Cloud Native: The Key to Customizing Features for Your ERP System

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Get the Features You Need in Microsoft Dynamics ERP Using Cloud Native


“Our ERP solution works great for us, really. There’s just one thing we need to change…”


I’ve heard this from clients more times than I can count. You see, there’s no such thing as “ideal” when it comes to an ERP solution. That’s why we get so many RFPs asking for a side-by-side comparison of Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations with <insert other ERP here>. Everyone’s looking for the perfect fit, and it just doesn’t exist.


But does this mean that your company has to compromise and just make do with an ERP that lacks the features you need? Not at all! What you need are custom features, and Cloud Native can help.


Custom ERP Features: Development with Cloud Native

Not too long ago, the thought of creating a custom solution within your ERP was enough to make an IT professional’s head spin. It was expensive, time consuming, and rife with potential support problems. But Cloud Native has changed all that.


What is “Cloud Native,” exactly? According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation:


“Cloud native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.


These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.”


In other words, Cloud Native allows developers to build custom features into an ERP solution without having to actually customize the ERP software package itself.


To clarify, let’s take an example. Imagine you’re reviewing financials in your ERP, and you realize your company is losing money shipping items to incorrect customer addresses. You want to build in the ability to verify a customer address before shipping an item. Now, trying to add this functionality directly into Microsoft Dynamics ERP would be a huge hassle. But with Cloud Native, there’s no need to take that approach.

Rather than grappling with the challenge of developing a solution within Dynamics ERP, Cloud Native involves building a new enterprise service (we can call it AddressValidationService) which is both external to your website and your ERP. Now, customer addresses collected from your website or entered into your ERP system can be validated quickly and easily from a standalone feature. There are major benefits to this approach, including:


  • Better data quality
  • External address validation
  • Improved performance and user experience
  • Real-time access to data
  • Better system focus (your ERP system and your website can focus on their core processes)


...and many more.


Is Cloud Native Expensive? 

At this point, you might be worried about the price tag involved in this kind of custom development. Fortunately, Cloud Native is very affordable.


Here’s the thing: you’re not going in and making changes to a complex, layered ERP system. Instead, you’re developing a single straightforward microservice. The total price tag in this example can be as low as a couple thousand dollars.


Hosting is affordable, too. As I’ve detailed in previous posts about hosting costs, hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. If you use Azure Functions to host the service outlined above, you’re looking at practically no hosting costs whatsoever. And if you opt to go with a solution like Azure App Services, you might pay $50 per month at the most. Considering that per seat costs in your ERP may be $50 per month or more for each individual user, $50 for monthly hosting is a deal.


Another major advantage of Cloud Native is how easy it is to release new features. IT Release Management is often complicated and expensive, and it makes developing custom features time consuming and costly. But with Cloud Native, developers can check their code, test it, and get the results they need without Release Management’s involvement. By avoiding the Release Management process, you can save a lot of money. Think this sounds too risky? Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook regularly roll out features in this manner without any service interruptions.


All in all, custom ERP solutions via Cloud Native don’t have to be expensive. With a few hours of developer work and a $2,000 price tag, the example service above could be ready for release in under a week.


Don’t look for the perfect ERP solution; let us help you build your own! The experts at AKA can customize Microsoft Dynamics ERP to suit your needs. Call us today to learn more.


Want to find out more about AKA’s Cloud Services? Take a look at this video:


Read the full article on the AKA blog to learn more about Cloud Native customization for your ERP system.


AKA specializes in making it easier to do business, simplifying processes and reducing risks. With agility, expertise, and original industry solutions, we embrace projects other technology firms avoid—regardless of their complexity. As a true strategic partner, we help organizations slay the dragons that are keeping them from innovating their way to greatness. Call us at 212-502-3900!

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