The Real Disconnect Fueling the “Cloud” Craze? It Has Little to Do with Costs and Much More to Do with IT

I spent a lot of time recently at the GP User Group Summit listening to users and trying to get a better understanding on a number of  topics. One topic that was particularly interesting to me was the idea of Dynamics GP in the Cloud.

For clarity, by "Cloud," I mean a hosted Dynamics GP solution where firms pay a monthly per user fee rather than buy the software up front . I was interested in what the demand was like for Cloud solutions and why.

On first glance there are a lot of factors working against cloud solutions for any accounting software. Specifically:

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About Mark Polino

Mark Polino is a Microsoft MVP for Dynamics GP and the Director of Client Services for Fastpath. He is author or coauthor of five books on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Mark has been working with Dynamics GP and its predecessors since 1999. He is a Florida licensed CPA and holds an MBA from Rollins College.

Building Dashboards with Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Excel 2013Mark's new book, Building Dashboards with Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Excel 2013, is available now.

 

 

 

 

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Disconnect leading to 'Cloud' Craze

Having worked on both the user and IT sides of ERP systems, I found that many users have become accustomed to the quick development of reports using EXCEL spreadsheets with all of the built in pivot-tables, report writers, etc. Users often fail to recognize the time required by IT to develop and validate specifications, write programs, test results, and document the process. After all, users don't do any of these things when they develop a spreadsheet "on the fly".

I believe this problem gets aggrevated during periods of tight budgets or outsourced IT development.

Disconnect Fueling the “Cloud” Craze

I would add a third part to the reasons for disconnect - my experience is that it is very, very common that internal IT departments simply have no real sense of customer service. This happens with outsourced IT too, sometimes, but there is at least some chance for arms length evaluation there. Much of the time management doesn't set the tone or hold IT service to an accountability standard, and emphasize the fact that they exist to service other company departments to the best of their ability.

kind of missing the point with cloud advantages

Thank you for your article. I think its a bit skewed to just the accounting software itself and related costs and doesn't take into account all the reasons that companies move to cloud solutions in general. The stability, accessibility, control. security, much more simple disaster recovery solutions, virtualization, outsourced IT support, etc. are all important advantages of cloud computing and there for GP in the cloud.

IMHO, if you take all the factors of cloud computing into account (including cost savings), then moving GP into a cloud solution takes on a different light and is a more enticing solution than perhaps your article depicted.

Dynamics GP in the Cloud

Mark, excellent article. I have no doubts of the benefits of cloud computing when you can look beyond the long-term costs involved. However, cloud computing is just *one* of the alternatives to solutions deployment available to businesses today, but not necessarily the absolute future for all applications.

Pointing back to Microsoft Dynamics GP's roadmap in particular, cloud computing is not in the horizon anytime soon -- this is not to say Microsoft is not working on it as we speak, since as you mentioned, there are online services that are appearing for Microsoft Dyanamics GP, but these are just integrating services!

Furthermore, product architecture is a factor. While vastly improved from it's predecessors, the Microsoft Dynamics stack architecture lacks many of the enablers of cloud computing with user interface being the biggest hindrance. Then you have the myriads of integrating ISV solutions that have been written for GP. How and when these would catch up is also a big unknown. There will be no point in having cloud computing applications if ISVs are not going to move fast enough to port their products.

There is also another big question: if and when cloud computing becomes a reality for GP, how many customers are going to be willing to move to the cloud? xxUG, while growing in membership, is not representative enough of the Dynamics community at large, so I would be hard pressed to believe that most customers are considering migrating to the cloud, especially when most have made significant investments in time, money on their on-premise solutions.

In my personal experience, customers are demanding functionality that works and solve business problems. Microsoft could have a significant impact and make more splash by resolving the many lingering issues, bugs, and workarounds that users have to go through to get things done in it's Dynamics application stack. Technology will come along naturally... to use my famous Matrix quote, "It's innevitable".

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP

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