Thursday, June 8, 2017
Are you ready to offer hosted Dynamics NAV on Microsoft Azure cloud to your customers? As you already know Microsoft Dynamics NAV can be deployed on Azure in 2 ways:
- establishing your own Microsoft Azure infrastructure or;
- collaborating with a Microsoft Azure infrastructure hosting provider.
What risks do you face when setting up your own Microsoft Azure infrastructure in-house? In this blog post I’ll explain the 5 known risks you should consider when evaluating these two Dynamics NAV on Azure deployment options.
Risk #1: 24/7 availability of knowledgeable resources
How many people will you have dedicated and available to work with Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. This includes analyzing new releases, technology updates, integration capabilities, monitoring as well as ensuring the overall quality of the services. To ensure you provide the service your customers demand for their businesses, you need to have those resources available whenever needed. For example, if NAV stops working and your customer’s users cannot access it while trying to ship goods as a part of their daily business operations, one of your cloud team members needs to be available anytime during a day or night to fix it. If you assign only one person as a resource for your NAV on Azure service, your whole cloud business will depend upon only one human who is not likely to be able to work 24/7, without vacations or sick days. In addition, there is an ongoing challenge to keep that resource within your organization as when this resource leaves your company as does your cloud competency.
Risk #2: Losing business while missing important changes on Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure technologies are consistently evolving, announcing new services and releases monthly. Every month Microsoft sends e-mails communicating new or updated technology features, new version releases or improved parameters of the existing Microsoft Azure services. To stay informed on the happening in the cloud market, dedicated staff should analyze and select relevant information from these Microsoft Azure provided materials. When service improvements have been made, you should be aware of those changes as it may help to improve your existing services or uncover means to new business. As well, if customers request specific needs you’ll already know how to help them enabling you to win more business and grow. This means you need to consider the costs of research and development activities that accompany this work, especially for the cloud services that are growing the quickest.
Risk #3: Stability and availability of the environment
To ensure stable performance, availability and security of the NAV solution, a primary activity to maintain is the management of the infrastructure monitoring processes. The sufficient monitoring processes requires considerable investment in specific tools, resources and knowledge. Infrastructure monitoring should be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, independent of the number of customers using your Azure infrastructure. Typically, this means heavy investments into the tools and resources to develop and launch this service in the initial phases. If this infrastructure monitoring processes is not available from the start of service, implementation of it later will take greater effort and resources. It may also add additional activities, which may require reconfiguration of your Azure infrastructure. More information of how to ensure efficient monitoring process for your Microsoft Azure infrastructure, you can found in this blog post.
Risk #4: Fluctuating usage and pricing of Azure services
A great risk to you as a service provider is predicting monthly expenses to invoice customers monthly. Usage of Azure services may be different comparing month-to-month as some users may be downloading or uploading more data each month or perform other activities that can grow or reduce your Azure costs. Having few customers can still be a real challenge as your Azure costs can still vary month-to-month. Additionally, we recommend that you have a testing environment to test new features provided by Microsoft, which also adds costs to your Azure usage account. On the other hand, testing may lower costs within Azure if you learn to manage your infrastructure better. However, you need to consider will this compensate the losses you may face while mitigating other risks?
Risk #5: Slow resolution of critical issues
When facing problems within the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure, the timeliness of your issue resolution highly depends on your dedicated team’s knowledge and availability, as well on the level of support you can access from the Microsoft Azure team. Availability of resources who can support these issues also directly relate to costs you incur from having these support resources always available. In most cases, it is likely your experienced team will be able to solve critical issues unless those will be related to cloud infrastructure issues. You should note there is a high correlation between the number of Azure services you use and the level of Microsoft support you can expect to receive. Usually collaborating with an Azure hosting provider eliminates this risk, making the timeliness of issue resolution relatively low risk so that you may respond more quickly to your customers and provide better customer service.
Collaborating with an Azure Hosting Provider: Better together
If you decide to collaborate with an experienced Azure hosting provider you may eliminate all the risks identified in this blog. Partnering with a hosting provider enables you, the Partner, to respond more quickly to technology demands, while avoid the associated risks of building your own infrastructure.
1ClickFactory is the hosting vendor with more than 400 successful NAV on Azure implementations and supported solutions through partnership with Microsoft Dynamics Partners. These have given us deep knowledge on both sides of the NAV on Azure equation: with both Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. We aid Partners by offering a Self-Provisioning for NAV on Azure service that is automated, quick and secure to implement, as well supports any Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution, with any customizations, on Microsoft Azure at a fixed per-user-per-month price.