Upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 The Need to Upgrade
Posted: Jan 30, 2020
OverviewThis article and its subsequent series provide everything you need to know to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations ERP - Cloud (or) On-premise. This includes how to plan, prerequisites, features, tangible benefits, challenges, costs involved and more. Incentives offered by Microsoft make it a compelling reason on why planning your budget for an upgrade should be the top priority as you get closer to the fiscal end.The table below provides the detail on topics that will be covered in each of the series.Your Comfort Zone - The Imperative for ChangeChange is the only constant. We define it in our daily lives as "the process of undergoing a transformation or transition". We see this transformation every day with every new regulation, every new discovery, & every new trend. These ever changing trends are driving all industries – Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Manufacturing, Distribution, you name it. Keeping up with these market trends and more importantly staying ahead is the key to being a successful company.Your organization has needed an ERP upgrade for quite a few years now, and you know it. You’ve been pushing this off year-after-year running a legacy system in maintenance mode, fearful of any risk and disruption an upgrade may cause to business operations. Lack of a proper budget or resources has been your prime consideration as well as lack of information and proper guidance.You’re not alone - one of our customers is currently in this very same situation.They are a high-performance, mid-size pharma manufacturing company. They have been running an older ERP system for over 20 years now. A few weeks ago, their current legacy application failed to recover after a regular maintenance operation. The company’s operations came grinding to a halt forcing them into manual processes across the enterprise, including manual sales orders, confirmations, purchase orders, invoices, BOLs - you name it.Lucky for them, we are just a few weeks away from a planned go-live - the light at the end of the tunnel!"Continuing to use systems that do not provide the stability to business operations and support your growth is an unnecessary risk to the organization."Isn't a stable state what you expect from your ERP system?Most of us in Information Technology (IT) have experienced unstable systems at one time or another and know that these systems are not a simple rip and replace, but require extreme caution and planning as they are expensive to maintain and critical to the operations of the enterprise.The truth is, after years of working in a legacy system, it’s easy for you to end up in a comfort zone - overlooking extremely inefficient systems and processes. You have spent months and years building those complex customizations that are now needing constant updates to keep up with business needs. In some cases, your system does not allow you to stay compliant resulting in unwanted audits, fines and penalties. Despite your effort, your system seems to be always ‘in repair’. The upkeep of these old systems and antiquated processes is draining your IT resources and budget year after year."Upgrading to a new system is not nearly as expensive and time consuming as continuing to support your legacy system year after year.""Companies continue to spend on customizations just to keep lights on and meet today’s needs."With the current rate of change, the cost of doing nothing is even more amplified. Delaying your migration to a newer modern system may have an impact not only on internal systems and processes but also in terms of speed-to-market, customer service, profitability, ability to beat your competition etc. The list goes on...Microsoft Dynamics 365 - The DifferentiatorIf your organization is still using an older version of Microsoft’s "Legacy" ERP, upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 will streamline your operations allowing you to better allocate your IT resources and budget due to the reduced need for "maintenance".Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations is Microsoft’s flagship ERP with investments in billions in the next few years. The application includes industry best-practices and has been designed to fit the needs of most industries out-of-the-box, to name a few:
- Manufacturing (Discrete, Process & Mixed Mode)
- Retail (Operations & POS)
- Oil & Gas
- Food & Beverage
- Finance etc.
- A specialty food company needed a platform to efficiently manage their inventory and orders between warehouse and distribution center as their sales volume increases during the 2-month holiday season. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, inventory data can be tracked in real-time through mobile devices which is exactly what the company wanted. By upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and making use of its included functionality – real time data tracking and sending- they were able to take advantage of multiple benefits enabling employees to make better informed decisions, serve their customers faster and more efficiently, and more.
- An Italian Aircraft manufacturer wanted to upgrade its ERP system to the cloud without disrupting its facilities like the customizations that were required for its AX deployment. The organization chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, which ensured that its five global facilities remained up to date. This helped the company in reducing IT costs and streamlining the data flow amongst its five global facilities.
- A Shipping giant was facing data accessibility challenges as well as severe security risks. By upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365, it was rewarded not only with improved data accessibility and security but has also reduced overall operational costs with enabled automatic prediction of maintenance needs - allowing the administration to concentrate on developing new products and services.
- A global weather company handles almost 17 billion data requests from 1.5 billion people every day, it also serves as an ideal environment for advertisements. They were struggling to balance the transitory weather events on one hand and advertisers trying to reach affected markets on the other hand. After switching to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, They are now able to track data in real-time, enabling informed decisions on allotting inventory for advertiser expectation.
- A not-for-profit healthcare network has transformed their patient engagement with the support of Microsoft Dynamics 365 – One Microsoft Ecosystem single platform (Office 365 and Azure). The business application developed by one of the doctors using PowerApp gave physicians and nurses visibility into each other’s teams and helped teams collaborate more effectively.
- In 2013, a famous cosmetic company invested approximately $125 million, and almost 4 years of work in an SAP - ERP project, this later turned out to be a disaster, costing them a huge amount of money. They rolled out the ERP system for testing in Canada and soon after realized the software's failure to perform required processes adequately, and the burden of additional work placed on its critical sales reps. Ultimately, they called off its association with SAP - ERP and discontinued the rollout across other countries.
- In 2000, a renowned major sporting goods manufacturer invested approximately $400 million in a software named i2 in order to upgrade their ERP system and manage their supply chain and demand forecast efficiently. This ERP upgrade miserably failed with a $100 million loss in sales and a 20% decrease in stock prices due to a transient error within the system resulting in a total system failure.
- In 2004, a PC manufacturer planned to upgrade their ERP system with the goal of cost savings, shorter delivery times and an improved global distribution network. Unfortunately, their ERP upgrade failed resulting in a $160 million loss and 20% of all orders were trapped in the older ERP system.
- Eliminate disparate software with one simple, powerful platform
- Eliminate the risks and challenges associated with outdated systems
- Enhance the productivity of your organization with streamlined processes and workflows
- Allows your organization to grow with a scalable solution
- Reduce integration and maintenance costs by having everything under one familiar roof, and more
- Your system does not have the comprehensive functionality to meet your current business needs. Your growing business requires an agile system to support, and you are having to invest a lot of time and money in customizing this old system to meet your current needs.
- Your most-used applications are being unsupported or decommissioned.
- The lack of technical resources to support your legacy system has been a major problem.
- There are potentially valuable incentives you can take advantage of.
- Your infrastructure needs a major overhaul and the cloud may be your answer to avoid an unnecessarily large investment.
- Lack of mobile access may be impacting productivity on the field.
- You are finding it increasingly difficult to integrate with other portals or systems.
- Your current system is no longer in compliance.
- Continuing to use an older ERP solution that does not provide the necessary stability to business operations is an unnecessary risk to the organization.
- An upgrade, however, should be considered after evaluating the system’s ability to handle your businesses’ day-to-day operations, the value for the money spent, and determining the ROI from the upgrade.
- Define and determine KPIs such as
- Return on Investment (ROI),
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
- Productivity drivers etc.
- Upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a huge economic and transformative value to your business.
- If your enterprise is still running on an older version of Microsoft’s ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics Nav, Microsoft Dynamics GP or SL, or any other legacy system - it is time to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365.
XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology.