Microsoft Partners: Time to Take Advantage of Business Central Momentum

Since 2019, Microsoft partners selling Business Central has increased by 170%. Learn why you should take advantage of the momentum today.

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    Since 2019, Microsoft partners selling Dynamics 365 Business Central have increased more than 170% as the AppSource add-on solutions jumped almost 5X. These numbers are the result of the growth of the Business Central customer base—60% year-over-year since 2019.

    Many of these customers are new to Microsoft Dynamics 365 which means there are still a lot of businesses on on-premises legacy Dynamics solutions such as GP, NAV and SL. And that presents a big opportunity for Microsoft partners to take advantage of the momentum behind Dynamics 365 Business Central.

    Hesitation Caused by Fear of the Unknown

    As most Microsoft partners know all too well, convincing legacy on-premises Dynamics customers to move to Business Central in the cloud is no easy task. They’ve likely used GP, NAV or SL for many years, and in most cases, the solutions still work well. But as partners realize, the cloud offers a lot of advantages that these customers might not be aware of.

    To get your customers thinking about the cloud, you can start by suggesting a conversation to talk about the possibilities Business Central can enable. This can also allay any fears of the unknown your customers may have. Just having the conversation allows you to reconnect with your customers and demonstrate how you can serve as their trusted IT advisor.

    During this conversation, try to work towards developing a roadmap for what it will take for the customer to move to Business Central. It’s also important for your customers to realize Business Central is a new ERP solution. Many of the same features will be available in Business Central, but they may work differently, and some might not exist. It’s critical to identify how the customer uses their legacy solution and discuss how they can make that happen in Business Central, including any add-on ISV solutions.

    Data and Security: Key Concerns to Address

    Another key aspect that’s likely top-of-mind for customers is the data they have stored in their current legacy solution and how they can maintain and consume that data in the cloud. For this, there could be multiple options.

    If it’s not practical to move all the data to Business Central, for example, customers can consider moving GP, NAV or SL to an Azure data lake in the cloud with interfaces to Power BI for running reports and Business Central to query the data. As you go through this discussion with your customers, be sure to note their “do or die” custom reports they rely on for day-to-day operations, and talk about how it’s possible to create compatible reports in Business Central or through Power BI.

    The concerns over data, of course, are closely related to security. Find out the level of security your customers expect from the cloud and the regulations they need to comply with. From there, demonstrate how the Microsoft cloud platform offers a best-in-class security posture in data centers staffed by the leading cybersecurity experts in the world. And your customers can implement measures such as multi-factor authentication and single sign-on to protect their environment while making it easy for authorized users to access.

    Assessment and Cloud Migration Tools Provide Big Assist

    Stratos Cloud Alliance has a Business Central readiness assessment tool for GP that will provide a big assist in helping your legacy Dynamics customers prepare to migrate. You can run the tool on their current Dynamics solution and generate a report to identify all processes the customer relies on as well as third-party integrations.

    The report will also tell you which processes can be automatically migrated to Business Central, those that require some modification, and any that need to be replaced with an alternative. From there, you can calibrate what needs to be done for the business processes and show how the cloud can add additional automation to enable those processes to run more efficiently.

    Following the assessment, you can turn to the GP data migration tool or SL data migration tool that both Microsoft and Stratos Cloud Alliance offer. Here at Stratos, we can help partners provide foundational blueprints that set the stage for everything from discovery to data migration and training.

    Subscription Model Brings in Robust Annuities for Partners

    Because Business Central is a mature product that’s already broadly adopted, it presents a big opportunity for partners. The subscription model brings in robust annuities from a licensing standpoint. And many customers convert from the concurrent user model for on-premises solutions to a named user model, which adds volume to their licensing and generates more revenue for the partner.

    By migrating customers to Business Central, you also benefit from cross-platform selling opportunities. As customers understand the greater agility they gain by adopting other Microsoft technologies across their organization, they will naturally turn to their partner for additional services—whether it’s deploying Microsoft 365, Power Platform, or consuming more Azure services.

    Tapping Into the Skillsets to Support Business Central

    A tricky issue for partners when moving customers from legacy Dynamics solutions to Dynamics 365 Business Central is the required skillsets for both sales and technical resources. It takes time to learn how to sell and deploy the new technology: 77% of partners say they are often constrained by a lack of people resources, and 60% feel the need to significantly increase their number of Business Central professionals.

    That’s where an indirect partner like Stratos Cloud Alliance can help. Until you are up-to-speed on selling, designing, deploying and supporting Dynamics 365 Business Central solutions, we can fill any gaps you might have or provide you with a packaged migration offering you can provide to your customers. Even if it’s just to be by your side during the initial Business Central conversations with your customers, we’re glad to help.

    Stratos partners can also take advantage of our volume pricing discount with Microsoft that will likely increase your margins on any licenses you sell to your customers. In many cases, the partners who work with us on Business Central implementation discover the licensing revenue increases as customers add new users or functionality in other areas of the Microsoft Cloud platform.

    As we support you in any current customer engagements, we can give you access to sales and technical skills training to build up your practice. We also have sales, marketing, and partner assessment resources you can tap into to help you drive demand and build your pipeline.

    Help Your Customers Reduce Their Risk

    Ultimately, your customers are at risk if they continue to maintain legacy on-prem applications. With Dynamics 365 Business Central in the Microsoft Cloud, they can benefit from a proven solution that reduces cybersecurity risks and automates ERP tasks while also decreasing IT costs and improving productivity. Business Central also gives your customers greater ability to integrate with other Microsoft Cloud solutions and non-Microsoft applications to further improve the efficiency of business workflows.

    To learn more, check out the joint MSDynamicsWorld presentation by Stratos Cloud Alliance and Microsoft: Migrating to Dynamics 365 – The Why + How. And for assistance on any pending customer engagements involving Dynamics 365 or Microsoft Cloud solutions, reach out to Stratos Cloud Alliance today.