Many organisations are dependent on legacy platforms. Competing business priorities means IT systems are often left lacking investment. That is until things start to go wrong. At best, business processes feel sluggish while competitors take the lead. At worst, systems lack support, causing damaging downtime that costs money and reputations.
Cloud-based platforms provide the agility and scalability that modern organisations need. But, when you’re already pedaling hard to keep your business on track, choosing the right platform isn't straightforward.
We’ve created a guide to help organisations who find themselves in the crux of this dilemma.
Understand your organisation’s key objectives
Before undertaking any major tech investment, you need clear objectives and desired outcomes. Assemble a steering committee that includes key stakeholders from each business unit and don’t forget to include user feedback while asking these questions:
Business strategy alignment: What is our end goal?
Current system review: How is a new solution better than what we have now?
Process review: Which processes will change as a result of this transition?
Project scope: How much time and resource do we need to consider?
Depending on your team’s experience with digital transformation and change management, it can be useful to get external help. Even the most proficient in-house teams may have limited experience with implementing a large-scale cloud migration. Engaging experts who have implemented similar projects many times over saves time and money in the long run.
Engage with your customers
Customers can give you valuable insights into what your organisation may be lacking and what features you should look to include. To see a fast ROI you need to understand how a new platform will improve the customer experience now as well as grow with changing demands into the future. Consider whether you need to add new channels such as social media, chatbots and marketing automation to improve satisfaction rates.
Ask around in your network too. You may have customers, suppliers and peers with similar requirements who’ve already been through a digital transformation. Find out what they have to say about the vendors they’ve dealt with, the training and support they received and any pitfalls to avoid.
Select key elements to evaluate
Now that you’ve got the basics from your stakeholders, customers and peers, create a definitive checklist of your must-haves and nice-to-haves. Having ideas float around in your head will only get you so far. Your checklist will make the evaluation process a breeze rather than a perfect storm.
Key questions to help you build your checklist:
Does the new platform integrate with the business systems you want to keep or implement?
Does it have the features you need out-of-the-box or do you need customisation?
Does the supplier offer level of support, training and maintenance you need?
Will it scale inline with your growth ambitions?
Is it flexible and able to adapt to new trends, demands and technologies?
Is it in-budget (including training, maintenance and ongoing support)
Assess your new platform’s data and system security
Know who handles security and how to manage it in a new environment. Failing to meet your internal and regulatory compliance obligations is an obvious threat to your organisation. This is linked to the jurisdictions in which you operate. Whether you’re regulated by GDPR or any other frameworks, make sure you understand how to remain compliant when you move to the cloud.
Look for suppliers with up to date accreditations and certificates. These indicate adherence to industry best practices. Ask which information security and data management frameworks your shortlisted suppliers follow and check they have relevant experience.
Choose a platform that grows with you
Was your provider’s cloud platform rushed to market, or built with emerging tech in mind? If you increase your staff, customer base and services, will the solution grow with you and will there be additional costs with your expansion? And, just as importantly, does their own business look financially stable so that your platform will be supported long into the future?
If you need help at any stage of your cloud migration, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help. We have programmes designed to help you choose the right system to meet your goals and requirements. To find out more, contact our team today.