3 min read

Switch on Dynamics 365 V10 in 7 easy steps!

, , , , , ,

For Microsoft Dynamics Partners and clients who are keen to access the newest Dynamics V10 upgrade features but are unable to find out how to “switch it on,” help is at hand with our 7-step guide.

Below, Redspire’s Technical Director Rick Lyle will demonstrate how to find the switch and apply it to one of your sandboxes. Always test out your upgrades in a sandbox and not your production instance!

Step 1

First of all, go to the new Power Platform Admin Centre. This area is still in preview but that’s where the switch is.

To get there you can either:

  • Navigate to the Dynamics 365 Admin Centre (https://port.crm11.dynamics.com/G/Instances/InstancePicker.aspx, the “11” part is our instances in the UK, if your instance isn’t housed in the UK substitute, using your corresponding country code) and from there click on the banner that says: “There’s a better way to manage your instances. Try the new Admin center” and it’ll take you to the new centre

OR

Either way will take you to the interface below:

Step 2

Once you’ve navigated your way to the Power Platform Admin Centre, click on Environments (this is the new label for what we in the Dynamics world usually call Instances however this doesn’t become clear until you get to the relevant screen. Once you do that you’ll see the list of your Dynamics Instances as below:

Step 3

It’s easy to get a little bit lost at this stage, as it’s not the most intuitive journey.

DO NOT go to…>settings! IF you do, you’ll find lots of options that feel like they could be the right thing but end up taking you down the wrong route. Instead, click on the name of the instance that you want to upgrade to V10. It’ll take you to the screen below:

Step 4

In the Updates section, click on Manage and you’ll get the screen below:

Step 5

Make REALLY, REALLY sure you’ve selected the right instances. Be especially sure that it’s definitely not your production instance because as the warning states, this is a one-way process. Then hold your breath and click Activate Now.

Step 6

If you accidentally selected your production instance, because you didn’t heed my warning above or Microsoft’s warning next to the activate button, then there’s one last chance to save yourself!

When trying to upgrade a production instance to V10, you’ll get the popup below where you have to type in the instance name to switch. Hats off to Microsoft, they are going above and beyond to make sure no one does this accidentally and causes themselves issues.

Step 7

Still holding your breath? Don’t worry, this only takes a few seconds. As we’re now in the land of continual deployment for Dynamics, this isn’t so much an install process as a switch on process. Microsoft have already installed more or less everything in the background.

After a few seconds that’s you switched on and ready for all the great Dynamics 365 V10 goodies!

As you might have guessed, I’ve been going through this process in a trial as I’ve been documenting it. My next steps are to start exploring the new features on V10 and reporting back to you all. I’ll keep you updated with my favourite features and any issues to watch out for over the next few weeks. If you’d like them straight to your inbox, sign up for email updates from myself and the team, or follow me on LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Rick Lyle

Redspire Technical Director

3 min read

Social Selling at the Institute of Sales Management, Scotland.

, , , , , ,

We recently attended the first ever Edinburgh-based event hosted by the Institute of Sales Management

The inaugural Scotland Event showcased the dramatic change in the sales environment, as businesses spanning all industries accelerate digital transformation through cloud technologies.

Businesses today are meeting the challenge of servicing a new breed of B2C customers and B2B clients who have ever-increasing expectations and demands on sellers. This is the age of the professional consumer.

Throughout the evening, one main question was raised…

Is cold calling dying out as an introductory technique for selling?

Selling and outreach are constantly shape-shifting. With the rise in intelligent, data-driven technology and machine learning, social media platforms are intuitively becoming the go-to place for content placement and customer contact. Cold calling has become a much less popular and effective method of interaction.

In its place, social selling has become a key part of an organisation’s customer engagement strategy. Why cold call when you can outreach to a warmed prospect, and make use of insights that make the nurture and sales process easier for salespeople, marketers and business owners?

What is social selling? And do traditional salespeople need to adapt?

Short answer, yes.

