What Does My Company Do With Reporting and Budgeting When Dynamics GP Is Moving to the Cloud?

, , , , , , ,

This article focuses on the future of Dynamics GP Users and their Reporting and Budgeting tools.

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

Why are many companies still keeping their Dynamics GP ERP system on-premise when there is a cloud option available? Some may not know the options to migrate to the cloud. Others may feel safer using a more traditional platform. Microsoft just changed the whole game for Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) users. A true cloud version of Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Dynamics 365, officially released this November 1st. Dynamics 365 lets companies combine CRM, ERP and Microsoft Office capabilities into the next generation of business applications in the cloud. This Azure-hosted Dynamics service seems to be the true future for many Dynamics GP customers. Therefore, if your company is slowly making its way to the cloud, and on premise tools are most likely developed less progressively, eventually moving to Dynamics 365 or other CRM/ERP tools seems a pretty interesting alternative. This article focuses on the steps your company will need to take when your ERP is moving to the cloud.

Let’s differentiate the two types of tools. On premise solutions, sometimes called “on-prem,” are those that are installed and maintained in-house. According to GFI’s whitepaper about on-premise versus cloud-based solutions, on-prem solutions have “servers [that] are acquired, operating systems are installed, other hardware may be involved, but all of that lives within your four walls, or the walls of your datacenter.” The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) names five essential characteristics of cloud computing that will help you understand the primary differences better: on-demand self-service without involving the cloud service provider, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. NIST defined four deployment models regarding cloud offerings: private cloud which is used exclusively by one user; community cloud which is used exclusively by a group of people; public cloud which is used openly by the general; and lastly, hybrid cloud which is made up of two or more deployment models within the same organization. One isn’t better than the other. Like so many IT questions, it depends on your company. You can find more information on the pros and cons of both options here, so that you can navigate to a decision a little easier.

You also want to ask yourself, “Do I have a modern reporting and budgeting  system? Or am I thinking of investing in a these types of tools?” Then, recognize where your company stands in the process. I strongly suggest you formulate your cloud strategies so your reporting and budgeting tools are deployed the same way your ERP system is deployed. Another thing to consider is what you want to do with these systems when your ERP moves to the cloud.

You can most likely see your organization placed in one of these three positions:
a)      You can move your reporting and budgeting tools first while keeping your Dynamics GP system on premise.
b)      You can purchase an on premise reporting and budgeting tool and continue to use with your on premise GP system.
c)      You can move your ERP to the cloud, either going with a hosted GP solution, Dynamics 365 or another cloud ERP, then move to a cloud-based reporting and budgeting tool.

As you research more corporate performance management (CPM) tools, you will notice that only some of them are cloud-based, some tools are on premise, and others are hybrid tools which are cloud-based and based on premise. World-class CPM tools that are cloud or web-based platforms include Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, Host Analytics, and BI360, amongst others. Of these four, Adaptive Insights and Host Analytics are pure cloud solutions. BI360 is a hybrid, Excel- and Web-based tool, delivering secure, browser-based access to analytics of your company data, but built with the familiarity of Excel formatting – and it can be hosted on premise or by a cloud service provider. These BI solutions allow users to configure security measures, regardless of whether the solution is hosted in the Cloud or on premise.

An important thing is to be cautious about older proprietary CPM suites, such as Cognos TM1, Microstrategy and Hyperion, may cause several issues when planning an ERP cloud strategy due to the proprietary suites being older and not pre-integrated to most cloud ERP systems. Also, those suites are not necessarily set up as true cloud solutions. Challenges with integration will rise in the future.

Clearly, companies are moving to the cloud, slowly but surely. The cloud is continuously evolving. Cloud usage is rising tremendously in both its importance and usage. Cisco, the largest networking organization in the world, found that more than 83 percent of all data traffic will be based in the cloud within the next three years. According to Cloud Expert Ofer Gadish, who is also the CEO and co-founder of Cloud Endure, a company that provides cloud migration and cloud disaster recovery for any application, predicts that companies will see an increasing number of organizations migrate to the cloud space next year.

As cloud reporting and budgeting solutions continue to get smarter, it’s likely that hybrid models will appear in the marketplace, combining both cloud and on premise. If you decide on a cloud-based CPM solution, you could still choose to keep certain functions on premise. If you are still on the fence about cloud-based CPM tools or if you want to get to know the benefits, check out our recent article on Beyond Accessibility: 9 More Reasons why CFOs are Starting to Love Cloud Business Intelligence Tools. The article discusses why chief financial officers (CFOs) and accounting professionals see cloud BI as a great return on investment. Cloud aids in solving problems such as lowering costs, gaining flexibility, and increasing productivity, all while delivering the right information to the right people at the right time, so they can make smart business decisions. Solver offers BI360, a web-based dashboard as well as reporting, budgeting, and a data warehouse, stand-alone or as a comprehensive suite of BI modules, and would be happy to answer questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use solution that enables collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities for your Microsoft Dynamics GP experience.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.