particular value will have on the TCO as a graph at the top of the calculator automatically refreshes after each update.

While the calculator is useful for getting you in a ballpark, it’s important to note that any business will still have to perform their due diligence to come up with an accurate figure that reflects their unique needs and situation. And there are several influencing factors (e.g. organic business growth) that no general calculator can accurately model. In any case, it’s worth checking it out to get an idea of which system seems right for your business. Check it out here.


SharePoint 2010 Email Workflow Error – The user does not exist or is not unique.

I started working on SharePoint 2010 as we have moved to Office 365 environment. The migration of all my customizations have to move on to Cloud now.

Upon working on an email workflow, where in, a notification should be sent to people (one or more) who are assigned to a particular task. This was working on our on-premise environment, but stopped working when I moved it to SharePoint Cloud. Following was the error message:

The form cannot be submitted. The user does not exist or is not unique.

An entry has been added to the Windows event log of the server.  Log ID:5567

Correlation ID:026e0140-cb14-4b2e-95be-947ca2a3f86f

Upon checking all trivial settings to all custom coding, I found this article on web: People picker issue with Allow Multiple.

Let me brief the issue: SharePoint Cloud list does not get updated after you import the form template onto your Infopath 2010 and do any modifications to it on Infopath 2010.

Ideally, I should have first changed the field settings on SharePoint List settings first and then I should have imported the template onto my Infopath for further coding or modifications.

Thanks to the user (Anson Hidajat) for this crucial information. It saved me literally at least one man day’s effort.


Moving Dynamics ERP to the Cloud? Avoid the Lightning

Quite an informative and the most relevant post about Cloud ERP environment.

Andrew Snook, Fastpath Inc., explains us why and how to take necessary precaution before deciding on moving our Dynamics ERP on to the cloud.

It’s very important and informative. Must read for all those who have got a serious thought about cloud ERP.

NOTE: For those who are new to this portal; you may have to register yourself on to this site to read the complete post. It’s a member-only site, but the membership is free of cost.


Google Drive is Live

Alright, this is an off-post. Certainly nothing to do with GP or anything even feebly related to GP.

Google Drive is live.

Google Drive is Google’s answer to Drop Box,, Skydrive, etc., which provides cloud storage facility. And since it’s Google, we do have that ability to share easily, G+ integration, searching abilities, etc.

It’s 5GB initially and can be upped to 25GB by paying as less as $2.50/month. (Microsoft Skydrive has opened up 25GB for FREE for a limited period).

One thing which I loved reading about Google Drive is the ability to go back in time. You read it on the official portal, link for which is given above.

Interesting stuff. Let’s wait and see how Google Drive is going to compete with all other players.


Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Services – Some Concerns & My Thoughts

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.


State of Online Accounting Industry – Q&A on Software Advice by Michael Koploy

I was contacted by Mr. Michael Koploy, Software Advice, to have a look at his then recent article; State of Online Accounting Industry.

The importance of this article is that it gives an insight about Accounting Software on Cloud, from 3 of the leading Online Accounting Software solutions. 5 important questions and you are well informed by the answers. It’s a great read and well informative.

I would like to share my views on this.


1. Cost – That’ll be the driving point for any one who want to go online.
2. Less/Zero Maintenance – You don’t have to worry about downtime or H/W maintenance on server or related resources.


1. Depends on providers. You can’t just trust everyone and anyone who provide an online solution. There were some recent outages from industry’s leading providers, such as Microsoft, Amazon, etc.
2. Since it’s pay as you use, you have to limit your usage if you have to get some benefit out of. When I say that, I mean, I may not have one live environment and one test environment for the price of only one environment. If I insist to have, I may have to pay for that.
3. If I have to restore a backup due to a severe mistakes, I can’t do it immediately. I don’t even know whether my service provider maintains a backdated backup or not.
4. No Accounting Software is used AS IS, without a single customization(s). If I do require a customization, then my online accounting software should have an ability to import it and get updated with.
5. Whenever there is a major update to the parent product, I may or may not have a choice to decide on whether I actually want it or not. As always, a major upgrade also include additional cost depending on HOW major it is.
6. People may not feel like THEY ARE CONTROLLING THEIR DATA. I capitalized that, because, that’s a huge question everyone would want to ask before adapting to the change.

In my humble opinion, everything else could be 100% online (Public Cloud), but Accounting Software should be a hybrid (Private Cloud). In that way, there will be a balance between cost, maintenance and others.


Office 365 & SharePoint Online – TechEd 2011 Session

Just attended the session, Office 365 & SharePoint Online, in TechEd 2011 Middle East. And it’s very exciting and interesting.

It’s a service offered by Microsoft for anyone who wants a Hassle-Free and Pay-As-You-Use experience. Happened to see a live demo of Office 365 and it’s terrific to say the least.

MSFT may not be the first one to work on this, but they have certainly got an edge since it’s built on their flagship Product, Microsoft Office, which is used by millions of people out there.

Very impressive. More information here: Microsoft Office 365 – Get In The Cloud.