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Digital transformation | Update from Microsoft WPC 2016

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Digital transformation | Update from Microsoft WPC 2016

At the latest Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) held earlier this Summer, there was a plethora of announcements and demonstrations of the latest technology solutions that underpin Microsoft’s mission of “empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”. At the heart of this objective is “digital transformation”, for customers, colleagues and businesses.

In Satya Nadella’s keynote, where he discussed digital transformation with the CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt. This CEO is driving change – including talent, culture, ways of working and “outcome based customer engagement”.  They have moved from a US focussed manufacturing business to having a global focus with a local approach.  In such a traditional organisation, they have fully embraced technology both internally and externally to help them achieve this change.  “Every business is a digital business.”  Take a look at the opening keynote video from WPC for more.

In this blog we will give a brief overview on the highlights of what was discussed and a flavour of the solutions that are shaping what we mean by digital transformation.

Applications and the cloud – opening up the flow of business process

Microsoft AppSource is a platform that enables customers and Microsoft partners like Prodware to create business applications that suit verticals, roles and teams for added relevance and flexibility, and because these are in the cloud; business information is opened up and available to all.  In the day one keynote video, we see a customer scenario of this; Ecolab using Dynamics 365, Power BI, Dynamics CRM (Field One and Parature), Microsoft Flow, Power Apps, Wunderlist – all working together.

Dynamics 365 – lines of business taking priority in application use

New purpose-built apps will help manage specific business functions, including: Sales, Customer Service, Finance, Field Service, Operations, Marketing and Project Service Automation.  So, users can create their own scope and scale of business solution by line of business as appropriate.

Digital transformation is empowering line of business (LoB) heads and teams to make IT procurement decisions.  Some statistics shared at WPC to illustrate this shift in buying behaviour:

  • 50% of IT spending will be outside of IT control by 2017 (Gartner 2015)
  • 61% of technology projects are funded by LoB (IDC North American LoB Technology Survey 2015)
  • 81% of technology projects are influenced by LoB (IDC North American LoB Technology Survey 2015)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives businesses what they need now, and through this connected application platform model, is ready to grow with you.

Dynamics CRM – what’s new and what’s next

The recent waves in Dynamics CRM Online were reviewed – the latest Spring release in May 2016 focussed on the connected field service, project automation, embedded machine learning and use of portals to engage internal and external communities.

Looking forward, customer engagement is the key theme.  With deeper “customer insights” powered by Cortana Intelligence, this capability brings together all customer channels, data sets (inc. email and social) to provide customer interaction histories.  Going further, the application will provide recommendations on relationship “health” and follow up activities.  On the Service side, automated routing scenarios, real time resource tracking and ETAs, and unified scheduling for capacity planning will provide adaptive and deeper engagements in the field with customers.

Dynamics NAV 2017 – what’s coming up?

In addition to enhancements in set up, configuration and developer experience; what’s most interesting is the deeper “within Office 365” user experience and Microsoft Azure integration.

More detail will be forthcoming at the Microsoft Directions EMEA event, which we will report back on in October.

Opening up digital transformation – user empowerment

The rise of SaaS applications, the increasing accessibility of technology, LoB IT involvement, the commonality of a platform approach – all these trends point towards empowerment at an individual level within a wider strategy.

Users have the ability to create their own workspace and technology that suits them within a given framework.  Another interesting example of this is Microsoft FlowWith this solution, users can easily set up their own automated workflows, create alerts, collect and synchronise data and connect applications.  Businesses can reduce time-consuming jobs and streamline tasks; such as automatic approvals or ensuring sales leads are followed up via alerts.

Users will be able to get started quickly and intuitively, using over 100 ready to use templates that are built for common scenarios.  In general availability in Q4 2016 in 42 languages, the application will be “in-context” in Dynamics 365 and integrated in AppSource.

Power BI Embedded is another example of opening up the power of data analytics to everyone or as Microsoft termed it “modern BI”.   Nearly everyone engages with software yet fewer than 25% of employees have access to analytical insights.  The shift here is that by embedding Power BI into applications, access is exposed on a wider scale, giving businesses more opportunities to interpret and act on the data they hold.

This is just a brief overview of some of the discussions at WPC, please take a look at the WPC event website for video recordings and session presentations for more detail; and contact Prodware on how we can help your business benefit from digital transformation.

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