Is the Cloud Right for You? Find Out with a Complimentary Cloud Assessment

You may be wondering if it’s time to move Microsoft Dynamics and other legacy systems to the cloud, and it’s a great question many business leaders are pondering at this very moment. Choosing the cloud over on-premises systems introduces many questions and the process can be overwhelming. Making a knee-jerk decision about your cloud options can lead to costly mistakes as noted in the infographic, 3 Painful Mistakes to Avoid When Moving Dynamics to the Cloud.

Make Decisions That Nurture Your Business, Not Hinder It

Business technology is advancing at a remarkable rate and the cloud offers so much promise for many businesses. Cloud solutions are in the headlines and on the minds of business leaders in nearly every industry. You have probably heard from vendors, suppliers or others within your own network that are considering moving legacy systems to the cloud. While there are plenty of success stories, there are also plenty of costly blunders.

Moving Dynamics to the cloud isn’t the right solution for every business. Just because the cloud worked for a vendor or colleague, doesn’t mean your company should take the same path. Choosing just any cloud package, rushing to make the move or making sweeping decisions could lead to costly mistakes. Make the decisions that will nurture your business, not hinder it.

Take A Closer Look at Your Cloud Options (and Business)

Moving Microsoft Dynamics to the cloud can be an overwhelming decision to make, even with a skilled IT department, and you shouldn’t make it alone. But before you look at cloud options, we want you to take a closer look at your business.

  1. Business requirements: First and foremost, outline your specific business operations, strategic plans and goals. Discuss the various departments, processes and data being generated across your organization. Document public and private data, workloads and the users of your business system.
  2. Approach: Determine whether you have private and proprietary data, customer data or other information requiring different levels of security. Do employees need mobile access or will you create secure portals to work closer with vendors, suppliers and customers? How you capture, assess and use your data will impact the cloud options you may choose to deploy or avoid.
  3. Value: Budget is always a consideration, and moving to the cloud often provides added value and reduces costs. You can alleviate many IT responsibilities and find increased overall productivity, among many benefits of moving to the cloud. Work with your cloud provider to talk through the pros and cons of moving to the cloud.
  4. IT function: Not all businesses have a skilled IT department or the time to tend to maintaining business technology. Even with experienced IT staff, you may choose to focus their attention on other business-critical technology and leave backup, security and other routine maintenance to your cloud partner.
  5. Support needs: With any change in business technology, you need to provide training and support to your employees. Training strengthens user adoption, which is necessary for a successful deployment whether on-premises or in the cloud. Ensure your cloud provider offers training and troubleshooting services.

Be Confident with Your Cloud Decision

Making the decision to move legacy systems into the cloud isn’t easy or straightforward. You must first look at your cloud options alongside business needs and goals. The process can be overwhelming, but you aren’t alone in the process.

The experts at SBS Group understand the unique licensing, support and ISV solutions within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 community. With our Stratos Cloud solutions, we know the cloud inside and out and how to provide seamless integrations and infrastructure management across multiple cloud and on-premises environments.

To get started, we invite you to take our complimentary Dynamics ERP Cloud Assessment survey and one of our cloud specialists will contact you to guide you through documenting your requirements to calculating the value and examining your support needs. Let’s work together to find the best cloud solution for your business.

Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM Announcements at Microsoft Summit User Group

At the Microsoft Dynamics 365 User Group Summit 2017 in Nashville, the Dynamics 365 product team walked customers through a range of updates within Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM.

Connecting CRM data with Office, LinkedIn graphs

Within Dynamics 365 Sales, there is an emphasis on “social selling with context,” meaning more bi-directional flow of data between D365, Office and LinkedIn, to round out visibility of a lead or opportunity, and to make it all about relationship sales. Microsoft is using “fuzzy logic” technology to  surface LinkedIn data from Dynamics, and vice versa. Actions taken in Sales Navigator will also filter back to the field and activities of the Dynamics entity. Dynamics 365 leads can also be sent to LinkedIn if the sales rep believes he or she will be better engaged via communications on that platform. Those interactions will be fed back to Dynamics, too, as part of the integration.

Azure Advancements

Microsoft noted advances in the use of Azure-based analytical tools for the benefit of Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM customers. The team is updating Customer Insights with segmentation, lead scoring, conflation analysis (duplicate matching), and other machine learning capabilities.

Customer Insights: Engage your customers with intelligent insights
Understand your customers to better engage them through intelligent insights. Using Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Azure, transform your data into timely and relevant information, inferences, and predictions that help your business succeed.

In Customer Insights, segmentation capabilities of the current release are “not just demographic, but psychographic,” said Dynamics 365 general manager, Param Kahlon, speaking at a Summit general session. So while segments can be created based on static attributes like postal code, they can also be created based on predictive logic about the likelihood that the people will respond to a particular message or offer.

