Forrester Gives Dynamics 365 Highest Possible Score for CRM Product Vision

As a leader in a Microsoft-focused technology firm, it isn’t a big leap to say I’m a fan of Dynamics 365 for sales, marketing and PSA.  I’m clearly not alone.  In addition to 10’s of thousands of buyers, it looks like the analyst community is giving Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 platform high marks.

Microsoft recently shared this new report from Forrester, titled “The Forrester Wave: Sales Force Automation Solutions, Q2 2017”.  In the report, Forrester details how buyers are reshaping modern selling and the tools they’re utilizing.  Forrester wrote, “With all the hype around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Microsoft shows considerable maturity in both its execution and vision for how advanced analytics will transform selling. Customers rate Microsoft’s pace and penchant for innovation very highly. The potential around analytics only improves with its acquisition of LinkedIn.”

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Forrester evaluated solutions for 10 of the leading CRM vendors across a number of criteria and gave Dynamics 365 a near perfect score for their product vision.  The 10 vendors included companies like NetSuite, Salesforce, SAP and Oracle to name a few.  The evaluation included analysis and scoring across 35 criteria and each vendor had to:

  • Offer a solution suitable for enterprise organizations with complex requirements. Each of the products included in this Forrester Wave deliver a broad range of functionality within its core capabilities and provides a platform and business user tools to extend this functionality to meet the unique needs of each of its customers.
  • Provide a solution targeted at multiple industries. Evaluated vendors target buyers across a diverse range of industries and sales models, including B2B, B2C, and B2B2C.
  • Have a product in general release and in use by customers. The solutions have a specific release that was generally available at the time of data collection for this evaluation, with references available for contact.
  • Appear regularly in Forrester customer inquiries. Each of the included applications is of high interest to a large sample of Forrester customers, as evidenced by the frequency of appearance in inquiries.

Data Sources Used in Forrester Wave

Forrester used a combination of three data sources to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.

Vendor surveys. Forrester surveyed vendors on their capabilities as they relate to the evaluation criteria. Once they analyzed the completed vendor surveys, they conducted vendor calls where necessary to gather details of vendor qualifications.

Product demos. They asked vendors to conduct demonstrations of their products’ functionality and used findings from these product demos to validate details of each vendor’s product capabilities.

Customer reference calls. To validate product and vendor qualifications, Forrester also conducted reference calls with three of each vendor’s current customers.

“Microsoft delivers on intelligent seller productivity” – Forrester 2017 Q2 Report

It seems as if the wins just keep coming for Microsoft and the Microsoft customer ecosystem.  Advancements in the product, integration with ERP, marketing and LinkedIn offer deep, demonstrable value for customer seeking to sell and service more effectively.  In an age where “digital transformation” is fast-becoming the most common path to a competitive edge, it seems like they’re on the right track.

Dynamics 365 PSA (Project Service Automation)

In addition to becoming one of the fastest-growing sales, marketing and customer services solutions, Dynamics 365 has made inroads in a long list of industry and specialty areas.  The architecture lends well to free-thinking business leaders and technologists.

Our company is well-know for helping project-driven companies, so Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation is a natural fit for many of our clients.

When is Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA) the right fit?

March 11, 2017 by @Robbie Morrison

“Because it is based on a CRM platform, the solution is fairly flexible and many per-company customizations can be created without back-end programming.  Integration with Office 365 and other Microsoft tools is robust as well.  However, this flexibility comes with a price. While the solution provides strong collaboration benefits between sales and delivery resources, it is most effective for companies with smaller delivery teams and less complex projects.

Features included with Dynamcs 365 for Project Service Automation

Examples of companies that might benefit from Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation are marketing and media firms, light management/consulting firms, smaller IT services firms, and many other white-collar consulting firms.  Although I’m calling out smaller companies, it could be a great fit for large companies as long as their project delivery is still fairly simple.

Think about a company that provides creative design for television ads vs. a consultancy that deploys large, integrated ERP systems.  The latter may take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years and require multiple milestones, different skill-sets and formal call-center or on-site support. Other business that may struggle with CRM-based PSA are Architecture and Engineering, Construction, Software Publishers or even specialty manufacturers.”

Learn more about Dynamics 365

If you’re a Dynamics 365 customer and you aren’t taking advantage of the sales, marketing and customer service offerings, now is the time.  Visit sbsgroupusa.com to watch video demos, testimonials and walk-throughs of the product.  It won’t be long before you’re as big a fan as I am.

Best Regards

Eric

About Eric Forgo

Eric serves as the Director of Business Intelligence and CRM for SBS Group. He is responsible for developing and driving innovative solutions, overseeing related services and ensuring SBS Group customers derive maximum business value from their technology investments.

