Finding the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for your business is a journey, and you'll make many decisions along the way. We're publishing a blog series to help you identify the questions you should be asking as part of your evaluation process, and each installment explores a critical question you need to answer to keep on course. One of the most basic is how to deploy your new solution.

We started examining this issue last week with the question "Does the solution offer the flexibility to deploy both on-premises and in the cloud, or in some combination of each?" This week's question continues to focus on deployment, and pays particular attention to hybrid solutions.

What deployment model is best for my business?

As we noted last week, on-premises and cloud solutions each have their strengths. Read the full post here and follow the broader discussion via Twitter at #ERPONYOURTERMS. When you look at cloud-based ERP solutions, you'll see more differences between private and public offerings. Public clouds may be hard to beat for initial cost, but private clouds can often tell a stronger security and customization story and potentially have a lower total cost of ownership over time.

Combining the strengths of different models to create the best ERP solution for your business is where the hybrid model comes in. Following this approach means you'll choose different deployment models for different business requirements. Here are a few examples.

  • Disaster recovery, up-time, and data backup: If your competitive environment leaves no room for error, you'll probably favor an on-premises or private cloud solution for mission-critical data.
  • Control of data: On-premises ERP deployment allows the most control, but may also be expensive. Don't rule out cloud-based solutions because you're concerned about control of your data-just be sure to choose a provider who will guarantee the control you need. This includes continued access to data and provision of service during any billing disputes that might arise. If you're evaluating a cloud solution vendor, be sure to discuss whether your data would be removed from the cloud if you ever decide to switch to an on-premises solution.
  • Financial considerations: Selecting on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid ERP deployment will have several financial implications-short-term versus long-term, one-time versus recurring, fixed versus variable, expense-related versus capital-related. It's important to keep these straight as you search out the solution that's right for your business. Cloud solutions feature low initial costs and capital outlays, and the opportunity to move fixed costs into the variable column, all of which helps produce an attractive ROI. On-premises deployment might drive a higher total cost of operation, particularly in the first few years, but ranks high on security, control of data, and other measures. The key is to negotiate carefully with cloud solution vendors. Try to get most or all of the "on-premises strengths" that are important to you, for less than an on-premises solution would cost.
  • Security is more critical for product formulas and sales projections than for archived product catalogs. You might opt for a public cloud solution for the catalogs but go with an on-premises or private cloud solution for sensitive material.

Why Microsoft Dynamics ERP?

With the Microsoft Dynamics hybrid model, you can have the best of all worlds: a proven solution, full control over your data, predictable pricing and packaged solutions designed to get you up and running quickly offered through a world-wide network of Microsoft Dynamics partners, the Microsoft technology platform, and an integrated solution that your people will want to use, all deployed in a way that makes sense for your business.

How are our customers deploying? Learn how five different businesses are executing various deployment models to turn their business visions into reality with the help of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions.

Primo Water: Water Distribution Start-up Uses Microsoft Dynamics to Manage Growth and Drive Business Value

Syndiant: Fabless Manufacturer Goes to Market with Support from a Cloud-Based ERP Solution

Bradshaw Group: Printer Parts Distributor Increases Cash Flow and Margins with ERP Solution

CompassLearning: Education Technology Leader Controls Business, Streamlines Finance with Cloud-Based ERP

Pleasant Valley Business Solutions: Government-Contractor Technology Provider Creates More Value with Software Services

Join us again next week for a new blog post that explores another critical question you need to answer to choose the right ERP solution for your business: How does the solution support integration with other line-of-business applications, and with Microsoft Office productivity tools?

 And between now and then ...

 Register to attend the upcoming webcast: "ERP On-Premises or in the Cloud: What's Right for Your Business?"

Read "Deployment in the cloud or on-premises-choose the deployment model that's right for you."

Watch a video on how Microsoft Dynamics and Tribridge make the power of the cloud work for customers.

Jen Dorsey