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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Why and How to Use G/L Budgets

This post is about G/L (General Ledger) Budgets in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC). In particular, the post explores why G/L Budgets are useful and how exactly they can be set, used, updated and otherwise maintained.

First of all, it is worth mentioning that there are different Budgets in D365BC. For example, it is possible to create Budgets for Jobs (projects), Cost Budgets, etc. This post focuses on G/L Budgets as, perhaps, the most frequently used type of Budgets in the system. Such Budgets can be used, for example, to plan various expenses, revenue, etc. G/L Budgets can be created by department (e.g. expenses by department by month), product line and so on based on the Dimensions set up in the Company. Budgets can be set up for different legal entities (Companies). The budgeting periods can be months, quarters, years, etc. Moreover, it is possible to create multiple G/L Budgets within the same Company for the same period of time. This, for instance can be useful if multiple people work on G/L Budgets based on different departments, if multiple versions of the Budget need to be created (e.g. to be presented to the team) and in many other scenarios.

In order to be able to create and use G/L Budgets in D365BC, the following areas of the system must be already set up:

  1. the Chart of Account (COA) – the G/L Accounts that are going to be used in the budgeting process;
  2. the Dimensions that the G/L Budget is going to rely on.

In order to create a G/L Budget, search for the corresponding option in the system Search Box. Once on this Page, choose “+ New” and fill out the “Name” and “Description” Fields and the Dimensions that are going to be used in this Budget:

GL-Budgets

To get down to the Budget details, select the “Process” choice in the Ribbon and press the “Edit Budget” button. The next step is to attend to the “General” and “Filters” FastTabs as explained on the screenshot below:

In order to Export a G/L Budget to Excel or to import it from Excel, users need to select the “Budget” choice in the Ribbon and press the “Export to Excel” or “Import from Excel” buttons correspondingly. This feature can streamline the process of creating a G/L Budget as users can rely on Excel for formulas, text editing, etc.

  • TIP: It is usually a good idea to, at least, start setting up a G/L Budget in the system and only then to export it to Excel for further work. This is going to show how exactly the system structures the data in Excel so that Users can continue following that structure to successfully import it back to the system.

Once a G/L Budget has been created, it can be used for reporting to compare the Budget to the actuals. It is important to note that G/L Budgets can be created at any point of time (e.g. before any actuals are available, while they are being recorded in the system or after they have already been generated) and still be used as intended and without any issues in D365BC. In order to start using a G/L Budget in a report, navigate to the “Account Schedules” Page, select the desired Account Schedule, and press the “Overview” button in the Ribbon. Once on the “Overview” Page, the G/L Budget can be selected on the “Dimension Filter” FastTab as shown on the screenshot below.

  • TIP: It necessary to ensure that the Account Schedule Report Columns (and Lines) are set up to show the Budget, the actual, the variance and other amounts appropriately.

Here’s a video tutorial of the above:

This article and the related video have explored why G/L Budgets are useful and how to use them in D365BC.

At KMicro, we help companies make informed, efficient, and effective decisions related to information technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, to attain desired business objectives. Our consultants analyze business processes to refine, optimize and automate them. We empower organizations and their hard-working teams to save time and money while increasing their positive impact on the world, whatever industry they are in. If you would like to discuss how technology can help attain your business objectives, contact us.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Purchase Orders vs Purchase Invoices

This post is about the key differences between Purchase Orders (POs) and Purchase Invoices (PIs) in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC). Although the discussion focuses on POs and PIs, similar principles are applicable to Sales Orders and Sales Invoices in the system. Which one to choose? How easy it is to use one vs the other? Why one is preferable over the other in some cases. These and other questions are answered in this post.

Before diving into the topic details, it is useful to define a PO and a PI in the context of D365BC:

  • A PO is a financial Document used to inform Vendors of the intended purchase of goods, services, assets, etc. Posting a PO usually results in two things: firstly, receiving goods and services (Posted Purchase Receipts) and secondly, recording the financial implications (Posted PI). These two do not have to happen simultaneously. For example, it is possible to receive goods and services on one date and to record the invoice from the vendor on a different date.
  • A PI is a financial Document used to record financial implications of accounts payable (AP) transaction OR to simultaneously record a receipt and the related financial implications – the keyword in the latter case is “simultaneously” (unlike a PO).

So, what are the differences between the two and which one to use in any given situation, which one is easier? To begin with, it is worth mentioning that POs and PIs are about equally easy to use. However, there are some differences requiring that one needs to be used over the other:

  1. Partial receipts – as can be seen from the definitions above, if users need to be able to accommodate partial receipts (e.g. 21 chairs are ordered and are then received in increments of seven or so over a period of time), the PO functionality is the way to go as one PI can only be used to record one receipt which has to be invoiced at the same time.
  2. Purchase Order Document – if users need to issue a document (e.g. to print or create a PDF) to request goods or services from vendors, the PO functionality is built for the purpose – multiple PO design formats are available out-of-the-box and can be easily modified even further. PIs can be printed (or exported to PDF) too, but they are going to read “Purchase Invoice” which may bewilder some vendors; moreover, the print format of PIs is likely usually requires a substantial redesign to be suitable for external stakeholders meaning more development and consulting hours if PIs are used.
  3. Prepayments – there are situations when vendors require a prepayment (in full or partially). On the accounting side, the prepayment money should be posted to an asset G/L Account till the vendor’s invoice(s) are fully processed, at which point the money moves from the asset Account to other corresponding G/L Accounts. If this is the case, the PO functionality should be chosen as it fully accommodates and automates the process, unlike the PI functionality that lacks the Prepayment feature.
  4. Converting from a Purchase Quote (PQ) – companies using the PQ functionality will find that it can be only converted to a PO which only then results in a PI which effectively means that even if POs are not necessary, users still have to come through the PO step if they convert from a PQ.
  5. Blanket POs – in some industries, it is common to use Blanket POs which, again, immediately can only be converted to a PO.

The list above does not exhaust all the differences between POs and PIs, but focuses on the key ones to help users make an informed decision that is efficient and effective when it comes to purchasing Documents. It should be noted that both POs and PIs can be used by users within the same company, depending on what they need to process – it does not have to be one or the other. For example, it is possible to choose POs for receiving inventory (where partial receipts are expected) and PIs for recording simple transactions, such as utility bills.

In summary, this post has focused on the key differences between PO and PI functionality in D365BC. It has defined a PO and a PI in the system and has discussed when a PO is usually preferable over a PI. It has also been pointed out that both POs and PIs can be used within the same Company for different purposes.

Here’s a video tutorial of the above:

At KMicro, we help companies make informed, efficient, and effective decisions related to information technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, to attain desired business objectives. Our consultants analyze business processes to refine, optimize and automate them. We empower organizations and their hard-working teams to save time and money while increasing their positive impact on the world, whatever industry they are in. If you would like to discuss how technology can help attain your business objectives, contact us.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Why Purchase Quotes Are Useful

This post is about Purchase Quotes (PQs) in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC). In particular, the post explores the rationale and the benefits that PQs bring about and which are sometimes overlooked by companies using D365BC.

First of all, what is a PQ in D365BC?

  • A PQ is the financial Document used as an optional initial step in creating a Purchase Order (PO).

As can be seen from the definition above, PQ is not mandatory in the purchasing process, however, deploying them in some contexts is useful. Below are the key reasons why some companies may find it helpful to use PQs.

  1. Draft PO – some organizations have important processes structured around their POs. For example, the purchasing department may require the creation of draft POs that can be created in great quantities, including by junior team members, easily reviewed and modified before converting to actual POs. A function that fits the need best is the PQ.
  2. Approvals – out-of-the-box approval Workflows in D365BC only allow approving a PO before it is posted, but NOT before it is printed (or, by extension, sent to a Vendor, including as a PDF file). Therefore, companies wishing to get an approval process in place BEFORE a PO is printed have two key options: use PQs OR create a custom approval (e.g. via an Extension or Power Automate). The approval Workflow involving PQs is a no-code user-friendly process and is, therefore, usually preferred. Therefore, companies wishing to approve POs before they are sent to Vendors use PQs.
  3. Team Member license – another advantage of using PQs is the ability to save on license costs. What if a company (e.g. in professional services) has field workers who need to a) be able to use Time Sheets and b) initiate/request a purchase (e.g. to order parts)? The first requirement can be satisfied by the affordable Team Member license, but what about the second one? Only Users with a full (Essentials or Premium) license can generate POs. Interestingly, the solution to this can be PQs as the Team Member licensees can create PQs (which can be converted to POs). At the time of writing this article, the monthly price of an Essential license was $70 USD vs $8 USD for a Team Member license. Thus, a company that has 25 field workers can save $18,600.00 USD per year (($70.00 – $8.00) * 12 months * 25 Users) using PQs; if the company relies on Premium licenses ($100.00 USD per month), the savings are going to be $27.600.00 USD per year (($100.00 – $8.00) * 12 months * 25 Users).
    .

The list above does not exhaust all the different reasons why companies may choose to use PQs, but focuses on the key ones which are, perhaps, most popular. These help optimize the system, enhance the approval process and save on license costs.

Here’s a video tutorial of the above:

At KMicro, we help companies make informed, efficient, and effective decisions related to information technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, to attain desired business objectives. Our consultants analyze business processes to refine, optimize and automate them. We empower organizations and their hard-working teams to save time and money while increasing their positive impact on the world, whatever industry they are in. If you would like to discuss how technology can help attain your business objectives, contact us.

KMicro Offers Microsoft 365 & Azure Cloud Security Services

With Microsoft 365, users can work anywhere on any device at any time, securely and collaboratively. Rapid implementation, and built-in security at every corner make Microsoft 365 the right productivity solution for many organizations. KMicro provides cybersecurity solutions that have been developed as a fully Managed Microsoft 365 Security Service, that will enable organizations to effectively respond to security incidents and realize the full benefits and return on Microsoft 365 security investments. Managed 365 Security will support organizations in staying ahead of threats and protect users, devices, applications, and data. This includes protections against external threats and leaks with Microsoft 365 built-in privacy and compliance tools. Designed as an end-to-end service we provide design, implementation, reliable support, and ongoing monitoring and management covering the main security pillars of Identity & Access Management, Threat Protection, Information Protection, Cloud App Security and Device Protection.

Our approach to managed security extends throughout Microsoft 365 with an end-to-end strategy that integrates in-built Microsoft 365 security controls. Our approach implements security through controls and technologies across six foundational security elements:

  • Identities
  • Devices
  • Networks
  • Microsoft 365 Services (Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive, Intune & Teams)
  • Cloud App Security
  • Data

If you feel like talking to one of our solution specialists, please do not hesitate to fill out the form.

Thank you so much for you interest. One of our solution specialists will be in contact with you shortly.

To learn more about Microsoft 365 and Cybersecurity, click here!

If you feel like talking to one of our consultants, please do not hesitate to contact us on +1 (647) 996.3050 / e-mail: kkhalid@kmicro.com

KMicro is your Expert Partner in Dynamics 365

Are you ready to take charge of your business?

Today more than ever, companies are moving their businesses to the cloud. KMicro helps companies establish performance and efficiency by bringing state-of-the-art solutions that covers every aspect of your business. KMicro offers Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to our customers to offer one the most promising technology for businesses of all side coupled with complete integration across all of the Microsoft products and services.

The Full Microsoft Cloud including the Dynamics 365 business applications brings no code or low code solutions that can be rapidly implemented. As James Phillips mentioned in his article, “Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and the Power Platform on top of what we’re doing with Azure is the core of what we are doing as a company vis-Ă -vis I would say our commercial customers – businesses of all sizes, whether it’s small business, large business, whether it’s in an emerging market or in a developed market.”

https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2019/01/29/the-microsoft-power-platform-empowering-millions-of-people-to-achieve-more/

Microsoft allows partners to easily build bridges between technology and business requirements.

How KMicro compares to other partners?

KMicro is one of the first partners to offer Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform and Cybersecurity internationally. KMicro wants to assure that when you need a solution, it is not only integrated with your other systems but also that is the most secured to used.

KMIcro offers D365 Sales, Marketing, Field Service, Project Operations, Business Central, Supply Chain Management, Finance and Commerce. Not only KMicro sell D365, they also implemented it. We use D365 Sales with opportunity and partner portal. They use D365 Marketing to send emailing and social media. They also implemented D365 PSA for their project management and time entry.

It’s not all to talk the talk, you have to experience it.

To learn more about Dynamics 365 business application, click here!

If you feel like talking to one of our solution specialists, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you so much for you interest. One of our solution specialists will be in contact with you shortly.

Meet KMicro at HIMSS20

Meet KMicro at HIMSS20

KMicro Tech will be exhibiting at HIMS20. Visit us at the CyberSecurity Command Center in booth 400-34.