Social selling is a modern approach to identifying and engaging with a custom-built audience based on your business’s target market and a great way to establish rapport, connect and verify the legitimacy of the relationship between seller and prospect. Post-purchase by Microsoft, LinkedIn is proving itself one of the most valuable sales and marketing tools for social selling, with 96% of B2B buyers seeking to read content and engage with industry leaders (Demand Gen report, 2017). Other channels also have validity, and it’s worth pointing out that the fundamentals of social selling translate well to offline relationship building.

So is cold calling dead?

Technology is driving behavioural change in buyers and sellers and it’s essential that sellers keep pace in terms of expertise and personal learning, to avoid becoming redundant. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for a cold call, however where engaged, meaningful contact can be achieved easily, why reduce your chances with your prospects?

Not only does social selling give you a 360-degree view of prospects, it allows you to tailor your approach to current customers and meet their needs at the right time. The social selling model supports account-based selling and allows you to deliver hyper-relevant messaging and content that speaks their language.

Social selling for operational efficiencies

According to a recent survey by CSO Insights and Seismic, one in three B2B sales professionals said that not only was social selling increasing the number of leads they had to work with, but also the depth of the relationships they had with existing and prospective clients. Building relationships rather than leading with the hard sell allows salespeople to maximise their own efficiency by reducing the prospect research time, having a positive impact on the sales cycle.

Transactional vs Strategic Sales

Cold calling is usually a game of chance with decision makers within a company out of reach for the average cold sales call. Social selling converts the sales process from transactional and functional, to a strategic plan that provides hard ROI, produces serious wins and enhances customer experience and satisfaction.

Companies are being left behind because they’re yet to acknowledge that the buying process has changed. It’s no longer a one-way system made up of cold calls, qualifying leads and sales demos. 84% of vice president and C-level executives use online and digital media channels to influence their purchasing decisions.

5 min read

Heal your business pain with Dynamics QuickStart CRM

, , , , , , , , , , ,

When it comes to business pain, at Redspire we’ve seen it all. And help our clients UK-wide solve theirs, via our Dynamics QuickStart CRM package or phased CRM implementation.

As one of the UK’s leading CRM consultancies, we are experts in resolving the digital and data pain points that all businesses face.

Our client base share similar internal challenges, but we understand that the internal approach to resolving them may vary from business to business. Time constraints, changeable budgets and operational capacity all impact the ability to undertake a CRM implementation project, even when it’s badly needed.

That doesn’t change the fact that we are living through the 4th Industrial Revolution. Consumer expectations are at their highest, radically transforming the way businesses interact when they sell, promote and provide service. In this digital age, personalisation and customer connectivity are a fundamental business priority. And the only way to achieve them is with a fit for purpose CRM system that will unify data, streamline processes and improve productivity.

Introducing Dynamics QuickStart CRM…

Dynamics QuickStart CRM is a fixed scope, fast implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, built to fit your business need, type and budget. Implement a new CRM, upgrade a current CRM or entirely replace your existing system fast, for maximum impact and little business disruption.

Perfect for busy businesses who want quick improvements and results, and suitable for all organisations of all shapes and sizes – from Banking and Financial Services to Manufacturing, Government and the Public Sector – QuickStart CRM from Redspire is a quick and simple CRM solution that delivers immediate results.

If you’ve heard your c-suite leaders and department heads make any of the following statements, your business will benefit from Dynamics QuickStart CRM…

PAIN POINT 1: “There’s no single version of the truth!”

Also known as the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

It’s surprising just how many large multi-national businesses are operating with outdated data silos and no single view of their customer across various departments. Which begs the question, how can you understand your customer, predict sales propensity and provide great service, if you can’t view their interactions with your business holistically?

If your customer, sales and service data sit on multiple databases and spreadsheets, you’re undoubtedly only skimming the surface of your sales capabilities. Whilst delivering poor service to your client base. Yet you can optimise operations fast with Dynamics QuickStart CRM. Your teams and your bottom line will benefit from a single customer view that accelerates sales, personalises service and increases customer engagement.

PAIN POINT 2: “What are the salespeople doing?!”

Also known as the boss is getting twitchy because there’s no visibility of what the moneymakers are up to.

Digitally optimised workplaces and effective data and pipeline management have been proven to make teams much more productive. Yet workforces often resist the serious benefits of a transparent CRM system for fear of big brother watching, measuring their performance and finding it lacking.

