What the Heck is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation?

One of the most common questions we’ve heard from professional services companies lately is: What the heck is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA)?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) solution. It helps professional services companies run their business more productively by bringing people, processes, and automation technology together through a unified experience. PSA is a powerful addition to Dynamics 365 that enables project management capabilities in Dynamics 365.

Simply put, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for PSA unites opportunity management with project planning and management. After the sales and planning stage, Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA excels at handling resource management, team collaboration, time and expense management, customer billing and service analytics.

Dyn 365 PSA

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation

I guess the first pertinent question might be, why do I need PSA? After all, we already have Microsoft Project which is an advanced project management tool! Microsoft Project is a great tool for project managers and in some circumstances, might be the only tool you need, Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA won’t be for everyone! But you will find that Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA has a slightly different focus, it is not “just” about project management. It is more focused on the engagement with the customer. By this I mean it covers the full life cycle of the project right from initial estimate to completion.

SBS Group has partnered with hundreds of professional services clients to help them utilize technology solutions that lower costs, improve visibility and enable efficient allocation of resources. Our solutions for project-driven firms are:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA for companies with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM)
Progressus for small to medium sized companies
AXIO for enterprise companies

All three products are based upon common data services, and interact seamlessly together, and with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Progressus and AXIO run on the back-office ERP side of the business, while Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA is on the front-office CRM side of the business.

We cover this in more detail in our webcast, 5 Reasons Project Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365. Interested in learning which solution is right for your company? Start a discussion with one of our business technology experts today. Contact us for a free evaluation.

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.

 

SBS Group to Launch SalesConnect 365, a New Solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, at Dynamics User Group Summit

Cloud-based technology provides intelligent connections between CRM, email, and calendar systems to provide robust insight into customer relationships and value.

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and solutions firm, is pleased to announce the availability of SalesConnect 365, a revolutionary solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM) leveraging cutting-edge machine learning and analytics. SBS will be highlighting the solution in Booth 311 at the Microsoft Dynamics User Group Summit 2017 being held October 10th–13th at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN.

SBS SalesConnect 365 crawls an organization’s email and calendar systems, intelligently searches and retrieves all useful data about customers and prospects, organizes the information in Dynamics 365 for Sales (or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online), and presents it as actionable knowledge that companies can use to improve close ratios, create more opportunities, and drive more revenue. Sales and customer service team members no longer need to manually enter or associate activities with Dynamics 365 records. SalesConnect 365 provides automatic association giving them more time in front of customers. SalesConnect analytics help improve forecast accuracy, identify customer buying behaviors, and create more sales opportunities.

“SalesConnect 365 captures all customer-facing activities directly from email and calendar systems like Microsoft Office 365 and applies natural language processing, data science, and machine learning techniques to analyze and characterize the level of engagement with leads, accounts, and opportunities in Dynamics 365,” said SBS Chief Solution Strategist, Robbie Morrison. “SalesConnect 365 provides a new level of insight into the nature and value of customer relationships, allowing companies to be vastly more effective at sales and customer service.”

SalesConnect 365 is a cloud-based solution that will works with all major email platforms, including Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, and Gmail from Google. Summit attendees will have the opportunity to sign-up for a free trial of the service.

About SBS Group

SBS Group is a Microsoft Master VAR and Indirect Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) specializing in Microsoft Dynamics solutions and services for companies of all sizes. With more than 3,000 active customers served by over 300 employees across 40 locations in North America, SBS Group is a recognized leader in cloud ERP, CRM, productivity and business intelligence solutions. We simplify the cloud experience and help our customers realize business value faster with SBS Group AXIO solutions for Dynamics 365 and our streamlined RightPath approach. SBS Group is headquartered in Edison, NJ and has been a recognized leader in Microsoft business solutions for over 30 years. http://www.sbsgroupusa.com


To read the full release, click here.

Heads Up Salespeople! Microsoft Takes LinkedIn Integration to the Next Level

As usual, there were a lot of announcements at Microsoft’s Ignite customer conference this week. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote exemplified the broad swath of innovation Microsoft is targeting, touching on how everything from AI and mixed reality to quantum computing and data-ready cloud infrastructure are changing the way we do business.

Microsoft had several announcements around its LinkedIn integration, which is great news for salespeople. You may recall, Microsoft announced its LinkedIn Acquisition last June. Many of us wondered how this would play out in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 space.

Microsoft is updating the Dynamics 365 user experience (UX) from a standard LinkedIn widget to a fully configurable integration. LinkedIn InMails and messages will be able to be sent directly from within Dynamics 365 for Sales, and added directly to Relationship Insights as with any other sales interaction. As a result, Dynamics 365 relationship analytics will be expanded to include InMail and PointDrive interactions.

There will also be Relationship Assistant cards triggered with LinkedIn data, so salespeople will be able to natively render profile photos from contact records in LinkedIn. You will also be able to search across Office 365, SharePoint at Microsoft, and OneDrive at Microsoft for LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics 365 sales profile cards if all of the services are connected and integrated. What a timesaver this will be! And salespeople can now visit a prospect knowing all of the LinkedIn connections they have in common, all integrated on their mobile device with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM).

linkedin-dynamics-crm

The goal at Microsoft is to help salespeople create warm leads and relationship sales. With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is a gold mine of information.

You can identify the best way to reach and connect with prospects, including introductions from colleagues that they know and trust and:

  • Focus on the right people with predictive lead scoring
  • Find every member of the buying committee
  • Discover the best path to reach each buyer for a stronger response

Let us know if we can answer any questions about the integration, or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Relationship Sales.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

SBS Group Presented with 2017 BI360 Platinum Partner of the Year Award

Leading Business Intelligence Software Firm Recognizes SBS Group for Excellence in Delivering Solutions

Solver, Inc. named SBS Group as the 2017 BI360 Platinum Partner of the Year Award winner. Solver honored their top partners for demonstrating significant customer impact by delivering the BI360 Suite to help customers optimize their corporate performance management processes.