KMicro partners with organizations to create and establish effective cybersecurity programs. From our state-of-the-art Security Operations Center (SOC), we help protect data, and critical IT infrastructure while ensuring compliance with industry and government regulations. With our expert security assessments that provide insight into weak points and compromises on your network. We support organizations to develop tailored security programs backed by on-call expertise and continuous monitoring. We work to attain visibility into our clients Cybersecurity programs and protection assurance controls across the entire attack surface including IT services, connected devices, assets in the cloud and through security focused third-party and vendor management.

KMicro has partnered and worked with Softchoice on a number of Cybersecurity engagements over the past (2) years that include:

Security Solutions

  • Data Leakage Prevention (DLP)
  • Cybersecurity Framework & InfoSec Development
  • Vulnerability Scanning & Penetration Testing

Cloud Security Assurance

  • Office 365 & Azure Security Benchmarking
  • Identity & Access Management
  • Secure Cloud Data Management

Managed Security Services

  • Security Information & Event Management (SIEM)
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Mobile Device Management

Governance & Compliance

  • Risk Analysis and Management (NIST/ PCI/HIPAA/HITECH)
  • Compliance and Audit Preparedness
  • Incident & Privacy Breach Response
About HIMSS
Global Health Conference & Exhibition brings the world-class education, cutting-edge products and solutions, and unique networking opportunities you need to solve your biggest health information and technology challenges – all at one time, all in one place. Learn more at https://www.himssconference.org/

Managed IT Services Pricing: How Much Should You Expect to Pay for IT Support?

Constantly running into tech problems? Outsourcing your IT support to a managed IT services company can be a lifesaver.

Depending on the type of IT services you need, your contract amount can vary drastically. Managed IT services pricing models are always expanding and becoming more complex. The price you pay depends on multiple factors, such as the size of your business, the type of support you need and how many devices you need to manage.

In this blog, we’ll break down the different managed IT services pricing models, the pros and cons of each and how much you should expect to pay.

How Much Do IT Services Cost?

Different levels of IT support vary in cost because IT services companies understand the need for flexibility.

If you need help desk support, for example, you might wind up paying a flat monthly fee. If you need help with a server migration or other large project, you’ll have to pay a significant upfront cost. For general security monitoring, you might pay a small monthly fee that increases when there’s a breach.

As you evaluate pricing models, one thing you’ll want to look for is scalability. As your business grows, how affordable are these pricing models? How much does a flat monthly fee increase with new users or additional devices, and how easy is it to add new members?

Common Managed IT Services Pricing Models

Here are the five most popular types of managed IT services pricing:

1. À La Carte Pricing Model

An à la carte pricing model is just what it sounds like. Instead of paying for all-inclusive or bundled managed IT services, you’ll pay only for what you need.

Pros: You create your own package of IT services by picking and choosing what your business needs. You only pay for what you get, and there’s no risk that you’ll be paying for additional services you aren’t using.

Cons: If you aren’t sure what you need, you might wind up with the wrong contract or take longer to design the right package of services. And if you need IT services immediately, then taking too long to decide which à la carte services you need could hurt your business.

Ă€ la carte IT services also tend to be pricier because managed services providers mark up the prices to achieve a profit margin.

Pricing: À la carte pricing models will vary from business to business, so the best way to see the pricing for these will be by asking for a proposal.

2. Per-Device Pricing Model

Per-device pricing models allow you to pay for a range of services based on the number of devices your company manages. This includes everything from desktops and laptops to printers and mobile phones.

Pros: Per-device pricing models are easy to understand, and managed IT services companies don’t need a whole lot of information to offer an accurate quote. Plus, per-device models can scale with your business as you add new devices.

Cons: People work on multiple devices these days. Pricing can add up quickly if you don’t recognize which services you’ll need for each type of device. It can also become more complicated as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies come into play more and more.

Pricing: Typical pricing can range from $5 to $100 per month per device.

3. Per-User Pricing Model

Similar to the per-device pricing model, the per-user pricing model requires you to pay for services based on the number of users at your company. The flat fee covers each user no matter how many devices he or she may be using.

Pros: The per-user pricing model is easy to manage when it comes to finances. As you hire new employees, you’ll already know how much to tack onto your IT budget. And no matter how many users you add, the service level you have access to shouldn’t change.