With a collaborative, visible pipeline, the improvements to the workforce, customer and management are immeasurable. Put your hands on real time reports with ease, review an up-to-the-minute pipeline status and automate business reports at the click of a button with Dynamics QuickStart CRM

PAIN POINT 3 : “Excellent – sales are up…but where are they coming from?”

Also know as winging the sales process rather than using an evidence-based approach

If you aren’t tracking customer buying patterns, sourcing lead traffic and attributing your sales to marketing touchpoints, how can you understand your sweet spot? If you don’t track the customer journey and how you win or lose, you’re undoubtedly leaving money on the table. Which makes your salespeople’s lives harder and returns poor ROI from your marketing spend. Integrate Dynamics QuickStart CRM with your existing systems to see the bigger picture and find your strengths and weaknesses. And then watch your sales grow.

PAIN POINT 4: “I’m sick of the ‘them and us’ – they’re supposed to be part of the same team!”

Also known as sales and marketing blaming each instead of working towards shared goals

Despite being part of the same organisational family, with shared business goals, Sales and Marketing teams are notorious for being the warring siblings of the business world. How often are you hearing ‘what are marketing doing, there’s no leads coming through, and when they are, they’re awful!’ Or marketing complaining about lack of sourcing and poor conversions from the sales teams?

The issue is typically lack of visibility, reporting and communication. A CRM that works for all departments, tracking campaigns, leads and opportunities will encourage a positive workforce, working together with shared vision, and MI that fosters a collaborative, data-driven approach

PAIN POINT 5: “Where’s the paper trail for this complaint?!”

Also known as lack of customer information management

We’ve all endured the customer frustration of a poorly handled complaint. It’s often just as challenging for agents trying to manage customer services issues if their organisation isn’t managing data properly. Customers need to repeat themselves each time they call or email, and your employee is on the back foot from the outset, not knowing what decisions have been made previously. With QuickStart you can automate and aggregate customer service information, so that your people always have what they need to hand, when they need it.

PAIN POINT 6: “Reporting shouldn’t be this hard. Can’t we automate it?”

The simple answer is yes. And you should be! Free up your key people’s time from hand preparing reports and get them back to their day job. With QuickStart, you’ll access management information, sales, marketing and customer satisfaction reports as and when you need them, even when you’re on the go.

Ready to find out more about QuickStart CRM?

At Redspire, we specialise exclusively in Dynamics 365, helping clients across different industries – from Government to Financial Services – transform digitally. Working with world-class tools from the Microsoft universe, Dynamics integrates seamlessly with existing operations to unify whole businesses into a single, intelligent system. Get quick installation, rapid delivery and faster return on investment with Microsoft Dynamics QuickStart CRM. Read more today or get in touch for a no-obligation chat with our consultants now.

3 min read

Microsoft Inspire Keynote 2018: Emerging themes from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s speech

, , , , ,

In his keynote speech at the global Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas, CEO Satya Nadella talked about how technology and connectivity continue to improve human relationships, whilst reinforcing that ethics and user privacy continue to be the most important consideration, as we accelerate though the 4th industrial revolution.

This year’s Microsoft Inspire has been one of the most exciting and rousing yet, with a focus on increased innovation, growth and differentiation. If last year’s key takeaway was Microsoft’s commitment to transforming their partner relationships, this year is about accelerating partner support for the greater collective good. Microsoft’s overarching business vision of “empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more” will ultimately be driven by the Microsoft Partner eco-system.

Our Senior team attended the conference, and have summarised their top takeaways:

The Microsoft partner eco-system is bigger and more impactful than ever before…

…and jam-packed with opportunity. Over 17 million people are employed in the Microsoft and Microsoft partner ecosystem with total business projected at a phenomenal $4.5 trillion. Together we are in a unique position to unleash the power of real partnership for digital and technological success. Not just for business, but for customers, innovators and end users too.

Ethics and personal privacy is a fundamental human right.

Advances in technology and integrated Artificial intelligence (AI) are creating some of the most exciting changes in the world today, but Nadella has warned that they must not come at the expense of personal privacy and human relationships.

