What I Learned From the Microsoft Business Forward

A few weeks ago on May 3rd, Microsoft had a large, customer-facing event/presentation to discuss digital transformation, the future of Dynamics 365 and the evolution of business data. They called it the Microsoft Business Forward. Many Microsoft executives spoke, beginning with Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) who addressed a short keynote to the live audience.

After taking some time to digest the presentation, I thought it would be beneficial to give you my thoughts about what was discussed.

What I learned:

1. Digital Transformation is here to stay – or adapt.

Satya Nadella opened the Microsoft Business Forward by addressing one main point of emphasis – digital transformation. This buzz word has made waves in the technology community over the past year including heavy usage by Microsoft.

So, what is digital transformation? Essentially, it is the process of taking your company where it stands now and adapting/transforming the way it does business by integrating the latest technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Nadella stressed the importance of digital transformation for all companies – large or small. He gave several examples of how companies have used Microsoft technologies to solve big issues that the company was facing. Nadella left the audience with a simple explanation that many large problems or high-level projects start off with a simple solution – such as analyzing data in Microsoft Azure. When insights or solutions are found in that data, the company now has a need to execute on that insight or plan. That’s where digital transformation and specifically Microsoft Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft Cloud solutions come into play.

Bottom line, digital transformation isn’t just a buzz word or a catchy term – it’s here to stay. Today’s market demands innovation; people want their products and services delivered and consumed the way they are used to – digitally.

2. LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you win.

One of the more exciting conversations during the Microsoft Business Forward was about the power of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products – Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, was called on stage to help explain the capabilities of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. He gave the audience the three main features, or value points, of LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

  1. Targeting – It helps you target types companies, and people, that your firm has a history of winning business from.
  2. Understanding Change – LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps sales reps understand changes with industries, companies, and talent faster. This allows sales reps to adjust their strategy to match new contacts and new points of emphasis.
  3. Engagement – Sales reps can engage prospects in new and different ways which allow them to vary their approach and strategy.

Additionally, some details were offered up about the success had when leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator. After performing an A/B Test wand ROI study with Qualtrics, Camplejohn explained that in deals that were closed and won, the sales rep was connected with 3x more people from the prospective company than when deals were lost. Furthermore, sales reps using LinkedIn Sales Navigator closed 20% more business and the deals they closed were 50% larger than those who were not using LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

3. Dynamics 365 for Sales will be a sales rep’s best friend.

Eric Boocock took the stage to present Dynamics 365 for Sales and give the audience a demo of both the desktop and mobile version of the software. He described that one of the best features of Dynamics 365 for Sales is its ability to leverage the data provided in LinkedIn.

You can watch more of this portion of the presentation below to get a look at the interface and operability of Dynamics 365 for Sales.

My takeaway? The interoperability of Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn will continue to be invaluable to sales reps. The ability to create quotes and proposals on-the-go with your phone or tablet is something that can completely change the game for many sales organizations. All in all, the integration of LinkedIn to Dynamics 365 for Sales is a major advantage over Salesforce and Oracle.

What did you learn?

These are just a few of the points that stuck out at me during the Microsoft Business Forward. What were your thoughts? Did you see something that peaked your interest? If so, comment below with your thoughts.

Growth Activities That Can Be Life (And Tax) Changing

Growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, companies expend a great deal of energy and resources deciding which pursuits will move the needle the furthest toward achieving specific goals, and where to prioritize their time and investment.

Oftentimes sales and use tax gets left out of this equation, especially when it doesn’t appear to directly correlate to the task at hand. Certain growth activities, like adding new locations, products, or sales channels, instinctively signal a need to alter sales and use tax compliance practices. With others like financing rounds, acquisitions, or technology platform changes, tax implications aren’t as obvious and therefore are more likely to be overlooked. Yet these are often the situations where compliance strategies can have the greatest and most lasting impact.

growth tax

Below is a brief glimpse of how sales and use tax compliance can come into play for 3 business growth activities that can be life (and tax) changing: financing events, M&A, and technology platform integration projects.  Here’s what you should be aware of when going through these processes.

Financing events

For any financing event, public or private, investors look closely not only at how you plan to grow the business, but also how you are managing it now. Poor sales tax management practices or unfavorable audit outcomes can impact valuation, jeopardize funding, or even nullify deals. High visibility events like funding rounds and IPOs can also bring your business to the attention of state auditors looking to draw in more tax dollars.

Mergers and acquisitions

The meshing together of people, assets, systems, and processes is no simple feat. So, it’s not surprising that business integration issues following M&A transactions are one of the biggest things keeping company execs up at night.  Between due diligence, integration, accounting/financial reporting, and post-acquisition compliance, who has time for the minutia of sales tax? It can be easy to overlook tax obligations or liabilities, which can raise red flags with investors early in the process, or with auditors later.

