Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Many Microsoft Dynamics Partners have already accepted the fact that the world is moving towards the Cloud. Many businesses prefer to run Cloud-based system as they are more cost-effective, highly secure and provide significant functional advantages over on-premises solutions.
As the migration to the Cloud increases, Microsoft Dynamics Partners are looking for ways to adopt a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. However, migrating customers into a SaaS model might not always be straightforward and easy due to current SaaS model limitations or your readiness to support a customer solution directly on SaaS.
Obstacles preventing the Direct migration of Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 Business Central solutions to SaaS
Based on our experience at 1ClickFactory, less than 20% of Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 Business Central solutions are currently ready to move immediately to SaaS. So, how do you prepare and know if you are ready to move to SaaS?
To answer this question, you have to understand the main current limitations of SaaS. Here are some of the main challenges that businesses may need to address before choosing the best approach for transitioning to the Cloud:
- Add-on availability on AppSource. Though rapidly expanding, it may still not offer the required functionality.
- There is a big chance that there will be some technical constraints, such as web service integrations or file system limitations, that might have to be reimplemented and applied differently in SaaS.
- Database size. This is the most widely discussed limitation of SaaS as only 80GB per tenant is currently allowed and purchasing additional data can become a very costly solution.
- Localization. This challenge is real for countries that do not yet have a Dynamics 365 Business Central version available.
While SaaS obstacles do exist, it doesn’t mean that the business must remain on-premises forever. Our suggested path for Microsoft Dynamics Partners and customers who don’t yet have a solution ready for their migration to SaaS are:
- Upgrade to the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premises and run it on a Microsoft Azure hosting service. Then later when obstacles are cleared migrate to SaaS.
- Stay on the current version of Dynamics 365 Business Central On-premises and if possible, host it on Azure.
Different approach for Microsoft Dynamics Partners that are not upgrading directly to Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS
Is there no Dynamics 365 Business Central version available in your country? Are the required add-ons not yet available on AppSource? Are you too busy to commit to keeping up with Microsoft’s frequent upgrade schedule? Do you have to implement some extensive modifications that are only possible to do on-premises? Do you require different integration or backup flexibility? Is your customer’s database far larger than 80GB? Are there VPN requirements? Or are you simply unsatisfied with how SaaS works, but still want to take an advantage of the Cloud benefits such as:
- Simplicity of pricing (per user or a monthly subscription)
- Certified security
- Disaster recovery
- Loss prevention
- Flexibility to downsize or increase users and resources
- No additional infrastructure costs
- No need for costly cloud competencies inhouse
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then our proposed solution is to run an on-premises edition of Dynamics 365 Business Central (or Dynamics NAV 2015 and above) and host it on Azure. Doing this can be an interim step before migrating to SaaS if you decide to do so in the future.
With this approach, you can overcome SaaS limitations while getting Cloud and Business Central support, so you can focus on your Microsoft Dynamics 365 expertise instead of gaining the required technical infrastructure expertise. Later when your and your solution are ready you can migrate to SaaS easier.
Depending on the needs of the customer migrating to Cloud, there are two approaches:
- Upgrade to latest Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premises and host it on Azure – upgrading to the most relevant Dynamics 365 Business Central version and hosting it on Azure instead of migrating to SaaS fully.
- Stay on the current supported Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premises version and host it on Azure – moving to a Cloud ready on-premises version and hosting it on Azure first, and then migrating it to SaaS when the customer is ready.
You can provision Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 Business Central on Azure manually, but it's important to keep in mind that there are required competences for hosting, such as the knowledge of Azure infrastructure, cloud configuration specifically for Dynamics 365 Business Central and SQL. Security management is probably one of the most important competencies to have and a security certification (such as ISO or SOC) is a must-have for any Cloud services provider. 24/7 platform monitoring, issue resolution as well as customer support from both Azure and Dynamics 365 experts must be provided. Most important – what will it take you to commit to at least 99.9% service availability SLA?
