5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Microsoft Business Applications Managed Services Provider

Whether you are using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, the Microsoft Power Platform, Dynamics AX 2012 or older versions of Dynamics AX or Microsoft CRM, a managed services contract is worth your consideration.

From giving you access to business, functional and technical experts, to saving you the overhead of an in-house team, outsourcing will ensure your system is maintained and fully optimised. In addition, predictable costs mean easier expense management and fewer hours spent negotiating one-time contracts.

Managed Services for Dynamics 365
These cloud applications empower organisations to outsource their entire business application support function. Remote consultants can take care of everything from user setup to module optimisation and system tuning.

Support Crisis for Microsoft Dynamics AX
Microsoft will soon end support and security updates for Dynamics AX. This presents a challenge for organisations who are not ready to transition to a cloud-based ERP such as Dynamics 365. If you need to find a new managed services provider, look for partners with existing Dynamics AX application expertise who are committed to the product for the long-term.

Key Considerations for Choosing a Managed Service Provider
Before engaging a new partner, business leaders should ensure they are a good fit for the company’s current and future technological and infrastructure requirements, as well as its internal culture. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you need a partner to monitor your system proactively or is a reactive approach good enough?
  • Will they provide long-term support for a legacy platform like Dynamics AX?
  • Might you need professional service support for upcoming projects? Having one provider for managed services, system upgrades, integration and one-time projects is easier and more time and cost-efficient than overseeing several providers.
  • Do they use the same communication channels as your internal teams and stakeholders?
  • Will they collaborate with your internal teams and technical vendors?

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How to find the right Microsoft Managed Service Partner

1. Functional Knowledge
Software expertise should be a given. Those partners with functional skills in finance, procurement, sales and other critical areas should have the additional knowledge to optimise your system for your specific workflows and unique processes.

2. Multi-Channel Communications
A new partner needs to either integrate with your existing ticketing system or recommend something better. Look for one that offers a variety of communications channels such as email, text and other collaborative products that are used at your company.

3. Certified & Experience Teams
Graduate programs sound great until you find the person working on your issues has limited experience. Before you sign up for any managed services program, ask about the credentials, certifications and make up of the management and consulting teams who will support your business.

4. Tiered Plans & Custom Options
These allow you to choose the most appropriate level of service. However, they’re not always a perfect fit because most enterprise solutions have a unique technology stack and set of business processes. A partner willing to add custom support features to a tier and who is willing to adapt as your needs evolve is easier to work with and will provide the flexibility your business requires.

5. Scalability
For some organisations, scalability means 24/7 access to regional experts around the globe. For others, it is the knowledge that their partner has enough skilled personnel to handle problems efficiently and to execute new projects and initiatives.