3 min read

Redspire works with Beazley and Microsoft to create online booking system for Underwriters and Brokers

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Redspire has worked in collaboration with Microsoft and specialist insurance partner Beazley to create Beazley Booking, an online booking system to make it easier and quicker for brokers to arrange virtual appointments and share relevant documentation securely with underwriters.

Using Microsoft’s low code platform Power Platform, Beazley Booking makes it easier and quicker for brokers to arrange virtual appointments and share relevant documentation securely with underwriters. Connected to a simple web application, brokers can access the portal using a secure log-in provided by Beazley.

Connecting brokers and underwriters with the Power Platform 

Beazley Booking enables brokers to view underwriter availability, book a meeting time, upload an agenda and documents in advance and view all of their scheduled meetings with Beazley underwriters. It aims to ensure brokers retain consistent access to their underwriting contacts during social distancing and beyond as the insurance industry adopts more flexible working practices in the long term. It also provides underwriters with access to a detailed log of broker enquiries and appointments on a fully secure system.

From today, Beazley is rolling out the system to cyber & technology and property broking partners in the London market with new lines being added in the coming months.

Mark Moerdyk, Beazley’s chief technology officer, said: “Beazley Booking uses the Microsoft Power Platform to improve the quality of interactions with brokers and ensure that our underwriters have access to data that can help improve service in the future. This is not only a system that improves our service during this period of social distancing but also has the capability to provide long-term support as the market adapts to a more efficient and flexible model.”

Flexible working practices as the market adapts 

Paul Bantick, global head of cyber & tech, said: “We have been working very hard to ensure we retain the same standard of access and responsiveness for brokers while working remotely. In the London market particularly, the temporary closure of the Lloyd’s trading floor due to the pandemic has changed the dynamic of the market and accelerated the adoption of new ways of working. As we come out of lockdown we know that some of these more flexible working practices will ensue. This was an opportunity to invest in making our virtual interactions with brokers slicker and more efficient with expanded functionality and features.”

Beazley Booking empowers brokers and ensures frictionless trading 

Simon Jackson, head of open market property at Beazley, added: “Beazley Booking empowers brokers to arrange appointments with us using a user-friendly and intuitive application. It helps to ensure trading with us is as frictionless and straightforward as possible.”

Beazley plc (BEZ.L) is the parent company of specialist insurance businesses with operations in Europe, United States, Canada, Latin America and Asia. Beazley manages six Lloyd’s syndicates and, in 2019, underwrote gross premiums worldwide of $3,003.9m. All Lloyd’s syndicates are rated A by A.M. Best.

About Redspire 

Redspire is an IT Consultancy, specialising in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform technologies. As part of the Microsoft account managed teams, Redspire work collaboratively to drive future-proofing digital transformation, improve processes and help businesses understand and engage with teams, customers, clients and partners. With particularly strong capabilities in Financial Services, their client base includes the Money and Pensions Service, Beazley and Virgin Money.

Register for the webinar 

Beazley chief technology officer Mark Moerdyk and Billy Lyle, Redspire chief executive host an overview of the technology on 22nd July at 11am, showcasing how the Power Platform is building connections, driving adaptability, and helping insurers overcome challenges in a time of change. Reserve your place today

For more information, visit www.beazley.com

For information on Redspire or the Microsoft Power Platform site please visit https://redspire.co.uk/  and https://powerplatform.microsoft.com

3 min read

Acts of Kindness and the impact on Mental Health

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As part of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we asked our Head of HR and Business Operations Kristine Steele to share the ways that Redspire is providing a mentally healthy workplace. She gives her thoughts below on why, especially now, #KindnessMatters. 

Before lockdown, my 2-year-old son was in nursery. When I collected him at the end of each day, his nursery teacher always gave me a rundown of his day. What he learned, what he ate etc and I would always ask the same question in return…” was he kind today?”

For me, kindness is such an important value, in both the workplace and our personal lives. The small ways in which we normally show kindness in the workplace for most of us have gone, for now. Making someone a cup of tea, a hello and a smile as you walk past in the corridor, asking how someone’s day has been, buying biscuits to share. Most of us do these things without thinking about them. We are naturally caring, social creatures. But for someone who isn’t having a great day, these small things can make a big difference.

So, it’s really important now, at a time when many people are feeling isolated and anxious that we reach out and take the time to make colleagues and loved ones feel better. A virtual hug, a thinking of you message, an offer of support and a chat; even to those you may not normally speak to, could really have a positive impact on someone’s mental wellbeing. By showing that you’re thinking of them and that you care.

I am really proud to be part of the Redspire team. Our Managers work hard to support and encourage their teams and we are continuously striving to make Redspire a great place to be. As part of our roadmap prior to lockdown, we had been reviewing the way we do business to ensure our everyday working culture is as mentally healthy as possible. We continue to do this by reviewing training and coaching options for our Managers to give them the tools they need to further support their teams, and we will be creating a hub of resources to encourage all employees to explore and share ways to manage stress, anxiety and mental health.

Our next step is to train a number of team members to become mental health ambassadors. We are currently running mindfulness sessions, introducing wellbeing action plans and continue to organise virtual social events, quizzes and celebrate birthdays and achievements. We’re keen that our teams input on what’s important to them too, so source suggestions of what matters to them. We’re keen that we continue to deliver a great service to our customers, but also make sure our employees have the balance between work and personal life. Especially, as for now, as both are so intertwined.

As well as hands-on team support, our anonymous wellbeing survey helps us measure how successful our initiatives are but also allows staff a voice to talk and allows us to listen. It supports the daily conversations between employees and managers and set benchmarks to measure and improve upon. It’s important as employers and Managers that we talk, listen and really care about supporting our teams. We strive to create a trusting and open environment where people won’t be judged, and we continue to encourage people to speak out and ask for help if they need it. These recent months have been tough on the global community. Everything has changed. That’s what makes it even more important now, to all work hard to get through the new challenges we face.

Be kind to each other, #KindnessMatters 

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Connect with Kristine as she shares more on Redspire’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Roadmap over the months ahead.

For more information on mental health awareness week and where you can get further support visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

7 min read

2020 Release Wave 1 launches with new apps and over 400 features

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If you’re not a hardcore techy, you’ll be forgiven for the 2020 wave 1 Dynamics 365 and Power Platform release flying under your radar. This year’s release lands during an unprecedented time for global society, whilst businesses navigate new remote working practices and strive to achieve uninterrupted business continuity.

We, along with our partners at Microsoft are providing support and resources for businesses on the frontlines of the global health pandemic and are making seamless business continuity a key priority for our customers using Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

The new wave 1 enhancements however are really worth exploring in some detail. The new features and capabilities further unify B2B and B2C customer journeys and user experiences across sales, service and marketing. The automations and virtual enhancements are as slick as they are time-saving, allowing c-suite teams to rethink how departments and teams are set up for operational efficiency.

Considerations for Wave 1 adoption during COVID-19

Microsoft have delayed the mandatory uptake of Dynamics for Customer Engagement and includes other allowances for uptake of the new release, including the ability to defer certain features once before uptake.

Wave 1 release for 2020 however, includes brand new apps and over 400 new features and capabilities across both platforms, many of which by design, can help organisations adapt to immediate challenges posed by the pandemic and ensure you’re well placed thereafter to adapt to operational changes.

Watch Microsoft’s BizApps Virtual Launch

If you have 90 minutes free, it would be a good time investment to deep dive into the detailed demos and use cases on the Business Applications Virtual Launch on demand. If you’re time shy, you can view a summary of the new features on the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2020 release wave 1 plans.

The Redspire technical team have immersed themselves in the new enhancements, test driven and summarised their highlights. Have a read and please do reach out on info@redspire.co.uk or connect with the team on their LinkedIn to chat further.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing

If you aren’t using Dynamics 365 Marketing, Analyst Ross McGhee recommends that this is the time to get on-board. The solution has really come of age and can help both B2B and B2C businesses manage customer outreach and engagement through rich personalisation and deep automation. See Ross’s highlights below.

  1. Meet compliance and brand standards by test-sending dynamic marketing emails

Wave 1 enhancements enable users to test-send marketing emails containing dynamic content, highly beneficial to new users as they familiarise themselves with the syntax from which to implement dynamic content.

Now, users can test-send their marketing emails using a sample contact record or seed to ensure dynamic content displays correctly in the marketing email preview. This makes quality checking, compliance and maintaining brand standards fool-proof, in advance of sending to their target audience.

  1. Reach your audience where they are with automated scheduler

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been called to action to help analyse trends based on previous interaction with marketing emails.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing can now automatically send marketing emails to recipients during times at which each contact is most likely to be actively reading their emails, instead of on a timed mass release schedule. This increases engagement and interaction with content, helping produce more volume and higher quality leads.

Like other areas where machine learning is being used, the AI will only get smarter over time with each added interaction, creating more meaningful customer interactions and better understanding of their unique needs.

  1. Increase visibility and credibility with spam checker

The new spam checker feature makes smart recommendations to the avoid marketing emails being flagged as spam, and can confidently assess your content as Low, Medium or High risk.

Utilising this functionality will assure marketers that emails will land directly in customer inboxes and along with automated scheduler consequently produce a higher number of leads.

  1. Close the feedback loop with Microsoft Forms Pro

Forms Pro now integrates with Dynamics 365 for Marketing, allowing marketers to create branded surveys within the platform, automate interactions at various stages of the customer journey and return rich insights. With Voice of the Customer being retired in summer, Forms Pro’s enhanced integrations help marketers create valuable feedback that drives future decision making for campaign delivery, improve audience targeting and build valuable user experiences, whilst aligning neatly with other KPIs served within the platform.

  1. Export rich data to Excel, analyse and act with marketing insights

Marketers asked and Microsoft responded. Rich marketing insights can be exported direct to Excel from Dynamics 365 for Marketing at the click of a button, without having to depend on Power BI. Marketers can monitor campaign success, analyse and report on trends and behaviours and make informed decisions on future activity.

  1. Deliver visually impactful campaigns with the improved email content designer

Content is still King in Marketing. Microsoft have revamped the Design Editor to help users of varying skills level create quality designs faster and more efficiently. Enhanced drag and drop, drag to resize, an improved colour picker as well as more customisation options and email-wide property controls to help marketers create brand consistent output.

  1. Improved Customer Journey Experience

This is our marketing teams hands-down favourite enhancement. Within the customer journey, marketers now have the capability to set static expiration dates for marketing email tiles. This means that time sensitive promotions or activity isn’t being promoted outwith the campaign in-market dates and a big win for compliance in highly regulated industries.

  1. In-Place Editing of Email and Forms

Another favourite, allowing marketers to create and edit core marketing records from one place.

The enhancements make it possible to create customer journeys, marketing emails, marketing pages, marketing forms and more, directly from your Customer Journey record. Greatly reducing the amount of clicks back and forth between various entities throughout the application and improving time to campaign go live.

From a technical point of view, this is a great tool to showcase to clients looking to invest in Dynamics for Marketing. This functionality really highlights:

  • the capabilities of the solution for users of all skill levels and
  • the ease of user adoption with the bulk of the marketer’s usage carried out primarily in one single location.

Dynamics for Customer Service

We’ve been talking lots about Dynamics for Customer Service in the past few months. The solution’s automations and integrations with the Power Platform have proven invaluable for managing the spike in customer interactions in frontline services during the global health crisis. Industries like Banking, Travel, Health Service and Education have been able to meet increased demand thanks to the ease of implementing new Virtual Agent managed journeys, connected to knowledge bases and existing content at pace.

The enhancements launched this month focus on three key areas:

  • Agent productivity: Delivering improvements that help agents be more productive such as improved knowledge article search, email authoring, and timeline enhancements.
  • Omnichannel for Customer Service: Expanding the range of supported channels and agent productivity tooling.
  • Connected Customer Service: Linking IoT diagnostics, IoT device updates, and case management to help organizations evolve a proactive and predictive service model.

Top pick new features, directly from the Analyst team

Analyst Colette Rogers shares an overview of her favourite new tools.

  1. The Copy and paste feature in Power Automate is now generally available. This has been incredibly handy in Power Automate, allowing capability to copy actions and paste into the flow as a further action or another branch of your condition. This feature has been available in preview and has been extremely useful when using create or update a record action, with numerous entries of Dynamics content. It saves time when recreating the same step and reduces error in selecting the content for input. It can also be used across flows in the same environment.
  2. Another key feature is instant flow steps in business process flows, now generally available too. In Dynamics 365 and PowerApps, a business process flow provides the user with steps to follow to in each stage of the process. Instant flows can now be used as a step within a business process flow to automate tasks, create approval requests or connect to one of the supported power automate connectors.
  3. Finally, the solution support for User Interface (UI) flows. UI flows allow step-by-step actions such as mouse clicks, keyboard use, and data entry to be turned into intelligent workflows. These automations can now be imported and exported as part of a solution to be used across different environments. This supports the application lifecycle of the UI flows.

