Overcome Barriers in Your Transition Planning to Dynamics 365 (Video)

Many Dynamics GP, NAV, and AX customers want to transition their businesses to a cloud solution like Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, but a few common barriers hold them back. During this recorded webinar, Encore and Microsoft experts present and discuss how clients can overcome these challenges in their transition planning.

According to a survey conducted at our recent virtual event, Encore Vantage, the top concerns holding users back from a move to the cloud are:

  • Business disruption – 55%
  • Budget – 46%
  • Lack of transition strategy – 29%
  • Lack of skilled team members – 28%
  • Security and privacy – 20%

Transcript below:

Tracey: Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining us today for our webinar, “Overcome Barriers in Your Transition Planning to Dynamics 365.” I’m Tracey Santos from Encore, and super excited to have joining with us today Mike D’arcy from Microsoft. He is the channel manager of Microsoft Business Applications D365 and Power Platform, Western Canada Global Partner Solutions. Thank goodness that’s written down because I would never remember that. Thanks a lot, Mike. Thanks for joining us today.

Mike: Pleasure.

Tracey: All right. Well, we’ll get started. You know, I always get super nervous about doing these presentations because I find I talk too fast, and then I record myself, I listen back, and I sound like somebody from Chip ‘n’ Dale, you know, like a chipmunk. So I’m gonna really try and slow my speaking down. Today’s session is all about you. We are going to roll up our sleeves and look under the hood of what’s holding your organization back when it comes to transitioning to the cloud. We welcome your questions, comments, and input, so let’s keep the conversation going throughout the session and afterwards.

Encore Vantage Stats. Let’s discuss your survey responses. Encore has been a partner to many of you for over two decades, maybe even three. Our top priority is to provide you the guidance to make informed decisions, and explore all the business value that cloud technology will bring to your organization. We understand that your on-premise solution are well-known and well-loved, like Dynamics GP, Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV. Unfortunately, they will not become true cloud solutions. And we have lots of information on why these decisions were made by Microsoft. If you want to learn more, please let us know.

At our recent virtual event, Encore Vantage, we asked Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, and Dynamics AX users what reasons they were being held back from a transition of their on-premise solution to the cloud. Respondents were able to select more than one answer. Total responses received were 65. On average, respondents selected two reasons holding them back. 55% of respondents feel that business disruption is an area that resonated with them, closely followed by budget and no transition strategy. Let’s review these responses to explore a path forward for you and your team.

Mike: Thanks, Tracey. So, Tracey asked me to do a bit of an overview. I hate talking about myself, but wanted to share, you know, we talked about I’m pretty excited to be here and part of the Encore session, go way with this group. So, I’ve been in the business application space for over 25 years. I think I’ve known Tracey and a lot of the members of the team at Encore for those 25 years. So, when we talk about the journey from on-prem to the cloud, in certain ways, I’m part of that journey myself, just from the technology or the vendor side.

So, I grew up in the GP world and the ISV community at Microsoft, when we were NAV and GP, and I’ve made that transition in Microsoft and also in the channel from that on-premise to the cloud, so it’s really good to be part of this session. Might have even met some of you over those multiple decades that I’ve been working with on Encore and team. So, next slide.

So, as Tracey said, yeah, I mean, there’s a lot going on in the world right now. And some of the questions and some of the concerns that you guys have are really valid. There’s a lot of business uncertainty right now with the current economic conditions that we have. They affect a lot of organizations and they affect us very differently. Microsoft, as an example, we’ve recently gone through a restructure and a downsizing. So, we’ve reduced our staff, but our customer expectations are still the same. So, we’re expecting, and many of you may be experiencing the same thing, to do more with less. So, technology is a big enabler, and able to improve your business processes, improve how you interact in a more streamlined and efficient manner with your customers, and provide that customer with the customer service they expect.

