Infographic: The Ultimate Checklist to Prepare for a Successful Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP




Looking to upgrade your legacy Microsoft on-premises ERP system to Dynamics 365?

You have a lot to think about and look forward to as you anticipate taking the step away from on-premises ERP to a solution in the cloud. Below, we list the most important planning considerations to help you get ready and fuel your imagination.

Many tasks can be performed to increase your organizational readiness for the implementation of your new ERP solution. These 5 areas must be addressed as you plan to upgrade your on-premises Dynamics ERP solution to Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud.

Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, SL, and AX have been the solution of choice for hundreds of thousands of organizations across the globe. A majority of these organizations that have not already made the move to the cloud are seriously considering “What’s next?”. ​


Dynamics 365 ERP upgrade infographic

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Why adopt cloud ERP?

If your on-premises ERP system has been in place for years, helping employees do their jobs and keeping the company productive, you may be reluctant to transition to new technology on a different platform. But there are some unique advantages a cloud ERP upgrade, such as to Dynamics 365, has over an on-premises system that might make great sense for your organization, including:

  • Greater agility in responding to customers and changing business conditions
  • Secure access to ERP data and capabilities anytime, anywhere — for employees, customers and trading partners
  • Technology evolution with scheduled, nondisruptive system updates instead of the laborious implementations, slow performance, or user disruption of on-premises updating
  • Cost savings and lighter IT workloads because you don’t need to continue purchasing and managing servers and storage arrays
  • Advanced, continuously improving security as party of the cloud provider’s infrastructure
  • Improved ability to add, modify, or remove corporate entities, business groups, and locations

Achieving more with data

In the cloud, your ERP system can accommodate more data sources and data-centric activities while also providing better data protection than on-premises technology. That can generate substantial competitive advantages and spur innovation.

  • Deliver real-time, decision-powering data to the people who need it
  • Take advantage of cloud-based analytics, reporting, and dashboards
  • Integrate other data sources in the business with ERP
  • Collect and analyze data from production lines or equipment installed at customer sites to enable predictive maintenance and improve uptime
  • Share data securely among engineering teams or with external collaborators to fuel product engineering with real-time input or model capabilities on digital twins of your solutions

Finding the right technology partner

If you take the time and invest the resources, you may be able to identify and deploy your cloud ERP on your own. But that may be extremely expensive and take too long to deliver the advantages of modern ERP. For most companies, engaging with an experienced technology partner is key to ERP success. What are the most essential criteria you should look for as you vet and audit consultancies?

  • Understand your industry, goals, business model, and challenges
  • Respond to concerns in a timely manner
  • Take the time to listen to your stakeholders and employees
  • Treat and respect you as a unique organization of talented individuals
  • Speak your language and appreciate your business culture
  • Help you anticipate and manage change
  • Can show satisfied reference accounts and a track record of successful projects
  • Use a proven approach to ensure low-risk, problem-free deployments
  • Manage your project efficiently with one point of contact
  • Communicate clear commitments—and keep them

Developing a strategic partner relationship

At the end of the initial ERP project, you can run the solution on your own, maybe with some level of ongoing support when you need to manage updates or change configurations. But could it be that your ERP project partner could play a positive, long-term role in the life of your organization? Here are some capabilities that tend to distinguish technology partners whose engagements you may want to keep open-ended:

  • Know how to perform problem-free, robust integrations and data migrations
  • Maintain strong relationships with several leading technology providers, not just one
  • Have a relevant, insightful perspective on technology trends and opportunities
  • Can offer consulting and management services for other business needs
  • Have a way to make customers’ voices heard by technology providers
  • Are willing to pass on skills and expertise to your IT team

Introducing process improvements before making technology changes

Simply transitioning the current state of the business to cloud ERP is a missed opportunity. If you identify and act on possible business process improvement opportunities before you embark on your ERP project, you can become a more productive organization and realize better outcomes from technology.

  • Poll and interview IT and business users for improvement ideas
  • Gather input from customers and trading partners on their experience in working with your company
  • Prioritize the processes that have the most impact on customers or revenue generation
  • Refer to the industry best-practice standard as you evaluate the effectiveness of processes
  • Build organizational expertise into your processes to reduce the dependency on talented key individuals

Preparing a different business environment

As you upgrade to the Dynamics 365 ERP cloud, several financial and operational conditions change. With expertise and smart planning, you can turn these changes to your advantage.

  • Your IT, financial, and executive leadership needs to understand what is entailed in the statement of work (SOW) for the ERP deployment with your partner. Be sure to question whatever doesn’t make sense or seems like an omission. Too many clients sign SOWs without being fully aware of their terms.
  • Cloud licensing is generally more flexible and economical than the licensing for on-premises systems. Depending on what you may already use and your specific requirements, there may be ways to reduce licensing costs and simplify license management. An experienced partner will be able to help you navigate licensing.
  • For most companies, budgeting for cloud technologies involves predictable, affordable OpEx spending as opposed to CapEx investments. You should have a reliable OpEx budget in place as you embark on your cloud ERP project.
  • Following the cloud transition, some servers, storage arrays, networking equipment, and other hardware in your data center may no longer be needed or can be repurposed. On the other hand, you might want to boost your broadband connectivity and furnish some users with enterprise mobility. Your technology partner can work with you to plan and take the right steps at the best time.

Getting everybody involved

User adoption is what brings ERP to life, and there are many ways to realize it—the earlier, the better. Even with the best possible efficiency, an ERP deployment is still a unique milestone in the life of a company. Like major acquisitions, important new products and services, or competitive achievements, it’s an opportunity to rally everybody behind one important goal.

  • Consider everybody who might touch or be impacted by the new ERP solution a stakeholder who can help ensure the success of the deployment
  • Achieve buy-in from the executive suite and enlist at least one executive sponsor
  • Involve the IT organization in reviewing and comparing vendors and solutions
  • Document the requirements, ideas, and hopes of business users
  • Give employees access to the new ERP system and allow them to try it out—even before it is ready for production
  • Invite business users to formally test the iterations of the new system and take it through their workflows
  • Create a communications plan for the ERP endeavor and widely share progress and success experiences


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