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A Blog Series for Microsoft Dynamics Partners by Kati Hvidtfeldt, US Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Lead.

In the Kati Unplugged blog series we talk a lot about the advantages of ERP in the cloud. But there are advantages to on premises deployments, too. The flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics gives customers options that can give them the best of both worlds.

The cloud doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. Customers depend on partners to help them navigate through the myriad of choices and land on the right Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution.

In this post, ERP Senior Product Marketing Manager, Jay Manley points out the advantages of different deployment options, and the business situations in which they make the most sense. This is part of the content Jay presented the recent webcast, “Don’t just react to change, shape and drive it with a cloud or on premises solution from Microsoft Dynamics ERP,” from the new Microsoft Dynamics ERP series for SMBs.

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Today more than one billion people are mobile. Working from their homes, through cell phones and other mobile devices they connect to corporate resources, saving on commuting time and energy. These are not just employees of big enterprises. They’re also small business owners and employees who are no longer working in the normal business environment on a day-to-day basis.

The cloud can give employees access to everything they need online, from a variety of devices. But there are also times when on-premises deployment makes sense. For example, a customer may have a unique intellectual property and want to keep it behind its own firewall. The point is, customers shouldn’t feel they have to use the cloud just because it’s there. It’s the partner’s job to help customers focus on exactly what they need.

There are three key questions to explore with your customers:

1. Where does the customer want the data deployed? On location, at a hosting partner’s location, or at one of Microsoft Azure’s seven data centers?

2. How do employees want to access the system? Through a desktop client or a web client?

3. How do they want to buy it? Do they want a perpetual license or a pay-as-you-go license?

On-premises solutions can have advantages when:

· Losing control and privacy are a big concern, and the customer is convinced that day-to-day control over hardware, maintenance, and infrastructure is the best assurance,

· Very little downtime can be tolerated, for example, a hospital needs immediate access to medical records,

· The business has more than 50 users with capital and IT resources to invest in a data center, and

· Heavy customizations are needed.

Cloud-based solutions have advantages when:

· There’s a need for access to systems via mobile devices,

· Employees need to be able to get into data from a lot of different locations,

· A business has cyclical or seasonal variations in server demands,

· The business doesn’t have enough internal IT resources to handle maintenance and updates, backups, and disaster recovery, and

· The business has fewer than 50 users, is in growth mode, and can’t support a big capital outlay.

Hybrid applications can offer the best of both worlds, not just for the business situation, but for each individual employee.

For small and medium-sized businesses, flexibility in solution deployment can allow them to grow while managing costs and their unique business needs. Partners can be the key in helping them select the right solution to face their changing challenges and opportunities.

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To view Jay Manley’s full on-demand webinar, “Don’t just react to change, shape and drive it with a cloud or on premises solution from Microsoft Dynamics ERP,” register here.

To learn more about how to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans visit the Microsoft Dynamics Countdown to the Cloud page on PartnerSource. Go to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/growyourbusiness for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions can benefit their businesses.