Eric has spent more than 20 years in the Microsoft ecosystem, holding executEric Forgo, SBS Group Directors BI and CRMive positions with leading ISVs and consulting firms where he led teams in the deployment of Microsoft ERP and CRM. In addition to his technology background, Eric spent the early part of his career in financial management. He is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Boston University with a concentration in Finance.

 

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

Is your Business Project-based and you Don’t Even Know it?

SPI Research has seen a strong trend toward making virtually all work, project-based work. Companies in every industry have turned their focus toward projects. A project focus makes sense as organizations plan work with a beginning, an end, and all steps in between. The key with projects is that there are cost and time associated with every phase or task, and there should also be value delivered. Every dollar spent on an initiative must be tracked to determine whether it was worth the investment.

If we were a project-based company, someone would tell me, right?

Projects are easier to qualify and quantify
A project-based business environment makes perfect sense to executives. Projects begin neat and orderly, with specific start and stop dates, projected cost and expected value. Not a bad way to present yourself to your customers – right? Leading organizations have also incorporated a structured delivery methodology into the project-based work to track everything related to it more closely. This environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI), which in today’s economy has become increasingly important to customers and clients purchasing products and services.

But very few projects go exactly according to plan, as unforeseen conditions, or changes by the customer impact the project or service to be delivered. Those organizations that have taken a project-based approach to work can more easily change the scope of what is to be delivered, as well as its cost and expected change in duration. Again, this gives executives greater comfort in the work being delivered and its value to both the organization delivering it and its customer.

Better tools are now available for customer and client facing organizations
Tools for small and midsized businesses can increase billable utilization, increase profitability per consultant, and increase customer satisfaction as projects are completed more frequently on-time and on-budget. Additionally, Professional Services Automation software increases employee satisfaction, as they better understand what is required of them and the value they must deliver. Companies also have greater financial governance, tracking all costs associated with project delivery and comparing them to the revenue generated.

Progressus – Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 – is next-generation Professional Services Automation and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the Microsoft cloud. Monitor the pulse of your projects, and work smarter. Bring all your data together and create personalized dashboards in seconds. Use predictive analysis to drive informed, data-driven decision making across projects.

Progressus provides all the capabilities needed to manage professional services and project-based businesses of any size – operating in any geography. Functionality spans all the important processes in your firm – resource management, project management, sales and marketing, and financial management – to give you unparalleled insight and control of all of your critical business functions. Built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, it is constructed for cloud and provides role-based clients optimized for any browser or mobile device.

Taking a project-based approach to work will provide executives, employees, customers and clients with greater visibility into work conducted, its cost, revenue, and ultimately value delivered. If you aren’t already using projects to manage your business, consider shifting today. Check out our upcoming webcast, 5 Reasons Project-Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365.

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Best regards,

Dave Drouin
EVP of Professional Services, SBS Group

About David Drouin

David is a graduate of Wharton School of Business with a B.S. in Accounting and Economics.  After graduation, he began a twenty year career in public accounting, including five years as a partner where he built a successful systems advisory practice and managed it as partner-in-charge.

David joined SBS Group in 2006 as the Executive VP of Finance before taking on his current role as Executive VP of Professional Services.Dave Drouin, Executive Vice President, Professional Services at SBS Group

In addition to his business and accounting background, David has strong technical skills which he has leveraged in helping hundreds of small businesses and large enterprises evaluate and implement ERP systems in his nearly thirty years in technology services sector.​

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddrouin

2017 Mid-Year Sales Tax Changes

Repost from Avalara

Dealing with change is standard operating procedure for many companies: employees leave and are hired; new products are introduced and old ones phased out; there are booms, and there are busts. On top of all that, companies need to account for sales and use tax changes. Significant changes in rates, regulations, and product taxability often take effect July 1, which is the start of a new fiscal year in all but a few states.

At the end of 2016, we shared many of the sales tax changes set to occur January 1, 2017. These included state sales tax rate changes in California and New Jersey, the expansion of sales tax to certain services in North Carolina, the prohibition of taxing more services in Missouri, and a bevy of recently enacted soda taxes and tampon tax exemptions. At mid-year, we’re seeing a few propositions that signify a dramatic shift in online sales tax revenue.

States want to collect more tax revenue from remote sales

Perhaps the most notable trend of 2017 is states’ push to obtain tax revenue from remote sales. This isn’t new. States have been working to tax out-of-state sellers for years, but their efforts have been hampered by Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992) — the landmark Supreme Court ruling that a state can only tax businesses physically located within its borders.

In recent years, states have found creative ways to work around the physical presence precedent upheld by Quill. They’re taxing businesses with ties to in-state affiliates and those that generate a certain amount of business through links on in-state websites (commonly known as click-through nexus). Increasingly, they’re also taxing companies with a certain amount of economic activity in the state (economic nexus). Unfortunately for states in need of additional sales tax revenue, these affiliate, click-through, and economic nexus laws are difficult for states to enforce.

