The Real Answer to the Question Professional Services Have all Been Asking: Why Budget?

Why prepare a budget?

You may answer:
• My business has been going for many years and I have never had one before.
• I make pretty good money, so why do I need one?
• If I focus on keeping my billable hours up, everything else will take care of itself!
• I watch my debtors and WIP; this is enough to keep everything on track!
• I am a professional, with more than enough on my plate and I don’t have time for this financial stuff. My bookkeeper is on top of all of this.
• I don’t have time for this business planning nonsense. ¹

Many of the professional services firms we work with don’t place importance on budgeting. However, we believe that budgets are enormously important to the operation of your business; not only do they help you manage your costs, but they also help you determine whether your profit goals are within reach and keep you on the right road from month-to-month. In its simplest form, a budget is a detailed plan of future receipts and expenditures. Think of a budget as a tool for providing control. For example, by looking at next quarter’s budget you can anticipate peak periods and schedule stock and labor to handle the sales volume. You can also plan vacations, marketing activities and inventory taking for slow periods.

The resource planning cycle for a company typically consists of planning, budgeting, and forecasting activities. But how is this process different for a professional services company?

Learn how to budget in professional services, and the seven tips and practices for creating a budget that supports your project in our eBook: Why Budget, as well as information about our two professional services automation tools (AXIO for Enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized companies). Let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Dynamics 365 for Talent Even Stronger with Addition of Attract and Onboard Apps

More than 25,000 people descended upon Orlando, Florida, for this week’s Ignite conference, and as usual, there were lots of announcements about product and innovation.

Microsoft announced that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is getting smarter and more customizable with AI enhancements and modular apps designed for specific business processes. Last month I talked about Dynamics 365 for Talent, and now we are pleased to announce that it’s even better. Two new modular apps will be available as part of Dynamics 365 for Talent later this year: Dynamics 365 for Talent: Attract and Dynamics 365 for Talent: Onboard.

Dynamics 365 for Talent: Attract

Integrates data from Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn to help identify qualified candidates and track applicants for positions. The app is designed to profile the most qualified candidates for your company and role, gain insights into the hiring pool, and improve the return-on-investment (ROI) of the hiring process.

Find, interview, and hire the right people

  • Quickly find the talented people you need and deliver more engaging candidate experiences with native integration to LinkedIn and streamlined, collaborative experiences across candidates, recruiters, hiring managers, and interviewers.
  • Simplify candidate evaluation with visibility into LinkedIn profiles throughout the hiring process
  • Improve communication with native integration to LinkedIn InMail and mobile feedback capabilities
  • Streamline interviews using Office 365 to coordinate calendars and set appointments

Dynamics 365 for Talent: Onboard

An onboarding app to help human resources (HR) train new hires and personalize the onboarding process.

Set up new hires for success

  • Help new employees hit the ground running while feeling impactful and connected throughout those first few critical months.
  • Increase productivity by identifying critical contacts and sharing resources and relevant documents
  • Personalize the pre-boarding and onboarding experience with customizable onboarding guides
  • Monitor onboarding success with real-time dashboards

Dynamics 365 for Talent begins to take full advantage of integration with LinkedIn, and is startlingly easy to use. We were able to deploy it within 21 days, and our teams were able benefit immediately. It closes a key gap in the Dynamics 365 ecosystem and will help us empower our employees around the world to be better informed, more connected, and more productive.
Eric Reading
Executive Vice President, Chemonics International Inc.

These two new modular apps join with three other apps: Engage, Learn and Optimize, to round out the D365 for Talent offering. The Human Capital Management (HCM) application is cloud-based and utilizes Microsoft Common Data Services. The Talent application can be licensed as a stand-alone solution or part of the larger Unified Operations Dynamics 365 Plan. Let us know if we can answer questions about D365 for Talent today!

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

SBS Group to Exhibit at AXUG Summit Nashville, October 10-13, 2017, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, TN

SBS Group is proud to announce that it will be exhibiting at the Microsoft Dynamics AX User Group Summit North America conference to be held this week in Nashville, TN, October 10-13, 2017. It’s not too late to register!

Step out from behind your monitor and take your big ideas and love of knowledge-sharing to D365UG/AXUG Summit this fall. For one week each year, we leave behind the world of net-centered chat to power real-life growth between peers and experts in a lively, engaged environment. D365UG/AXUG Summit is the can’t-miss conference for Microsoft Dynamics 365 & AX – giddy up and join us in Nashville!

Microsoft will meet its Dynamics customers with an updated leadership team that has refocused and refined its message around the business application lineup.

Dynamics GP and NAV, as well as the Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM product roadmaps remain a primary draw at Summit, along with opportunities to dive deep into current product capabilities, and Microsoft teams will be on hand to present over fifty sessions and keynotes. But the broader message to customers will emphasize Microsoft’s ability to help companies embrace purpose-built apps that rely on Dynamics, but also transcend it.