This summary is barely touching the surface of the new capabilities. Our technical teams love talking all things Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’d like to discuss any element of the Wave 1 2020 enhancements in more detail, please get in touch on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk.

Keep an eye on our blog and LinkedIn page for our follow up article on the Power Platform.

3 min read

Covid-19 customer contact crisis support with Dynamics and Power Platform

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Overcome immediate overload in call centre operations, fast with Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Power Virtual Agents and Omni-channel Engagement Hub.

Frontline service providers in banking, insurance, health, travel and retail are experiencing huge spikes on call centre operations during the Covid-19 global health crisis. Microsoft bizapps and rapid partner deployments are helping contact centres overcome urgent demand and relieving pressure on distressed call centres. Implement a rapid, tactical solution to the Covid-19 call centre crisis in days and be positioned to overcome evolving challenges ahead.

Overcoming call centre distress with Dynamics and the Power Platform

During the Covid-19 health crisis, clients who provide essential services in industries like banking, insurance, health, travel and retail are experiencing huge spikes on call centre operations. The global pandemic is straining service centres everywhere, with a massive uptick in call volumes, further complicated by many agents working remotely.

Deploy omnichannel capabilities

With omnichannel capabilities for Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Power Virtual Agent and Power Apps Portals, contact centre employees can provide consistent, personalised support while working remotely.

Self-service portals capabilities reduce pressure and urgency from agents and ensure cases are properly distributed across the omni-channel environment. Users are quickly able to deploy chatbots that are trained to respond to the highest volume of inquiring questions while providing consistent levels of personalised support.

The benefits of the tools and technologies

  1. Power Apps Service Portals

– build business apps and self-service portals, fast

– react to live needs to handle query flow

– connect to wider workflows and remote agents

– customers can log, update and self-manage their case

– free up front end agents and reduces call bottleneck

  1. Power Virtual Agent

– create intelligent agents with no code

– connect to existing bots, portals and knowledge bases

– virtual agent fields queries and establishes urgency

– resolves or diverts low and medium touch queries

– reduce impact on frontline agents – allows 24/7 self-service operations

  1. Dynamics 365 Customer Service

– manage, record and resolve customer cases

– connect each stage of the customer journey

– unifies operations & automates business process flows

– monitor and manage call centre volumes – a single source of truth for case communications

– ensures case continuity if agents out sick during crisis

  1. Omnichannel for Customer Service

– a hub for managing case related communications

– provides multiple non-call ways to manage interactions

– extends the reach of Dynamics for Customer Service

– can deploy live agent chat remotely

– reduces dependency on system telephony

– connect cases across the entire customer environment

About Redspire

Redspire have particularly strong capabilities in Banking and Financial Services, FMCG, Government, and Third Sector and have worked on the biggest operational challenges facing these industries today. From Small Business Banking improvements at CYBG, client and stakeholder engagement at Money and Pensions Service, our expertise in Dynamics 365 Power Platform helps our clients unify operations quickly, and deliver transformation projects that solve immediate business pain.

Next steps for Covid-19 contact centre and operational resilience crisis support

Secure data infrastructures and unified operations have never been more important as we navigate the unfolding global health crisis. This is the time for rapid implementation to overcome contact centre distress. Solutions can be deployed at pace over just a few days to immediately relieve the pressure, and ensure internal teams are supported too. For more information, download the crisis briefing, call Redspire today on 0845 226 8170 or email on info@redspire.co.uk.

4 min read

Communication from Microsoft in response to the global health crisis

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Over the past weeks, Microsoft and partners like Redspire have mobilised global and UK teams to support communities and organisations affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform teams are working closely with organisations on the front lines of the crisis—including financial services organisations, governments, healthcare providers, not-for-profits, and schools and universities. We are also focusing efforts to ensure business communities have the digital capabilities to maintain business continuity and stability, while keeping employees safe and healthy.

We are hearing from organisations across industries and around the world that have an immediate need for cloud solutions to rapidly respond to quickly changing needs using custom apps and automated solutions, support remote workers, and engage customers in need. We are providing offers and support to rapidly ramp up in these areas:

Coordinate and automate emergency responses

Microsoft Power Platform was designed to empower everyone, regardless of their technical ability, to collaborate and solve problems fast. The idea that rapid, valuable innovation can come from virtually anywhere drives our development of the Power Platform, and the realisation of that idea has never been more impactful than in this time of crisis. The Power Platform team is currently supporting urgent deployments for first responder organisations, government agencies, schools and universities, and other essential service providers including the release of two Power Platform solutions to enable customers to coordinate information and resources in times of crisis, and a Microsoft Power Virtual Agents bot to manage crisis response.

