Four Tech Trends That Help Businesses Thrive in the Digital World

Four Tech Trends That Help Businesses Thrive in the Digital World

Microsoft recently published a truly outstanding white paper titled Four Technology Trends Helping Businesses Thrive in a Digital World. We highly recommend it if you’re contemplating how IT can make an impact on your business success. The paper takes on topics like cloud computing, digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility. Their goal is to add detail and practical insights to subjects that tend to be vague and overhyped. The context is the applicability of Dynamics 365 as a solution for digital transformation. Here’s a sneak peek:

Cloud computing: Much more than a buzzword

Cloud adoption is accelerating. As businesses put cloud technology to work in a vast variety of use cases, the concept becomes far more than a mere buzzword. Indeed, the cloud changes how and where people work. It enables new ways of doing business, or even completely new businesses. Cost reduction is still a high priority for cloud adoption, but other factors are driving adoption. The paper cites Gigaom Research, which reports, “71% of strategic buyers cite scalability, cost and business agility as the most important drivers for using cloud services.”

Digital transformation and the revolution in connectivity

Microsoft surveyed small and mid-sized business owners and employees with the goal of understanding their most challenging problems. Lost productivity emerged as a serious issue. People reported losing time working across multiple systems that are unable to “talk to each other.” The results of such disconnected systems included manual, duplicative processes and out-of-date reporting. Poor visibility into operations then translated into impaired decision making at the management level.

Digital transformation offers a way out of this trap. It’s a broad concept, but at its heart, digital transformation is about the current revolution in connectivity. Today, applications can easily and cheaply connect with one another using standards-based APIs—even spanning between multiple business entities. As the paper explains, companies that connect their systems, people, data and processes are able to anticipate operational challenges and act accordingly. They are able to gather data in real time and get deep insights into what going on in the business.

No mystery in the IoT. It’s reality

The IoT is one of those tech ideas that seemed futuristic when it first debuted. Today, it’s a reality. Using devices to collect and analyze operational and environmental data is now occurring on a regular basis. And, it’s not just for big corporations or government agencies. Even a smaller business has its “things” that generate data with which to track trends, identify patterns and perhaps even make predictions.

The challenge in IoT is threefold. First, there has to be a solution to manage the devices and related “edge” infrastructure. Then, there’s the data. IoT environments create a lot of data. It has to be stored and secured before it can be analyzed. The analytics is the third and arguably most important challenge to overcome on the way to IoT success.

Embracing mobility

Mobility is already so pervasive in business that it may not even occur to people that it’s a distinct technology area deserving of focus. It is. Your employees are increasingly mobile. You have to support them. Customers expect rich mobile connections with your brand. Your suppliers are using mobile apps. Having a mobile strategy is critical for success today.

These are the highlights of the paper. To read it in full, click here.

Top Dynamics 365 Features

Top Dynamics 365 Features

In 2016, Microsoft launched Dynamics 365, a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service version of its respected Dynamics product line. Dynamics 365 comprises multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. Two versions are available. Business Edition is for smaller organizations. Enterprise Edition is suited to medium-sized and large organizations. Business Edition includes a Financials application. Enterprise Edition contains the full Dynamics CRM suite (now called “Customer Engagement Plan”) e.g. field service, sales, project service automation, and customer service. It also has Microsoft PowerApps Dynamics 365 for Operations.

High-Level Capabilities of Dynamics 365

The Dynamics 365 suite is envisioned by Microsoft as a portfolio of applications that help you make better decisions in your business. In addition to offering numerous operational functions like sales and marketing management, it’s intended to enable improvement in business outcomes through the use of data-driven insights and recommendations. It’s designed to enable better customer relationships, with more engagement. The solution portfolio also lets you automate and optimize everyday tasks by means of AI-driven workflows.

Core Modules of Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 consists of the following core functional areas, each with its own available apps/features:

  • Sales – helps you prioritize prospects and focus on building sales pipeline. Dynamics 365 for Sales helps with optimization of sales processes and personalization. Microsoft Relationship Sales brings together Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn to enable better customer engagement. Dynamics 365 Sales Insights employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) to yield actionable insights into the sales process. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights gives you a single view of the customer, while Dynamics 365 Product Visualize enhances the buying experience by showing products with mixed reality.
  • Customer Service – gives your agents and technicians the tools they need to deliver great customer service. Dynamics 365 Field Service provides field service operations people, e.g. service technicians with the ability to conduct their work in alignment with the broader customer service and customer relationship functions. Other available apps/features include tools for virtual agents, project service automation and remote assist, which uses mixed reality to help field people get their work done.
  • Talent – gives HR the means to hire top talent and process onboarding, improving overall HR management in the process.
  • Finance and Operations – connects and optimizes back office, retail and supply chain operations. Dynamics 365 for Retail extends this functionality to retail businesses, unifying in-store and back-office operations for personalized shopping experiences.
  • Marketing – helps with targeting customers through campaigns that can be multi-channel in nature. Adobe Marketing Cloud is available as an add-on.

A Mixed Reality module lets you overlay digital content over business scenarios, which drives problem solving through contextual collaboration. For example, you can use Dynamics 365 Guides for hands-free guidance and training of employees. Dynamics 365 Layout shows how physical designs will look when they’re built in real life. This tool helps you move designs from concept to completion with confidence.

Are you interested in learning more about how Dynamics 365 can help you build your business? If so, let’s talk.