Our customers, though, don’t want us to do less, so our customer expectations have not changed. Actually, our customer expectations have shifted, but they expect just as much, if not more, from us as providers, and service providers, and distributors, and vendors and whatever industry you happen to be in. They expect us to, you know, Amazons of the world have set an expectation of faster delivery times, and expectations around getting products to market much quicker. They expect us to engage and communicate with them in a digital form. So, the days of shooting emails out versus sending texts and chat messages out, so, that communication mode has changed and evolved, and some of our competitors are doing that, so it’s kind of forcing us to mimic that, and it’s also an efficient way to communicate with your [inaudible 00:05:33] ensure they get the information in the medium that they expect it to be in.

So, technology does enable that as well. A lot of the cloud platforms that Microsoft offer and has, you know, have that full omnichannel communication to the customers, and allow you to interact with both your customers and vendors through portals and different means. So, technology can be enabler for how you interact and how you service your customers. And then, of course, our employees have changed. We have changed. I’m used to being in an office right now, and I’m working from home. So, where you work, when you work, how you work, those things have also changed as well, and cloud technologies allow you to use technology, at your fingertips, from any place, at any time. So, it allows you to provide that work flexibility that your employees are looking for. So that’s another one. If we can move to the next.

One of the big concerns that Tracey and team have highlighted, that’s feedback directly from you, the clients, is security. So, Microsoft is probably the biggest security vendor that you haven’t heard about. In matter of fact, we’re bigger than most of the security vendors combined on the right hand side, or a lot of those security vendors. And both our revenue and our R&D are higher than all of those vendors combined. We spend $4 billion annually on security. So, where your data is being stored, and you want that to be a really secure source, you want it to be trusted, you don’t want it to be shared, you don’t want it to be hacked, you don’t want any ransomware, well, we’re spending $4 billion a year to ensure that isn’t happening at Microsoft.

We’re growing at 40%. So, it’s not like, we might be unknown for a lot of people, but our growth is quite, it exceeds the market expectations, and our revenue from the security business alone is over $20 billion a year. So that’s what allows us to continue to invest in that business and provide you with that data security you’re looking for. We have over 785,000 clients. So, that’s a two-and-a-half times growth in the last couple years. So, significant growth. And we also have, I think one of the cool things my friend [inaudible 00:07:47] shared with me, one of my coworkers at Microsoft, is we have 8,500 people dedicated to just watching, protecting, and attempting to hack into our system.

So, we have a blue team and a red team. The red team are professional hackers that we’ve hired, that attempt to hack into our systems and get in, and the blue team ensures and prevents that they’re not. So, we take data security very, very important. We know it’s important to our customers, so it’s important to us. And to my knowledge, and I should have gotten this information beforehand, I’m not aware of any ransom attacks on our customers that are using our security, and have their data in Azure. So, we’ll move to the next slide.

And if you are worried about security and data security, you should be. Just the box in the middle really highlights a lot of the stats that are a bit alarming, actually. Seventy-four percent increase in cyber attacks. That’s a massive amount, and it’s because there’s six, you know, a couple bullets down, there’s $6 trillion in annual costs associated to cybercrime. So, that’s a quite alarming number. A lot of those are on-premise customers that just don’t have the $4 billion and the 8,500 people to protect their data. And other things, like 579 password attacks per second. One successful ransomware every 195 seconds. So, those are pretty alarming stats and something that you have every right to be concerned about, and I think we take every precaution to ensure that your data is safe and secure. Let’s go to the next, Tracey, please.

So, why Microsoft? What else does Microsoft have that would be attractive to you? I’m not suggesting the left-hand side of the screen is your current environment, but it’s not uncommon, as you evolve and grow and you buy companies or your processes evolve and change, that certain divisions have certain processes, certain maybe departments within have different processes, different tools, disconnected systems, data that’s not really linked. A lot of data potentially in Excel that isn’t really able to be mined. So, it can be quite a cobweb of systems and tools and data, and where things are being stored.

