As we enter 2019, the competitive landscape will continue to heat up, consumer expectations will continue to rise, and your business will need to adapt to the evolving challenges that present themselves to you. However, if you haven’t taken steps to prepare yourself for the year ahead, you may not be able to keep up.
Many businesses know the feeling. “Yes, closing the month was a challenge, but we just can’t afford to make a change right now,” or “implementing software seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth,” delaying the decision until another quarter, another year, or altogether could cause more damage to your business than cost savings.
Too often, growing businesses attempt to push their technology past its expiration date or beyond its capabilities, often with unintended consequences. Whether it’s in the form of increased stress placed on back office workers, a lack of visibility into costs or opportunities, or inability to deliver to your customers, continued use of an outdated business management software could hurt your reputation, sales, and relationships.
This creates a new challenge—one that is only exacerbated by growth. If you’re feeling the pain now, imagine how bad it may be if your business is 10%, 20% or 100% bigger. Worse yet, as you grow, customers expect more from your business, not less. In the era of instant gratification, free two-day delivery, and information at their fingertips, your customers expect you to deliver.
Common Challenges for Growing Companies
Do any of these phrases sound familiar?
We waste too much time dealing with multiple systems that can’t talk to each other.
Manual processes are error prone and can’t keep up with increasing demand despite added headcount.
Creating and configuring reports it too complicated, and often doesn’t give us the information we need.
Incomplete or incorrect information creates customer dissatisfaction and lost sales.
Increasingly stringent compliance and security concerns keep you up at night.
Productivity is lost spending valuable time switching back and forth between multiple applications and disconnected systems.
If so, you may be pushing or exceeding the limits of your undersized or outdated accounting software.
If growth—or even stability—is a priority in 2019, continuing to rely on these solutions is going to cause more pain to your team than necessary. Longer hours for workers trying to overcome the software limitations; inaccuracies that could lead to audits; lack of visibility that could harm your decision making, and so much more—you may find that your solution isn’t solving anything.
Luckily, cloud technologies have caught up—and scaled down—to meet the needs of today’s SMB, enabling virtually any business to manage their financial and business operations quickly, securely, and reliably. At the same time, these new services replace costly IT overhead, providing much-needed flexibility to grow with your business, while helping your team give customers the experience they have come to expect. When businesses choose cloud financials, they are able to integrate and automate, leading to the following benefits and more:
Improved and increased productivity with easy-to-create workflows, quotes, orders, and audit trails using the same Microsoft Office tools you’re familiar with.
Consistent experiences across mobile devices regardless of location, complete with enterprise-class security.
The ability to spot trends and delight customers through centralized, business-wide, up-to-date data.
A fast, intuitive platform to get you started right away.
Recognizing your current system’s limitations is the first step to making a decision that could change the trajectory of your business now and in the future. At Integrated Business Group, we work with companies like yours to discuss challenges and opportunities for improvement that can set your business for success in 2019 and beyond.
What’s on the horizon for businesses in 2019? More change. From finding and supporting new customers to dealing with new technology and data challenges, the coming year will require businesses to take a different look at the way that they operate, leveraging technology to get there.
Throughout the organization, finance has continued to become more important to the entire business. No longer just tasked with managing money and approving budgets, the finance organization has found its way into operations, IT, and risk management; Microsoft found that Sixty-four percent of CFOs reported being asked to take on broader operational leadership roles beyond finance. This will require a new skillset to adjust, but technology will ultimately improve the way finance tackles these tasks.
Evolving Expectations of Customers
As Millennials pass Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. and Generation Z enters the workforce in larger numbers, it also means that companies will have a broader set of customers or purchasing managers with whom they will work. Globally-minded, well informed, and passionate, they will push businesses to operate with greater transparency and create more sustainable products.
Further, these customers will have different expectations in the delivery models and customer service requirements, and organizations will need to explore new ways to embrace this group of customers.
Finance has continued to embrace better technology. This has presented finance leaders the opportunity to free themselves from the struggles of manual processes and the poor control or visibility, contributing more to the strategic decisions of the business. In 2019, businesses will continue to leverage more data, building a ‘culture of data.’ 2019 will mark a time when companies become smarter about how they use data, the data itself is also becoming smarter, with AI and machine learning providing instant intelligence and enabling automated processes.