He said: “We have to have a set of principles that guide the development of AI and always do our very best work when it comes to privacy. As technology becomes pervasive in our lives, we must approach everything with the fundamental assumption that privacy is a human right.”

The importance of adding value not just creating brand values

Nadella’s message to students looking for a career at Microsoft?

“If you want to be cool, go somewhere else. At Microsoft, our job is making other people look cool.”

Sharing incredible stories of business transformation via the partner eco-system, the message and focus for the future is on driving positive, global impact through cutting edge technology and industry-specific solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365.

People and connectivity is being re-imagined, now.

The future of digital is people and human centric, made possible with by ever-increasing advances in Microsoft’s Azure Sphere secure technology. Internet connectivity is becoming a two-way street, creating a holistic user experience that decouples us from the chains of the tech, whilst improving seamless machine integration in our day to day lives.

Nadella said: “We are going to infuse everything with AI. It’s going to have perception capability, language capability and autonomy that’s going to be built into the applications going forward.”

Over the next few years, more and more consumer gadgets and appliances will connect to the Internet and each other, with the capabilities to talk to us, listen, predict behaviour and act on our behalf. The tech we use will become seamless, multi-device and multi-sensory.

As organisations globally hurtle through accelerated digital transformation, driven by cloud and artificial intelligence, mixed reality and the Internet of Things, these tools and technologies are re-imagining consumerism, business and society for the greater good.

And yet consciously, we may never even be aware that we’ve interacted with a computer…

Ready to find out more about how Microsoft’s up-to-the-minute technology can improve your business operations, sales and service? Contact us today for an informal chat…

6 min read

Public Sector: Digital Transformation through Microsoft Dynamics 365

, , , , , ,

Can public sector organisations afford not to take advantage of digital tools?

It’s a slightly controversial statement but nevertheless true. Whilst commerce and industry advance at speed towards great digital change, the public sector in the UK is in danger of being left behind. Potentially, at great sacrifice to public health, well-being and economic wealth. It’s indeed an uncomfortable truth that our most visionary, forward thinking public sector leaders are challenged every day in a drive to make UK public services world-leading again.

Digital transformation in the public sector

In the UK’s Institute for Government’s Manifesto for Changing Public Services it’s estimated that up to £46billion could be saved across UK public sector year on year with digital transformation that eradicates out-dated legacy systems and the need for costly suppliers. Which equates to an additional 1m frontline public servants.

Which begs the question, can public sector organisations afford not to take advantage of the digital tools available today?

Innovative public sector leaders value digital change

Innovative leaders in the public sector continue to push the mandate in a positive direction, encouraging their boards and final decision makers to engineer the digital change that will steer the UK and its people in the right direction. All the while, commercial private sector businesses, innovative third sector organisations and manufacturing, banking and financial services leap ahead with digital transformation that’s energising their business, boosting their bottom lines, massively slashing costs and increasing customer satisfaction tenfold.

Deploying an innovative digital toolkit has the power to solve much of the organisational pain our local authorities and service providers face, whilst correcting the disconnect that so many of our citizens feel from our elected leaders and public services. Saving heaps of money from public funds in the process.

CRM for citizen engagement

As the demographic make-up of our country ages and shifts, it has never been more important to reach citizens at a time that suits them, where they naturally consume their media and messages. Our culturally diverse and digitally switched on nation demand personalised multi-channel, multi-lingual interactions. Keeping citizens informed, engaged and aware in a cost effective, timely manner, and in a way that speaks their metaphorical language is invaluable. Yet a difficult operation without the right digital tools.

CRM solutions for the public sector

Enter Redspire and Microsoft Dynamics 365, with the tools and expertise you need revolutionise your organisation. Bespoke solutions built to your organisational needs, these purpose-built Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications work seamlessly to help manage specific business functions across the organisation including Customer Service, Operations, Finance, Field Service, and Marketing, and all contribute to Customer/Citizen Insights.

CRM in simple terms simple terms is a category of integrated, data-driven solutions that improve how you interact and do business with your clients. CRM systems and applications are designed to manage relationships, track engagements and sales, and deliver actionable data, all in one place.

