President’s Update – May

“It’s only worth the time you put in, it all just seems so good the way we had it, back before everything became automatic.” I have to admit when I first heard Miranda Lambert’s new song, Automatic, it hit me kind of hard. Wasn’t I one of those guys that was making things “automatic”? Was Miranda calling me out as contributing to some erosion in our values or our lives?

As my thoughts continued to race, I recognized that her point is not that our lives have been made easier in some respects but that personal relationships and commitments are what separate us from just “texts” passing through the internet and being vested in each other’s lives. The song reverberates that life is only worth something if you invest in it. Simply being handed something is of little value.

At SBS Group that message has been at the heart of everything we do. Our goal to work with you, not just for you signals the commitment we bring to our relationship. We invest in bringing you events like our Post Convergence User Group, Client Summit, and monthly webinars. We provide dedicated account managers who are absolutely vested in making sure your client experience is superb. We believe our relationship is valuable because of the time we mutually invest in it.

Yes, our goal is to help make things “automatic” and we do contribute to retiring some of the “old ways” of doing things. However we do so to support your ability to serve your customers better, faster, etc. If we’re not enhancing that experience then the value we add is moot and the new “automatic” ways are of little value. Part of enhancing that experience includes bringing new capabilities to the business systems you rely on every day.

Those new capabilities, as announced by Microsoft, will soon be coming to you sooner and faster as Microsoft shifts to a 6 month release cycle. Rather than stockpiling new features to be released in big chunks, most Dynamic solutions will shift to releasing small chunks of new capabilities on a more frequent basis. With the goal of being able to upgrade without a massive testing process, the new release strategy will give clients the ability to enhance their upgrade experience.

The first test will be the upcoming Dynamics CRM 2013 release structure as Microsoft plans to release three new updates this quarter, centered on the recent acquisitions of NetBreeze and MarketingPilot. The three releases, codenamed Leo, Subra, and Mira are intended to provide enhanced features for customer care and introduce Microsoft Social Listening (formerly NetBreeze) and Microsoft Marketing (formerly MarketingPilot), respectively. Microsoft released CRM 2013 in early November, meaning these next releases should be expected sometime in early June.

Microsoft Dynamics SL & GP are making the move to the 6 month cycle beginning later this year with the new SL 2015 and GP 2013 R2 releases. SL 2015 will continue the move to web-based clients and both versions will see the elimination of Business Portal. If you missed our Post Convergence event and would like more information on the new release strategy as well an update to the Dynamics product line and roadmap, make sure to contact your SBS Group account manager.

As I continued to play the Miranda’s song in my head, there is one other line that resonated, “Hey whatever happened to, waiting in line, Doing it all by hand cause when everything is handed to you…” To me, this speaks to respect and the value of earning your place in the world. I trust that each time you engage with SBS Group we’re intently focused on earning our stripes to be your trusted business systems partner and that we’re respecting our relationship with hard work and dedication.

Part of earning our stripes is using the same technologies we recommend to you in our own business. We speak from real world experience and offer candid assessments on how you can maximize your use of these technologies. Currently, we are preparing for our upgrade to CRM 2013, training team members on the new SL Web Apps, and implementing Unanet’s Project productivity solution. Unanet is just one of the many Independent Software Vendors that SBS Group utilizes to help improve our resource management processes. While we don’t “do it all by hand”, we do invest significant manual effort to understand the real world implications of our solutions on businesses like yours.

One other way we work to earn our stripes is by continually looking for easier ways for you to research and evaluate new solutions. Our most recent addition to this effort is our fully dedicated Hardware site, which you can find here, for all hardware needs, including Office 365, Disaster Recovery solutions, and the SBS Group demo program.

While Miranda reminds us the how much has changed in our lives and how things have become easier she also reminds us that without investing in our personal connections, the value we get from our lives is diminished. And while 2014 has been a whirlwind of activity for us at SBS Group, we do want to stop and say “THANKS” for giving us the opportunity to connect with you and helping you reach your business goals. As always, I’m interested in learning how we’re doing – the good and the not so good. I’m easily accessible at JBowman@sbsgroupusa.com. Our continuous improvement is predicated on your feedback and we welcome your input.

Best Regards,

James Bowman

CEO

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