There is also a new Executive Program this year, for C-level executives.

SBS Group will be at booth #311 in the Expo Hall – stop by and say hello!
Check out the full schedule.

Check out our solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365/AX, AXIO for Core Financials, Professional Services, and Distribution. We will update you all week with the big announcements at AXUG as we hear them. Also, save the date for Summit EMEA, 24-26 April 2018, Dublin, Ireland.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Young Love, Project ROI and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Do you remember when you first started dating? Young love, holding hands, all of that business. You wanted to make sure that whatever you put into relationships, you would be getting back out of it. Did they make you laugh? Did they have a positive outlook on the world? Where they into the same activities as you? Hey, I did say YOUNG love. Or maybe you have kids who are going through this right now. It’s an investment. The same is true for any investment in life, as well as business.

Businesses are in business to make money. But when it comes to projects, calculating the true value of any project with respect to its impact on margin has always been challenging, mainly due to the ambiguity of turning notions into dollar values.

For instance, training employees will improve expertise and productivity, but how does that translate to bottom-line savings or revenue growth? Spending thousands of dollars on automated systems and software is likely to improve work efficiency, but what’s the dollar-value improvement of that efficiency?

Return on investment (ROI) is a key calculation in answering these questions, as well as showing the project value and its impact on the margin.

In a previous post, we talked about how a project-based environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI). Why is this important? Your customers want to know what their ROI is going to be if they do business with you. And you want to improve project profitability, as well as determine what ROI you are receiving from your own internal projects (when you implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 for instance 😊).

Project ROI

So what is Project ROI? It’s an indicator used to measure the financial savings/gain (or loss) of a project in relation to its cost. Typically, it is used in determining whether a project will yield positive financial benefits, and in turn giving approval to proceed. In six sigma, the formula is:

Project ROI = ((project’s financial gain or loss – project’s cost) / project’s cost)) X 100.

SBS Group has two products for companies who need project management, both based on Microsoft Dynamics 365: AXIO for larger, enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized businesses. Both products help you predict, manage, and track ROI.

axio-for-professional-services

AXIO helps you run your business and projects more effectively with enhanced resource management, invoicing, accounting, revenue recognition, collections, contract management, project budgeting and beyond.

Progressus monitors ROI every step of the way from project setup, budgeting, resource management, cost tracking, and time and expenses.

Let us know how we can help you measure ROI, and if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

Microsoft Ignite Announces AI and Bots to Boot

This is our third post covering announcements from Microsoft Ignite in as many days, but there is a lot to talk about following this conference!

Building off much of what Microsoft unveiled at the Inspire conference in July, the company announced new products and innovations that span Azure, Bing, Office 365, Dynamics 365, Windows 10 S, Microsoft Teams, artificial intelligence (AI), security and threat protection, plus a host of developer announcements around SQL Sever 2017 and beyond.

Yes, we said AI. And bots to boot. This isn’t a science fiction movie plot – it’s a reality for businesses, made possible by Microsoft.

New Dynamics 365 AI solutions, such as chatbots and virtual agents, are designed to augment existing customer support and sales processes with intelligent assistant technology and natural language processing (NLP). These agents are already in production within Microsoft Support operations and in pilot with customers – HP and Macy’s are already using the new chatbot to help handle customer queries so that people can get their responses faster. The virtual agents can also integrate with third-party chat apps through the Microsoft Bot Framework, letting them live in apps such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Slack.

Microsoft also announced a preview of updates to Azure Machine Learning: Azure CosmosDB and Azure Functions. These offer developers and data scientists a new set of AI model management tools leveraging open-source frameworks. The Azure CosmosDB database service and server-less Azure Functions offering lets developers write a few lines of code that can tie ML into Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, database changes, and more.

Use AI to solve business problems

Vision
Image-processing algorithms to smartly identify, caption and moderate your pictures.

Speech
Convert spoken audio into text, use voice for verification, or add speaker recognition to your app.

Knowledge
Map complex information and data in order to solve tasks such as intelligent recommendations and semantic search.

Search
Add Bing Search APIs to your apps and harness the ability to comb billions of webpages, images, videos, and news with a single API call.

Language
Allow your apps to process natural language with pre-built scripts, evaluate sentiment and learn how to recognize what users want.

What does all of this mean for Dynamics 365 users? Better customer service for one. Imagine having AI and chatbots continually trolling the Internet for you to determine if, and how, your customers or prospects are talking about you. You would have the ability to proactively solve customer service problems before they become a PR nightmare.

Let us know if we can answer any questions about these or other announcements from Inspire.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

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