Microsoft D365’s Got Talent!

We hear about talent a lot. Our TVs are flooded with reality based talent shows—America’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, The Voice, and the list goes on and on. But today we will talk about a different kind of talent that’s has nothing to do with a strong set of pipes or balancing a bicycle on your nose. I am pleased to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent is now available worldwide.

SBS Group Blog post talent

D365 for Talent is a new Human Capital Management (HCM) application that 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.

The Common Data Service is the Microsoft Azure–based business application model and storage mechanism for the Microsoft business application platform. Together with gateways and connectors, it forms the basis of business solutions that are created by using Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow.

Who needs Talent? It starts with the hiring process, where LinkedIn integration drives improved candidate pipeline development and analytics data leads to smarter hiring decisions. Once a new employee joins the company, customized onboarding plans ensure that expectations are clearly communicated and that new hires make the right connections inside the company to support their success.

Dynamics 365 for Talent: Performance Management Initiatives

The solution can tie performance management initiatives directly to incentive schemes, compensation packages, and employee engagement programs. Finally, managers can organize, monitor and analyze employee development initiatives to gauge the organization’s ability to transform today’s employees into tomorrow’s leaders.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent streamlines routine record keeping tasks and automates processes related to staffing your organization. These processes include employee retention, benefits administration, training, performance reviews, and change management. Dynamics 365 integrates seamlessly with LinkedIn Recruiter as well as other Applicant Tracking System (ATS) applications.

Talent

Dynamics 365 for Talent is based around three main concepts: Attract, Engage, Thrive

  • Attract: Hire the best talent faster by having visibility throughout the hiring process. A candidates LinkedIn profile is accessible and actionable within the solution. Interview scheduling can consider a candidate’s availability as well as the hiring team. Calendar invitations can be sent directly from the solution and the interview schedule is visible from either a candidate view or job posting. Hiring managers and interviewers enter feedback, hire/no hire recommendations and offer information. The HR team has one place to oversee the entire process.
  • Engage: Build high-performance agile teams. Customized Pre-boarding and Onboarding processes will set your new hires up for success with customized welcome packages, tracking required documents and first-day preparation. A new hire dashboard can keep your new talent in touch with key contacts and give managers and the new hire the ability to monitor the progress of critical onboarding tasks.
  • Thrive: Maximize the potential of your team. Dynamics 365 offers your talent a self-service approach from common HR tasks to visibility into career paths allowing them the power to drive their own career. It offers managers the ability to present a collaborative experience for learning management and skill tracking. Imagine the benefit of an evaluation process that transforms from an annual event to an ongoing growth experience.

Through Dynamics 365, your organization will have a complete view of the employee experience and allow you to provide your employees with an intuitive experience, your managers visibility and collaboration, and allow HR to deliver impactful programs.

Let us know if you’d like to learn more about Dynamics 365 for Talent. To sign up for a free trial of Dynamics 365 for Talent, click here!

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

Revenue Leakage in Project-Driven Companies >> Are you working for free?

In a professional services firm or any project-driven company for that matter, everyone knows that the difference between profit and loss can hinge on the slightest changes in some very key metrics.

Accurate tracking of billable expenses, efficient capture of hours delivered, timely billing and hourly rates are just a few of the revenue and profitability challenges that our customers deal with daily.  Inefficient systems and processes often handicap these metrics and result in unrealized billable revenue.

Project and Services companies deal with Revenue Leakage

Unfortunately, most companies are never able to recover unbilled revenue.  Even if a project or services contract allows for hours to be billed down the road, or expenses to be filed later, it is unlikely a customer will be happy about it.  Providing a positive customer experience is just as critical as ensuring that all potential revenue is invoiced.

When revenue opportunities are missed in these ways, we refer to it as revenue leakage – money earned but never collected.

