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.

Best Practices for Activity Management in Office 365 and Dynamics 365

Many of our clients ask us how best to handle the various activities available within the Dynamics 365 suite, especially with the crossover to Office 365. While there are no “set in stone” rules, we have put together some best practices suggestions, based on the functionality available within different programs.

So, the question is… What gets handled where?

EMAIL GETS HANDLED IN OUTLOOK

Outlook, as you can imagine, has far more email tools available than what you will find within Dynamics 365.  While the latest version of Dynamics 365 does include the ability to add Email Signatures to system emails, there is still no comparison to the many millions of tools Outlook offers.

If you set your options correctly in Outlook, you can still access all the special Dynamics 365 fields you need.

TASKS GET HANDLED IN OUTLOOK

Outlook has the best task management tools, such as the ability to set a reminder, ability to record time/mileage/billing info, and a task bar that shows right next to your email. And with the ability to use “Set Regarding” to attach a task to Dynamics 365, this is a win-win situation.

(Need to know more about “Set Regarding” feature? See this blog; Creating a New Record From Your Outlook Inbox.)

APPOINTMENTS GET HANDLED IN OUTLOOK

Okay, I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, and it’s still true that Outlook has the best tools for managing appointments. With advancements in the latest versions of Dynamics 365, even recurring appointments can be tracked in Dynamics 365 using the “Set Regarding” feature.

Working within Outlook, you still have access to all of your Dynamics 365 contacts, as well as special fields from those contact records. Because you’re in Outlook, you have access to your special plug-ins such as Skype for Business. You also have calendar access within your organization to help schedule those time-consuming meetings that everyone loves.

PHONE CALLS GET HANDLED IN DYNAMICS 365

Here’s where Dynamics 365 really starts to shine. Dynamics 365 gives you quick and easy access to a phone call record that has all the fields you need:

  • Is the call outgoing or incoming?
  • Did you leave a voicemail?
  • Is there a follow-up necessary?

If you have your Skype for Business connected to your Dynamics 365 implementation, then you can simply click someone’s phone number and these steps happen automatically:

  • A new phone call record is created, marked as outgoing, with the Contact’s name in the recipient box.
  • A new Skype for Business call is opened, with the Contact’s phone number ready to dial.

For people who love efficiency, Skype for Business is a must-have integration!

INFORMATION UPDATES GET HANDLED…….WELL…….

Information updates are all handled within Dynamics 365. The question is where to put the info so that it gets the most visibility.

Updates to an Account or Contact’s email/phone/address information, that will go in Dynamics 365 directly onto the Account/Contact form.

If it’s a Status update, and you want everyone who is interested in that Account/Contact to see the info, then use POSTS to save the info. Anyone who is “following” that Contact record will see the information. Also, shows on the Dashboard feed.

Temporary information that will only be relevant for a short period of time should be stored in NOTES. The more notes that are added, the further down you’ll have to scroll to find the info. Notes are not easily searchable, nor can they be reported on, and they don’t roll up to the parent record. This format is only good for temporary information, not for information that will need to be easily found at a later date.

If it’s info about action being taken, use TASKS. Task records can be searched, can be reported upon, and they do roll up to the parent record. This automatically gives them better visibility throughout the entire system. The more tasks you enter into Dynamics 365, the more ammunition you can take to your yearly review, to prove to your boss that you really are working hard!

What does it mean for a record to roll up to the parent record?

Let’s talk about the Bird and the Bees… Notice how when 2 of your friends get together and have children, you can see the attributes of the parents in the children? Same thing happens in Dynamics 365.

Account records are the top “parent” record. A contact is a “child” record of an Account record. Opportunities and Cases are “child” records of either an Account or a Contact (or both).

What this means in practical terms is that the “parent” record will show all the activities from the “child” records. This is the reason we suggest attaching emails to the lowest “child” record possible so that it’s visible on both the child record and the parent record.