Customers might be trapped if their Cloud provider is not able to resolve specific challenges related to Dynamics 365 Business Central installations or if their Microsoft Dynamics Partner is not capable of solving infrastructure questions. In this case, the best option is to use your Cloud service provider who is knowledgeable with Dynamics 365 Business Central specifics. Lastly, you have to be committed for your customer SLA which is usually no less than 99.9% availability.
On top of the above, you have to make it easy and productive to provision. Manual provisioning of the Cloud platform to run Dynamics 365 Business Central in a proper and secure way may take 50 hours per one customer installation. Experienced teams may set it up faster, perhaps in 8 hours, but it’s still hours of precious resources used. When you imagine completing this setup for not just one, but tens of customers it quickly becomes clear that manual provisioning is not a viable option at all.
Customer and Microsoft Dynamics Partner expectations are always increasing, and provisioning is now expected to take minutes, not hours. This can be made possible by using an automated self-provisioning platforms built specifically for Dynamics 365 Business Central.
In order to understand the time required, the table below identifies how long it would take for someone who hasn’t got any technical knowledge and has some experience, compared to the time it would take an automated platform:
|Action||Manual - inexperienced*||Manual - experienced**||Automated platform|
|Provide details for Dynamics NAV installation and configuration||None||None||Up to 5 minutes|
|Prepare main infrastructure (AD, network)||12 hours||2 hours||Zero (automated)|
|Prepare SQL server||4 hours||1 hour||Zero (automated)|
|Install and configure Dynamics NAV windows client with Click Once package||6 hours||1 hour||Zero (automated)|
|Configure web client and universal client||6 hours||30 minutes||Zero (automated)|
|Configure Microsoft 365 single sign-on (if needed)||2 hours||30 minutes||Zero (automated)|
|Configure backups||4 hours||1 hour||Zero (automated)|
|Configure monitoring for availability||16 hours||4 hours||Zero (automated)|
|Total||50 hours||10 hours||Up to 5 minutes|
*Doing such work a few times per year
**Doing such work at least a few times per month
Considering that the move to the SaaS business model is a transformational change, how can you make it a success story?
If you want to maintain the customizations but are not willing to upgrade twice a year and overcome current SaaS limitations, 1ClickFactory can offer a Dynamics 365 Business Central/Dynamics NAV on Azure self-provisioning service, which enables you to transition an on-premises version to the Cloud, whether it is a temporary step before moving to SaaS or hosting it for a longer period until the customer is ready to migrate.
1ClickFactory’s self-provisioning service – the seamless path to the Cloud
1ClickFactory’s Self-Provisioning platform is an automated platform, available 24/7 on a highly secure and readily supported environment, so Microsoft Dynamics Partners can easily deploy and manage Dynamics NAV/ Dynamics Business Central solutions on Microsoft Azure.
Our self-provisioning service enables you to easily migrate current customer workloads onto Azure and offer your current Dynamics NAV solutions as a cloud service running in Azure. At a glance, the benefits include:
- Easy to use complete self-service platform
- 24/7 fully monitored service
- Simple pricing model – fixed per-user-per-month price
- SLA backed: 99.9% availability guarantee
- Robust Security - ISO: 27001 certified
- Support for Dynamics NAV/ Dynamics Business Central on Azure
1ClickFactory is the biggest Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 Business Central on Azure provider with over 17,000 users worldwide. We use the main Microsoft Azure datacenters based on customer locations across the world, so you can be sure that you are fully compliant with security and privacy.
In addition, one of our main service benefits is that we have experience and knowledge of upgrading older versions of Dynamics NAV to Dynamics Business Central, which means that we have expertise with both Dynamics 365 Business Central and the Cloud. The latest Microsoft Azure technology trends are always available on our self-provisioning platform, so you can be confident in meeting your customers’ demands when you deploy Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 Business Central on Azure with our service.
Are you ready to grow your cloud business with 1ClickFactory's Self-Provisioning Platform? Start a 1-month trial to get:
- Support during your customer self-provisioning
- Support for integration configuration
- Easy to use self-service provisioning platform
- Support from our Dynamics and Cloud experts
Find out more about the 1ClickFactory Self-Provisioning for NAV/Business Central on Azure service or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.