How to approach revenue leakage in project-driven companies

According to Ernst & Young, revenue leakage can account for 1 to 5 percent of anticipated EBITDA being lost.  When was the last time someone said “Ya know, if we increased utilization by 2 points it would impact earnings by 3-4 times that”?  How about this one: “Our DSO is completely unacceptable.  We’re averaging 75 days from the delivery of a service to payment.  Our customers are paying on time, but we’re taking 45-60 days to produce a services invoice.  They aren’t unreliable, we are.”

Revenue Leakage Impact of EBITDA Projections

Changing these metrics is usually easier said than done and requires a measured, cooperative approach between senior management, operational leadership, and delivery teams.  The right technology can provide a platform for improvement, but training and guidance provided on a regular cycle is equally as important.

Identify and understand the leaks.

Take this on as an internal project, but don’t get immediately hung up on fixing the most obvious “leaks”.  Be sure to conduct a comprehensive discovery of related processes and systems that might be hampering the collection of billable revenue.  Estimate the total impact and create realistic goals for getting the correct systems and processes in place.

Plug the leaks.

As your project kicks off, remember that often multiple issues are interconnected and can be fixed as part of the same sprint.  If the leaks are a result of outdated or inefficient software, you may find that proven systems like AXIO Professional Services or Progressus come with built-in process guidance to help get things on track.

Don’t get too comfortable.

The job isn’t finished when you’re comfortable with the changes you’ve made.  Inefficient processes tend to develop over time with employee churn or changes elsewhere in the business.  Sometimes contracts or project plans are created that lack governance and become the norm.  You will want to build regular reviews of leading indicators and key metrics that help to alert you when things begin to move in a negative direction.

Be sure you can count on your ERP, PSA and CRM solutions.

Most companies, large and small, depend on a symphony of solutions to run their business.  Managing revenue streams often depends on multiple solutions being utilized by a variety of individuals that need to work together seamlessly to optimize results.  Consultants and field services people, accounting, billing, and sales people all need to communicate and have visibility into client data.

Join us in an upcoming webinar or visit our on-demand video library to find out how SBS Group has developed the processes, systems, and means of automation to tailor Microsoft Dynamics 365 for project and services companies.   If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions about reducing revenue leakage.

5Reasons_email-400

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

[webcast] Five Reasons Project-Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365

I’ve been asked this question a hundred times in many different ways, but it all comes down to “Why should a project-driven company switch to Dynamics 365?”.  It sounds like a simple question, but the answer can be a little overwhelming.  Of course, that never stops me from venturing an answer.

How is it overwhelming? 

At the risk of sounding like a software sales guy (which I’m not), I’d have to say that the answer is dependent on who’s asking.  The overall value to a traditional professional services firm is different than other project-driven companies, like machinery manufacturers or specialty contractors.  Research companies, government contractors and communications providers all gain massive value in different ways, but all have one thing in common:  Their business success is directly tied to large projects.

5-Reasons-Project-Driven-Companies-Switch-Dynamics365-02-02

A picture is worth a thousand words.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 45-minute webcast should be more than enough to get the point across.  Join me on August 25th, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EST and I’ll do my best to provide an answer to this question.  I’ll be….

  • Sharing the top five reasons we see project-driven companies switching to Dynamics 365.
  • Introducing you to the products our clients utilize to enhance Dynamics 365 for project-driven companies
  • Drilling into contracts management, project management, revenue recognition and other topics critical to project-driven companies.

Who should attend?

This webcast isn’t for everyone, but it will be of value to just about anyone interested in learning what modern business management systems look like for project-driven companies.   IT leadership, services directors, sales directors and certainly owners and executives will all benefit.

Does size matter?  Yes, but we will be outlining multiple options for large or global enterprise firms as well as SMB firms with less than 250 employees.  Although the implementations for each are distinctly different, the core value and challenges are quite similar.

If your company is planning to upgrade any of their core systems – like ERP, PSA, CRM or even office productivity, you may find that this event holds value.  If you want to know more about the value of “the cloud” or mobile access, then definitely join.

I hope to see you online.  Registration is easy, just click here to RSVP then login to join me on August 25th at 11:00 am Eastern.