EXAMPLE: Let’s say you have an email that is attached to Dynamics 365 (using Set Regarding) to an Opportunity record. You can open that Opportunity record and see that email. You can also open the Account associated with that Opportunity and see that email. The reason? Because the Opportunity is a “child” record of the Account’s “parent” record, and that email is rolling up to the “parent” record.

 

HOW/WHEN SHOULD I USE CERTAIN ACTIVITY FEATURES?

EMAIL

When you’re in Outlook and you want to track a message in Dynamics 365, use the “Set Regarding” feature instead of just clicking “Track.” When you use Track alone, you save the email with any contact record that Dynamics 365 can match to any email address in your outgoing email. However, using the Set Regarding does all that PLUS it gives you the ability to attach the email to a different type of record (such as an Opportunity, a Lead, a Case, or a custom entity).

Reminder: always attach the email to the “child” record, knowing that it will roll up to the “parent” record. (See the previous section for clarification.)

MARKETING

Campaigns allow you to manage multiple activities across a spectrum of time, as well as track any responses from the campaign (so you can gauge effectiveness). Want to advertise your monthly special by sending a postcard, followed by an email, followed by a phone call? One Dynamics 365 campaign can coordinate that entire effort, as well as tracking administrative activities and tracking costs.

PERSONAL OPTIONS (FROM WITHIN OUTLOOK)

  

REPORTING ON ACTIVITIES

Reports that come “out of the box” with Dynamics 365 give you loads of info.

  • Filter by activity type
  • Filter by MINE or ALL or TEAM
  • Filter by Status (Open or Closed)
  • Example View: All of MY TEAM’S Closed Activities in this fiscal period

You can also use Views and Charts together to create some really brilliant dashboards or track specific events.

CONCLUSION

There are multiple ways of handling all of these activities. Your best practice is to determine which program has the built-in functionality to give you the most tools possible, then use the integration links Dynamics 365 provides to make it all work together.


Watch Dynamics 365 in action! See how Dynamics 365 can help your business operate more efficiently and effectively.

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SBS Group to Host Dynamics 365 Webcast for Microsoft Partners with MSDynamicsWorld.com

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

SBS Group, a leading information technology services and consulting firm, has announced they will be presenting a webcast with MSDynamicsWorld.com focused on a special program for Microsoft partners to sell Microsoft Cloud Solutions. The webcast will occur Thursday, April 27 at 12 p.m. ET.

The webcast, entitled “Survive the Digital Disruption – Build a Dynamics 365 Practice in 30 Days,” will introduce SBS Group’s Stratos Cloud Alliance, a new program for Dynamics partners looking to expand their breadth of solutions while minimizing investment. The Stratos Cloud Alliance offers three flexible partner models (including a white-label option) where partners can leverage a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, and Partner and Customer Services. 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.

The presenters for the webcast are Joseph Longo, Scott May and Dave Wallen. Longo is the Chief Operating 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://bit.do/D365-30-Days.

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 MSDynamicsWorld.com
MSDynamicsWorld.com, a GuidePoint Media publication, is the leading global independent authority covering the world of Microsoft Dynamics. MSDynamicsWorld.com is the Microsoft Dynamics community’s resource for news, expert advice, tips, best practices, white papers, case studies, and analysis.

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.

Dynamics 365 Questions, Answers, and More Questions

The launch of Dynamics 365 by Microsoft in late 2016 drove a lot of excitement, anticipation and even apprehension within the Microsoft Dynamics reseller channel and customer community.  Some were quite positive and others less so.  One feeling shared by nearly everyone involved was:  Confusion.

Some products were going away completely.  Others became foundational elements to new offerings.  Some didn’t change at all, but their future became suspect.  Even Microsoft employees were confused.  And I’m not referring to the retail assistant working the Microsoft Surface kiosk at the mall.  I spoke with 20-year Microsoft veterans whose current position were focused on Microsoft Dynamics and even they were confused.

