Dynamics 365 Questions & Answers, Part II

In April, I published a post answering some of the more common Dynamics 365 questions asked by SBS Group customers and other partners.  I have received over 30 responses to that post in as many days so I think it is safe to assume that this is a worthwhile topic.

In this post, I will focus on questions related to Microsoft’s announcement that Dynamics 365 for Operations will be available as an on-premise solution in the second half of 2017, most likely June.  Although I believe that the advantages of a cloud-only ERP deployment almost always outweigh any disadvantages, I recognize that for some companies this just isn’t the right option.

In keeping with the question/answer format, I’ll expand on this below.

What does an On-Premise deployment of Dynamics 365 for Operations mean?

On-Premise is typically defined as software that is installed and runs on computers that are physically on the premises (in the building) of the person or organization using the software, rather than at a remote facility such as a server farm or cloud. Because the software runs on computers locally, the related data does as well. In the last 10 or so years, I have heard the on-premise term used for any deployment that is fully managed by the person or organization using the software. This means that “on-premise” deployments could also be referring to installations in a company owned or rented data center.

When Dynamics 365 for Operations was released, it was basically the next step for AX7 which was designed exclusively for a cloud-only deployment.  In November 2016 and again in February 2017, Microsoft indicated that they would be releasing on-premise options as well. In fact, they are expected to offer two more options for deploying Dynamics 365 for Operations as follows:

Cloud and Edge (Hybrid)

In this deployment scenario, the business process and transactions will be allowed to run “at the edges” with data being stored locally (on-premise).  The edges, referred to as “My Workplaces” will be managed by the customer while the cloud components will be managed by Microsoft.  This helps the customer to scale and take advantage of cloud-related services while keeping components like master data management private.  In some instances, this will help with integration to applications that can’t or shouldn’t be managed in the cloud.

The central cloud node can provide a singular view of operations across multiple “My Workplace” instances and still leverage the cloud for better business intelligence.  Cortana Intelligence will most likely not be accessible to full potential in this model if at all, but other BI tools can still be leveraged.

Local Business Data (LBD)

An LBD, local business data, deployment allows a customer to run all business processes on-premise, to support local transactions and store business data without replicating to the public cloud (Azure).

Replication of business data into the cloud no longer occurs so while data and processes are more private, the customer will lose access to many of the bells and whistles that come with Dynamics 365.  Cortana Intelligence, PowerBI and Azure Machine Learning services are all included in the list of items missing from the action in an LBD deployment.

Ultimately, customers will be able to leverage a federation of My Workplace instances under a single My Workplace to take provide better visibility and intelligence throughout the company.

Should I Implement Dynamics 365 for Operations in the Cloud or On-Premise?

The answer … at least if going live today … is quite simple.  In the cloud.  Microsoft has not released an on-premise version of Dynamics 365 for Operations yet.  They have indicated their intention to do so in the latter half of 2017, but have not provided an exact date to the public.

When they do release an on-premise version, it will be up to you and your partner to weigh the options around each and determine which is the best fit for your environment.  We can speculate on this today, but some of the details are still private and will continue to evolve right up to the public release expected in June/July of 2017.

Is there a clear comparison of these options?

It is almost impossible to compare them at this time as they have not been formally released and new information is coming available regularly.  Detail shared along the way through formal posts and reseller meetings provide enough information to facilitate good conversation, but I would caution anyone not to wrap up their due diligence until after general release.  The table below has some help information that I’ve seen shared by others from various partner conferences hosted by Microsoft:

Table-D365-OnPremise

Why would a Dynamics 365 Customer Choose to Implement On-Premise?

When looking from the outside, it isn’t obvious why any company would choose to take on the responsibility of directly managing the hardware, connectivity, security and administration of their own ERP data center.  Most companies are thrilled with the idea of avoiding upfront costs for infrastructure and related IT support services, not to mention traditional license software costs.  Most companies find the security, speed, and dependability of modern cloud providers is nearly impossible to duplicate in an in-house environment. But, many do … so why?