So, on the right-hand side of the Microsoft platform, I think it’s a real differentiator that we have in the market. I think if you look in the market and you compare ERP or CRM solutions, we’ll compete with anybody on feature functionality. But when you start stacking our products together, you start… You’re sitting in Azure, and we just talked about the data security, so you’re in a secure data environment, leveraging the AI and BI that’s offered through Power BI and the Azure Cognitive Services. And I actually like to talk about one that we announced yesterday… Excuse me. And then you stack on top of that the collaboration tools that come with Microsoft Office.

So, if you… You want your people to… What is this invoice about? What is this PO? Who approved that? Did you approve that? You wanna be able to collaborate and track that information. Why not use the tools that your teams are hopefully already using today, which is the Office environment and the Teams environment, to be able to collaborate on data? Why not use, as I mentioned, the Power BI? So, all your data in one source, in Azure, allows you to really mine that data and make business decisions based on data. And so, it’s a fully integrated platform.

Our ISV solutions are also in the cloud, and so you’ll get that same experience with some of the add-on solutions, especially on the app stores. But one thing I did wanna kind of call out and highlight is the new tool that we launched yesterday. So data’s data, right? It’s in the cloud, it’s accessible in a similar manner as web data. So we’re using technologies that we’ve recently acquired, ChatGPT, to be able to allow our customers and Business Central customers to be able to interact with the data in a very easy manner, using ChatGPT.

So, it’s called Copilot, and it launched yesterday, and it allows you to get information quickly and easily without having to search for the information. You just ask, and the data is then given to you. So, I think that’s gonna be a game-changer. We’re first to market with any ChatGPT kind of AI solution tied to the ERP and CRM. And I think that’ll change how we interact and how we use our business applications, so something to consider as you look to migrate and change. And that talks a lot to the previous points around do more with less. If you don’t have to have a team of business analysts to grab data and put it together, and give it to you in a manner that you need to consume it, you can simply just ask a question and have the data served up to you in an easy and also legible way. Thanks, Tracey.

So, this is another slide that just talks to the cost associated with moving to the cloud or staying on-prem. So, I think if you’ve seen this slide, it’s been around for a while. Since, really, the cloud became the next generation, we’ve been talking about this. But I just wanted to reiterate and remind people that the cost of being on-prem, most of them are below water. So, when we think of our business applications, sometimes we look at the cost of our annual enhancement plan, which can be quite low, but we don’t necessarily factor those other costs of the server environments or the hosting environment.

The cost to do upgrades, the cost to maintain those integrations that are likely there, the cost to manage and maintain the server environment and all the associated SQL environments, and Windows server, and all that kind of stuff. So there’s a lot of buried costs that you may not be considering or thinking about, whereas with the cloud environment, we serve those things to you and you get multiple environments. So, Microsoft does have a full server facility. We maintain all your Windows server kind of environments, all that stuff that you get included with the price of your cloud ERP or CRM solution. So, yeah, a little bit higher in terms of the annual fees that you will see, but we take care of a lot of those below-water costs that you may not be looking at, so just wanted to throw a little bit in there, maybe remind you about the underwater costs that are associated with being on-prem versus in the cloud. Thanks, Tracey.

Tracey: Great. Thanks, Mike. All right. Let’s talk about one of the other items that came back from the survey. Business disruption. So, perhaps you looked at this from the viewpoint of moving to a cloud solution, and the project causing business disruption. I’m examining in the following slide as what business disruption is going to happen while you remain on-premise.

So, on-premise. Well, we have our traditional upgrades. So, again, our updates, could take two days, could be a week. Do you have a trial and live? Maybe there’s hardware updates that have to be done. I know I’ve experienced a server outage in the past. Maybe some of you have as well. Ransomware, disaster recovery, those are all things that cause business disruption.

So, our clients have experienced ransomware, and are sometimes down for weeks. We helped a client recover from ransomware a couple of months ago. We put into it over 200 hours to get them back up and running. And I didn’t ask them how many hours they actually put into it. Another client had their AWS server go down, where GP was hosted, and they engaged us for over 100 hours to get them back up and running. So, we look at business disruption, as well as, remaining on-premise, what business disruption might happen.

