Five Ways to Turn Business Data into Business Insight Part 5

This is the fifth and final post in our five-part series, Five Ways to Turn Business Data into Business Insight. We’ve previously looked at how dashboards can provide easy information access to your team members based on specific roles, how self-service business intelligence (BI) and reporting can lighten the load on IT resources, how to make BI more mobile, and how Big Data is doing big things for small and mid-sized businesses. Today, we’ll wrap up the series with a look up to the Cloud.

Make Information More Accessible with the Cloud

It’s been a race to the cloud with apps and tools for consumers and businesses. And while on-premise business intelligence (BI) systems that are all snuggled onto business-owned servers are still the norm, implementations of web-based and web-accessible BI tools are growing and soon will out-pace the traditional approach.

The cloud’s promises of accessibility for users and reduced IT workload are more than just marketing speak. They’re real benefits, even for small and mid-sized business. But you have to find the model that makes sense for the data security, storage and ROI needs of your business.

Microsoft’s cloud strategy is about choice. If you want to move your business intelligence, financial management and productivity tools to the cloud, great; if you prefer to use a hybrid approach and host only a portion of your solution, super; or if you’re all ready to go all-in, Microsoft and our world-wide network of partners offer on-premises, hosted or cloud-based options that meet your needs.

The reality here is that your approach to the cloud needs to match your business. Tridea can help determine what makes the most sense today and what will set you up best for tomorrow.

Keeping tabs on the data that drives your business is an ongoing challenge for any growing company. This five-part blog series has covered how Microsoft Dynamics ERP gives you the tools to transform reams of data into useful insight and how easily accessible that insight can be to the people on your team.

Take a deeper look into each of these tips with our infographic: download it here.

With the right business solution, you can boost the financial health of your company. Tridea makes it simple with out of the box options to fit your budget, timeline and requirements. Start with what you need today and easily add as your needs change. Contact us today to get started.

Should you upgrade to the cloud and why?

Many of our customers have been hearing the buzz around going to the cloud with their ERP and other systems.  At first, many CFO’s and CIO’s were leary about moving any of their systems off their premises and felt it was more secure to have their data stored onsite where they can keep an eye on it and protect it.

We have seen a shift happening with our customers.  Many are moving their enterprise applications like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office to a cloud-based application and the IT team is asking to move off of old aging servers to the cloud to reduce their cost of maintenance and capital outlays every few years.

With Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, many customers had to evaluate their systems and upgrade to newer versions of SQL and Operating Systems.  This requires new hardware or servers to be in place before upgrading their software.  This is a considerable decision to make along with cost of upgrading.   Talk about being kicked when you are already down!

We are seeing clients consider the option of moving GP to a hosted provider or Azure.  Makes sense, right?  Why not move your ERP system to a cloud based solution along with your other applications.  The cloud is then where your software resides, but you can still own the software licenses and data, it’s just hosted and you get to relax about all the server maintenance and let the hosting provider do all the dirty work to support the servers and keep them up and running.

TOP REASONS TO UPGRADE GP TO THE CLOUD:

1) Capital outlay versus Operating Expense – When considering a purchase of hardware there are some fixed costs and this potentially can be capitalized.  However, moving to Azure or hosting provider is a monthly hosting fee which is operating expense.   This might be beneficial depending on financial arrangements  like bank debt requirements or tax benefits of being able to expense the hosting fees.

2) Aging Servers and server migrations – With aging servers and support ending on some operating systems, customers need to make a decision whether to buy new servers or to go to the cloud.  Azure and other hosting options are available and there are monthly hosting fees. When you are migrating to a new server or Azure, it’s a great time to do the upgrade as you will have less costs overall to do both at the same time.

3) System Requirements for GP 2013 and higher versions –  The system requirements to upgrade must be considered when planning your upgrade.   With Microsoft ending main stream support for GP 2013 in April 2018.  That means that there will be no more  year end updates available after April 2018, and there is limited support from Microsoft for this version.  If this applies to you, this is a good time plan to upgrade your GP software and servers.

4) Ransomware or system attacks – Some customers believe that their systems are more secure keeping them on their premise.  However, we are still seeing customers with system downtime due to ransomware or other cyber attacks.  Recently, one customer had a ransomware infect their environment and were unable to get their GP data. They did not have a good backup, so they re-implemented GP and had to start from scratch which can cost a lot of money and inconvenience.  It’s difficult for most smaller IT teams to keep on top of security and prevent these attacks.

5) Disaster recovery planning – Imagine a natural disaster and your business systems are down due to flooding, fires or other disaster situations.  Another client in Houston, Texas recently had us help them move their GP system to Azure when the Hurricane Harvey storm was bearing down on the city.   We were able to move their entire GP System and on Monday morning they were able to work remotely, even though their plant and offices were under threat of flooding.  Their Azure install kept them running their business even when their on premise servers were unable to stay up with power and internet outages.  What are your disaster recovery plans if your system was down and unable to keep running?

6) Backup data to the cloud – You would think most modern companies have a good backup system to an offsite location.  However, we are seeing more and more that companies think they have a backup somewhere in house, only to find out that they do not have a recent backup.   Having services to backup your data to Azure or offsite is critical when you need that backup.