  • Existing Data Center Investments:  Quite often, companies have already sunk considerable investments into their hardware, physical location and IT support personnel.  Walking away from that investment can be difficult to do emotionally and financially.  Many companies compare the costs of maintaining existing data centers, or even riding it out for a few years, to the cost of moving to the cloud and find it more cost-effective to continue in-house.  This is a decision that each company needs to make based on their unique situation.
  • Not Cost-Effective Due to Other On-Premise Requirements: I’ve spoken with customers that would prefer to move their ERP to the cloud, but feel that the ROI expectations can’t be met unless they are able to move a more significant portion of their applications to the cloud.  Just moving ERP doesn’t allow them to significantly trim support staff or reduce costs associated with their physical data center.  When they are able to move the lion’s share to the cloud, they plan to switch (and many do).
  • Regulatory Requirements:  Some companies prefer to keep data and processing local to avoid the possibility of not being compliant with regulatory requirements related to their business.  Whether looking at a SaaS application (like ERP in the cloud) or data storage, your company must be confident that their customer and other information is protected.  Your cloud provider should be compliant with your industry’s privacy and security compliance needs, like HIPPA and PCI.  There are standards for companies with financial data and government, government contractors and a variety of industries where data integrity is considered hyper-critical.
  • We’ve always done it this way: If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Right?  One might argue that the very nature of technology is smart, measured change for cost and efficiency gains, but I often speak with clients that just can’t get comfortable with having applications and data move outside their walls.  Sometimes it isn’t as a result of due diligence, but more of a gut reaction.  Personally, I believe that the cloud offers far more value than on-premise deployments, but I would never pressure a company to operate in a way that they aren’t comfortable with.  Not everything is a math problem.
  • Heavy Customizations: Many SaaS ERP solutions do not provide an architecture that allows for heavy customizations.  In many cases, like with Microsoft Dynamics 365, a company can customize their solution and integrate other products with little issue.  However, if a customer has made substantial customizations over time, it may be that some of those customizations or integrations will not survive a move to the cloud.  We’ve become very adept at making this work for our customers, but in some cases, they opt to stick with their current solution until some of the more difficult customizations can be migrated to their satisfaction.

As more information comes to light regarding Dynamics 365 for Operations on-premise deployments, I’ll share it with you here.  We are excited to see Microsoft making this option available and helping our customers determine the best option for their business.

If you would like to discuss this in person, please feel free to reach out to me directly at rmorrison@sbsgroupusa.com.

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Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.  Robbie

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

SBS Group to Host Microsoft Dynamics NAV Update Webcast

The webcast will discuss the multi-company functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be hosting a webcast focusing on the multi-company functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The webcast is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17th at 2 p.m. ET.

The webcast is entitled, “Multi-Company Functionality on Dynamics NAV,” and will present the multi-company functionality of Dynamics NAV 2017 including intercompany postings and consolidations. Attendees will watch a demo of these features on Dynamics NAV 2017 such as managing accounting activities for subsidiaries.

Diana Harvey and Mary Carrero will be the presenters on the webcast. With SBS Group since 2015, Harvey is a Senior NAV Consultant. Carrero is a currently a Software Consultant at SBS Group, where she joined in 2015. Both presenters bring a great deal of experience in software and ERP consultation.

To register for the webcast, visit http://bit.do/NAV-Multicompany.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

SBS Group to Host Microsoft Dynamics GP Update Webcast

The webcast will discuss the features of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 R2 along with older releases.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be hosting a webcast focusing on the new features of Microsoft Dynamics GP. The webcast is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16th at 2 p.m. ET.

The webcast is entitled, “Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 R2 Features and Benefits” and will present the new features of Dynamics GP 2016 R2 as well as the new updates and features of Dynamics GP 2015 and Dynamics GP 2013. Attendees will watch a demo of the new features of Dynamics GP 2016 R2 including human resources and payroll, web client walkthrough and increased financial capabilities.