  • Healthcare Emergency Response Resource Tracking—the Power Platform team worked with a US hospital to create apps and dashboards to provide visibility into available beds and supplies like masks and ventilators. Any healthcare provider can now implement the Emergency Resource Tracking solution to manage emergency responses and equipment inventories, beds and staffing needs, and emergency leaders can leverage the decision support dashboard to make decisions. Read more about the solution and get the full instructions to implement it.
  • Crisis Communications—a low-code solution that combines Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint to coordinate information sharing and team collaboration in response to evolving conditions. Employees can report a work status and make requests, and admins can use the app to push updates, news including RSS feeds from the World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or local UK authorities, and emergency contacts to different locations—all accessible on the web, mobile, or in Teams. Read more about the solution and get instructions to implement it.
  • Power Virtual Agents Crisis Response Bot—the Power Virtual Agents team has released instructions to build Virtual Agent Crisis Response FAQ Bot that helps people get to the information they need quickly in a chat interface you can embed on any website. For example, a Crisis FAQ bot can help you address questions that employees are frequently asking, freeing time for managers to focus on other priorities.

Help contact centres support unprecedented demand

The global pandemic is straining service centres everywhere, with a massive uptick in call volumes, further complicated by many agents working remotely. With omnichannel capabilities for Dynamics 365 Customer Service, contact centre employees can provide consistent, personalised support while working remotely. Organisations are taking advantage of the ability to gain insights into case volume topics, ensure agents are properly distributed across channels, and quickly deploy chatbots that are trained to respond to the highest volume of inquiring questions while providing consistent levels of personalised support.

Microsoft and partners can also:

  • Help retail business continuity
  • Keep first-line workers connected to experts
  • Ensure educators and students are connected.

To empower organisations to take advantage of the solutions above, Microsoft are making Power AppsPower AutomatePower Apps portals and Power Virtual Agents available for a free six-month product offer, that includes all premium capabilities for customers in the healthcare, education, not-for-profit, and government sectors. Qualifying conditions apply.

Reach out for assistance

We’re here to support you during the global health crisis. Please contact Redspire on 0845 226 8170 or email us at info@redspire.co.uk for specific guidance to help you solve or signpost you to the right partner to meet your business-critical challenges.

Original article can be viewed at: https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2020/03/26/resources-and-support-for-our-global-customers-impacted-by-covid-19/

2 min read

COVID-19 statement from Redspire

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In response to guidance and events surrounding  COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we would like to share the measures we have taken to ensure we continue to deliver secure, consistent services, whilst maintaining safe working environments for our teams.

We recognise our obligation to ensure we continue to provide uninterrupted services to your business, and that you may be facing heightened corporate pressures, as well as concern for your own customers and loved ones.

Like other businesses that can, with immediate effect, and until further notice, we will be operating a working from home policy across the entire Redspire group.

At the forefront of digital transformation, our business infrastructure has been built upon significant and continual investment in cloud technologies. As standard, we have collaboration systems that ensure all staff members can continue to work, irrespective of location.

Additionally, we have a mature and robust business continuity plan which has recently been put into action within test conditions to ensure effectiveness. We are happy to confirm that the business remained fully operational across all services whilst every member of the organisation worked from home.

The importance of secure, digital infrastructures – both customer facing and internally – will be highlighted over the coming weeks and months. It’s business as usual for us in terms of service delivery, business continuity and service level standards.

Our client base may face new challenges as the situation unfolds. We remain active, here to support you via the usual channels. Please do reach out as and when you need us, above and beyond our usual scope of work if needed. Our switchboard remains open, and we are accessible as normal via email, Microsoft Teams and on the usual mobile numbers.

We remain committed to delivering unparalleled levels of support and consultancy services and will monitor the situation very closely, providing regular updates as and when appropriate on our website and social channels.

We are all in this together, and will get through this together.

Stay healthy,

Billy Lyle, Rick Lyle, Steven Brown, Kristine Steele,

2 min read

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics 365 wave 2?

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The October 2019 Dynamics 365 wave 2 release for Dynamics 365 is, as expected, is a love story to Microsoft’s continued investment in AI and commitment to industry and commerce. The release brings a whole host of AI-infused and industry specific capabilities and brand new world-class innovations that provide meaningful capabilities to digitally transform organisations of all shapes and sizes.