5Reasons_email-400

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 products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investRobbie-2017ments.

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

What in the heck does “Digital Transformation” have to do with me?

Right? Until this week at Microsoft Inspire 2017, I had completely given up on living in an era when a phrase would outpace “the cloud” in business and technology circles.  That era hasn’t quite arrived but I believe there is a new and clear contender: “Digital Transformation”. 

I’ve spent the last week in Washington, D.C. with 15,000 of my closest friends and colleagues at Microsoft Inspire 2017 learning about the next evolution of Microsoft’s B2B solutions.  I must say, the event is aptly named.  Everyone seems to be drinking the Cloud Kool-Aid (myself included) and scratching out plans to take the software world by storm in 2018.  The event has, in fact, been inspiring.  Microsoft unveiled a number of new solutions like Microsoft 365, Microsoft Relationship Sales and the Microsoft Azure Stack.  They’ve even gone to great lengths to remodel their selling and marketing organization to make way for changes in the way businesses will leverage technology in the near future…which leads us back to “Digital Transformation”.

Defining Digital Transformation

I hear the phrase “digital transformation” thrown around on a daily basis, and even at this conference, by people hoping to improve their technology pitch.  More often than not, they’re describing a company’s ability to enhance automation with newer, faster or more comprehensive software.  Sometimes, they’re referring to social media, relationship management solutions or IoT.  They’re all over the board, but I get it.  It is a fairly general phrase taken out of context and one that can be dropped into most conversations with technology buyers.  The fact is, the transformation in question is more about the organization.  Technology is in part, the catalyst.

A quick visit to Wikipedia (always accurate) gives us this definition: “… the total and overall societal effect of digitalization. Digitization has enabled the process of digitalization, which resulted in stronger opportunities to transform and change existing business models, socio-economic structures, legal and policy measures, organizational patterns, cultural barriers, etc.”. (Khan, Shahyan (2017-06-02). Leadership in the Digital Age – a study on the effects of digitalization on top management leadership (PDF) (Thesis). Stockholm Business School.  Shahyan refers to the transformation of business models and the way people or businesses interact as a result of technology, but says nothing about features or functionality

Here is another one: “Digital transformation is a wave of business innovation fueled by cloud technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and data.”.  This one comes directly from Microsoft’s Judson Althoff, EVP , Worldwide Commercial Business.  Althoff’s definition is more closely tied to specific technologies, but still points to “a wave of business innovation” as the actual outcome of digital transformation.

Digital-Transformation-695x391

He goes on to say, “Driving our customers’ businesses forward through digital transformation has opened an estimated $4.5 trillion market opportunity”.  According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, 86 percent of companies view digital disruption as an opportunity.  Companies across every industry are seeking ways to use digital transformation to empower their employees, better engage with customers, optimize operations and transform their products. Leaders recognize that successful transformation depends on their employees and culture, which is why both are at the heart of the offerings we are announcing today.

Interesting take: I’d say the most interesting way to illustrate how different technologies were being brought together to create something new happened early in the week.  Steve Hackman conducted The Capitol Symphonic Youth Orchestras (TCSYO) at Microsoft International Inspire Conference at the Verizon Center.  They performed Viva La Vida with work from Beethoven and Coldplay together to make something completely unique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SFI2xuvd18

Earlier this year, our marketing director authored a post that touched on this subject and quoted Satya Nadella’s definition of Digital Transformation as “the process of taking your company where it stands now and adapting/transforming the way it does business by integrating the technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness.”   I believe that’s spot on.

I see digital transformation as companies evolving the way they operate, or as Satya says “transforming the way they do business”, to be successful in an increasingly digital business ecosystem.  For SBS Group, it often means helping our customers architect their technology environment to support positive digital engagement with their customers, employees and other stakeholders.  It almost always includes helping them take advantage of cloud services available today that outperform the traditional server room.