Solver honored 8 companies for their achievements in 2017, across various partner categories both globally and regionally. Of the more than 300 partners worldwide, these partners were nominated and selected for their excellence in customer service and innovation.

“We are especially excited to announce and recognize our top-achieving partners both in the U.S. and abroad, as last year was deemed our Year of the Partner and we are now starting to see the results,” said Nils Rasmussen, Solver CEO. “Our strong partner channel is the main reason we are expanding domestically and internationally, faster than ever. BI360’s success has everything to do with the partner relationships we have built along with committed, hard-working product experts. On behalf of Solver’s global family, I would like to congratulate and thank our award winners for their achievements in the past 12 months and for their continued dedication and support of Solver and the BI360 product suite.”

“BI360 has been a tremendous solution that cuts across all types of financial and operational reporting, budgeting, and analytics with capability to scale from our smallest to our enterprise level clients”, noted Eric Forgo, SBS Director of BI and CRM. “Because of the integration to each of the four Microsoft Dynamics ERP platforms, the ease of deployment is high and has yielded a very satisfied group of customers. We look forward to growing with Solver to serve our customers and deploy best of breed cloud-based solutions.”

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a Microsoft Master VAR and Indirect Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) specializing in Microsoft Dynamics solutions and services for companies of all sizes. With more than 3,000 active customers served by over 300 employees across 40 locations in North America, SBS Group is a recognized leader in cloud ERP, CRM, productivity and business intelligence solutions. We simplify the cloud experience and help our customers realize business value faster with SBS Group AXIO solutions for Dynamics 365 and our streamlined RightPath approach. SBS Group is headquartered in Edison, NJ and has been a recognized leader in Microsoft business solutions for over 30 years. http://www.sbsgroupusa.com

About Solver
Solver provides BI360, the leading cloud and on premise Corporate Performance Management and Business Intelligence suite for Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, SAP, Intacct, Acumatica, NetSuite and other ERP systems. Solver is a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner and the winner of the Microsoft BI Partner of Year Award and has a presence on the Gartner Group CPM Magic Quadrant. BI360 is sold through a worldwide network of partners and is ideal for companies looking to find a user-friendly, yet highly functional Strategy, Forecasting, Budgeting, Reporting, Dashboard, and Data Warehouse solution to give them deep insight and actionable information across all facets of their organization. For any questions, visit Solver’s website or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

10 Questions Companies Forget to Ask During an ERP Sales Cycle: Part 2

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about the first five questions that companies forget to ask during an ERP sales cycle. This week, we will talk about questions 6-10.

6. How will you, as the ERP provider, help support and foster the change the new software will bring to my organization?

A successful ERP implementation can help your organization streamline workflow and cut costs, but a poorly planned and implemented ERP rollout can severely cost your organization, in terms of lost productivity and delays. Make sure that you properly vet your ERP vendors, and talk to their service people who will be executing the rollout. Conference room pilots and service plans are important.

7. Is every cloud solution the same thing?

The answer to this question is no. There is private cloud, public cloud, hybrid, single tenant, multi-tenant, etc. Microsoft offers a huge amount of services, far richer than any other cloud services vendor. SBS Group works with our customers to customize cloud solutions for your particular needs and wants: private, public or a hybrid approach integrating existing clouds and on-prem.

Is your application suddenly trending on Twitter? Microsoft Azure has a free autoscale feature that can help you during unexpected traffic spikes, by automatically scaling up or down to meet demand, while simultaneously minimizing costs.

cloud-service-typesTop benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. What is it about cloud computing? Why is cloud computing so popular? Here are 6 common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:

1. Cost
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.

2. Speed
Most cloud computing services are provided self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.

3. Global scale
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed, and from the right geographic location.

4. Productivity
On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.

5. Performance
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.

6. Reliability
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.

8. Can you help me understand that a little better?

This question is so important. Make sure that you don’t leave a sales cycle without all of your questions answered. This will help you make the best decision for your organization. Your ERP system is only as good as the data that is in it. So, if you want your ERP implementation to succeed, it is imperative that proper programming and procedural parameters are put in place right from the start to minimize the likelihood of errors. We can help you with this, and we want to make sure that all of your questions are answered.

9. Is it important to decommission my legacy applications?

The answer is a resounding yes. If you do not actively work to decommission applications during the implementation, the result is an ERP system with all of the original legacy applications hanging off of it. Another piece of software that you are paying maintenance and support on, paying for hardware and upgrades, and paying for interfaces back into the core ERP. The point of implementing a new ERP system is to streamline workflow and reduce costs and waste, not increase fees.

10. What does a digital transformation really mean?

There’s a lot of talk about digital transformations these days. According to a recent CIO article, what many CIOs describe as a digital transformation actually isn’t. Mobile apps, AI-based chatbots, analytics and other digital services are often used to augment existing services. Gartner analyst Hung LeHong, whose job includes sussing out whether companies are conducting a “digital business transformation” or a “digital business optimization,” said “In a nutshell, we reserve digital business transformation for companies pursuing net new revenue streams, products and services and business models.” “This can include the creation of new digital business units or digital acquisitions. Sometimes the new business models can lead to ventures in adjacent markets or new industries.”

Microsoft defines a digital transformation as: to grow, evolve, and transform every part of your business to better meet the changing market and needs of your customers. We like to think that’s it.

Let us help you with answering these 10 important questions today. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Enterprise Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

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