Driving Transformation: Empowering Microsoft Partners to Lead On-Premises to Cloud Migration

Empowering Microsoft partners for seamless cloud transitions & Dynamics 365 migrations. Read now to learn more!

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    Change may be difficult, but in today’s business world, embracing change is one of the most important things you can do. That is especially true for Microsoft partners and their clients. 

    The most common change many partners have faced in recent years is migrating their clients from on-premises hosting to the cloud—including moves from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365. Driving these transformations will only become more important and time-sensitive in the years ahead as support lifecycles for more and more legacy Dynamics on-premises applications sunset. 

    So, what do you need to know today about your clients’ on-premises Dynamics installations? And what factors should you consider when discussing cloud migrations with them? This article digs into those topics and helps you understand the vital role Microsoft partners and their CSP support must play in the years ahead. 

    Understanding the Current Landscape of On-Prem Dynamics Solutions 

    The initial four versions of Microsoft Dynamics—Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, and SL—rolled out starting in 2001. All were on-premises applications, and each was named after the four companies Microsoft acquired to enhance its ERP offerings. All are still available today under several different on-premises licensing schemes—more on that below. Dynamics GP is the most familiar for Microsoft partners serving small and medium business (SMB) clients. 

    If you have clients running on-premises GP or other Dynamics installations, there are a few license lifecycle end dates approaching you should be aware of. 

    SQL Server 2014 

    July 2024 marks the end of extended support for SQL Server 2014. Past that date, any applications reliant on that version potentially become a security risk. Partners and client IT staff who want to avoid potential security issues should look to act before that milestone. “Action” might mean upgrading to another on-premises backend or, typically more cost-effectively, migrating to cloud infrastructure and applications. 

    Windows Server 

    We are expecting a similar shift on the Windows Server side of the ecosystem. In this case, Windows Server 2012 ends extended support in October 2023. That is certainly something partners need to be thinking about if your environment is currently hosted on Windows Server 2012. If you and your clients, no matter what, want to ensure that they stay secure, a migration to new infrastructure will be necessary. 

    Identifying the challenges and limitations of on-prem Dynamics solutions 

    SQL and Windows Server are just the backend. Partners should be aware of upcoming lifecycle dates for Dynamics—particularly Dynamics GP. 

    Dynamics GP 2013 R2 is already fully out of support. Hopefully, that is not news to any partner clients. Beyond that, Dynamics GP 2015 through 2018 R2 is now in extended support. That means that while partners can still get best-effort support from Microsoft, they cannot expect bug fixes or security fixes. Microsoft will help you as much as possible, but if there are no resolutions, your only next step is upgrading Dynamics GP or potentially looking at a new ERP. 

    The good news is that if your client’s version of Dynamics is still under extended support, you can still purchase more user licenses and different modules. But again, there are no further fixes on the way. 

    Exploring Future Trends in On-Prem Dynamics Solutions 

    The good news for partners is that Microsoft has guaranteed mainstream support for Dynamics GP through 2028.  There will be no changes to their enhancement costs for your existing customers and no new limitations in purchasing licenses or modules. 

    However, no new perpetual licenses can be purchased for new customers as of April 1st, 2025. And no new subscription licenses will be available on April 1st, 2026. So now is the time to start planning how you will intake new clients for Dynamics going forward. 

    If your client is on a GP version not currently supported, upgrades within this on-premises roadmap can be a cost-effective way to modernize their infrastructure. Of course, so too is upgrading them to Dynamics 365 in the cloud, which will also give clients access to the latest generation of AI tools, like Microsoft Copilot. 

    Factors to Consider When Designing a Long-term Roadmap for On-Prem Dynamics Clients 

    It is all good to say you want to transform every client, so they are cloud native as fast as possible, but you need to make several real-world considerations. Your time and resources are limited, and to serve each customer the best, you will need to figure out how and when it is best to manage migrations for each of them. Typically, that means balancing three sets of considerations. 

    Scalability and flexibility 

    How fast do your client’s needs change? Do they deal with seasonal spikes? Are they constantly trying to enter new markets? 

    Understand how volatile your client’s operations are, especially the computing resources they need. The more variables they are, the more they will benefit from shifting to a scalable and flexible cloud computing environment. Prioritize those clients for transformation and move to Dynamics 365 ahead of those with smaller and more stable ERP needs. 

    Security and compliance 

    Many clients try to stick to on-premises solutions because they are concerned about the security and compliance implications of moving data to the cloud. These clients need some additional hands-on time from you to explain just how secure modern cloud platforms are and detail the many industry and government standards they can comply with. 

    Prioritize moving savvy clients who understand modern cloud security capabilities. Give more time to those you need to educate first. 

    Integration and collaboration 

    There is a time and a place for quick wins, but that is not always the case when it comes to cloud transformations. It may seem counterintuitive, but you should prioritize moving customers with more complex and interconnected environments first, as they will see the greatest increase in operating efficiency moving to the cloud, offering more native integration and collaboration options. 

    The challenge, of course, is carrying out large, complex lifts such as this. That is where Microsoft partners come in. 

    The Role of Microsoft Partners in the Ecosystem 

    Partners have a significant role to play in these conversations. Setting priorities and deciding how, when, and what to migrate to are often decisions clients want to leave to partners. There are plenty of opportunities for them to offer honest, straightforward assessments of what a cloud migration to Dynamics 365 will look like for each client. 

    Of course, partners do not need to go alone here. They may want consultant or engineering support to carry out these major lift and shift projects, especially when they have successfully convinced multiple clients to migrate simultaneously. Stratos Cloud Alliance is uniquely positioned to help in those situations. They are available throughout the migration project cycle, from offering background sales support to technical assistance, service customization, and ongoing support. 

    Stratos Cloud Alliance Has Many Success Stories 

    A case study highlighting the supportive role Stratos Cloud provides partners comes from 425 Consulting. They are a Microsoft Partner that successfully assisted a bipartisan public affairs firm in improving their sales and marketing experiences by implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365. 

    Seeking support from Stratos Cloud Alliance for demos and sales of Dynamics 365, 425 Consulting achieved rapid success by first focusing on improving the client’s sales operations, which had been a significant pain point for them. The client was thrilled with the outcome. 

    Stratos Cloud assisted 425 Consulting in implementing a comprehensive Dynamics 365 installation for the client. With the seamless integration of Dynamics 365 Marketing and Sales applications alongside Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft Teams, and other products, the public affairs firm gained the ability to execute personalized marketing and sales journeys across all customer touchpoints. The synergy between these integrated solutions allowed the firm to make quicker, more informed decisions. 

    With Stratos Cloud’s help, 425 Consulting Group further enriched the client’s business operations in the third phase of the project by implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central. This comprehensive end-to-end solution provided the public affairs client with robust capabilities to effectively manage their entire business. 

    Leverage Stratos Cloud’s Partner Resources 

    With Stratos Cloud Alliance, you can offer your customers bundled Dynamics migration packages for their on-premises Dynamics GP implementations. You might have a high volume of simple lift-and-shifts or a single complex migration you need assistance with. Stratos Cloud can provide the sales, technical, and administrative support you need to complete them successfully. 

    Now is the time to drive transformation for your clients with the help of Stratos Cloud Alliance. Reach out today and schedule time with one of our Dynamics 365 migration experts.