The next generation of intelligent business

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organisations to grow, evolve and transform. As technology continues to transform the world, Redspire are a driving force that will help public sector organisations optimise operations, reach and engage with the public and empower employees to deliver services and the most personalised and powerful ways

Digital Transformation is here. And it isn’t only for corporate, digitally focused businesses. The tools must be deployed for public sector organisations. Our public services can, and should be as accessible as Amazon, as easy to use as Google and as exciting and flexible as Uber and AirBnB. And all delivered ethically to deliver front end services, in the public’s best interests and with the ability to save millions in public funds.

AI for the Public Sector

Artificial Intelligence has become ‘The New Normal’ and touches many aspects of our everyday life. Early adopter public sector agencies like Enfield Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council are already seeing the transformative value for services and citizen engagement, investing in AI chatbots to improve customer service, simplify internal processes and to guide residents through various form fill processes.

Constantly learning from previous conversations with residents, these revolutionary bots have the power to improve response times to generic service queries in areas like benefits and council tax queries, refuse collection requests and so much more.

Future planning with CRM

What does the future hold? The certainties are improved efficiencies, reduced demand on services and employees, a holistic citizen view that creates a better client experience and improved insights that lead more effective service provision. Digital tech provides a tremendous opportunity to improve all citizens life, for the common good of our country, and with ethics, security and privacy at the forefront of all decision making.

The fourth Industrial Revolution is here

We are now part of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The McKinsey Institute has stated that AI is contributing directly to a tremendous transformation of society, “happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact” of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s.

What does this mean practically? Digital learning and skills development will be a core component of literacy and basic life skills. From pre-school to higher education, our education system must revolutionise and ‘keep up’ with the constant digital developments to ensure we don’t face skills shortages or challenges with talent acquisition.

What is certain however, is that change resistance within the public sector is beginning to break down. The opportunities for cost and efficiency savings, shared resources and joined up processes are too phenomenal to be ignored. Case in point, the Smart London plan, in which the City of London sets out the bold yet achievable ambition to become the smartest city in the world through mobilised services, data innovation and Artificial Intelligence. Improving the lives of some 30 million visitors, residents and workers.

Accelerating Digital: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders

Redspire has been a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner for over 15 years, helping all types of organisations across the UK transform through digital innovation and improvement. Our ever-expanding team of Microsoft certified consultants bring Dynamics 365 to life, with a bespoke solution that overcomes unique organisational challenges with a straightforward, customer centric approach. Our clients stick around, partnering with us long term, every time.

If you’re a digital leader who’d like to be part of the discussion on advancing digital transformation for the greater good in your organisation, reserve your spot at our interactive forum for public sector leaders today.

This not to be missed forum at Microsoft Scotland HQ, Edinburgh on 1st November 2018 will be chaired by Dr Jim Hamill – in association with Microsoft, Bridgeall and Exactive. Together, we’ll set the tone for the future of digital innovation in Scotland, and provide invaluable tools and support that persuades stakeholders and key decision makers on your future vision.

Full details can be found here – Accelerating Digital: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders. Sign up today.

1 min read

Accelerating Digital Event: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders

, , ,

The need for public sector organisations to transform digitally is now widely accepted. Senior Executives seeing the value and embracing change and digital innovation that will positively shape their future of the organisations they lead.

With the focus shifting from the WHY to the HOW of transformation, Redspire and our partners invite you to the Accelerating Digital Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders, which will present scenarios covering the public sector workplace of the future.

Microsoft Gold Partners Redspire, Bridgeall, and Exactive, invite public sector leaders to share how the Microsoft toolset – including 365 – has helped them drive change in their organisations.

Using live interactive audience polling and open group discussion, forum participants will be able to:

  • Share their hopes, aspirations for and experiences of driving digital change.
  • Evaluate the digital transformations progress currently being made, benchmarked against accepted best practice.
  • Assess the main drivers, barriers and obstacles to change.
  • Review how these can be overcome, providing highly practical advice to achieve success.

The forum findings will be developed into a short White Paper: “The State of Public Sector Transformation, 2018” and made available to all participants after the event.

Please join us in this interactive and highly valuable event and add your voice and experiences to the debate on accelerating digital in the public and third sectors.

