Helping Customers Make the Leap to the Cloud Might Be Easier Than You Think


Guest post by Matt Casper, Marketing Communications Manager, SaaSplaza

Kati Hvidtfeldt has moved on to lead application program management for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. With the discontinuation of Kati Unplugged, we will continue to give partner perspectives on the benefits and challenges of offering cloud-based solutions to their customers.

This week Matt Casper from SaaSplaza explains how his company helped a fast growing satellite provider make the right decision when it comes to ERP deployment.

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MattCasper-HeadShotFor 15 years, SaaSplaza has been helping companies chart a course from “earth” (a.k.a., on-premise) to the cloud. This customer story clearly shows Microsoft partners and end-customers alike how a move to the cloud can be both easier and more beneficial than they might have imagined.

We partnered with Systems Advisors Group to equip one of the world’s fastest growing satellite networks and services providers with Microsoft Dynamics AX in the cloud. For this solution, O3b Networks was the right customer with the right needs at the right time. In this case, the only thing easier than putting the customer in the cloud was making the case for the cloud in the first place.

The customer’s situation was perfectly suited, for several reasons.

The challenge of rapid growth

O3b deploys a next-generation satellite network that combines the reach of satellite with the speed of fiber to help realize a world “…where high speed connectivity is always within reach.” (O3b is an acronym for “other 3 billion,” describing the half of the world that does not have broadband Internet.) Immediately after its commercial launch, O3b began growing, and fast. The provider now serves a rapidly growing worldwide market, and is adding more team members and locations regularly.

O3b was in dire need of a scalable ERP system that would address its growing and global needs.

A widely dispersed workforce

With offices and staff all over the world, and with gateways in Brazil, Greece, Hawaii, Portugal, and elsewhere, O3b needed a solution that would be readily available to its worldwide team anytime, from any location.

Remote access to the solution also had to be fast, easy, and secure.

Shifting business requirements

In satellite services, new rules and regulations are the norm, not the exception. The company needed the ability to streamline and unite worldwide processes under one solution flexible enough to accommodate the shifting regulatory requirements and work perfectly with the Microsoft systems O3b had in place.

Ob3 needed more flexibility than an on-premise solution could offer.

Cost management

One of O3b’s most pressing business needs was to be able to handle tremendous growth without adding tremendous costs. They needed a solution that would not only be as scalable as its business—future growth being essentially assured—but that could also deliver cost predictability.

O3b needed to keep costs manageable by minimizing up-front capital expenditures.

To the rescue: Microsoft Dynamics AX in the cloud

Microsoft Dynamics AX was the right ERP solution for O3b’s diverse and highly custom needs—and for ensuring seamless integration with its existing Microsoft solutions. And the cloud was the right fit to address O3b’s “competing needs” of making scalability easy while keeping costs predictable.

By choosing to run its entire solution in the Cloud with SaaSplaza, O3b enjoyed the following benefits:

· Freedom from infrastructure: With no server hardware to maintain or power the company benefited from a potential cost savings of tens-of-thousands.

· Endless scalability: With its solution completely in the cloud, adding new users anywhere in the world is both easy and cost-effective.

· Support and service: Systems Advisors Group and SaaSplaza continue to work closely with O3b to support and build the company’s business using the Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions they need, when they need it.

Evaluating “cloud readiness” in a customer

Figuring out if a customer is “cloud-ready” can be rather easy if you follow these simple steps.

1. Focus on the flexibility and scalability requirements every growing business must face. The cloud frees customers from infrastructure, which makes rapid changes—whether downturns, growth, or seasonal fluctuations—easier to handle.

2. Address security concerns. Oftentimes, customers are resistant to a cloud-based solution because of security issues. But in most cases, the cloud is a safe choice. For example, SaaSplaza houses end-customers’ data and solutions in Tier 3 data centers, which require both the platform AND the provider to undergo rigorous security certifications.*

3. Evaluate the budget and the short-term impact of capital expenditures. The cloud makes it easier to get started when no major budget outlays for servers and other infrastructure are required.

4. Analyze costs over the long haul. Putting you customer(s) in the cloud means no internal staff or new hires will be required to maintain the solution—it’s all covered in their monthly service fees.

Not every customer is ready for the cloud today. But by using this approach, you’ll guide customers who are ready in the right direction, and educate all of your customers and prospects so they understand the benefits when the time is right.

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*For more information on ISAE-3402 and SSAE-16 certifications, read the SaaSplaza data sheet on Cloud security.

SaaSplaza has data centers and personnel across the globe—in Amsterdam, China, California, Singapore, Germany, Virginia. With hundreds of ISVs and partners, SaaSplaza offers both the solutions and expertise to address the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM needs of most every vertical market. For more information on how your business can partner with SaaSplaza and its cloud platform to deliver reliable, scalable, and secure Microsoft Dynamics solutions, visit www.saasplaza.com.

To learn more about how to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans visit the Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud page on PartnerSource. Go to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/growyourbusiness for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions can benefit their businesses.

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