Cons: If your team members don’t require 24/7 network connectivity and don’t need to use multiple devices, this pricing model can rack up unnecessary costs quickly.

Pricing: Typical pricing for this model can scale from $125 to $200 per month per user.

4. Full-Service Pricing Model

A full-service pricing model, also known as the all-you-can-eat pricing model, is a flexible pricing model offered at one flat fee each month. You’ll gain access to a complete package of remote support, onsite support and IT planning services for your entire organization.

Pros: The flat fee allows you to budget your IT support costs for the entire year. You won’t experience any massive billing changes like you might with per-user or per-device pricing models.

Cons: You can still be billed for additional services rendered if you need something outside of the scope of the contract. You also won’t be able to see what each of the individual services costs on its own as a flat-fee model will lump everything together. Lastly, since you can’t pick and choose services, you might wind up paying for services you don’t need.

Pricing: Similar to the à la carte model, pricing will vary from business to business, so it’s best to ask for a proposal.

5. Tiered Pricing Model

The tiered pricing model is the middleman between Ă  la carte and full-service. A managed IT services company will create package tiers that provide different levels of services. For example, a tier-one package might include basic support during business hours, virus removal and monitoring. Tier two could include everything in tier one plus onsite visits and 24/7 support.

Pros: Similar to the à la carte model, you get a choice in what you pay for, but you won’t be overwhelmed by so many options that it’s hard to decide. Tiers are structured based on resources and cost, so you can also easily pick your price point and budgeting based on what you need.

Cons: It’s easy to flock to the cheapest option, which might not be the best decision. It’s important to evaluate what’s offered in each tier so that your company gets everything it needs.

Pricing: Pricing will vary from business to business. It’s best to ask for a proposal or check the company’s website (many businesses will list tiered pricing online).

Find a Managed IT Services Plan That Works for Your Budget

You already have a full-time job, and that’s to focus on your business goals. Evaluating all the different managed IT services pricing models out there shouldn’t be one of them.

If you’ve determined that a tiered package or à la carte services could work for you, then contact KMicro. Our managed IT services experts can help with everything from network monitoring and management to disaster recovery to emergency onsite response. The important thing is that you gain the support you need at an affordable price for your organization.

8 Steps for Creating a Foolproof Data Backup Strategy

Disaster can strike at any moment. Viruses or malware could attack your system, your hardware systems could fail or a natural disaster could strike.

In a worst-case scenario, that disaster could mean the end of your business.

According to FEMA, between 40 and 60 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after a natural disaster. And 90 percent of small companies fail within a year if they can’t resume operations within five days of a disaster.

And it’s not just natural disasters that can close your business. The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, according to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study. These costs include everything from loss of productivity and customers to legal and public relations fees. Most businesses can’t afford these costs — 60 percent of small- to- medium-sized businesses close within six months of a breach.

Creating secure data backup guidelines is essential to protecting your valuable assets and getting your business back up and running in the event of data loss or cybercrime.

Steps for Creating a Foolproof Data Backup Strategy

With the right data backup plan in place, you won’t have to worry about becoming one of the businesses that close following a disaster. Here are the eight steps you need to follow when creating secure data backup guidelines:

Step 1: Assess Your Company’s Backup Needs

Before you can do anything, you need to take inventory of your assets. There’s a lot to think through, so here are a few questions to consider:

  • What information must be kept safe? Quite honestly, you need to protect everything. You don’t want to lose something permanently and find out later that it was more important than you thought. What information do you need to restore immediately? Will you need to recover data? What data will be necessary for reinstating services for clients?
  • Are you prone to disasters? Think about how easy it would be for your system to be at risk. Do you live in an area at risk for natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes? Beyond natural disasters, it’s also necessary to consider hackers. Have your computer systems ever been hacked before? Do your customers have to log in to your system to access applications or services?
  • What type of backup infrastructure do you need? Once you’ve determined your data risks, it’ll be easier to assess your backup infrastructure. For example, if you live in an area with weather-related risks, it might be best to have an off-site backup solution. If you need to recover data quickly, an on-site physical backup could come in handy during an internet outage. And a remote cloud disaster recovery site could help you get back online as if nothing ever happened. No matter what you choose, having a backup infrastructure will help you stay online without losing money along the way.
  • How much storage do you need? Data adds up quickly, so you need to determine how much data you’re going to store and how long you’ll want that data kept on file. If you need to store most of your data long-term, you’ll need plenty of space. One thing to keep in mind is what regulations your company has to follow — many have storage requirements that you’ll need to know and follow.

Step 2: Figure Out the Best Backup Strategy

Once you know what your backup needs are, you need to determine which options are available to you. Here are four common solutions:

  1. Hardware solutions. With a hardware backup, you keep a hard drive onsite. Hard drives are easy to attach to your network, but if they fail, you’ll lose the data. As a result, many companies have multiple backup systems in place.
  2. Software solutions. Software solutions are typically installed directly on your system. You might not need a separate server for it, or you might need to install it on a virtual machine. Backup software is often less expensive than a hardware solution, and it can keep up if your infrastructure changes frequently.
  3. Cloud solutions. Cloud services are, essentially, offsite backup. You’ll be able to run the backup and store it in your vendor’s cloud. Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), another name for this solution, is secure and affordable. The drawback is that companies that house sensitive data may not be able — or allowed via regulations — to use it.
  4. Hybrid solutions. Some companies choose to combine physical and cloud solutions to store their data. Hybrid services allow you to not only have an on-site backup for quick recovery, but also keep data in the cloud should anything happen on-site.

Once you understand which solution is best for you, you’ll need to determine where to store your backups.

  • You can back up your data to tapes, which will be kept at a secure location offsite. They help restore your entire system, but you’ll have to wait for them to be shipped back to you before you can retrieve your information.
  • You can use local or USB disks for individual files and software, but they’re not ideal for networks. If the drive is lost or broken, you’ll lose your backup.
  • You can use Network Attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Networks (SAN) for your network data. They typically make it easy to recover your network data unless a disaster destroys your hardware.
  • You can use the cloud. The cloud requires you to have an internet connection so that your data can be backed up. And some clouds provide options for transmitting large quantities of data if needed. The best part about the cloud is that you’ll be able to access your data anywhere as long as you can connect to the internet.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

As with anything in your business, you need to set a budget. Some backup options are pricier than others. New hardware is going to be pretty expensive, while cloud solutions are more affordable and scalable. Backup-as-a-Service options often allow you to pay monthly instead of up-front, which might be easier on your company’s wallet.

Consider the maximum amount you want to spend on backup expenses, and don’t forget training costs if you need someone in your company to manage the backup.

Step 4: Choose Your Backup Platform

Now that you’ve determined your budget, you can choose which platform solution will work best for you. Since you’ve already evaluated what’s on the market, you might already know what you want or if you’d prefer multiple options.

If you know you’ll have an internet connection if a disaster occurs, a cloud backup might be ideal. You’ll be able to access your data almost anywhere. But if you need a more comprehensive solution for sensitive data, you might not want to rely on the cloud. Regulations might even prevent you from using the cloud due to the security needs of your industry. Instead, you might want a physical off-site backup option in case your office is damaged.

Step 5: Select a Vendor to Assist With Your Backup

Choosing a vendor isn’t always easy. You might want a vendor who can provide all your backup and security services, or maybe you prefer to pick and choose vendors for various needs. And some companies provide training for your employees, which could be helpful should you choose an option where your team is maintaining the system.

Make sure to request a data center proposal from every vendor you consider. Read through each quote and ask for references to find out which services they include, how long the implementation will take, the cost and the vendor’s reputation.

Step 6: Create a Timeline

Whichever vendor you choose should provide you with a data backup strategy timeframe. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a timeline of your own. A timeline will help your company prepare for implementation and ensure your teams are ready to support it.

Think about these tips as you create your timeline:

  • Work with your vendor to determine what resources they might need before jumping in.
  • Determine how long budget approval might take before you begin if needed.
  • Add in additional time for vendor completion. You don’t want a delay to throw your entire timeline off.
  • Schedule hardware installations during off-hours, if possible, to avoid any interruptions to your business.
  • Come up with things you can do to shield your clients from potential delays or create a communications plan so that customers are prepared.

As you create your timeline, build some extra time into each deliverable. If your budget approval is supposed to take a week, allocate a week and a half. That way, if anything unexpected should occur, you’re prepared for setbacks. And if everything goes perfectly, you’ll be ahead of schedule.

Step 7: Create a Recovery Plan

Once your infrastructure is in place, you need a disaster recovery plan checklist. Work with your vendors and team members in charge of backups to create the plan. It might change as your work evolves, so you’ll also need to re-evaluate it every six months or so.