You can find more information about the event and register to attend, free of charge, here.

The Redspire team, and our valued partners look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

4 min read

Millennials Want to Give You Their Data

In an interesting article, E-consultancy recently highlighted the famous 2011 Wall Street Journal article “Why software is eating the world’.

Six years on from that article, we have seen how digital technology has driven a huge shift in our daily lives with a proliferation of data, online customer service, customised experiences, bigger expectations, machine learning, artificial intelligence and increased automation to name just a few.

Every one of these elements depends on data or as e-consultancy nicely puts it “torrents of data”.

Once upon a time, consumers were reluctant to share their details with brands for fear of bombardment and junk messages. Direct marketing was a dirty task, advertising on TV was not to be trusted and only ads that made you laugh or cry resonated.

Yet here we are in a digital world where consumers can now see the value in you knowing a bit more about them. Cookies are no longer a thing you eat, but a way for companies to help you get more out of your online journey. Most of us prefer messages that are relevant and timely and to have those, we accept that brands need to know more about us.

FACT about sharing information.

As consumers, we are driving digital transformation and we are accommodating the businesses who are shaping their offerings to meet that demand. And with one in three brits now opting in to brand communication (thank goodness with GDPR insisting on it), they are clearly expecting great things.

Digital transformation is well underway. So how is the journey going for you?

With GDPR looming ever closer, this is not just a polite reminder that you might like to think about your data infrastructure and marketing activity, it’s a plea to stop right now and consider how you’re managing and using all that data.

 

Five Steps for Better Data Analysis and Use

 

  1. Data Management

Data is only as useful as its storage and use.  Bearing in mind that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) are on the horizon and come with large penalties, the right data infrastructures and processes are critical.  Your data environment needs to be GDPR compliant and allow you to capture individual interactions as they happen against one record.

 

  1. Connection

A Single Customer View will allow you to join the dots between online and offline customer journeys. Your customers will have a better experience and you will be able to use the data to spot opportunities and patterns within a client group. You’ll also see what is and isn’t working. As a result, ROI can’t help but improve.

 

  1. Deeper Knowledge

Customers expect you to know them. To know what they booked or did last, what they might want to do next and on what terms. You can’t do any of that without better use of data.

 

  1. More Creativity

When you know who you’re marketing to and what makes them tick, you can be more creative in your messaging, reflecting them in your materials and interacting with them more meaningfully on social platforms too. With the right system, you can then watch those interactions and manage them.

 

  1. Understanding your ROI

When you are operating a CRM system that has been carefully tuned to your business’ needs, people and processes, you will be in a better position to plot your customers’ journeys and attribute online and offline channel success.

 

Want to know more?

Take 20 minutes with us and discover what Digital Transformation means for your business and how you can create a better customer experience and journey.

Date: Thursday 17th August

Time: 12pm BST

Attendees: Sales, Marketing, IT and Data Officers who use (or are considering) CRM for data management, inbound marketing efforts and email marketing.

 

During the webinar, we will discuss:

  • What is Digital Transformation?
  • GDPR, a catalyst for positive change?
  • Creating a better customer experience and journey.
  • How Microsoft’s platforms and tools come together for unrivalled process, productivity and insight.
  • What areas of productivity and process your business could be considering now to ensure success and growth in the future.

 

Register now. It takes seconds and if you can’t join us, you can still register here and we’ll email you the recording to watch in your own time.

2 min read

GDPR, a catalyst for positive change

, ,

There are two ways to look at the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

For businesses already digitally underway, it’s another important tick in the box for compliance and best practice. They may even identify a few opportunities to enhance what they’re already doing.

However, if you’re in a business that’s been dragging its digital heels, it could be the difference between growth and being left behind. The businesses in your sector that identify the opportunities of GDPR will not only comply with it and avoid heavy penalties, they’ll reap the benefits of having been forced to look at their processes.

Yes, there will be those who simply just tick the boxes and essentially plaster over the cracks that GDPR has revealed but that is a massive missed opportunity. If businesses that are digitally behind don’t untangle their existing processes, they are adding knots and loops to deal with further down the line as more and more data sources demand more and more processes.

