Is your Digital Transformation the Christmas present you thought you wanted and got, but it sucks?

Digital transformation is one of the hottest topics when it comes to IT lately. In a recent CIO article, 7 Digital Transformation Myths, several business and IT people were interviewed, including Dan Doggendorf, VP of business operations and CIO for the Dallas Stars NHL hockey team. He says to avoid a digital transformational fail, you should take the advice author Stephen Covey has about “beginning with the end in mind. Otherwise, you’re just spending money on new cool toys. It’s the Christmas present you thought you wanted and got, but it sucks.” 

Has this ever happened to you? You were dying for a Hatchimal but were disappointed after you opened it on Christmas morning? Ok, maybe not. Or the Xbox One X…ok, that sounds pretty awesome.

The article goes on to say that a successful digital transformation can deliver significant rewards. But these common misconceptions can undermine your company’s ability to achieve desired results. These are the most common myths:

Myth No. 1: Digital transformation is an IT function

I agree that this is a myth. We recommend that our clients involve more functional and operational business units than just IT in a digital transformation. To truly transform your business, you must have buy-in from all departments.

Myth No. 2: True transformation is a blue chip’s journey

We have solutions for businesses of all sizes and find that even the smallest company can successfully transform their business with Microsoft Dynamics.

Myth No. 3: Digital transformation is about reducing the workforce

People are nervous that they will be replaced by machines with all of the machine learning and IoT that’s out there now. But, as it says in the article, I think companies are seeing the opposite: The more automation and data analytics that organizations put in place, the more human beings are needed to drive the algorithms and understand what’s happening in complex buildings or manufacturing plants.

Myth No. 4. Digital transformation is all about the technology

The article says that a digital transformation is not just all about the technology, but invest[ing] in building the right culture, and also in the transformation of the IT function, including new skills and partnering opportunities.

This is where you must think about new and better ways to delight your customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Service empowers sales, marketing and customer service with insights to personalize relationships, predict customer needs, and increase sales.

Sales-630X472

Myth No. 5: Executive buy-in is a sure thing

You can’t always count on executive buy-in, and if executives are not fully on board with your project, it won’t be successful. Involve executives in digital transformation meetings from the get-go.

Myth No. 6: Digital transformation brings IT-business harmony

It’s not always harmonious when business people and IT people are in the same room. That’s what we are here to help with. SBS Group has a streamlined approach that ensures everyone is operating from the same blueprint, helping you realize business value faster.

Myth No. 7. The digital journey ends at implementation

Often companies believe go-live is when their digital transformation ends, and this simply isn’t true. Without regular check-ups, training, and re-training, there is a danger of low user adoption and a wasted IT budget. SBS Group’s E3 system integrates strategic planning, ERP and CRM, Business Intelligence and Analytics together, enabling the entire organization to create, communicate, measure and manage plans, objectives, and initiatives at the organization, team, and individual level.

I hope that you don’t fall into the trap of these digital transformation myths this holiday season. Let us know if you have a concern about any of the seven above and we can help. Join us for one of our upcoming webcasts where we talk about how Dynamics 365 can help.

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

 

Are you at Risk of an Epic Digital Fail? 3 Ways to Avoid it.

You want to get the most out of your business technology investments. But are you at risk of an epic fail? A recent CFO Magazine article focused on just that. The biggest reason for a digital fail: companies neglect the very parts of their business that have the greatest impact on revenue generation — namely value creation and monetizing for that value. Instead, they focus on reducing costs, improving operations, or aggressive pricing to keep up with the competition.

Instead, CFO Magazine says, companies must focus on these three areas:

  1. Unlocking new value
  2. Building pricing power
  3. Improving customer segmentation and sales tactics

Let’s break it down and talk about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales can help in these three key areas:

1. Unlocking New Value to Reach More Consumers and Open New Markets

The CFO Magazine article says digitalization is not just an upgrade to maintain competitiveness or improve efficiency. Most companies overlook how digital technologies can be applied to reach more consumers and open new markets.

In a previous BLOG we talked about how LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used to further relationship sales. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn has brought new and exciting integration and opportunities for the sales users within Dynamics 365 via Sales Navigator.  Finding the people/firms that you want to do business with and effectively managing those opportunities within Dynamics 365 is within reach. You can utilize common contacts within LinkedIn to build better relationships with your prospects, and reach more potential prospects. Not only will Dynamics 365 allow you to build relationships, but you can manage relationships at scale without dropping the ball.

2. Building Pricing Power

Digitalization is often accompanied by more intense pricing pressure due to increased competition, price transparency, and customers’ power to negotiate. Companies must have the discipline to refrain from engaging in price wars, which has a detrimental effect on margins.

Don’t get into a price war with your competitors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales helps you competitively price your products with advanced algorithms, artificial and predictive intelligence, and bots. You can also increase sales by adding related products as suggestions for up-sell, cross-sell, accessories, or substitutes. You can define related products within Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to help your sales agents with their recommendations to customers.

The related products are displayed as suggestions to your sales agents during opportunity or order management. These suggestions help your sales agents recommend related products and bundles/kits to the customers, and increase product sales.

3. Improving Segmentation and Sales Tactics

To stay competitive, companies must become customer-centric organizations and develop a multi-dimensional and sophisticated understanding of their customers’ needs, behaviors, and most importantly, their willingness-to-pay. More effort is needed to harness digital technologies and behavioral science to support advanced customer segmentation, personalization, and customer experiences that resonate.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales helps you segment customers and prospects to ensure that they receive the right communication from you at the right time. You can better understand the customer journey by composing role-specific visualizations that bring together customer profiles, interactions, metrics, inferences, and predictions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer segmentation

Segment customers and anticipate customer needs with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales.

Digitalization can free up the sales force and help them engage better with the right customers.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales lets you manage all your customers and deals right in Outlook. You can prioritize your daily activities and take the right steps to close more sales. Your team can follow up on leads and opportunities from anywhere using mobile apps.

Don’t let your technology projects become a big digital fail at the end of the day. Do you have more ideas about how to avoid an epic fail? Drop me a line on LinkedIn and let me know.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director of Corporate Account 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/

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.

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/

 

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.

Cloud-first

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.​

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

The Real Answer to the Question Professional Services Have all Been Asking: Why Budget?

Why prepare a budget?

You may answer:
• My business has been going for many years and I have never had one before.
• I make pretty good money, so why do I need one?
• If I focus on keeping my billable hours up, everything else will take care of itself!
• I watch my debtors and WIP; this is enough to keep everything on track!
• I am a professional, with more than enough on my plate and I don’t have time for this financial stuff. My bookkeeper is on top of all of this.
• I don’t have time for this business planning nonsense. ¹

Many of the professional services firms we work with don’t place importance on budgeting. However, we believe that budgets are enormously important to the operation of your business; not only do they help you manage your costs, but they also help you determine whether your profit goals are within reach and keep you on the right road from month-to-month. In its simplest form, a budget is a detailed plan of future receipts and expenditures. Think of a budget as a tool for providing control. For example, by looking at next quarter’s budget you can anticipate peak periods and schedule stock and labor to handle the sales volume. You can also plan vacations, marketing activities and inventory taking for slow periods.

The resource planning cycle for a company typically consists of planning, budgeting, and forecasting activities. But how is this process different for a professional services company?

Learn how to budget in professional services, and the seven tips and practices for creating a budget that supports your project in our eBook: Why Budget, as well as information about our two professional services automation tools (AXIO for Enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized companies). Let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.

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

 

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