And why not?  New products.  New product groupings.  New license models.  New deployment models.  New reseller programs.  New prices.  New database architecture.  New reporting tools.  Man! My first look at pricing included a 70+ slide PowerPoint deck that was wall to wall content.  I attended multiple online meetings where things were explained (those that could be explained…many kinks still needed to be worked out and some decisions weren’t finalized).

Eventually, and with the help of the team at SBS Group, I sorted things out.  The new product groupings, naming and license models started to make sense to me.  I found myself wondering why they hadn’t done this sooner.  Today, most of us who make our living in the Microsoft Dynamics Ecosystem have made friends with Dynamics 365 and the potential it provides our customers.  Apprehension has been replaced by enthusiasm and eagerness to innovate.

Did we forget about you?

After I figured out Dynamics 365, I started to assume that everyone had.  My introductions to the offering became more succinct and my focus centered around the big ideas, like: Common Data Services, PowerBI and the almighty Cloud. These are important, but often it is in answering the most simple questions that provides the best foundation for learning.

Below are a few questions I hear again and again:

What is the difference between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 Financials?

Dynamics 365 has two editions, Enterprise and Business editions. The Enterprise edition is optimized for 250+ employees and includes the capabilities of Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics AX products that existed in market pre Q4CY16. The Business edition is optimized for 10-250 employees and includes Dynamics 365 for Financials. Business edition and is not inclusive of Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV or Dynamics SL.

What is the difference between Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1 and Plan 2?

Enterprise Edition Plan 1 gives you the flexibility to work with any app functionality. Plan 1 includes flexibility to use Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Field Service, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation, and full PowerApps P2. Licensing becomes simpler because all Plan 1 business application rights are included.

Licensing for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Plan 1

Enterprise Edition Plan 2 Plan 2 includes access to Plan 1 functionality plus Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Plan 2 Overview

Why would I need Plan 2?

Plan 2 adds Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations to the Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 for Operations provides cloud-based ERP designed to help your entire enterprise work smarter with connected systems—including financials, demand planning, supply chain management, project management, project accounting, human resource management, retail, and much more.

Where did CRM go?

CRM is alive and well, but is packaged differently since the release of Dynamics 365 Enterprise and Business Editions.  Dynamics 365 delivers the full spectrum of CRM through five individual apps— Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, and Marketing —that work seamlessly together. So you can implement just what your business needs now, and add others as those needs grow.

In fact, if you are a current Dynamics CRM Online customer you’ll find that converting to Dynamics 365 will require considerable thought.  There is no direct relationship between the previous structure and the new structure.  Instead of levels (essential, basic and professional), you’re now providing access to users based on their job function. In the end, it is a better fit all around but reaching out to your partner or Indirect CSP for help will make life much easier.

If Office 365 is part of Dynamics 365, do I get a discount if I already use Office 365?

No.  They are meant to work together, but there are many options for subscribing to Office 365 so these are separate decisions.  Office 365 is a collection of online services designed to work together to provide enterprise-grade, anywhere access to email, file sharing, and online meetings. Office 365 includes features that allow administrators to add users, manage passwords and licenses, and much more. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) takes advantage of the Office 365 administration features to simplify user management. Dynamics 365 (online) users are created and managed in the Office 365 admin center.

A Dynamics 365 (online) subscription doesn’t include Office 365 applications such as Exchange Online or SharePoint Online. You can significantly enhance your company’s online, collaborative experience by integrating Office 365 applications with your Dynamics 365 (online) subscription. However, that requires a separate purchase.

Is Dynamics AX still for sale?

Microsoft has recently extended the mainstream support date of AX 2012 R3 to October 2021. This is perfect for companies who have recently implemented AX 2012 R3 and those requiring more time to migrate to AX7 and Microsoft Azure.