The enhancements and improvements to Dynamics 365 suite of applications include hundreds of brand new capabilities across the usual business process applications.

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Field Service
  • Project Service Automation
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Talent
  • Retail
  • Business Central

Microsoft October 2019 release for Dynamics 365 wave 2

We recently shared an article covering AI driven sales insights, market insights and customer insights capabilities and enhancements. Additional release announcements include Dynamics 365 Product Insights, which connects product telemetry to Microsoft Business Applications, bringing valuable in-branch, store-level insights and gives visibility into product and service performance and customer interactions.

Enhancements to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights extends the reach of the tool further from mainly B2C scenarios. Additional features will now allow organisations to generate powerful insights into complex B2B journeys too and understand and serve leads and accounts better.

At Redspire HQ, we’re very excited about Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service. This is a vital tool to deliver enhanced customer service and experience, and is improved with with brand new authoring capabilities. This allows users to test and deploy AI-powered chat bots with greater speed, freeing front line agents to focus on more complex issues, and providing deep insights into customer satisfaction and experience.

Security and risk is also covered. Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection provides a formidable fraud protection solution,  decreasing fraud costs and helping increase acceptance rates for customer payment transactions.

The Power Platform

The Power Platform is bringing unbelievable new hands on automation and innovation superpowers to organisations and internal teams globally. The new wave 2 capabilities really extend their reach and maximise the power of AI for everyone from pro-devs to front of house teams. Read more in yesterday’s Power Platform article or get in touch with us to find out more.

About Redspire 

Whilst just scratching the surface of the top tier Dynamics 365 wave 2 enhancements here, our technical team are delving deep into the new capabilities to bring them to our clients. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, leading business transformation in Banking, Insurance, Government and FMCG, we know Dynamics 365 inside out and we love getting under the hood of our clients’ businesses to innovate, automate and return on your digital investment.

To read more about the Microsoft technologies driving digital business transformation, download our guide today. To discuss how Dynamics 365 and the latest technologies from the Microsoft stack can transform your business, please get in touch with our team of specialist Microsoft-accredited consultants today for an informal chat. Ask about our suite of on-site business transformation workshops. Call 0845 226 8170 or email info@redspire.co.uk.

 

 

3 min read

Power Platform Oct wave 2: Flow, Power BI and Power Apps

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Microsoft 2019 wave 2 launched 1st October – the largest release to date – with over of 400 new feature updates and capabilities across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

As we look at the new release enhancements and deep-dive into the opportunities they create for our clients to drive intelligent action across their business, Consultant Claire and CEO Billy have been out in Stockholm this weekend delivering an exciting session at Power Platform Saturday Sweden.

Focusing on non-standard Business Use Cases for the Microsoft Stack, the session showcased the capabilities of the Power Platform and highlighted how the tools: Flow, Power BI and PowerApps are automating business critical processes, helping users create bespoke personal workflows and providing intelligence that makes both daily life and business operations easier.

An overview of the Power Platform

Microsoft’s Power Platform gives everyone within your organisation the ability to build business solutions. It combines the technologies of three key products – Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow and enables users of varying technical capabilities to analyse, act on, and automate data in never before ways. Because the tools are designed to work together, everyone across your business can quickly and easily build custom apps that solve immediate business pain, automate complex workflows to improve business productivity, and analyse data for insights—no matter their technical expertise.

Microsoft October 2019 wave 2 release: Power Platform

So what’s new for the Power Platform for 2019 wave 2, October 2019 to March 2020?

For PowerApps, the wave 2 release brings major enhancements that empower app creators of varying capabilities to easier develop superior quality apps. Advanced enterprise and administrator requirements are still supported. As well as introducing new capabilities, the enhancements to PowerApps simplify existing concepts on both PowerApps and Dynamics 365 apps built upon the Unified Interface, increasing developer productivity and app stability.

Additionally, creators can also create new PowerApps Portals experiences that improve engagement with internal and external audiences. These web portals surface data stored in the Common Data Services to internal teams, partners, third parties and customers.

Microsoft Flow’s new functionality creates smarter, more meaningful experiences in three key areas. Users – again with varying levels of expertise – can leverage world-leading business process capabilities, work off-line and make use of rich administration tools that drive connectivity.

