More and more companies are considering an upgrade from an on-premise ERP solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, to Microsoft Dynamics 365. The move to the cloud has positive benefits for your data infrastructure.

Daniel Knott, Head of Data & Analytics at HSO, and his team advise clients daily on issues related to business analytics and data infrastructure, and explain what to consider when upgrading to the cloud.

‘Old’ vs ‘new’ data infrastructure

In the world of SaaS applications and the cloud, your ‘old’ data layer, which was as it was “under your applications”, no longer exists. Of course the data remains your property but the database has become part of the SaaS solution, (such as Dynamics 365). You can no longer connect your BI applications directly to this or simply ‘dump’ your database. You only have access to the data via your applications, for example, via Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.

If you can no longer do a query on your database, you must think carefully beforehand, i.e. before the implementation of Dynamics 365, what you will need in terms of reporting and analytics. Based on this, you decide which entities and tables you will require. You can then begin to use Microsoft data tooling to build a future-proof infrastructure.

Put data infrastructure on the agenda of your upgrade project

I regularly talk to customers where people have actually started thinking about the reports too late in the implementation process. It may sound like a cliché, but I often see that BI, data and reports projects are postponed. There is very often a time pressure in a migration project and it is therefore left far too late to understand the impact of a SaaS solution on the data infrastructure.

You cannot afford to leave your data and control information unattended to. We therefore advise you to put this topic on the agenda from day one of your Dynamics 365 implementation. And as soon as you zoom in on the business processes, you can immediately discuss the KPIs that are required and add this to your plan of action. It is however necessary to have an ERP and BI expert do this analysis together.

The arrival of online SaaS solutions makes the role of data and BI a lot less operational. Our experience shows that 80 to 90 percent of the traditional reports are no long required, due to the standard reporting capabilities of Dynamics 365 or similar cloud applications. In other words, with the upgrade to Dynamics 365, the needs and possibilities of your BI policy will change. Our customers expect their BI platform and data infrastructure to be future-proof, flexible and scalable. You also want to avoid an information overload. As the amount of data increases, it is crucial that your reports focus on relevant information that you really need.

Upgrade to the cloud is a big step forward for BI applications

The cloud is a huge step forwards in terms of scalability and ease of use. There are also clear advantages for unlocking data, but many organisations are still getting used to it. You need to look at the way data and applications are connected with a different view. Data experts think in ‘tables’, for example, Dynamics 365 consultants talk about ‘entities’. A lot of tables can hang under one entity and this changes how people look at unlocking data. It is precisely when you involve data and analytics expertise in the implementation that you get more out of your cloud solution.
The cloud provides you with enormous flexibility in future developments. The strength lies in the fact that you can now set reports up very quickly. This gives you important insight into the value and the impact on the organisation.

Want to know more about an upgrade to Dynamics 365?

HSO is offering all users of Microsoft Dynamics on-premise, an ERP Modernisation Assessment. This 3 week assessment provides insight into the benefits of the cloud, impact on business processes and what is necessary for a successful migration.

Want to know more?

Download the ERP Modernisation Assessment Factsheet and contact us directly.

Download fact sheet