Dynamics 365 for Operations will be available to purchase on-premise starting in June 2017 and a preview will begin in April.  The special caveat to remaining on premise is as follows:  The on-premise data will not benefit from Microsoft’s intelligence capabilities of embedded analytics, machine learning, or other capabilities available to cloud subscribers.

Why are there Dynamics 365 PSA and Dynamics 365 Operations PSA solutions.

We get this question often and have written a blog post just on this topic.  Check it out here “When is Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA) the right fit?”

In a nutshell, it just depends on your business model and the complexity of your project management and project accounting needs.  Companies with more complex project accounting or regulatory requirements are almost always going to opt for project management built around ERP (Dynamics 365 for Operations).  When project management is less complex, but bid management and early cycle scoping are more important, then the Dynamics 365 PSA solution may be a better fit.

What is Microsoft AppSource?

Microsoft AppSource is the equivalent to whatever app library is available on your phone.  When you are looking to add functionality to your mobile device, you click on the Microsoft “Store”, Apple “App Store” or Android’s “Google Play”.  You search, learn, try and ultimate purchase or subscribe online.  AppSource is similar, but for users of Microsoft’s B2B solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365. 

“Microsoft AppSource provides a modern discovery and provisioning system for these solutions. For customers, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to easily find and evaluate the apps from Microsoft and our partners that drive your business. For ISVs, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to market line-of-business (LoB) SaaS apps to business users. Drive discoverability and usage of your apps within an existing global network of business customers through co-marketing opportunities, lead generation and the support of Microsoft’s worldwide ecosystem and sales force. Harness Azure’s leading, secure and intelligent cloud services platform and tools to deliver differentiated apps to customers.”

More Dynamics 365 Questions – Send’em my way!

Obviously, there is no way to answer everyone’s questions in a single blog post…but I would love to give it a shot.  If you have questions about Dynamics 365 or would like to explore new ideas, please feel free to reply to this post.  If I can’t answer your question, you can bet that someone on our team can.

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 investments.  Robbie

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 Announces Partner Tiers for New Stratos Cloud Alliance Program

The Stratos Cloud Alliance assists technology partners in selling Microsoft Cloud Solutions to their client base.

SBS Group has announced the partner tiers for their new Stratos Cloud Alliance program. SBS Group is designated as an indirect provider through Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Formerly called a Tier-2 Distribution Partner, an indirect provider connects Microsoft and resellers of Microsoft’s cloud solutions including Dynamics 365.

Technology partners will be able to partner with SBS Group to help ease the complexity of selling Microsoft solutions. There will be three tiers, or partner levels, for interested technology partners to consider and choose from: Cloud Agent, Cloud Partner and Cloud Merchant.

The Cloud Agent tier is for partners with limited internal resources or who want to offer their customers cloud services as a value-add to their core business. Cloud Agents bring their customers to Stratos, who takes care of the onboarding, billing, administration, and support. The Cloud Agent will receive a recurring commission through the life of the account. The Cloud Partner tier is a true distributor model for partners who want to build a practice based on Microsoft business solutions. Cloud Partners directly manage the entire customer lifecycle including pricing and billing with Stratos providing customer support. Some of the benefits for Cloud Partners include an increased recurring commission and their own co-branded online marketplace. The Cloud Merchant tier is a true distributor model for partners who want to invest in a practice based on Microsoft business solutions as a core business focus. Cloud Merchants directly manage the entire customer lifecycle including pricing, billing, and first tier customer support. Cloud Merchants also have their own custom marketplace with access to Stratos’ entire suite of CSP products bearing their brand as well as receiving a recurring commission. All partner tiers are powered by best-in-class e-commerce capabilities and include dedicated partner teams and support services designed to simplify onboarding and streamline the partner experience.

The Stratos Cloud Alliance (SCA) features a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, and Partner and Customer Services. The SCA offers value-added features and benefits for ERP and CRM resellers, Managed Service Providers, Accounting and Consulting firms.

To learn more about the Stratos Cloud Alliance, visit: http://www.dynamics365partner.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.

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