Value added resellers and Microsoft are both steering new and existing customers to provision Microsoft Dynamics GP in the cloud. Many VARs have their own private cloud offerings, and Microsoft recently enhanced Dynamics GP to make it easier to get up and running in their Azure cloud. And for many organizations, moving away from on-premise solutions will be appealing.
“A lot of people are looking to invest in new or existing instances of Dynamics GP software to improve their workflow, and in that process they are realizing that now is a great time to migrate to the cloud,” Socius Cloud Services Manager Bert Buri said. Part of the driving force behind migration to the cloud is the value added aspect of SaaS. In a hosted environment, the provider/partner manages subscription(s) for GP, this easing the task of an upgrade on an organization’s IT team. “We offer our own Socius Cloud for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or software as a service (SaaS). Socius Cloud can include and Azure instances for SaaS as well. Our cloud solution provides our customers an increased agility, mobility, and reliability.”
Buri stresses that the benefits of Dynamics GP in the cloud transcend the technospeak of IaaS, PaaS or SaaS. “We are making a strong emphasis on promoting the cloud for what it does rather than what it is. Customers are more interested in seeing the results of what cloud delivers versus how it is built, or what it is in other words. We engage in a thorough discovery process to identify the most successful solution for the customer. How accessible and secure is the data and application if it is housed at your site on the floor or in a broom closet? For example, How often are you backing up, and how often are those backups checked for validity?”
According to SBS Group Marketing Director Dave Wallen, many will not. SBS Group offers their own Stratos Cloud as well as a Microsoft Cloud which includes Azure. Wallen is high on the cloud, but cautious about the ability of many ecosystem partners to function in this new environment.
“The cloud gives our customers better remote access, enhanced security and the ability to scale their solution up or down as needed,” Wallen said. “When we provision Dynamics GP in the cloud for our customers, it is typically in a private cloud. Dynamics GP can run on Azure as well, but unfortunately, most of the ISV products probably won't run or perform well on either of these platforms. Hopefully, more ISV solutions will evolve to handle the complexity of integrating with an instance of Dynamics GP in the cloud.”
Panatrack President Mike Burnham is quick to point out that not every ISV will present the challenges Wallen describes.
“We have faith that our integration partners and many other ISVs, like Panatrack, have made the investments to ensure their architecture is web-friendly,” Burnham said. “But many of our competitors may still rely heavily on the thick client for Dynamics GP or have not moved away from outdated methods of communicating with Dynamics GP that will not make the transition to the cloud.”
In his new whitepaper, Burnham says extensions that run on mobile handheld computers for barcode scanning and typically communicate with Dynamics GP over a wireless network will face even more challenges than other Dynamics GP extensions and add-ons.
“Apart from the ability to deliver a rich user experience and communicate efficiently with a cloud instance of Dynamics GP, it is also important to ensure a product that extends your business software environment will perform with adequate speed over the internet,” Burnham writes. “Imagine someone working in a warehouse who needs to pick 50 products and queue them up in a staging area. Once they pick and scan the barcode on one product, they need to immediately scan the next one. There should be no more than a second or two delay before queuing the next transaction. Prolonged waiting while the handheld communicates with the server will degrade the user experience and likely impact efficiency. ISVs need to consider network overhead. Without proper design, software can be overly network chatty. Transactions that take one or two seconds on an internal network could therefore take ten or more seconds via unforgiving high-latency internet bottlenecks.”
Get the whitepaper today, and come to a full understanding of the specific barriers ISV add-ons and extensions need to overcome in order to extend cloud instances of Dynamics GP.