Now, your project. Encore, having delivered thousands of successful projects, we understand how significant this topic can be. Our dedicated project managers are experienced in helping you succeed. This is their only job, PM. They know you, they know your team, they know your business. Encore’s project governance evolved to mitigate business disruption, because that’s all we do, is we move clients from one solution to their new solution. So, again, we’ve done this many, many, many, many times.

And again, we’ve known you for a long time, so we can support your current solution, as well as support your new cloud solution. Always making sure we do it at the appropriate time. We certainly don’t wanna be doing a project right before a significant business event. So, again, those are all things we look at to mitigate that business disruption. Budget. Mike touched on a little bit earlier about resources and investment, but let’s have a look at that. What quantifiable benefits go away? So, again, we don’t have to replace any infrastructure, or have resources to take care of that infrastructure or ongoing maintenance cost of that infrastructure.

We have all those maintenance plans for software. Again, it could be for the ERP or CRM software as well as all the supplemental software solutions that support that. Those resources needed both internally and externally for upgrade services, the investment for that goes away. All that planning and preparation time. And also, clients will have funds put aside for disaster recovery, that. So, I kind of look at it as a reallocation of resources. We’re already spending these types of funds, whether they be quantifiable costs, or supplementary, or ancillary costs that we don’t necessarily think of all the time, we’re moving them from one bucket to another bucket, so it’s reallocation of resources.

Here’s an example that we created using information from Microsoft, and we’re happy to go through this exercise with you. When we look at on-prem and then we look at our cloud solutions, again, those costs are significantly gonna continue to decrease over time. And I always joke with my coworkers, I say, “Well, these types of engagements, these projects to move them from their on-premise solution to cloud, actually are free. They actually don’t cost anything.” So, again, we look at that and we see, within three years, you will have spent the same amount of money, because we can think about, okay, services to do a project, roughly how much would that be? And then we can see that three-year saving. We can also see that five-year saving.

So, again, looking at it from that perspective, we can help you work with your decision makers. Whether, you know, it be a board…you might have a board that has to have budget approval, or whether it’s going to be your other decision makers within your organization. We can help you build out that business plan to show them that actually we’re gonna save money over time. So, that’s just an example of that TCO, that total cost of ownership that we like to have that discussion.

Another one of the survey results that came back was skilled resources. Well, Mike kind of stole my thunder, but I’m gonna talk about it too. According to… Well, I’ll get to the Copilot. I was gonna talk about that first, but I won’t talk about it first. One of the responses was skilled resources, because again, we’ve got this great team that’s been using our on-premise solutions, like GP and B…sorry, NAV and AX, and now we’re gonna put a new solution in front of them. So, again, the great thing, again, it’s a Microsoft application. The workforce coming in today, they already expect cloud technology. That’s what they use all the time. At home they’re using it, at other businesses, they use it. They’re already used to using cloud technology. We have a familiar application interface.

So, again, because it’s a Microsoft application, we know what you’re experienced in one area, you can transition those skills to whatever application we’re using. So, again, we’re using Office 365, we’re using Teams, we’re using the Power Platform. These solutions just work intuitively like those applications. So, again, we’ve got that intuitive navigation, personalization of your pages, because again, we want people to feel familiar, easier for them to navigate. But hey, new application. I don’t know how to navigate every single page or area that I need to work in. Fuzzy logic, fuzzy… Try saying that three times fast. Fuzzy logic search. So, again, I’m looking for where do I do that bank rec, or where do I do that journal entry? Again, really easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for. We also have a YouTube playlist, again, supporting your team and their learning. And there’s also a whole host of resources up on Microsoft Learn.

So, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot. So, Microsoft, this was just announced yesterday. So, according to Microsoft’s recent survey on business trends, nearly 9 out of 10 workers hope to use AI to reduce repetitive tasks in their jobs. With Dynamics 365 Copilot, organizations empower their workers with AI tools built for sales, service, marketing, operations, and supply chain roles. These AI capabilities allow everyone to spend more time on the best parts of their job, and less time on mundane tasks. And that’s gonna be available in these cloud solutions, so super excited about that.

Another response was transition strategy. Great. Well, that’s what we’re here for. It is beneficial to establish a company plan defining particular milestones to attain over time that…over that timeframe. I’m getting all tongue-tied. This allows you to evaluate the various ways in which a cloud solution, like Business Central, can meet those requirements in ways that your on-premise solution cannot due to architectural constraints.

Outline all of your current Dynamics procedures, including what works and what you’d like to see improved. So, again, we’re here to help you build out that transition strategy. So, again, you’re gonna look at your current environment. When’s the last time you archived any history, that, all those years bringing you joy, you can get rid of some of them. Documenting your current processes. What are your blockers? What’s blocking you from success? So, again, do you need more collaboration, if you could just get that report? So, again, by having that, you can be able to document what does success look like? So, that’s really important. Wanna make sure we do that.

Take this opportunity to be proactive about your business’ future. Expect to change ERPs within the next few years. Plan for it, budget for it, and work with your account manager to build your organization’s specific roadmap. I like to think about Encore is, what sets us apart from, you know, there are, you have so many choices, but it’s, again, it’s our tribal knowledge of GP to BC. We’ve been in this business…I’ve been here, oh gosh, I don’t even wanna admit how long I’ve been here. Very, very long time. Again, GP, NAV, those were the on-premise solutions. We were providing those to clients right when they came to market in North America, working with them, and we understand them. And again, we were one of the first ones to be deploying Business Central and FSCM. So, again, having that understanding. So, again, we wanna make that project manageable. Connect with your account manager. You know, we got a great team here at Encore that can help you build out that roadmap. Again, we have been working with these tools for a really, really long time.

All right. So, I think that brings us to the end. Just to recap, we’ve documented, had this discussion about what the barriers were. Then we’ve removed them, gonna build out that transition strategy, working with your account manager. We really want you to experience more value out of the cloud. You’re already using cloud technology. Most of you are already on the cloud, with various tools. We wanna make sure that we can get that, your full ERP onto the cloud as well. We’re gonna be having more webinar topics on that, as well as all of the Vantage sessions are recorded and available for you if you wanna review some of those materials. Again, really important that we work together and take advantage of these great technologies.

And I’m just gonna go and check. I think we have some questions, but I did wanna say thank you very much for joining us today. One of the questions is working on that roadmap, and the different promotions that are offered by Microsoft. So, we do have a variety of promotions in play. You can work with your account manager, so, Bridge to the Cloud 2 is one of the ones that’s in-market right now, that’ll help you be able to keep working with your on-premise solution, as well as taking advantage of getting to know your new cloud solution as well. So, that’s there as well.

But again, we really hope that you got a lot out of this today. I’m very thankful. Thank you, Mike, so much for joining us. Really, really appreciate that, and I know you really support the whole on-premise space, and educating them on moving forward, so I really appreciate you joining us today.

Mike: Yeah, and it was a pleasure to be part of it, Tracey and team. Thank you. And it was good to be part of the Encore team again. It’s been too long. And [inaudible 00:25:47] put one plug in there, I would definitely say that my experience of working with Encore is there’s obviously the skills and the expertise, and the partnership that they show to their customers, but there’s also the quality of people. So, working with that team makes, its always near and dear to me, because they’re such good people, and they’re also really experienced, and some of the best, in terms of being able to help you guys move clients to the cloud, so just wanted to say that as well.

And Bridge to Cloud is something I think you should check out. It’s a great promotion, and it talks really a lot to the cost effectiveness, so it’s a good promo for you to consider if you’re looking to transition. Thanks.

Tracey: Great. Have a great day, everyone.

Mike: Take care.

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