I recently attended my first Dynamics event, the User Group World Tour organised by the User Group for Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV (BCUG/NAVUG) – hosted at Microsoft HQ in Reading, Berkshire. I can’t believe how quickly a month has passed in the busy world of Dynamics.
This was the first time I’d been back to the offices since my GAME customer service days, learning everything there was to know about XBOX, so it was great to be walking through one of their incredible buildings again to take a seat and learn something new.
With several Microsoft speakers at the User Group World Tour, the day kicked off with a product update and roadmap from Director of Product Marketing, Errol Schoenfish and Cloud Architect, Umar Bari.
With a cultural shift in businesses meaning they now need to keep pace with digital innovation, Microsoft are looking to the future of how organisations will be run.
With the focus on millennials (who will be the champions of this future) and what they think when it comes to a modern workplace, Errol used stats from a Deloitte Millennial Survey to demonstrate that when looking for roles, millennial employees are influenced by how innovative a company is.
He highlighted that as the business environment becomes ever more competitive, so must technology in order to both mirror customer demand, as well as the demands of employees.
Applying this thinking to the roadmap, Microsoft have therefore made over 200 new improvements in the last 12 months to Dynamics 365 Business Central, to ensure customers are able to keep track with the times.
Taking a closer look at digital transformation (a topic that Karen covered in our Client day), Microsoft UK SMB TCM, Robert Pope and Senior Marketing Manager Microsoft Dynamics 365, Arvind Dutta took us through what this all means on a much deeper level.
Using Microsoft’s mission statement to “empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more” as a starting point, the current state of the market was explored:
- By 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator.
- Organisations who embrace digital transformation generate an average of $100 million more income each year.
- 40% of worker’s productive time is lost switching tasks – this translates to a cost of $450 billion to the global economy per year.
- 40% of today’s companies on S&P 500 will no longer exist in 10 years’ time.
At this point it can be safely assumed that in the next few years Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become common in all modern workplaces.
Helping to make processes such as forecasting, automating and optimising far easier than ever before. As Rob put it, data is the new oil.
Investing heavily in this area in order to empower organisation, Microsoft have created an AI Business School to help business to prepare, as well as learn about strategy and responsibility – pledging:
- Our goal is to democratise AI to empower every person and every organisation to achieve more.
- The core currency of any business going forward will be the ability to convert their data into AI that drives competitive advantage.
- Every developer can be an AI developer, and every company can become an AI company.
Providing a real world demonstration of AI, Rob introduced us to new tool, ‘Meet Calendar.help’.
This particular app helps you schedule meetings quickly and easily without having to physically check your diary yourself or even book or invite attendees either – freeing up you up to work on other things.
Simply adding Microsoft’s Cortana as Cc to a meeting template, “Cortana handles all the back-and-forth emails to find a time when everyone can meet and then sends out an invite on your behalf.”
A small example of the good AI can do in the workplace, Rob finished with a quote from Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella:
“AI isn’t just another piece of technology. It could be one of the world’s most fundamental pieces of technology the human race has ever created.”
Read more about AI in a recent blog.
Digital Transformation and ERP
Moving us back into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Arvind took us through the three options businesses have when it comes to their current ERP and where it will need to be in the future.
The options were as follows:
- Cloud – migrate to Dynamics 365 Business Central (all Cloud)
- Mid-term – experience Cloud insights when you upgrade to the latest On-Premise version (try the Cloud without committing)
- On-Premise – stay where you are and renew your BREP (Microsoft’s Business Ready Enhancement Plan (a maintenance plan) for Dynamics customers.)
Deciding what option is best for you is of course never easy, you may want to have everything in the Cloud to save costs or want to benefit quickly and easily from updates, or you might be 50/50 – want to dip your toe into the Cloud while remaining On-Premise for the time being. But equally you may wish to stay On-Premise completely due to costs or localisations not available.
Here Arvind’s parting message was: “Give the Cloud a go. Do something today that will take your business a step closer to its digital transformation.”
This could be starting free trial of Business Central or PowerApps, or even downloading the Flow mobile app. For those feeling braver, he suggested talking to the organisation’s executive team and contacting Microsoft Partners, such as TVision, to find out more.
Best of the Rest
Other topics at the User Group World Tour included:
- Dynamics + your CRM Data = a strategic weapon
- Is Rapid User adoption possible?
- Enhance self-service Power BI with Microsoft Flow
- Cloud Vs On-Premise
I came away from the day very much happy in the knowledge that I knew far more about Dynamics than I realised (I’m still very much a newbie) as well as experiencing real world examples of the solution in use.
As a customer event, it was also great to understand their experience using Dynamics day-to-day and what they need from a partner.
So if you’re looking to move into the Cloud or discuss your options further, don’t hesitate to get in touch, and speak to one of our experience team.
Marketing Campaigns Assistant, Lucy Da Silva