Kati Unplugged: A CIO’s View of ERP in the Cloud

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A Blog Series for Microsoft Dynamics Partners by Kati Hvidtfeldt, US Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Lead.

Kati color 2004The current market offers opportunities for partners who can present the ERP cloud solution as a strategy that addresses the concerns of C-level decision makers. In this space we typically provide insights on ERP in the cloud from the partner or Microsoft field perspective. Today we offer the perspective of Microsoft Dynamics Technical Director Nancy Lee, a software engineer and 13-year CIO for a midsize customer with 22 locations and 500+ employees.


ERP is the single most important piece of software in the business. It encompasses all corporate financial and customer information, and it defines operations and how businesses invoice their customers. Most C-level decision makers have lived through at least one difficult ERP transition project. However they are often unaware that the high risk and high costs frequently associated with legacy system and vendor integration—up to 50% of the entire project cost—don’t have to apply in today’s market.

Most C-level decision makers have a vested interested in the success of ERP projects, but they don’t all have the same perspective. For the CIO, this is the one project she can bet her career on—shine or fail. With her other responsibilities she has little time for the due diligence needed to prove out the ROI and justify the expense. And this is why a knowledgeable partner is so important.

Businesses with a legacy of painful experiences are not just looking for software: they are looking for STRATEGY and BEST PRACTICES. They want partners to demonstrate creative and productive solutions other companies are using, and to show how ERP in the cloud delivers a positive ROI. Partners who do this well win deals that effectively shift the implementation budget away from hardware to improve their own profitability.

By presenting a cloud strategy you can gain credibility and respond to concerns of every C-level position:

  • The CEO: The cloud model can eliminate performance risk by plugging the transition into proven, hosted infrastructure.
  • The CFO: The annuitized cost model inherent in cloud delivery ensures a fixed monthly cost that scales with actual use.
  • The COO: The infrastructure reduction benefit of cloud delivery enables more efficient use of personnel resources and allows training to take place early and often.
  • The CIO: Cloud delivery reduces the risk and capital expense of hardware acquisition, enabling IT personnel to shift focus from hardware implementation to ERP project success, while ensuring ease of scalability.

Much like the advent of relational databases, the cloud is here to stay. Partners who are not cloud knowledgeable will lose creditability, and partners who can deliver strategic value will become trusted advisors. ERP in the cloud is a strategy that adds value for customers and prospects while increasing revenue for partners who are ready to embrace it. Visit the Microsoft Dynamics Countdown to the Cloud page on PartnerSource for more information on how to incorporate cloud solutions into your business plans.

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