From streamlining business operations to improving reporting, to gathering and organizing insights from data produced during business operations, Microsoft Dynamics does a lot to help companies level up their efficiency and all-round business performance.
The challenge is that all companies are different. Even when working in the same industry, different businesses will have their own unique organizational structures and technology stacks, unique comparative advantages and will have different approaches to maintaining and improving their share of the market. Consequently the Microsoft Dynamics setup that supports their operations has to be tuned to work according to their unique approach.
This tuning takes quite some effort. It demands a good understanding of the business, as well as a thorough grasp of the technicalities involved in setting up Microsoft Dynamics to work the way you want it to. Companies typically take two routes to achieve these goals: an in-house Microsoft Dynamics Team or using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Managed Services.
Let’s take a look at these options.
Challenges of Building an In-house Microsoft Dynamics Team
Having your own dedicated unit of in-house Microsoft Dynamics specialists certainly has its benefits. They know the company, understand your needs from the inside, have a good view of the staff in different roles that interact with the platform, and it’s just easier in general to be on the same page because everyone operates within the same work culture.
However, for any business that goes down this road, there are difficulties to be overcome and different limitations to bear in mind. Many of the challenges pertain to budgetary constraints. Others relate to time, operational limitations, and efficiency considerations.
Are you able to take on additional staff committed entirely to providing Microsoft Dynamics technical support, or will it require current staff taking on additional responsibility? If you decide to hire, are you able to take on the additional overheads beyond remuneration and benefits, like hardware and software licenses, office space, and so on? There is also the time it takes for an in-house team to be recruited and trained to become fully operational with all the skills and understanding necessary to provide the services you need. This involves a significant investment of time and resources.
If you use current staff, are you confident they have the relevant skills and experience to be able to perform more advanced, more complex customizations effectively? With time, they will also need to update their technical know-how. As the technology evolves and improves, your staff will also need to upgrade their knowledge to keep up with the latest developments.
What Are Microsoft Dynamics 365 Managed Services?
The alternative is to use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Managed Services. Your company brings in an external specialized team that will provide support for your Microsoft Dynamics implementation. This way, there is no need for the organization to recruit staff or to invest the time and resources needed to train or upskill their current workforce. Ideally, a highly competent external team will take responsibility for the MS Dynamics set up, maintenance and technical support. The company’s staff can instead focus on their specific business tasks.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Managed Services: Key Features
Dynamics 365 is designed to be a versatile solution. The platform can be modified to suit the needs of different types of businesses. As a consequence, the specifics that Managed Services will offer will vary from business to business. In general, however, the expected deliverables are quite similar:
- Providing training and technical support for users
- Periodic reviews to facilitate optimal operation
- Providing usage reports
- Overseeing system administration
- Managing vendors and third party software
- Ensuring system security
- Providing consultative services on issues like compliance
- Performing system upgrades and updates as necessary
Benefits of Working With a Dynamics 365 MSP
Using Managed Services instead of an in-house team has many advantages. Here are some of the biggest ones:
Easier to manage vendors and 3rd party integrations
Some of the power that Dynamics 356 offers comes from its ability to interface with third party solutions. Depending on your particular configuration, overseeing the administration of these third party add-ons can become a demanding task. Managing these integrations, including things like licenses, communication with the vendor, and the resolution of technical difficulties can be offloaded to a specialized team.
You always stay on top of updates and upgrades
Another argument in the MSP vs in-house debate involves ensuring your installation is running optimally – with the latest technical innovations, and the newest updates available. Having a team whose sole focus is Dynamics 365 gives your company the assurance that they will have an ear to the ground not just for updates and new tech, but also for current security threats and relevant recommendations, best practices, and any pertinent information as it arises.
There are significant cost savings that come from using managed services. Apart from a monthly salary, there are other benefits that full-time employees are entitled to. And beyond that, the cost of training and retraining as the software advances is also a continuous cost consideration. These all add up to put an in-house team beyond the reach of many small businesses. Instead, paying periodic fees to a specialized external team is not only much more cost friendly, it is a predictable expense that can easily be planned for.
Better experience and expertise
Managed services experts, who are exclusively focused on Dynamics 365 installations and technology, have considerable experience and practical know-how. The chances that a support case that arises has been dealt with before is much higher with managed services than it is with an in-house team. This is especially crucial in situations that demand advanced or complicated customisations that an in-house team might struggle with. Relying on proven experts saves your company time, provides guarantees of quality, and relieves you of the expense that comes from finding fixes if your staff do not perform your Dynamics 365 implementation correctly.
Dynamics 365 is meant to work for your business, not the other way round. Altering your business structure in order to accommodate management and administration of the platform takes valuable resources from business operations. This runs counter to the very premise of the platform, which is to enhance your company’s operations, not disrupt them. Taking on managed services allows your company to fully focus on its operations, without distractions.
In-house Implementation: Pros & Cons
|Staff understand business goals, culture, and structure||More expensive|
|In-house teams are completely dedicated to one company||Hiring dedicated staff takes time and resources|
|Less risk of data breaches since data is only accessed by internal staff||May require current staff to take on additional tasks|
|Constant availability without the need to schedule meetings||Staff will require training and periodic upskilling|
Dynamics 365 Managed Services: Pros & Cons
|Higher quality service delivery||Not fully integrated in company culture|
|Lower overall costs||In-person meetings require scheduling|
|Company staff can focus on the business||Teams do not exclusively deal with your company|
|Short on-boarding time compared to hiring staff|
|Extensive experience with different types of support cases|
|Able to handle more complex, advanced implementations|
MSP vs In-house: What to Choose
With all the practical considerations we have gone over, making your choice is a case of determining what best fits your business model, the resources you have, and what the expected timelines are for implementation.
If you have the time and resources, an in-house team certainly has compelling benefits. It gives you complete control and a fully dedicated team working exclusively with your company. However, it requires time and significant investment to recruit a team, train them and get them fully operational. Even then, the scope of their experience may not be as wide as that of a managed services team that encounters challenges from different clients as a regular part of their operations.
Managed services come as a ready-to-go package that you can deploy at short notice. Costs are not only lower, they are predictable. You have greater assurance of the quality of service and the technical ability of the staff to resolve most issues. Perhaps most importantly, it frees up your staff and resources so that you can dedicate them to making your business better. Dynamics 365 functions as it should – facilitating and enhancing business operations without becoming a burden itself.
At the end of the day, the goal is simple – improving the efficiency of your business. Getting Dynamics 365 to help facilitate this is bound to help you build a competitive advantage. However, the effectiveness of the platform is dependent on your ability to get it working as it should. It also depends on your ability to carry out improvements and maintenance over time. The way to achieve all this is to get proven experts on board, with the assurance that they have the skills to carry out the customizations you need, the know-how to give you consultative support, and the ability to help you get the most out of the software.