Here are a few things your recovery plan must have:

  • Who must be involved in the disaster recovery
  • What hardware and software must be recovered, and in what order
  • When you must return to normal business operations
  • Where your disaster recovery sites are
  • What outline response procedures to follow
  • How to communicate with customers during the disaster

Step 8: Test Your Backup System

Create a schedule for testing your backup systems. It can be based on a set time (such as every quarter) or take place after specific events, such as after an upgrade or when you add a new application.

You should test how well you can recover an individual file, get your physical servers and databases back online and recover any applications. During testing, you’ll want to watch for any glitches and ensure the restoration process runs smoothly.

Get Expert Data Backup Assistance From KMicro

If you’re not prepared for a disaster, you can lose customers, money and even your business. To keep your company running in top shape, you need secure data backup guidelines to ease your concerns about data loss.

Contact our team at KMicro to learn how we can help you keep your business up and running no matter the type of interference.

Office 365 Vs. Microsoft 365: Comparing Prices, Features and More

It’s easy to get Office 365 and Microsoft 365 confused with one another. And it gets even more confusing when you learn Microsoft 365 includes Office 365. Understanding the differences is essential for determining which capabilities, features and pricing your business needs.

Office 365 is a platform that holds Microsoft’s most sought-after applications, such as Word, Outlook and SharePoint. Microsoft 365, on the other hand, consists of a few different products packaged together under one license.

Microsoft 365 meant for mid-size businesses and enterprises because it includes not only Office 365, but also Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise Mobility + Security to round out all the needs an organization might have.

But these aren’t the only variances. The rest of this blog will break down the products, prices and features of Office 365 vs. Microsoft 365 so you can make the best decision for your organization.

What Is Office 365?

Office 365 is a cloud services platform that combines Microsoft products into a monthly or annual subscription plan. You can use the products online, on-premises or a combination of the two, depending on your needs.

You’re most likely familiar with the productivity-based applications included with Office 365. Here are a few that you’ll find with your subscription:

  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher and Access
  • Outlook and Exchange
  • OneDrive and SharePoint
  • Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business
  • Yammer

Depending on the plan you choose, you may also have access to additional products — it all depends on your organization’s specific needs. As a monthly, per-user subscription, prices range from $5 per user per month up to $35 per user per month. You can also mix and match plans, and you can change your plans when needed.

Office 365 is ideal for small businesses on a more modest budget.

What Is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a bundle of services that includes Office 365, along with Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It also has some machine learning capabilities that make combining the separate licenses more appealing than purchasing each one separately.

Similar to Office 365, you can choose from multiple plans depending on your company’s requirements. Microsoft 365 is split up into different licenses — Microsoft 365 Business, Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Education. The per user, per month subscription plans start at about $20.

Here are the main differences between Business and Enterprise, the two most popular licenses:

Microsoft 365 Business is designed for SMBs with less than 300 users. It’s comprised of:

  • Office 365 suite
  • 1 TB of storage
  • Device management capabilities via Microsoft Intune
  • Fundamental data and app security

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is meant for larger organizations that desire more robust security and device management functionality. It’s broken into three tiers:

  • F1 (for Firstline Workers): Includes Office 365 (minus Access) and basic threat protection
  • E3 (Basic tier): Includes Office 365, basic threat protection and Office 365 Data Loss Prevention
  • E5 (Premium tier): Includes Office 365, advanced threat protection, Office 365 Data Loss Prevention, audio conferencing/phone system, advanced compliance tools and analytics tools

If you’re unsure whether Office 365 or Microsoft 365 is right for you, first ask yourself: do you need all the components included in Microsoft 365? It’s a bundle of existing services, so if you don’t need everything in it, you may be better off buying the services you need separately.

Need Help Moving to Your New Office 365 or Microsoft 365 License?

The more Microsoft comes out with new features and platforms to help businesses thrive, the better off your organization will be. That doesn’t mean choosing the best platform will be easy, however.

Moving to Office 365 or Microsoft 365 isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. You need to consider setup costs, migration requirements and the time it’ll take to make the move.

If you’re not technically savvy or don’t have the resources to handle a migration internally, give KMicro a call.

Our team has the expertise to help you determine which Microsoft products and platforms work best for you. Once you’ve made your decision, we can also step in to help your company migrate to the platform so that you can focus on running your business.