7) Web Client available in GP – Some customers want to take advantage of the web client in GP for full users and for employee self-service users.  The web client can be another way to keep your users able to access the system with just a web browser.  Occasional users or employees that need to access their payroll information can use the self-service features.   There is also Purchase Requisitions and workflow to enable users to interact without having to install GP on their computer or laptop.

8) Outsourcing your IT –  Many clients are challenged with keeping up with these system changes and don’t have a large IT team or dedicated resources to manage systems.  While moving to a cloud environment, you can add additional services to manage the systems and provide additional value so that your IT team can be focused on other strategic initiatives.

What is the current version and when is next major release?

GP 2016 R2 is the current release and will enjoy main stream support until 2021.  GP 2018 will be available in December 2017 and does require SQL 2014 or SQL 2016, so check the system requirements when planning your upgrade.

There are many reasons to upgrade your system to the cloud and our experienced team is waiting to help you plan your upgrade to the cloud. Contact us today to find out about your upgrade path!

4 Ways Cloud Benefits Life Sciences Businesses

What can your Life Sciences Company Accomplish in the Cloud?

In our new guide we’ll share the 4 reasons why life sciences and the cloud belong together!

In a life science business, there is no lack of data related to product development, clinical trials, production (in-house and contract manufacturing), quality assurance, costing, the supply chain and other areas of the operation. How do you make sense of it without investing in compliance, data processing and analytical technologies?

In the cloud, life science companies can take advantage of the most powerful analytical tools available today. The cloud also supports your growth with cost controls or profit erosion. As leading life science companies are undergoing transformation into digital business and other are preparing for transformation initiatives to become compliant, more relevant and more competitive, the cloud is the single most important enabling element.

Get your copy of A Guide to Transformation in the Cloud, here

To learn more about how Tridea can help you get the most out of your Microsoft solution in the cloud, contact us at info@trideapartners.com

Craft Brewers are Better at the Speed of the Cloud

Unleash growth and productivity by moving your craft beer operations to the cloud!

Moving to the cloud is big news. There is much discussion and confusion about what it means for craft beer businesses and what businesses need to do to take advantage of it.

In our new guide we’ll share the top 4 ways the cloud can benefit your craft beer business and why you should consider it.

Craft breweries run a challenging business. From sourcing quality yeast, malt and hops, to developing new and exciting recipes, to distribution and hospitality – they have to maintain uncompromised quality, control costs and run productive operations. Modern cloud technology makes it possible for craft beer companies to gain the intelligence, visibility, and control that enable them to produce top-quality beer.

As a leader in cloud technology and digital transformation, we’re here to help you get started in your cloud transformation process.

Get your copy of A Guide to Transformation in the Cloud, here.

To learn more about how Tridea can help you get the most out of your Microsoft solution in the cloud, contact us at info@trideapartners.com

WHAT IS DYNAMICS 365?

You’ve probably heard the announcements and discussions about Microsoft Dynamics 365. But what is Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications in the cloud. Microsoft 365 unifies CRM and ERP capabilities by delivering new purpose-built applications to help manage specific business functions, including Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Operations, Marketing, Project Service Automation and Financials. Designed to be personalized, enable greater productivity, deliver deeper insights and adapt to business needs, Dynamics 365 applications help businesses accelerate digital transformation to meet the changing needs of customers and capture the new business opportunities of tomorrow.

Dynamics 365

 

Dynamics 365 is available in two editions:

 

Dynamics 365 Business Edition

Dynamics 365

 

  • Optimized for 10-250 Employees
  • It will contain Project Madeira (called “Financials”) and in the future a Sales and Marketing application as well
  • It is cloud only
  • 300 seat Maximum

 

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition

Dynamics 365

  • Optimized for 250+ Employees
  • It includes the Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics AX (called “Operations”)
  • 20 user Minimum

 

 

In addition to Dynamics 365 business applications both the Business and Enterprise Editions offer the following:

  • You have Power BI and Cortana Intelligence which are natively embedded to help companies achieve their business goals with predictive insights, prescriptive advice and actionable next steps. Azure IoT brings device data to enable preemptive action to business functions like field service.
  • There is deep integration between Dynamics 365 and Office 365 which brings together the two worlds of business process and personal productivity for empowered employees and a much more productive experience.  
  • Business applications will be able to adapt and innovate in real-time with a common data model and extensible business application platform. Dynamics 365 apps will:
    • Use a common data model, shared with Office 365, to simplify data management and integration across apps and business processes.
    • Offer tech savvy business customers/analysts, aka “citizen developers,” (using Power Apps) and professional developers (using Azure platforms services) a consistent business platform they can use to compose new apps and easily extend and modify existing ones.
    • And it will come with connectors that let you integrate with applications and services from Microsoft and our partners – including custom API’s and on premise systems.
  • Microsoft AppSource – Microsoft’s new destination for business users to easily find and evaluate line of business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs from Microsoft and our partners, including those built on top of Dynamics 365, Office 365, Cortana Intelligence and the Azure platform.

 

Dynamics 365 will be available for purchase starting November 1, 2016. To learn more about Dynamics 365 visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/dynamics-365

This article was written by Sandra Knight, Senior Sales Consultant for Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider