We have written about the topic of the enterprise technology evolution, moving to the cloud specifically, several times now, and this blog will continue to cover the related intricacies. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, both Business and Enterprise editions, are seemingly the destination for at least current users of on-premises Dynamics GP, SL, NAV and AX products. Unfortunately, that journey is not just a flip of the switch. It is more than just moving data over because your data source is the thing you are replacing. This article will discuss the ins and outs of transitioning to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and how corporate performance management (CPM) can help, with their autonomous databases to store your historical data, and financial reporting and budgeting applications.
Throughout the Dynamics user group forums, I have seen more than one thread revolving around how to move from one on-premises Dynamics ERP (or another accounting system) to Microsoft Dynamics 365. The most important takeaway appears to be that you should work with a partner and have an internal project manager to work with the partner consultant(s). And this was expressed because of the complexity of this process. If you go deep into the threads, you will read of hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes a year or more to prepare to go live with a new accounting system. The complexity of this project is not to be underestimated, and that is why your fellow Dynamics users recommend you use the right partner to implement. We’ll get back to the importance of a qualified partner, but let’s explore how CPM can stabilize the transition from whatever Dynamics or other on-premise ERP you’re using to Microsoft Dynamics 365.
At this point in the evolution of enterprise technology as a supportive complement to running a company today, CPM tools like financial and operational reporting as well as budgeting, forecasting, and modeling are basically not an option for an organization of any healthy size. And in this time where we are all figuring out our roadmap to move specific, if not most or all of our enterprise technologies to the cloud, the right CPM tools can stabilize the process. More specifically, a modern CPM solution that can really help streamline and connect your on-premises and cloud dots is a data warehouse.
Whether you go with an on-premise or cloud data warehouse doesn’t matter: this solution provides a singular space for your diverse data types that you can then leverage and report on or budget with. With the right modern data warehouse, robust integrations are key – they connect your data sources with the data warehouse solution. Instead of switching between reporting functions within each of your data sources, logging in and out of each tool, or worrying about how to connect disparate systems, some on-premises and others in the cloud, a CPM solution with a data warehouse and a single report writer that can report off your unified repository simplifies things immensely. If you do research correctly on the reporting tool, you can significantly upgrade your analyses from the reporting functionality built into Dynamics.
It’s important to identify what your organization would like to achieve in terms of reporting and/or budgeting, not just with Microsoft Dynamics 365, but with your data sources that you would like to report off of. In terms of platform, are you looking for an on-premises Excel add-in, web and cloud-based, or proprietary tool? There are pure cloud solutions, like Adaptive Insights and Host Analytics, but if you’re not ready to be 100% cloud or want some flexibility, you can go with a solution that offers both on premise and cloud deployment, like Solver’s BI360, which is an Excel-powered and web-based reporting and budgeting offering. Reporting live on-premises or integrating data from the cloud or on-prem data warehouse gives you the flexibility that your growing company needs. Both financial and operational reporting can be achieved, with drill-down and drill-to functionality – and it’s built on the Excel framework, meaning your team does not have to learn additional formatting and formulas outside of the popular spreadsheet program. But let’s get back to the process of moving to Dynamics 365.
I could get into the specific hurdles, but these will vary by company and the customizations your organization has configured in your current accounting system. I could also get into steps you mustn’t skip, in the realm of cleaning your data, preparing for migration, and so on. But the two most important tasks are simply to seek the experiential advice from fellow users (in user group forums or in person at conferences) and to truly partner with a software reselling partner that possesses the right expertise for your industry, your project, and your goals in this project and the bigger picture of your technology roadmap. User groups that meet in person will provide the most productive of networking sessions, but you can also gain valuable insights and connect with fellow users that have a similar experience of migrating to D365 online. When it comes to partners, do your research until you have narrowed it down to partners that can skillfully assist you, based on your particular objectives within your industry. One user’s comment suggested to interview the consultants from the reseller instead of stopping after conversations with the sales team. And finally, having an internal project manager helps to connect your organization with the partner team to make sure the project is moving forward in the right ways.
There are a lot of more detailed things to consider when migrating to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, in terms of data sets, custom fields, and so on. It can be quite overwhelming, but CPM solutions can stabilize your processes, and the importance of the right qualified partner cannot be stressed enough. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel- and web-based reporting solution for Microsoft Dynamics that enables teamwork and streamlined decision-making capabilities, both in the cloud and on-premises.