Therefore, many states are looking to different and more aggressive approaches. Two methods, in particular, have been gaining steam this year: use tax notification and reporting requirements, and taxes on online marketplace providers such as Amazon and eBay.

Use tax notification and reporting requirements

Colorado paved the way for states to impose use tax notification and reporting requirements on non-collecting out-of-state sellers. After spending years stuck in court, its policy takes effect July 1 — the same date a similar policy starts in Puerto Rico. Vermont recently passed one and made it effective retroactively, on January 1, 2017. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Texas, are considering use tax notification and reporting measures.

Sending annual reports of consumer purchase activity to consumers and state tax authorities is more work for remote retailers, and Colorado and the other states could be using their policies as a back-door approach to getting out-of-state companies to register and collect. Even if companies choose to not take that route, use tax reporting should help states increase their use tax collections.

sales tax

Taxing online marketplaces

Minnesota is the first state to enact a tax on marketplace providers. HF 1 will take effect at the earlier of July 1, 2019, or when the Supreme Court modifies its decision in Quill — though the effective date could change if Congress passes legislation allowing states to tax remote sales.

North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and a number of other states are also interested in taxing marketplace providers, and their efforts are likely to continue or resume as 2017 wanes. But not all agree it’s a good idea: New York lawmakers blocked Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to tax them earlier this year.

Congress could tackle online sales tax

Federal lawmakers are much preoccupied with tax reform and repealing or revamping the Affordable Care Act. Allowing states to tax remote sales transactions, or definitively preventing them from doing so, seems to be low on their list of priorities. However, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Washington, so a federal solution to the problem of untaxed remote sales should not be entirely ruled out.

Two bills have been introduced that would authorize states to tax certain interstate sales: the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 and the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017.

A bill that would codify the physical presence standard set by Quill and further limit states’ ability to tax interstate sales has also been introduced: the No Representation Without Representation Act of 2017.

Other sales tax changes

Many of the trends seen at the start of the year are continuing as 2017 progresses. Florida has enacted a tampon tax exemption, Seattle a soda tax. Tennessee is lowering the state sales tax rate on food and food ingredients, there are calls to add a statewide sales tax in Alaska, and although he failed to achieve it this session, Governor Jim Justice has been pushing to raise the state sales tax rate in West Virginia. The taxation of services — including online music and movie streaming services — remains a hot and hotly contested topic. And, as always, a plethora of local sales tax rate changes take effect at the start of each new quarter.

Don’t be lulled into complacency during the dog days of summer: There’s a lot happening in the world of sales tax right now. Staying on top of these and other changes will allow you to prepare for them. Download Avalara’s 2017 Sales Tax Changes Mid-Year Update to learn more.

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SBS Group Achieves the 2017/2018 Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics

The company is honored by Microsoft for achieving outstanding sales achievement and innovation.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has achieved the prestigious 2017/2018 Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics. Membership in this elite group is based on sales achievements that rank SBS Group in the top echelon of the Microsoft global network of partners. Inner Circle members have performed to a high standard of excellence by delivering valuable solutions that help organizations achieve increased success.

2017/2018 Inner Circle members are invited to the Inner Circle Summit, taking place in fall 2017 where they will have a unique opportunity to share strategy and network with Microsoft senior leaders and fellow partners.

This recognition of Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics came during Microsoft Inspire (formerly Microsoft WPC), the annual premier partner event, running from July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.. Microsoft Inspire provides the Microsoft partner community with the opportunity to learn about the company’s road map for the upcoming year, establish connections, share best practices, experience the latest product innovations and learn new skills.

“Each year we recognize and honor Microsoft Dynamics partners from around the world for exemplary business performance,” said Frank Holland, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Sales & Partners. “ These award-winning partners represent the top 1% of Microsoft Dynamics partners in terms of sales performance, but their critical impact on the success of our shared customers is what truly stands out. Microsoft is honored to recognize SBS Group for their achievements this past year and for their dedication and support of Microsoft Dynamics solutions.”

SBS Group is dedicated to supplying valuable solutions that help customers realize business value faster by working with them to identify the best solutions and services that accommodate their business needs while excelling in customer satisfaction. By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, the SBS team maintains a strong expertise of Microsoft cloud services and technologies to provide innovative solutions, strong services, and positive business impact to their customers. This is the fifth time this decade that SBS has achieved Inner Circle.

“We are pleased to once again be recognized as part of this exclusive group,” said James R. Bowman, SBS Group’s President and CEO, “This achievement is a result of the tremendous efforts and deep commitment of everyone at SBS Group to delivering great solutions and excellence in serving our employee, partner, and customer communities.”


To read the full release, click here.

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