Microsoft unveiled a new incentive program on Tuesday to help enterprises still running its Dynamics ERP and CRM software on premises to move to the cloud.
The Accelerate, Innovate, and Move program (AIM) covers a broad range of on-premises business applications, including Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics SL, and Dynamics 365 Business, Microsoft said. The program was unveiled at the company’s Inspire virtual event for partners and resellers.
As many as nine-tenths of Microsoft’s Dynamics customers are still running the software on premises, according to one estimate. This means they are missing out on cloud-exclusive features such as Dynamics 365 Copilot, which uses generative AI to provide interactive assistance with tasks such as summarising meetings, drafting marketing pitches, or responding to customer service requests.
“Our customers and partners have been telling us that generative AI is giving them a new reason to move to the cloud. They want to embrace the new AI Copilot which we launched recently and this is why we are launching AIM so that we can enable them to move to the cloud faster,” said Emily He, corporate vice president of business applications at Microsoft, in a briefing held before the Inspire event.
“AIM provides qualified customers with access to a dedicated team of migration advisors, expert assessments, investment offers, tools, and migration support,” she said.
As part of the program, Microsoft will provide tools such as the Dynamics 365 Implementation Portal and discounted subscription pricing as part of its expanded Bridge to the Cloud 2 (BTTC2) promotional offer, He added.
Microsoft has already tested the new program with some enterprise customers. Kodak Aleris and UK-based energy company Viridor experienced immediate cost savings, while Swiss department store chain Manor AG and specialty chemicals company Azelis benefitted by increasing productivity, efficiency and meeting carbon reduction goals, Microsoft said.
Hype around AI Copilot to boost migration program
The AIM program, according to analysts, is a smart strategy by Microsoft that will play a significant role in shaping the company’s cloud revenue stream.
“Microsoft has almost 200,000 customers across CRM and ERP, but Dynamics 365 on cloud currently has about 20,000 customers,” Hyoun Park, chief analyst at Amalgam Insights, said, adding that AIM gives the company a massive opportunity to move a majority its on-premises customers to the cloud.
The introduction of AI Copilot and the hype around generative AI will boost Microsoft’s AIM program as the company can showcase these new capabilities as value-added services along with the inherent benefits of using cloud for core business applications that automatically updates and doesn’t require IT administration, according to Park.
Microsoft’s AIM program is also reflective of how the company has studied the market and has focused on understanding how companies are looking to invest in AI tools in the easiest way possible, said Daniel Newman, CEO of The Futurum Group.
“While I believe some companies have had to invest big in migration programs due to high complexity, I feel Microsoft is leaning more into simplicity and access to AI tools that will be easier to deploy and innovate in the cloud,” Newman added.