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Are you still running Dynamics GP with on-premise servers? There are some cons to thathigher maintenance costs, sole responsibility for data security & backups and ongoing hardware investments, to name a few.

There are some big benefits to getting off the old on-premise servers. As a project manager, here's my take on the cloud's biggest "wins".  

Continuity of Operations: Your apps are available 99.9% of the time and you no longer have to worry about somebody spilling coffee on the servers or taking your systems offline by accident.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is generally cost effective. Computing power, memory and data storage are expandable (or shrinkable) and can flex with your operational needs. Don’t overbuy hardwarepay only for what you use.

Lower CAPEX: Subscribing to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is an operational expense (OPEX).

Increased Security: Microsoft Azure, the Microsoft Cloud, sets the standard for best-in-class security. Microsoft has a strategic goal of moving their entire client base to the cloudand they train, hire and retain the very best and leverage the most effective tools to keep your applications and data safe.

The person who will help you consider, plan and make the move is your PM. And if you want to do it right, ask your project manager these five critical questions:

1) How many clients have you moved to the cloud? Tell me about the lessons you’ve learned.

2) What do I need to consider before moving to the cloud? What is the timeline? Cost?

3) What’s the level of effort required of you, the project sponsor?

4) What is the process of moving GP to the cloud? Do you have a sample project plan available for review?

5) Does your project plan include:

a. Steps for establishing the new environment:

i. An “as-is” infrastructure assessment
ii. A “to-be” design. This should include a detailed, written description and a visual depiction.
iii. A design review—VERY IMPORTANT. This step will ensure you understand what is being suggested as the design for your infrastructure.
iv. A formal Test Plan
v. At least two test events: 1) Vendor Testing and 2) User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
vi. Although optional, a third-party test of the basic security is advisable.

b. Detailed steps for establishing the GP application in the cloud, to include:

i. Installing the application and any third-party add-ons
ii. Moving a portion of live (or sample) data onto the new environment to support testing
iii. User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
iv. Go-live checklist. Make sure it’s detailed!
v. A fall-back plan—just in case
vi. The plan for gracefully decommissioning the old infrastructure

In summary, moving to the cloud is worth serious consideration. The benefits and ROI are excellent. But before you pull the trigger, please work closely with a qualified project manager to ensure that your plan is solid, reasonable and comprehensive. Take the time to plan and avoid surprisesyou’ll be glad you did.

Next read: IT hosting challenges to consider when upgrading to cloud

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