Lisa Simpson will be the presenter on the webcast. Simpson has worked with Dynamics GP since 2004. Her main expertise is with GP Human Resources/Payroll and the Financial modules. She is often a presenter of “New Features” at conferences and webinars. Simpson is currently an ERP Application Consultant for SBS Group, where she joined in 2015.

To register for the webcast, visit http://bit.do/GP-Update.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

New Video Release: Microsoft Outlook Integration with Dynamics 365 for Financials (2 min 44 sec)

This short video is for current and prospective Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials customers looking for integration with Microsoft Outlook.

Think of your typical day at work… What application do you use most often? What window is always open on your computer?

I’ll take an educated guess and say that you spend a large majority of your day in Microsoft Outlook or some other email platform. Replying to emails, sending documents and scheduling meetings take up more time than you probably realize. As such, Outlook needs to be a place where you can accomplish your tasks quickly and efficiently. The less time you spend toggling between windows and applications, the better.

Microsoft Outlook now has direct integration with Dynamics 365 for Financials. What does that mean? Well, it means you can complete basic tasks in Outlook that you would’ve previously had to complete in your ERP solution – like editing and sending documents, creating orders and invoices, and drilling down into customer data. Now, Dynamics 365 for Financials users with Outlook don’t need to switch applications or windows. By simply clicking on the Financials tab in Outlook, they are able to see an expanded pane of customer information as well as complete a variety of functions.

Watch below as a Dynamics 365 for Financials expert shows you the capabilities of Outlook integration.


Want to watch more short Dynamics 365 for Financials capability videos?

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Dynamics 365 For Operations Tip: Vendor Prepayments and Revenue Recognition for Fixed Price Projects

Hello, Good to be back here on the blog !!! Jumping straight into the topic here today about a new addition of a feature for vendor prepayments in relation with fixed price project revenue recognition !!

Issuing large amounts of prepayments to vendors is often a common business requirement for large scale, long-term fixed price projects, which involves a lot of sub-contracted work. Vendors often request prepayments for the subcontracting services they are contracted to deliver for these projects. These prepayments can sometimes be just a flat amount based on mutual decisions, or it can sometimes be a percentage of the total cost of the subcontracting service. There can be several months of gap between when the prepayments are issued and when the vendors actually deliver the services.

For such projects, customers usually recognize revenue on a percentage completion basis and need the ability to include these vendor prepayments in the project percentage completion calculation of the project for revenue recognition/revenue estimates calculations.

In this post, we will evaluate one of the new features of Dynamics 365 For Operations (Referred as D365 – Operations from here on), which allows us to consider these vendor prepayments automatically when running the monthly revenue recognition/estimates for fixed price projects for calculating the % completion of the project.

For this demonstration, I have setup a fixed price project and the associated contract already. This project is setup to recognize revenue on a % completion basis.

Contract Setup

Project Setup

The Project Manager has created and submitted the purchase requisition for approval so that the services can be procured from Rebar Supply Co. Ltd. See screenshot below.

PR Submitted

The purchase requisition gets approved by the designated manager and the Purchase order is automatically created. See screenshot below.

PR Approved

The Project procurement team/Project manager then sets up the prepayment details on the project purchase order that was automatically created upon approval of the requisition.

PrepaySetupOnPO

Finance and Accounting team now processes the prepayment invoice to initiate the prepayment to the vendor.

Prepay Invoice

Prepayment

Now that the finance team has processed the vendor prepayment for the subcontracting work, let us now go ahead and see what happens when they run the monthly revenue recognition process for this project.

Notice that system was able to consider the vendor prepayment cost for the project and was able to determine the percentage completion based on the total project budget/forecast defined. See screenshot below

PComp

When this revenue recognition entry is posted, the revenue amount (based on Percentage complete and the total contract value) will be posted to general ledger. We all know how it works from here 🙂

That’s it for today !!

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics 365 enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2, Dynamics 365 for Operations and more.

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