Dynamics 365 for Talent Even Stronger with Addition of Attract and Onboard Apps

More than 25,000 people descended upon Orlando, Florida, for this week’s Ignite conference, and as usual, there were lots of announcements about product and innovation.

Microsoft announced that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is getting smarter and more customizable with AI enhancements and modular apps designed for specific business processes. Last month I talked about Dynamics 365 for Talent, and now we are pleased to announce that it’s even better. Two new modular apps will be available as part of Dynamics 365 for Talent later this year: Dynamics 365 for Talent: Attract and Dynamics 365 for Talent: Onboard.

Dynamics 365 for Talent: Attract

Integrates data from Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn to help identify qualified candidates and track applicants for positions. The app is designed to profile the most qualified candidates for your company and role, gain insights into the hiring pool, and improve the return-on-investment (ROI) of the hiring process.

Find, interview, and hire the right people

  • Quickly find the talented people you need and deliver more engaging candidate experiences with native integration to LinkedIn and streamlined, collaborative experiences across candidates, recruiters, hiring managers, and interviewers.
  • Simplify candidate evaluation with visibility into LinkedIn profiles throughout the hiring process
  • Improve communication with native integration to LinkedIn InMail and mobile feedback capabilities
  • Streamline interviews using Office 365 to coordinate calendars and set appointments

Dynamics 365 for Talent: Onboard

An onboarding app to help human resources (HR) train new hires and personalize the onboarding process.

Set up new hires for success

  • Help new employees hit the ground running while feeling impactful and connected throughout those first few critical months.
  • Increase productivity by identifying critical contacts and sharing resources and relevant documents
  • Personalize the pre-boarding and onboarding experience with customizable onboarding guides
  • Monitor onboarding success with real-time dashboards

Dynamics 365 for Talent begins to take full advantage of integration with LinkedIn, and is startlingly easy to use. We were able to deploy it within 21 days, and our teams were able benefit immediately. It closes a key gap in the Dynamics 365 ecosystem and will help us empower our employees around the world to be better informed, more connected, and more productive.
Eric Reading
Executive Vice President, Chemonics International Inc.

These two new modular apps join with three other apps: Engage, Learn and Optimize, to round out the D365 for Talent offering. The Human Capital Management (HCM) application 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. Let us know if we can answer questions about D365 for Talent today!

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

 

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/

10 Questions Companies Forget to Ask During an ERP Sales Cycle: Part 1

I think author Warren Berger got it right in his book, “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.” Berger argues that while we’re all hungry for better answers, we must first learn to ask the right questions. Through a number of well-researched stories, Berger demonstrates that the most creative, successful people in the world tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking—and finding the answers everyone else is seeking.

With so many different—and in some cases, overlapping—approaches to selecting a software system, how do you know if you are asking the right questions during an ERP (and/or a CRM) sales cycle? I have been involved in many sales cycles, and these are the questions that I see companies most often don’t ask, but should.

1. Is it a mistake to push Analytics and Reporting (BI) out to Phase II of the implementation?

Yes. Many customers make the mistake of pushing BI out to Phase II, but the problem is, Phase II may never happen, or it will happen too late. It’s better to access analytics and reporting sooner rather than later. In some cases, this access to timely BI information alone can pay for the new system, helping you gain ROI now rather than later.

2. What other supporting applications or technology can use a refresh at our company?

You are making a significant change to your ERP system, and it’s a good time to look at other systems too. If your ERP vendor can’t help with it, chances are they can recommend someone who can.Old-Way-New-Way

3. Does our decision-making team consist of all the right players?

In today’s world of consensus buying, 6.8 people are involved in the ERP buying decision on average. While it’s difficult to free up your brightest resources from their full-time jobs, ERP implementations are not simple and they can be costly. It’s important to put your best people on the job. Not just your best IT people, your best people, period. You’ll need a project champion, and don’t forget the executives too – you’ll need their support.

4. Do we truly know why we are looking for new software? What is the value expected?

An ERP solution is critical because of its ability to increase information consistency and accuracy. Many companies still suffer from “multiple versions of the truth” – incorrect and inconsistent information across the business. Sit down with your team and make a list of reasons why you need a new system, and goals for the project. Focus on specific business processes and system requirements. The more specific you can be upfront, the more detailed your vendors can be in their proposals.

5. Do you know our industry? Do you have best practices and implementation tools that focus on companies that do what we do?

The answer to this question is critical. If your ERP provider doesn’t know your industry, the project may fail. Ask for references. Too often, people select an ERP system based on factors such as price, current technology buzz or the system that is the flashiest. But without a good fit, companies are left with expensive customization and bolted together solutions. The solution: Find an ERP system that is industry-specific, with tools and features designed to solve your business requirements. The ROI and long-term benefits of a good fitting system are extensive.

Don’t miss next week’s post, where I’ll cover questions 5-10 that companies frequently forget to ask. Meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions about 1-5.

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/

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.

5Reasons_email-400

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

Minimize Seasonal Resource Management Challenges with Cloud PSA

Summertime equals family poolside vacations and fun for most, but summer vacations can represent instability in resource management for delivering customer projects. Employees are on vacation, and a decrease in available resources can be challenging.

Progressus-Logo-Transparent

Progressus is next-generation PSA and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the intelligent cloud. It adds advanced project accounting, project management and resource management to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Business Edition to provide the most advanced business management solution for small and mid-sized professional services and project-based businesses.

What professional services businesses need during summer months is to maximize resources and streamline projects. With Progressus, you can:

  • Define resources and setup different skills to plan out the labor budget against a project
  • Setup individual forecasts on resources and measure their performance against the budget
  • Enter project resource budget in the Gantt tool to work with the resource allocations and submit changes to Progressus
  • Securely impersonate another user in order to report hours/expenses for other resources if they have jetted out to Tahiti again

Progressus provides a familiar, easy-to-use interface for forecasting and managing resources or associated project costs.

Common professional services scenarios illustrating benefits of a cloud-based PSA for a business owner:

 

> Responding to a Sudden Influx of Work

When the summer lull is over, small and midsized businesses need to respond quickly when an opportunity presents itself such as onboarding a new client or tackling a new project. Cloud computing can meet these increasing demands in real-time without the burden of purchasing and deploying new software. In addition, it provides new levels of productivity to remote workers or contractors, allowing them to access the system from any location, at any time.

> Difficulty Managing Complex IT Demands

Let’s face it, managing an IT infrastructure can be both complicated and time consuming, especially if it’s not your ‘day job.’ Cloud computing can liberate business owners by removing IT burdens such as upgrading software, addressing integration issues and optimizing performance of the network. It frees up more time to allow business professionals to focus on what they do best – servicing their clients – not managing IT.

In professional services, the only thing constant is change; what happened in the previous quarter does not dictate the needs of the next one. This perpetual state of flux is the primary reason that so many small and midsized businesses are moving to cloud-based PSA systems.

Learn more about Progressus cloud solutions here. Let me know if you have any questions.

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 investRobbie-2017ments.

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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