Part Three: Love Great Plains But Want to Move to the Cloud?

Part Three: Love Great Plains But Want to Move to the Cloud?

This is part three of a three part series where we consider the perspective of an existing customer on traditional Great Plains, and the benefits of using Great Plains with SMB Suite as an alternative to having to learn another cloud ERP system.

The challenge every business faces today is finding a user friendly way of getting a clearer picture of what’s happening in their business. Many businesses rely on Excel for analysis, but it’s hard to get valuable business intelligence because Excel is not designed to do this by itself. The ideal solution would be an easy-to-use solution like Excel that makes it easy to access the right data.

SMB Suite makes achieving this goal much easier because the business intelligence function is built in. The reporting and planning tool is based on Excel with seamless integration into Microsoft Dynamics. The drag and drop reporting design makes it easy to find the data needed with full visibility of the Dynamics data tables built in. The analytics tools help to better understand the financial data by transforming it into easy-to-understand graphs and charts. The results? Employees are more productive, less reliant on IT, and they’re able to build customized reports of the data needed, thus empowering them to make better decisions.

Today employees are connected to the office by mobile devices. However, if the answers they are looking for can only be accessed from the office, it causes the “when I get back to the office I’ll get you that” syndrome.  This can put your business at a competitive disadvantage and at best reduces productivity for everyone. Running Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud helps to solve this problem because information access is no longer confirmed within the walls of the business. The cloud makes it possible for employees to securely access company information using a web browser from anywhere. Of course, just like the on-premise version of Microsoft Dynamics GP, users can only access the data they have permission to see.  The cloud also eliminates the fear of data falling into the wrong hands, because the data is not stored on their device. Moving to the cloud makes the system more accessible, helping to improve customer service and employee productivity. 

As discussed earlier, moving Great Plains to the cloud with SMB Suite also has the added benefit of automatically upgrading your business to the latest version of Dynamics GP. Running on the latest version of the software gives you access to the latest features and capabilities, plus it eliminates the need for application of security service packs and patches.

Compared to traditional on-premise applications, cloud application are easier to upgrade. Unfortunately, many cloud providers can make upgrades problematic. This is because many providers force a mass upgrade on a rigid schedule, which may not be ideal for everyone. For example, your business could be forced to upgrade during the busiest time of the year.

SMB Suite upgrades are less disruptive to business. New version upgrades are scheduled by working closely with the customer to determine the best time for the upgrade. In addition, SMB Suite provides the upgrade in a new instance with a backup copy of the company’s data. Customers can then test drive the new environment before going live. This allows for any customizations to be tested and gives extra time to learn new features. Once the tests are complete and the customer has signed off, everything is moved to new environment. Businesses are much happier with this design because they are able to control the upgrade schedule themselves.

The final benefit of moving Great Plains to the SMB Suite cloud is perhaps the most overlooked: support. Many cloud providers make business application support optional and it is often outsourced. SMB Suite’s Business Success Desk believes critical application support is the key to success. Support for mission critical solutions such as Dynamics ERP are included in the basic subscription price. The support is provided by local Business Success Concierges, with unlimited cases, who are available 24 X 7.

This concludes the three part series examining the benefits of moving from an on-premise Great Plains solution to cloud based Microsoft Dynamics GP. The benefits of the cloud are many — including accessibility from anywhere, plus elimination of IT support and hardware costs.  It’s even more affordable and predictable with subscription pricing.  SMB Suite has the advantage of a fully integrated Microsoft solution with a single monthly subscription that includes all of the benefits of the cloud, plus the implementation, support, and upgrades.

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Steve’s been with SMB Suite since 1998 and has been involved with nearly every aspects of the Company’s business as a strategist, professional services executive, cloud solutions architect, and senior consultant. In his current role, Steve is responsible for SMB Suite’s revenue and oversees the execution of ERP, CRM and BI projects for customers across a broad range of industries. Steve combines his expertise in MS Dynamics GP, CRM and other Microsoft products with a strong foundation in accounting and business to identify gaps and streamline customers’ processes. Prior to co-founding SMB Suite, Steve was previously Corporate Controller for MEHLE Behr and, prior to that, Audit Senior for Ernst & Young. Steve holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Jeremy is responsible for SMB Suite’s technology vision, strategy and implementation and is the architect of the Company’s Dynamics Cloud Platform. Highly adept in every facet of managed services, ERP systems and e-commerce platforms, Jeremy’s expertise spans the implementation and support of business and financial software solutions, as well as the customization and integration of SMB Suite’s cloud ERP technology stack. He holds numerous Microsoft and industry-related certifications, and was primarily responsible for designing the Company’s progressive business services platform in the early days of the Cloud. Prior to SMB Suite, Jeremy served as the financial analyst, systems administrator, and information systems liaison for a $2 billion financial services corporation.

Monty is responsible for SMB Suite’s day-to-day operation and, most importantly, its customers. As a leader, motivator and mentor, Monty creates loyal high performance teams willing to “walk through walls” to accomplish their goals. Prior to SMB Suite, Monty served as President of The Bradshaw Group (TBG), a global distributor, manufacturer, and repair facility for digital printers. In this role, he was the Company’s ambassador to its most important domestic, European and Latin American customers and TBG achieved a best-in-class Net Promoter Score of 74 for its superb customer satisfaction. Prior to TBG, Monty served as the General Manager of Sam’s Clubs three highest grossing U.S. stores and was named Regional Operator of the Year in 1999. Monty holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas Tech University and is an active member of Business Navigators. He has been active in Vistage International, Executives in Action, the Dallas/Fort Worth Retail Executives Association, as well as, A.P.I.C.S., the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management. Monty also volunteers with Hunger Busters and ManeGait, a therapeutic horsemanship organization.

David is a proven financial and information technology professional with expertise in providing business accounting software and computing solutions. He began his career by starting and managing a successful independent consulting practice for several years. He then launched the local systems consulting unit of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Services Group, leading the office into the hi-tech consulting arena. After successfully developing the unit for Ernst & Young, David founded NextCorp (which became SMB Suite in 2013) to serve the business software needs of clients throughout the US. David has made SMB Suite one of the best cloud ERP providers in the industry. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur and leader, he is a software and technology specialist, holding certifications in various Microsoft and other technologies.