Planning to deploy your Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud? To get you started in the conversation with your new Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider, we’ve outlined a framework to help you select the right CSP for your business.

However, before you work your way through the steps of the framework, it’s important to understand your business requirements.

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Understanding Your Requirements

Prior to researching and selecting your Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider, there are several factors to consider.

If you haven’t already, check out our previous post, Microsoft Dynamics in the Cloud: How to Prepare Like a Pro, for more details on the points listed below.

User Experiences

Take some time to learn about the world of user experiences. Various choices are available.

  1. Traditional Desktop Client
  2. Dynamics Web Client
  3. *Remote Connection through a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network)

*Some Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Providers charge extra for this service and others bundle it in as an included feature of their package.

Reasons to Use Dynamics in the Cloud

Ask yourself why you want to move your operations to the cloud. Maybe it is the access to innovation. Or to get the ongoing vendor accountability and engagement. There are a wide variety of reasons for moving. Yours could be one or more of several viable reasons to move to the cloud.

Key Responsibilities

Knowing your key responsibilities is critical to understanding the whole picture. What kind of responsibilities? Like knowing what needs to be done and who — you or your CSP — will do it.

Here’s another question. Who takes ownership under typical deployment options — you or your CSP? Key responsibilities of both you and your CSP are clearly defined in our table Microsoft Dynamics: On-Premises vs. In the Cloud Responsibility Grid

You’ll find many reputable full-service Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Providers in the Dynamics UG (User Group) Community who understand all of these issues. If you need clarification, ask them to speak with you and your Dynamics partner.

Before committing to a Dynamics CSP, be sure to follow our framework.

Before committing, be sure to use the following framework to select the right CSP for your business.

PCI Framework to Choosing a Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider

Now that you understand the requirements to get this show on the road, here is a framework to guide you in selecting your Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider.

The PCI Security Standard Council is a global forum designed to establish and uphold security standards for account data protection. PCI’s simple framework outlines a process that can help you select a CSP. I’ve applied it to specifically selecting a Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider.

  • CHOOSE a deployment model that aligns with your needs.
  • EVALUATE different service options.
  • KNOW what you want from your CSP.
  • COMPARE providers and service offerings.
    • Is pricing based on Consumption, Flat Rate, or per user?
    • How does pricing change if users or additional servers are added?
    • How long are the agreements and what is the process to change or exit?
    • Is Dynamics subscription licensing available to be included, or do you need to bring your own license?
  • ASK questions of the CSP and verify their responses. For example:
    • What does each service consist of exactly, and how is the service delivered?
    • What does the service provide with respect to security, system maintenance, disaster recovery, and what is the client responsible for?
    • How will the CSP provide ongoing evidence that security controls and system maintenance routines continue to be in place and are kept up to date?
    • What will the CSP commit to in writing?
    • Are other parties involved in the service delivery, security, or support?
  • DOCUMENT everything with your provider in written agreements — for example, SLAs / Terms of Service contracts, etc.
  • REQUEST written assurances that security controls will be in place and maintained.
  • REVIEW the service and written agreements periodically to identify if anything has changed.

By following these steps to selecting a Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider, you will have a mutually agreed upon cloud solution that matches your requirements and expectations.

Drilling Down

Moving to the cloud is becoming a more common option for Dynamics customers across all industries. You’re in good company and can reach out to your UG community for feedback and recommendations.

Preparing for the move doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you need to inform yourself thoroughly so that you know what needs to be done. Understand your business requirements and priorities and then methodically follow each step in PCI’s framework to select the right Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider for your business needs.

If you’d like to learn more about selecting the right Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Solution Provider, I will be presenting at the GPUG Summit in Nashville this coming October. Don’t miss my presentation UPG03 – Moving to the Cloud? Prepare Like a Pro! on Wednesday, October 11, from 1:45 PM – 2:45 PM — I look forward to seeing you there!

In the meantime, check out our post Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Hosting: 6 Considerations or, if you have any Dynamics questions, contact our team today.

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