Customer Insights is built to support two things, Kahlon explained. First, it can ingest large volumes of data from multiple sources about customers. Second, the system is designed to identify the same person or entity represented across systems and provide an accurate and cohesive profile for use in analysis.

Beyond out-of-the-box algorithms provided with Customer Insights, Microsoft also wants customers to create their own machine learning algorithms. For example, a customer churn score could be developed relatively easily, Kahlon told users, if the organization has lists of known customers that have and have not churned. The machine learning engine can analyze data around those lists and build a model that can be applied to new customers to provide a likelihood-to-churn score. A set of activities or alerts could then be implemented to manage those high-risk customers.

SBS Group SalesConnect 365 Connections that Drive BusinessSBS SalesConnect 365 crawls your company’s email and calendar system, intelligently searches and retrieves all useful data about your customers and prospects, organizes the information in Dynamics 365 for Sales, and presents that information as actionable knowledge you can use to improve close ratios, create more opportunities, and drive more revenue. Click here for more information, or to request a demo.

User experience to be updated to a unified interface

The v9 launch also opens the next chapter in the Dynamics 365 team’s work to optimize the user experience. It is a journey that began over six years ago, Kahlon said, and has now been through several iterations. The new interface, known as the Unified Client Interface (UCI), will be used to update all the existing customer experience apps, as well as the as-yet unreleased lower-tier sales app and marketing app.

The updated look and feel is subtle in some places, but the technology change is significant, and Microsoft representatives say they have tried to find a balance between improving visual borders, information density, and layout. Some seemingly small improvements will make a big impact on customers, like the ability of a long field value to dynamically wrap to a new line rather than being cut off – a feature that drew applause from users.

Let us know if you have any questions about these or other announcements at Microsoft Summit.


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.
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.


Microsoft NAVUG Summit Provides Product Roadmap

There were almost as many product announcements as cowboy hats at NAVUG Summit 2017 in Nashville. For Dynamics NAV users, Microsoft’s roadmap guidance was clear: NAV will continue to receive yearly updates, and customers who want to remain on-premise or hosted (non-SaaS) can do so. Customers can expect Dynamics 365 “Tenerife,” when it arrives in 2018, to offer both a SaaS option and an on-prem roadmap for NAV.

Codename Tenerife

The NAV/Tenerife product roadmap now calls for Dynamics NAV 2018 in fall 2017, with a December 1 general availability date expected; then NAV 2018 R2 in Spring 2018 alongside the initial Tenerife launch. Beyond NAV 2017 R2, Dynamics NAV will adopt a new name under the Dynamics 365 brand, but the software continued updates to the same product, said Marko Perisic, Dynamics 365 R&D general manager. “Codename Tenerife will be rolled up into the Dynamics 365 brand,” Perisic said. “It is an important brand that Microsoft is putting its weight behind.”

Is it me, or does this codename business make you feel like a spy?

Important Release Dates to Remember

Dynamics NAV 2018: DEC 1

Dynamics NAV 2018 R2: Spring 2018

Codename Tenerife: Spring 2018

NAV 2018 Productivity Updates

Microsoft program and product managers showed off a range of productivity updates that will be included in NAV 2018. Office integration will continue to expand in NAV 2018, with an eye toward more streamlined processes. Microsoft demonstrated a quote-to-cash process executed entirely in Outlook, driven by NAV. After creating a quote, order, and invoice from Outlook, the customer can also pay the invoice via their Microsoft account, again from Outlook.

Within the NAV 2018 web client, the in-app designer will allow for users to personalize their own experiences by rearranging interface elements and adding and removing fields. Global interface changes completed with the in-app designer are saved as NAV extensions, meaning they should be manageable and stable across core system updates.

Tenerife User Interface Updates

There is a revamped user interface coming with Tenerife that will aim to simplify role centers, with more visible information and actions moved higher on the page for easier access. The left-side menus will be moved to the top of the screen to add more real estate to content. List pages will be redesigned to look more like financial reports. And the preview shown at Summit featured a monochrome look and feel that Microsoft believes will improve the visual impact, especially around data visualizations.

Microsoft has positioned Dynamics 365 Tenerife as a business application platform that offers a full range of capabilities, backed up by the Common Data Service for augmenting apps as needed. Microsoft wants customers to look at it as a solution that can be augmented easily with standalone Dynamics 365 apps like Sales, Marketing, Talent, and service using Common Data Service.


Microsoft made it clear that Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations – Business Edition (formerly NAV), is a “cloud-first” solution. “Emphasis has to be on the cloud, but it’s important to recognize and know [that] despite trends, we have a huge customer base and Microsoft will not leave any of those customers behind,” said Perisic. “We recognize you have installations on your own hardware and we will continue to support that. And because of that we’re not a cloud-only company, we’re a cloud-first company. Make investments there first and mirror those for customers who are on-premises. We see it as an advantage to provide that choice.”

Let us know if you have any questions about these latest product updates for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and/or NAV.

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.​

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.

To read the full release, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

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

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


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