AI Builder is a new to market capability for Power Platform that highlights Microsoft’s commitment to AI for all. It allows teams with the organisational expertise to rapidly automate processes with ease and predict outcomes that improve business performance. This turnkey solution takes the power of Microsoft Artificial Intelligence through a user-friendly point-and-click experience, directly integrated into both PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.

Power BI is already simplifying how businesses gain valuable insights from transactional and observational data and drive a data culture where teams decision-make based on hard facts, not opinions. Within this release, Power BI improvements focus on four critical areas that drive a data culture. These are intuitive experiences, a unified BI platform, big data analytics, and pervasive artificial intelligence.

Data integration provides businesses with built-in connectivity to the Power Platform and beyond, with data across hundreds of business system unified and connected, enabling richer, smarter experiences. The Common Data Model provides semantic consistency for canonical business entities across Dynamics 365 and Common Data Service, increasing value and saving time for application developers, ISV partners, and integrators.

Get in touch with our Microsoft accredited consultants

For more information on how Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform can revolutionise your business, get in touch with our team of specialist consultants today on 0845 226 8170 or email us on info@redspire.co.uk. If you’d like to read more on the Power Platform for insurance, read parts two and three of our information series.

If you’re unsure where you are in your CRM or business transformation journey, enquire about our bespoke on-site workshops. No matter what stage you’re at, we can tailor a session to suit your needs.

 

4 min read

The Graduate Apprenticeship Q&A: Greg Tierney

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22 year old Greg Tierney has been working with Redspire for just over a year, as a Junior Business Analyst. He joined the business on the pilot Graduate Apprenticeship programme having completed a HND in Accountancy at Glasgow College. With a real enthusiasm for technology, he was the idea candidate for the newly created post. We’ve grabbed a coffee with Greg to ask him a few questions about his first year in post.

Tell us about a typical Redspire day?

I tend to get in the office around 8:15am, throw together a smoothie from the free office supply and get to my desk to catch up on emails before our 9am delivery team stand up. This meeting, along with a one to one with the project manager right after sets the tone for the whole day. I spend the morning on daily reporting, resourcing and billing before lunch. It’s a young, friendly team in Redspire, so lunch is usually with a colleague somewhere local. The afternoon is usually planned project work with the odd reactive, ad-hoc client piece.

What’s been the highlight of the last year since joining Redspire?

It’s just a really great business to work for and the experience I’ve gained in the last year has been incredible.

Redspire aims to be – and is well on the way to becoming – the number one CRM and Microsoft business applications consultancy in the UK. We’re the go-to partner for digital transformation for Financial Services organisations, not just in Glasgow – where some of our partners and clients like CYBG and Golden Charter are based – but across the rest of the UK too. Our vision helps financial services firms create business flows that don’t just improve internal operations but completely revolutionises how their customers bank, save, borrow, buy, interact and transact.

Being involved in that sort of project work and producing workflows, documentation and reports on high six figure projects that really make a difference to our clients’ operations, as well as sitting on the working group that implemented new processes for how projects are created and delivered through the Redspire Project Lifecycle (RPL) were serious highs for me. These are dream projects and I still get excited that I get to gain a BA (Hons) in Business Studies whilst working on both client work and internal business flows that have long term impact.

It’s great to see the work I’m involved in improve operations in such huge commercial businesses and to create lasting impact on the wider financial services industry at large.

As well as our work in the local business community, we’ve also signed the Microsoft Pledge, which aims to reduce the digital skills gap and create a strong pool of digital talent entering the workplace. My Graduate Apprenticeship position is testament to that!

How do you balance workload and studying?

Applying for Redspire, being able to study at Strathclyde and gain on the job experience whilst on a demanding graduate scheme has been incredible. However, it hasn’t been without hard work, sacrifice and lots of focus. It’s a demanding workload and good time management skills are required to balance work and studying. However, being able to work with clients like Money and Pensions Services, Skills Development Scotland and Civil Aviation Authority and gain on the job skills is the massive payoff to that.

Working in tech in a business that makes a real difference to clients and their customers, and the opportunities provided by the Microsoft Gold Partner relationship is pretty much my dream job so the hard work will be worth it.

There’s a great social aspect of life at Redspire too. There’s always something going on, whether it’s a team night out, lunch and learn or a training event. Some amazing Microsoft grassroots events have happened here recently too, like D365 Saturday or App in a Day, where I got to learn directly from some of the biggest names in the Microsoft space.

Any advice for Graduates interested in a role with Redspire?