In contrast, the businesses who use the time between now and May next year to properly review their processes and systems can look at their overall digital fitness and get an edge over the competition who haven’t bothered.

Here’s how:

Mapping the policies and processes that surround how you use and collect data will give every department ideas for business development.

Better data means better relationships. Not only that, it will ensure a better start to your customer journey as people will be parting with their data with more awareness of exactly how it will be used. People who don’t want to engage won’t provide their data. So, no wasted time chasing, and no resentment before you even begin communicating.

Technology can power most of the internal change needed and can, in the case of Dynamics 365, join up all the disparate systems in a business. That brings a massive benefit; a 360-degree view of every customer. Suddenly it’s easier to engage with customers with the right information at the right time as well as have end-to-end data governance. When all that information is in one place with the intelligence of Dynamics 365 wrapped around it, it becomes more powerful.

Reporting and Decision Making become so much easier when the data can interact across departments on the back of active data.

Staff Adoption of the new GDPR processes could be the difference between compliance and a huge fine. It stacks up that the easier staff find the new processes, the less likely non-compliance is. So again, the businesses that look to consolidate their systems into one familiar space are already ahead of the game.

How much of an opportunity do you see for your business as we march towards the GDPR?

Watch our essential GDPR webinar for more information.

3 min read

Industry 4.0 isn’t just about manufacturing!

,

When you think of Industry 4.0, what springs to mind?

It’s the new buzz phrase for the combination of industry and the current Internet of Things (IoT) technology. First, there was Industry 1.0 (when water and steam power mechanized production), then 2.0 (hello electricity) and 3.0 (digital arrives) revolutions. This fourth revolution is moving at an exponential rate and is disrupting nearly every industry in the country. As with the previous industrial revolutions, manufacturing has been the forerunner for adoption making use of new technology for flexible manufacturing, 3D printing and self-regulating machinery (amongst many others).  The McKinsey Institute expects Industry 4.0 applications to create a new surge of factory productivity. So with AI, automation and supply chain technologies now part and parcel of ERP, what does Industry 4.0 mean for the rest of us?

eConsultancy reports that by 2020, customer experience will have overtaken price and product as a key brand differentiator. Companies are expected to deliver reliable customer service across channels 24/7. Technology is moving quickly to support it but the best results happen with human input.

 

Bots Are a Great Example

In a customer service context, bots can determine intent behind users’ questions. The addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes deep learning from customer information possible so that bots can be further customised. But there are some situations when an automated response just isn’t good enough. So the answer is in understanding what the use cases are for either bots or people. The interaction of your people with the technology will teach it the tougher questions and it won’t be long until we see support products that will alert human operators when AI confidence is low. The big win is freeing up agents for the more complex situations making it possible to deal with more of those whilst the bots deal with the straightforward stuff and continue to learn.

 

Predictive Analytics Give Insight Humans Can’t Find

Predictive analytics is about finding patterns in a vast amount of data and getting actionable insight out of it.  New predictive algorithms can make something of the swathes of data that is sitting dormant across systems and provide the information that points the directions a business should be moving in whether that relates to cross sell opportunities, identification of a recurring problem or missed opportunities, estimating conversion from digital campaigns and making optimization recommendations, the analysis of social sentiment and profiles.  Of course, it works best when data from various departments is sitting on one system that can bring it together as a jigsaw.

 

Old School Values With New Technology

Customers increasingly value personal experience and digital technology has become the means to provide it. If you are reviewing your systems and software, make sure you are seeing the various parts of your business as a jigsaw. The most effective systems are those that can work for every department off one platform to allow bots, predictive analytics and automation to continually improve and provide that customer experience and business direction.

 

So do your homework. Create a strategy. Have the right team and the right tools. Focus on improving processes and then implement the new technologies that will best serve your strategy. Any software partner worth their salt will scope with you and really get to know your business. This isn’t just about comparing functionality, but understanding your customer journey and your business.

 

More questions?

Interested to learn more about Industry 4.0 and how it affects your business? Watch our Industry 4.0 webinar now.

1 min read

The Microsoft Toolkit for every Customer Stage

, ,

 

Please click on image or click HERE to view as a high-res PDF

The Microsoft Toolkit for every customer stage