2018 was a year with great uncertainty, and trends suggest that 2019 will be no different. From financial regulations, tax changes, and trade policy to Brexit and data protection, finance leaders will once again be forced to navigate through great uncertainty in a turbulent, highly-politicized environment.
New Generations in the Workforce
While Millennials and Gen Z will represent a bigger part of your customer base, they will also play a more important role within companies. As businesses face an increasing skills gap in 2019, they must seek new ways to fill critical roles, including re-training older employees, seeking foreign labor, and tapping the emerging gig economy to meet temporary labor demands.
New Challenges and Risks
As discussed in point one, finance will be focused more on risk management. However, it goes beyond the basics of technological risk, as organizations face additional regulatory risk as well.
Be Ready for 2019: Dynamics 365 Business Central & Acumatica
If you are looking to continue driving your business further in 2019 and beyond, you can’t afford to be held back by manual processes and lack of visibility. Be ready with the next generation solution like Dynamics 365 Business Central or Acumatica. For more details, please contact us.
Since Satya Nadella took the reins at Microsoft in 2014, he has led the company as a whole through a variety of important changes. From the important acquisitions to the new-found focus on collaboration with competitors to the concept of One Microsoft, he has also taken one of the most important steps—getting Microsoft into the cloud.
The Path to Business Central
Throughout 2014, Microsoft continued to make investments in and push its cloud products, backing away from per-device licenses for Windows and Office Applications while beginning its platform battle against AWS. In the years since, Microsoft continued to develop and expand the platform before the general release of “Dynamics 365” in 2016.
The Initial Confusion
Dynamics 365 was new, innovative, and technologically powerful. Unfortunately, it also referred to a multitude of options.
At the time, Dynamics 365 could have meant Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) or Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, which was broken into Business (formerly “Project Madeira”) and Enterprise (Previously Dynamics AX) editions.
This immediately created confusion for customers who had to try to understand the many plans that were offered, the modules that came with each plan, and the features that came with each module. While the product itself was powerful, it presented a lot of confusion during the product research and RFP stages.
The Much-Needed Rename
Luckily, in April 2018, Microsoft made the move to set the record straight, renaming Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Business Edition and Enterprise Edition into two distinct brands—Dynamics 365 Business Central (SMB) and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (Enterprise).
As a leading reseller and specialist in Dynamics 365 Business Central, we will be covering the product in great detail in the coming months, but today would like to take a brief look at what it is, what it does, and what switching to Business Central can do for your business.
Understanding Dynamics 365 Business Central
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is designed to provide a stable, affordable, and well-vetted cloud application for growing small and medium businesses. Built to provide the essentials that growing businesses need, Business Central offers two levels of its own—Business Central Essentials and Business Central Premium—that provide users powerful and reliable way to manage the entire business.
Bringing the power of Dynamics NAV to the cloud, Business Central is an all-in-one business management solution that helps companies connect their financials, sales, service, and operations to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions and make better decisions.
Features and Benefits
The powerful yet affordable Business Central platform shortens laborious processes, simplifies workflows, and integrates with other leading applications from Microsoft and beyond while providing flexibility and customization needed for your unique industry. Among the many features that Business Central offers for growing companies:
Powerful Financial Management: Break down the silos and make smarter decisions while speeding up your monthly and annual close and setting yourself up for the following time period.
Smarter Supply Chain Management: Avoid stockouts and overstock with business intelligence. Business Central is designed to help you optimize inventory levels, reduce the likelihood of shortages and lost sales while maximizing profitability.
Happier Customers: Get to know who your customer is and tailor your communications. Business Central features its own powerful CRM platform that integrates with Outlook as well as the financials so that you know who matters and how to reach them.
Take Control of Your Projects: Not a product-based business? Business Central is there for you too. Designed to help your company keep projects on time and under budget, you can leverage the power of Power BI to analyze profitability, time use, job costs, and so much more.
Control Your Operations: From forecasting to fulfilment, Business Central gives you the control over every workflow so that you can reach and maintain optimal inventory levels, run a smarter warehouse, and save money.