Read up and learn about Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Redspire have a great staff induction and training programme to gain your accreditations and really invest in upskilling you. But the more you know about the technology, the further ahead you’ll be. Show your enthusiasm and hunger for success. This business is build by people with real passion for IT and the sectors we work in so if you can show that you have that drive too, it will be a real bonus!

Working with Redspire

Head of Operations, Kristine Steele says, “Redspire recently signed the Microsoft Pledge to highlight our commitment to upskilling future generations and reduce the digital skills gap. We’re thrilled to also be able to open up a development opportunity for a young person in Scotland in the shape of a brand-new Graduate Apprenticeship, and Greg has become a valuable team member in the past year.”

To find out more about working with Redspire or our Graduate Apprenticeships programmes, get in touch with Kristine Steele.

 

4 min read

From Graduate Analyst to Solutions Architect: A Redspire Graduate Journey

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It’s been a busy twelve months at Redspire HQ with lots of exciting client work, innovative partnerships, brand new faces joining the team and promotions and team shifts. Our headcount has grown once again to 33, we’re attracting some of the best UK tech talent, closing the team gender gap and partnering with global and local grassroots organisations to bring the best tech events to Glasgow.

This week we’re reflecting on the Redspire Graduate journey, interviewing Jamie Logue, who joined the business as a Graduate Analyst. Jamie excelled through the programme to become Solutions Architect managing a team of his own consultants and leading communications between clients, architects and analysts.

The Redspire Graduate Q&A

Jamie joined Redspire after graduating from UWS – University of the West of Scotland, with a BSc in Business Technology in 2015. This interview follows on from his first Graduate interview until today, where Jamie shares his journey of the last few years.

Jamie tell us about a typical Redspire day?

I know it’s maybe a clichéd response but there’s no typical day in my role. What I will say is that it’s been an exciting few years with Redspire and I’ve loved the varied mix of projects that I’ve been involved in. From working with clients like CYBG and Money Advice Service to delivering real tangible business change to working collaboratively with Microsoft, this is exactly the sort of work I’d envisaged doing whilst I was at university.

My working week is typically a good mix of client work, from face to face meetings with clients all over the UK and hands-on work on project development and build, to creating user adoption training programmes or go live deployments.

If I’m not on-site with a client, my day usually starts with a short stand up team meeting to set the tone for the day. If we’re not on-site, we use Microsoft teams and Outlook to collaborate remotely, which can often be a great way to showcase the tools to clients!

As well as my project work, I also work closely with business support on technical writing and creating bespoke marketing materials. As lead Solutions Architect for the Banking and Financial Services sector I was recently interviewed for some explainer videos on the which was really interesting and a chance to reflect on the wider implications of the work we do instead of the granular detail of systems, solutions and projects.

What’s been the highlight of the last 4 years since joining Redspire?

There’s three key stand outs for me during my career here.

  1. Being able to constantly learn, which is a gift once you leave university! Redspire is all about continual progression and training, and it’s all shaped around my current skills, career aims and development requirements.
  2. Progression and opportunity. I believe I was able to fast-track to my current position thanks to Redspire’s approach to learning and development. You get out what you put in and that hunger to keep learning and go the extra mile is rewarded.
  3. All client work is rewarding but working on the Small Business Banking project at CYBG was one of the most interesting I’ve ever worked on. Seeing the quantifiable productivity gains and high user adoption levels as we move onto next phases of Power BI implementation is really satisfying! I believe that our attention to ensuring user adoption is what sets Redspire apart from our competitors.

How has the working environment changed at Redspire?

We’ve grown and taken over additional office space since I first joined, however the team spirit hasn’t changed. The team is really friendly. We’ve a great social area, regular nights out, team-building activities and an open door policy where everyone from junior team members to managers can drop in on each other as and when they need. We’re all really invested in each other’s progression too, so are constantly sharing information and insights with each other or taking part in lunch and learn sessions to share knowledge picked up on the job or via our Microsoft interactions.

Any advice for Graduates interested in a role with Redspire?

Immerse yourself in all things Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform and learn as much about the solutions as you can. YouTube has great resources from our in-house consultant Neil Parkhurst. That foundational knowledge will help when it comes to accreditation! And as before, do your research on the different roles available, ask lots of questions and throw yourself in.

To find out more about working with Redspire, keep an eye out for our careers page coming soon and in the meantime,  send us an email if you’d like to find out more.