True Cloud vs. Hosted Cloud: Why It Matters and How to Protect Yourself

Are you in the market for a new ERP solution? Is it time to focus more on your business and less on your IT infrastructure? Then you’re likely considering a move to the cloud.  

As you evaluate cloud ERP solutions—or cloud services and partners—it’s important to know what you are really getting for your money. Below, we walk through several factors you should consider when making your next technology move. 

Caution: Not All Clouds are Equal

First, there are many reputable cloud partners and providers out there, but there are some that will market a system as cloud-based when it’s actually an older legacy system—designed to run on-premises—that they are hosting remotely. These are not true cloud solutions, and neither the system nor the partner can provide you with the same benefits, accessibility, or protections of a true cloud system.  

(See the True Cloud Checklist below). 

SaaS and the Cloud

Look for a true SaaS solution that has been built for the cloud from the ground up. SaaS refers to software being delivered as a service rather than distributed on media (such as a CD you load on your computer). You will typically pay a subscription fee that includes everything at one price per month/per user instead of paying a lump-sum fee for licensing and maintenance.

How can you make sure you know if your cloud solution is a true one? Western Computer can help you look under the hood, but here is a quick checklist you can use to get started:

True Cloud Checklist

  • Scaling: Can you easily scale users or functionality as needed with no surprise fees to expand storage?
  • Upgrades: Are new enhancements and versions applied automatically and included with the price?
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA): What is the performance guarantee? Are you financially compensated if it’s not met?
    • For example, Microsoft’s SLA for online services is 99.9% and will credit you for anything below that.
  • Security: How will your host protect your data and business including security, backups, disaster recovery, and compliance?
  • Elasticity:  If you get a major surge in demand and start taking more orders, will the system automatically react and handle this new volume?
  • Pricing: What is included in your subscription? Are there any “gotchas” you should watch for? For example, are test environments included?
  • Mobile Access: Is the system accessible anytime from any location and device through a web browser or mobile app? Does it require you to use another type of remote connection?

Advantages of the Microsoft Cloud

Now that you know what to look for in a true cloud solution, there are many advantages of choosing the Microsoft Cloud:

  1. With Dynamics 365 Business CentralDynamics 365 Finance, and Supply Chain Management, there are no upgrades required. Rather, regular and automatic updates are included and happen in the background with no extra cost or effort on your part. Your IT team will be happy to know that these updates will not break any existing customizations, integrations, or applications that your organization is using. This means that you can stay up to date with the latest innovations while keeping your ERP costs lower and predictable. 

Are you now thinking of transitioning from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365?  Learn why this will be your last upgrade!

  1. Dynamics 365 is built on Microsoft’s Dataverse, formerly called Common Data Service. This means that all your other Microsoft applications (like Office 365 and Power Platform) work seamlessly together. You can automatically share data, unify processes, and build automations and workflows across systems. Additionally, your users are probably already comfortable with the familiar Microsoft interface.
  2. As mentioned, Microsoft guarantees at least 99.9% availability, and its investment in security and sustainability is unparalleled.

Want to learn more about true cloud ERP solutions?

Western Computer is committed to helping you choose and implement the right solutions and get to the cloud in the most impactful, strategic way. As a proud 2022/2023 Inner Circle Member and finalist for the 2022 and 2023 Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Partner of the Year, Western Computer is the expert to help you with your cloud options. Reach out or schedule a demo to see Dynamics 365 in action by contacting us today.  

“Where the cloud was new to us, we needed to be sure we could adapt. Having worked with Western Computer for so long, they knew our business so well, and they have the expertise to help us learn the nuances of the cloud.” - Sheryl Williams, VP of Finance and Operations, Image Source

About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's VP of Strategy, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with customers.

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