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Microsoft Dynamics 365: Understand the Transition to the Cloud

Learn the essential steps to understanding Dynamics 365 licensing and how to effectively choose between the different licensing programs for successful transition to the cloud.

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  • Dave Cooper, Business Process Specialist, CRM Dynamics
  • Tom Amerongen, National Practice Lead, MS Dynamics, Sierra Systems
  • Mazin Abou-Seido, Certified Dynamics 365 consultant, IBS Inc.
  • Five anonymous contributors
  • Your on-premises Dynamics CRM or AX needs updating or replacing and you’re not sure whether to upgrade or transition to the cloud with the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. You’re also uncertain what the cost might be or if there are savings to be had with a transition to the cloud for your enterprise resource planning system.
  • The new license model, Apps vs. Plans and Dual Use Rights in the cloud, includes confusing terminology and licensing rules that don’t seem to make sense. This makes it difficult to purchase proper licensing that aligns with your current on-premises setup and to maximize your choices in transition licenses.
  • There are different licensing programs for Dynamics 365 in the cloud. You need to decide on the most cost effective program for your company, for now and for the future.
  • Microsoft is constantly pressuring you to move to the cloud, but you don’t understand the why or if there is real value in such a strategic move right now, or if should you wait awhile.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Focus on what’s best for you. Do a thorough current state assessment of your hardware and software needs and consider what will be required in the near future (one to four years).
  • Educate yourself. You should have a good understanding of your options from staying on-premises vs. an interim hybrid model vs. a lift and shift to the cloud.
  • Consider the overall picture. There might not be hard cost savings to be realized in the near term, given the potential increase in licensing costs over a CapEx to OpEx savings.

Impact and Result

  • Understanding the best time to transition, from a licensing perspective, could save you significant dollars over the next one to four years.
  • Planning and effectively mapping your current licenses to the new cloud-user model will maximize your current investment into the cloud, and fully leverage all available Microsoft incentives in the process.
  • Gaining the knowledge required to make the most informed transition decision, based on best timing, most appropriate licensing program, and maximized cost savings in the near term.
  • Engaging effectively with Microsoft and a competent Dynamics partner for deployment or licensing needs.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should learn about Microsoft Dynamics 365 user-based cloud licensing, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Timing

Review to confirm if you are eligible for Microsoft cloud-transition discounts and what is your best time to move to the cloud.

2. Licensing model

Begin with a review to understand user-based cloud licensing, then move to mapping your existing licenses to the cloud Users and Plans.

3. Cost review

Use your cloud-mapping activity as well your eligible discounts to estimate the cloud transitioned licensing costs.

4. Analyze and decide

Start by summarizing your choice license program, decide on the ideal time, then move on to total cost review.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is an eleven call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Eligibility and timing

Call #1 - Locate existing license agreement documentation.
Call #2 - Review price sheets and invoices.
Call #3 - Review transition timing options.

Guided Implementation #2 - Licensing model

Call #1 - Review and discuss on-premises to cloud mapping options.
Call #2 - Review the features of the cloud Apps and Plans.

Guided Implementation #3 - Cost review

Call #1 - Discuss additional costs to consider as part of the license transition.
Call #2 - Review current license summary and validate your transition product mapping.

Guided Implementation #4 - Analyze and decide

Call #1 - Discuss and review activity results.
Call #2 - Validate your cost modeler.
Call #3 - Validate transition choice.
Call #4 - Consider competent partner.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Gathering All the Data

The Purpose

  • Understand what you own and what you can transition to the cloud.
  • Learn which new cloud-user licenses to transition to.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • All your licenses in one summary.
  • Eligible transition discounts.
  • Mapping of on-premises to cloud users.




Review eligibility for transition policy.

  • Transition discounts and options.

Summarize your Microsoft agreements.

  • Summary of active Microsoft agreements.

Total all your current CRM/AX licenses.

  • Effective license position of your Dynamics licenses.

Review timing options.

  • Good understanding of the best time to transition.

Map on-premises licenses to cloud users.

  • Mapping of on-premises licenses to new cloud users.

Module 2: Cloud Cost Modeling and Decision

The Purpose

  • Estimate cloud license costs and other associated expenses.
  • Summarize and decide on best timing, users, and program.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Good cost estimate of equivalent cloud user-based licenses.
  • Understanding of when and how to move your on-premises licensing to the new Dynamics 365 cloud model.




Review cloud-license mapping.


Estimate cloud-user license costs.

  • Full cost estimate of cloud license transition with one to three options.

Calculate additional costs related to license transitions.

  • Understanding of additional costs and savings of the transition.

Summarize and analyze your decision.

  • A guided and informed decision for your Dynamics 365 cloud transition.

Member Testimonials

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Search Code: 89855
Published: October 8, 2019
Last Revised: February 3, 2020

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