Technology platform changes, consolidations or upgrades

During change events, it’s good practice to evaluate your financial systems and fill any gaps with new solutions or functionality that can advance your growth objectives. For example, tax automation software that unites critical transaction data from disparate systems and processes can alleviate compliance issues during post-merger integrations, reducing audit risk and avoiding delays in closing the books.

Download the complete whitepaper for further insights from leading industry leaders.


Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

SBS Group to Host Dynamics 365 Webcast for Microsoft Partners with Scott Bekker of Redmond Channel Partner

The webcast will discuss the latest Stratos Cloud Alliance initiative – the Stratos Dynamics Digital Transformation program – and how it helps solution providers sell and deliver Dynamics 365.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be presenting a webcast with Scott Bekker of Redmond Channel Partner focused on a special program enabling partners to sell and deliver Microsoft Dynamics 365 in just 30 days. The webcast will occur Tuesday, May 23rd at 2 p.m. ET.

The webcast, entitled “The Dynamics 365 Opportunity for MSP’s and IT Solution Providers – A Turnkey Dynamics Practice,” will introduce SBS Group’s Stratos Cloud Alliance, a new program for partners looking to expand their breadth of solutions while minimizing investment. Additionally, attendees will be introduced to Stratos Cloud Alliance’s new initiative, Stratos Dynamics Digital Transformation (S2DT), a program to help partners build a Microsoft Dynamics 365 practice in 30 days.

“Office 365 disrupted the market for productivity and collaboration solutions and transformed the channel business model. Today, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is blowing up the traditional channel model for ERP and CRM which has created a new opportunity for IT solution providers and managed service providers,” says Bekker. “Microsoft is working with a new indirect provider, the Stratos Cloud Alliance, to assist partners interested in adding Dynamics 365 to differentiate, increase customer stickiness, and open new revenue streams.”

Scott will be joined by SBS presenters Jim Bowman, Scott May and Dave Wallen. Bowman is the Chief Executive Officer at SBS Group; May is the Director of Channel Programs, Stratos Cloud Alliance at SBS Group; and Wallen is the Vice President of Marketing at SBS Group. All three presenters bring over 60 years of Dynamics partner experience combined.

Registration for the webcast is free. To register, visit http://rcpmag.1105cms01.com/webcasts/2017/04/sbs-group-may-23.aspx?tc=page0.

The Stratos Cloud Alliance partners receive best-in-class e-commerce capabilities from a dedicated partner team and access support services designed to simplify onboarding and streamline the partner experience. To learn more about the Stratos Cloud Alliance, visit http://www.dynamics365partner.com.

About Redmond Channel Partner
Redmond Channel Partner (RCP) is an independent advocate for Microsoft partners, including solution providers, managed services providers (MSPs), hosters, cloud partners and independent software vendors (ISVs). https://rcpmag.com.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

SBS Group to Host Microsoft Dynamics NAV Update Webcast

The webcast will discuss the multi-company functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be hosting a webcast focusing on the multi-company functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The webcast is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17th at 2 p.m. ET.

The webcast is entitled, “Multi-Company Functionality on Dynamics NAV,” and will present the multi-company functionality of Dynamics NAV 2017 including intercompany postings and consolidations. Attendees will watch a demo of these features on Dynamics NAV 2017 such as managing accounting activities for subsidiaries.

Diana Harvey and Mary Carrero will be the presenters on the webcast. With SBS Group since 2015, Harvey is a Senior NAV Consultant. Carrero is a currently a Software Consultant at SBS Group, where she joined in 2015. Both presenters bring a great deal of experience in software and ERP consultation.

To register for the webcast, visit http://bit.do/NAV-Multicompany.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

SBS Group to Host Microsoft Dynamics GP Update Webcast

The webcast will discuss the features of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 R2 along with older releases.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be hosting a webcast focusing on the new features of Microsoft Dynamics GP. The webcast is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16th at 2 p.m. ET.

The webcast is entitled, “Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 R2 Features and Benefits” and will present the new features of Dynamics GP 2016 R2 as well as the new updates and features of Dynamics GP 2015 and Dynamics GP 2013. Attendees will watch a demo of the new features of Dynamics GP 2016 R2 including human resources and payroll, web client walkthrough and increased financial capabilities.

Lisa Simpson will be the presenter on the webcast. Simpson has worked with Dynamics GP since 2004. Her main expertise is with GP Human Resources/Payroll and the Financial modules. She is often a presenter of “New Features” at conferences and webinars. Simpson is currently an ERP Application Consultant for SBS Group, where she joined in 2015.

To register for the webcast, visit http://bit.do/GP-Update.

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a national Microsoft master VAR (Value Added Reseller) with Gold level competency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past 30 years, they have been recognized as Microsoft Partner of the Year, Inner Circle Member and Microsoft President’s Club member multiple times. The company is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and operates offices across North America. For more information, please visit SBS Group’s website at http://www.sbsgroupusa.com. Follow us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/sbs-group, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sbsgroup and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SBSGroupUSA.


To read the full release, click here.

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