How Digital Transformation is changing ERP, CRM and other business management systems

When you change how a company does business, you effectively “disrupt” the current state of that business.  Upgrading to a faster system or adding features isn’t really all that disruptive to the business (even though implementations can be annoying for a time).  Replacing an ERP system with a newer, faster system often just results in more efficient automation of the same inefficient processes, or as I have heard and said many times applying technology to bad business processes only results in faster bad processes.

Dynamics 365: It is for this reason, that Microsoft has reimagined their ERP and CRM offerings.  Instead of enormous all-in-one systems that build on top of old ideas, they’ve broken their offerings into smaller systems that can be delivered more efficiently and cost-effectively through the cloud. And, have fundamentally re-architected them to support businesses on a customers’ terms – including mobile devices and broader access to data.

ERP and CRM have been broken into more usable cloud components that can be implemented quicker and at times that make sense to buyers.  Through the common data model, built-in BI, analytics, Flow, IoT and other components all the systems work together as one system.  ERP and CRM are now:

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing
  • Dynamics 365 for Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation
  • Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
  • Dynamics 365 for Retail
  • Dynamics 365 for Talent

Microsoft 365: Just announced this week, Microsoft 365 represents a fundamental shift in how Microsoft will design, build and go to market to address customer needs for a modern workplace.  It’s a more cohesive approach and reflects the shift partners and customers are making — from viewing productivity, security and device management as individual workloads to seeking a comprehensive approach to secure productivity.

Again, what does this have to do with me?

Don’t get caught up in the hype.  Just remember that business are moving quickly to evolve and compete in an increasingly digital ecosystem.  Technology makers, providers and services companies are changing as well.

As you make plans for technology in your company, remember that “digital transformation” is often used as a buzzword, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t represent something important to you.  Think about how your business will need to adapt then look beyond the next versions of your current systems to invest.

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 products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investRobbie-2017ments.

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

Minimize Seasonal Resource Management Challenges with Cloud PSA

Summertime equals family poolside vacations and fun for most, but summer vacations can represent instability in resource management for delivering customer projects. Employees are on vacation, and a decrease in available resources can be challenging.

Progressus-Logo-Transparent

Progressus is next-generation PSA and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the intelligent cloud. It adds advanced project accounting, project management and resource management to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Business Edition to provide the most advanced business management solution for small and mid-sized professional services and project-based businesses.

What professional services businesses need during summer months is to maximize resources and streamline projects. With Progressus, you can:

  • Define resources and setup different skills to plan out the labor budget against a project
  • Setup individual forecasts on resources and measure their performance against the budget
  • Enter project resource budget in the Gantt tool to work with the resource allocations and submit changes to Progressus
  • Securely impersonate another user in order to report hours/expenses for other resources if they have jetted out to Tahiti again

Progressus provides a familiar, easy-to-use interface for forecasting and managing resources or associated project costs.

Common professional services scenarios illustrating benefits of a cloud-based PSA for a business owner:

 

> Responding to a Sudden Influx of Work

When the summer lull is over, small and midsized businesses need to respond quickly when an opportunity presents itself such as onboarding a new client or tackling a new project. Cloud computing can meet these increasing demands in real-time without the burden of purchasing and deploying new software. In addition, it provides new levels of productivity to remote workers or contractors, allowing them to access the system from any location, at any time.

> Difficulty Managing Complex IT Demands

Let’s face it, managing an IT infrastructure can be both complicated and time consuming, especially if it’s not your ‘day job.’ Cloud computing can liberate business owners by removing IT burdens such as upgrading software, addressing integration issues and optimizing performance of the network. It frees up more time to allow business professionals to focus on what they do best – servicing their clients – not managing IT.

In professional services, the only thing constant is change; what happened in the previous quarter does not dictate the needs of the next one. This perpetual state of flux is the primary reason that so many small and midsized businesses are moving to cloud-based PSA systems.

Learn more about Progressus cloud solutions here. Let me know 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 products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investRobbie-2017ments.

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

%d bloggers like this: