Presented by Vox Telecoms

The ubiquity of cloud

By Heath Huxtable, executive head of Braintree at Vox.

Over the past few years, cloud computing has moved from a vague concept touted by the high-end programmer to a fundamental business essential.

It offers the organisation a virtual smorgasbord of benefits that extend from lowered operation costs to enhanced productivity to improved performance. However, for those organisations invested in legacy technologies, shifting to the cloud isn’t necessarily an option.

Why would they want to take their investment and swap it for something new that costs both time and money?

This is a question that is particularly relevant in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market where existing tools may not have the ubiquity of cloud, but they do have the advantage of employee uptake and embedded capability.

Most organisations have placed a significant capital investment into their ERP solutions so they want to know that whatever they invest into today is future-proofed for tomorrow. Everybody is talking about the cloud, but few understand the impact it will have or why they should consider it.

This is one of the challenges that presented with Microsoft Dynamics GP, one of the organisation’s leading ERP systems with a significant South African uptake. Originally not designed for the cloud, Microsoft Dynamics GP had the cloud-ready potential so Microsoft decided it was time to take it upwards and onwards.

For the organisation that’s placed time and funds into the original ERP solution, this now opens up new capabilities, enhanced tools and a global commitment to further this development in the future.

Microsoft is committed to future-proofing the Microsoft Dynamics GP platform. With more than 49 thousand customers worldwide, the goal is to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate the brand on a two-year cycle. They have also invested in targeted user groups that provide users with insights, knowledge and support globally.

The GPUG user group has been recently launched in South Africa, bringing the local users into the global community with a locally relevant footprint and knowledge base. Within the groups are opportunities for organisations to share knowledge and insights gleaned from their experiences and to pull resources from Microsoft that allow them to gain richer usage from the platform as a whole.

Bob McAdam, GPUG General Manager at Dynamic Communities in Tampa, FL USA, agrees. “The excitement around Microsoft Dynamics GP in the Cloud continues to grow and it’s great to see.  We usually have several Cloud hosting vendors sponsoring at our events and each one brings a solid, comprehensive solution to potential prospects. Dynamic Communities runs its business on Dynamics GP, and we’ve been hosted in a private Cloud for nearly 6 years now.

We’ve experienced very little down time, and my colleagues and I can access our data securely from anywhere. It’s been a very positive experience for us and we’re just a handful of users.  Dynamics GP in the Cloud isn’t just for larger entities, and we’re living proof of that each day. I wouldn’t return to an on-premises deployment at this stage as our experience has been so consistently good.”

Moving Microsoft Dynamics GP into the cloud does more than just provide the business with a few tasty features and fresh updates – it also allows them to better manage their IT spend.

It moves the investment cycle from CAPEX to OPEX, which is already a benefit for those who want to watch the bottom line more closely, and it ensures that every new version is immediately available and accessible.

GPUG provides the organisation with the information it needs to take advantage of the updates, and to share best practice, while the cloud-based capabilities allow for better leverage of existing systems.

We find that the CAPEX model tends to hinder the upgrade process and, in the past, GP upgrades were lagging three years behind due to cost time limitations. Cloud takes this barrier away, immediately, and meets the organisation’s demand for change.

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The ubiquity of cloud