Schedule a meeting with us or dial our number now for more information: 949-284-7264.

What Are the Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Businesses dream of ways to combine customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities into one, easy-to-use management system.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM and ERP solution that offers a full suite of tools to streamline business communication. Its features and functionality are continually improving to meet the needs of sales, marketing and customer service teams.

In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the top benefits of Dynamics 365 and how you can use the platform to improve business processes and gain powerful insights about your customers.

What Is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps mid-market companies facilitate business relationships with customers, prospects and team members. It includes a collection of cloud apps to help manage a variety of business processes, from sales to operations to accounting.

Dynamics 365 gives employees the practical tools they need to be more productive, improve customer relationships and win more business. It also offers executives valuable insights into performance and opportunities through its business intelligence platform.

Because Dynamics 365 combines CRM and ERP capabilities, organizations can effortlessly streamline the way they communicate both internally and with customers.

7 Benefits of Using Dynamics 365

There are tons of CRM products out there – so how do you know whether Dynamics 365 is the right move over competing products?

To help you decide, we’ve compiled seven of the top benefits of Dynamics 365:

1. Easy to Use and Deploy

You can use Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment. It’s simple to manage and deploy in whichever way you need based on your budget and infrastructure.

Since Dynamics 365 is cloud-based, it’s ideal for companies with a BYOD policy. Employees can easily access their Dynamics 365 apps from Outlook, a web browser or any mobile device.

2. Fully Integrates With Microsoft Products

Dynamics 365 easily integrates with other Microsoft products, including the full Office 365 suite. These integrations allow companies to move from Dynamics 365 to Outlook for communication, to Power BI for data analytics or to SharePoint for documentation.

The easier it is to work and move between apps, the less time employees have to spend transferring data between applications and learning new platforms.

3. Reduced Sales Cycle

Dynamics 365 gives sales teams access to a wealth of insightful customer data – whether they’re working in the field or taking a call in the office.

Your team will be able to craft fast responses and deliver information without having to say, “Let me get back to you on that.” And companies gain a complete picture of each prospect’s journey, allowing them to create more targeted selling experiences.

4. Customizable

Dynamics 365 features a variety of modules and built-in workflow tools you can use to automate tasks across sales, marketing, customer service, field service and project service.

If the pre-built tools don’t fit exactly what you need, there’s no need to worry. Dynamics 365 also allows you to modify workflows to meet your needs. Use the customization tools to define additional fields and new objects in the system.

That’s not all you can customize, either. Dynamics 365 has flexible architecture, deployment options and pricing tiers so you can tailor the platform to your budget, team size and KPIs.

5. Enhanced Customer Service Experience

Dynamics 365 collects massive amounts of valuable data on each customer. It analyzes the websites people visit, how they interact with brands, which communities they are a part of and more. Its BI tool can also identify customer sentiments, buying patterns and brand loyalty – data points that can’t be measured quantitatively but are highly relevant to the sales process.

This information helps customer service reps handle each customer interaction on a case-by-case basis. With all this data housed in an accessible location, your reps can connect with customers on a human level and recommend personalized solutions without skipping a beat.

6. Scalability

Dynamics 365 can easily scale up or down depending on your current team size, budget and workload. Dynamics 365, like most other Microsoft cloud products, is based on an easy-to-change monthly subscription.

7. Increased Productivity

Your employees can access just about any kind of data they need with Dynamics 365, so they can work more efficiently and cut down time searching for information. Employees can make better, more informed decisions, and they have all of the tools and insights they need at their fingertips.

Instead of having to access ERP, CRM, data and Office applications separately, users can find everything they need on one platform.

Get the Most Out of Microsoft Dynamics 365 With KMicro

If you’re ready to learn more about your customers, streamline your sales process and improve company-wide efficiency, Microsoft Dynamics 365 might be the right solution for you.

But adding a new platform to your existing infrastructure can be tricky. As Orange County’s #1 IT support provider, KMicro can provide the resources you need to adopt Microsoft Dynamics 365 without a hitch.

From configuration and setup to workflow automation, we’ll teach your organization how confidently leverage Dynamics 365 to improve business relationships and become more productive.

Have questions about Microsoft Dynamics 365? Schedule a meeting with one of our IT experts or call us here: 949-284-7264.