I run my entire business on Dynamics 365 in the cloud: CRM for sales activities, Marketing for email and social media automation, Customer Service for client support cases, Project Service Automation for the most complex projects, and Business Central for accounting.
Recently, I had an unexplained charge flow through my business bank account. In the typical abundance of caution, my business debit card was cancelled and in 7 days or less I would receive a new one in the mail. I am sure you have been through this situation yourself. The biggest pain is the need to update all of your online services with a new card.
As these things tend to happen, my Dynamics invoice was due the day after my card was cancelled. I received the dreaded notice that my credit card “could not be charged” and I needed to update it immediately to avoid “interruption”. This is not my Netflix being turned off. This is an interruption in my ability to operate my business and service my clients.
Well of course, I just plugged in another card and everything was fine (and Microsoft wouldn’t just turn off a customer without many warnings). But this “turn off” scenario related to cloud services does cross my mind from time to time. More importantly, I have clients who avoid cloud services because they are not comfortable for various reasons.
Payment method is not the only question that comes up related to cloud subscription services. There are others:
- Where is my data and do I have control of it?
- How secure is my data?
- How much can I trust this software company and what happens if they fail or get bought out?
- Do I pay more with a subscription over time than I would if I purchased software?
For the record, I am 100% sold on the idea of subscription-based cloud services. If I wasn’t, I would not use them, and I surely wouldn’t provide them to my clients. If you are less convinced, here are a few things to consider:
Today’s cloud is much better, but not new. In 1978, my dad had a “timeshare” computer service at his CPA firm. The halogen fire suppression system in his data center was the coolest thing I had ever seen, and the whirling tape drive was right out of the future.
Clients would pay a fee and they could “dial in” (literally) and use not only the firm’s hardware but also their software services, such as accounting or fixed assets. Today’s cloud has come a long way from 1978, but the concept is not all that new.
The need for timeshare did change over the years, however. As hardware costs were driven down, computing moved on-premises for many companies. Unfortunately, companies needed new equipment and software every 3 to 5 years and I.T. costs started to grow.
Today’s cloud services reverse that trend and allow us to run our technology in this new age of rapid digital change with very little upfront investment and very little cost related to technology replacement. I.T. costs are very predictable and affordable in the cloud.
Cloud software is the best software. Microsoft and other cloud service providers have made it clear that they are now in a “cloud-first” situation with software development. On-premises software is still supported, but only after the latest and greatest technologies have been implemented in the cloud.
The future is clear: the best software will be cloud software. New startups and innovators are in the cloud. If you want the best, get in the cloud.
The end of the “legacy” issue. One of the biggest benefits of the cloud is that your software never becomes old or out of date. Updates are frequent and automatic in most cases. This is critical in a world where technology moves incredibly fast. We need more connection between systems, more mobility, and more security almost on a quarterly basis.
As technological advancements are continuously integrated into your systems through frequent updates, the cloud allows you to remain competitive in a fast-moving marketplace.
Our world has gone mobile. In today’s world, it is no longer acceptable to have your data locked inside the 4 walls of your brick-and-mortar facilities. This has become even more critical with the Covid-19 pandemic. We are mobile and we need our data and processes available to us wherever we are, on any device. Full mobility is delivered mostly through today’s cloud services.
Our world has gotten more connected. Data is everywhere, and related data needs to be related. By this, I mean we can no longer afford to have important data “stuck” inside discrete systems or devices. To leverage our investment in technology, data must be reorganized for better decision support. The cloud platforms available today enable this as never before. Cloud technology is at the heart of true digital transformation.
Cloud software is an excellent value. Paying a monthly subscription for a cloud service still really bothers some of my clients. I understand the concern, but I believe we need to change our thought process. The rent vs. buy argument is still valid for real estate, and I think it drives our general thoughts on rent vs. buy. Why rent a home when you can build equity for little or no increase in cost by purchasing the property?
The problem with applying this logic to technology is that the “house” burns down every 2 years and there is no insurance coverage. In business technology there is no valid “buy” scenario any longer, in my humble opinion. Technology is moving too fast. The cloud services available today allow even small companies to benefit from the billions invested each year by larger technology firms. This is amazing leverage for any business today.
Cloud software is safe (if you choose wisely). If you utilize cloud software for mission critical purposes in your business, make sure you choose a solid provider. This is one of the reason companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Salesforce.com continue to grow like crazy in their cloud businesses. Not only do they have great technology, but they are also successful and solid companies that are worthy of our trust.
This idea of trust relates to two things. First, they are companies that will not disappear tomorrow. Second, they are companies I can trust with my data. These companies spend billions each year on data security and continue to set the standard in these areas. I trust the security of their data centers well beyond the level of trust I would ever have for my own in-house server.
You are in control because data is portable. What if you want to move away from your current cloud service provider? The good news is that your data is always yours and can always move with you. It is always smart to keep a copy of your data in case something catastrophic happens to your provider or you find yourself in a disagreement with your provider that puts your service or data at risk. Always back up your data in a location over which you have full control.
It was not necessary for me to make a case for using cloud services. The technology itself and thousands of companies have already made the case very strongly. I wrote this post as a resource for my clients and connections who may have doubts.
I often work with our clients to weigh the pros and cons of custom software vs. a cloud-based service customized to their needs. We provide both types of services and there is a place for each. I just believe specific business circumstances should drive this decision, not fear of the cloud.
About the author: Brian Busscher is the CEO and Founder of Thesis Technologies, an Implementation Partner for Dynamics 365. If you would like to discuss how Dynamics 365 might be a fit for your organization, please contact the ThesisTech team at 888-705-7253.
Find other blog posts at https://thesistech.com/dynamics-365-crm-blog.php