08 October 2019
Dynamics 365 Market Insights is considered to be the replacement for the Social Engagement app which is to be completely discontinued in 2020. The preview is now available to try as a web application at https://mi.dynamics.com/firstrun
The app improves your ability to identify, anticipate, and act on market trends and events as they unfold with AI-driven insights.
Dynamics 365 Market Insights enables business professionals to gather actionable insights based on what consumers say, seek and feel about their brands and products. With these actionable insights, customers can stay on top of the emerging trends in their market and react quickly to them. Through AI-powered insights on social signals and Microsoft’s unique web and search data, Market Insights provides a comprehensive and accurate understanding of consumer sentiment, search trends, audience interests, and product feedback, keeping customers regularly updated with relevant news stories and search and social insights.
Why not give Dynamics 365 Market Insights a try at https://mi.dynamics.com/firstrun? You can quickly set up an instance and compare two or more products and brands which will provide information on who's been searching for it and related keywords attached to your topics.
01 October 2019
Today we attended Microsoft Future Decoded in ExCel London. As always, it proved to be an excellent opportunity to learn about the Microsoft Stack and learn about new developments across the tech sector. The day started with the keynote, which was opened by Microsoft UK Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Vice President, Cindy Rose OBE. She introduced new data insights around how artificial intelligence for all is a reality today. As the keynote was in full swing, we got to see some excellent case studies from Paccar and Autoglass on how they've undergone a Digital Transformation.
One particular success story particularly stood out to us was Autoglass. One man's use of innovation, hard work, and utilising PowerApps to produced some excellent results for his company, Autoglass.
Martin, who is one of Autoglass's despatchers, spent most of his day sorting through reports of servicing, requiring sheets of paper. He decided to build a better system so he could spend more time with his customers and less time with all those reports. Using PowerApps, he developed an app to replace the existing forms. Previously, field engineers had to fill in forms by hand, which would then have to be approved by managers and updated into databases could cut this process from 30 to 10 minutes. Such a transformation leads to better customer experience and frees up a lot of time across the business.
Martins' PowerApp is now being used internationally and now sits in Autoglass's IT department. Martin has had a significant impact on his business and is an excellent story of technology optimising our processes.
You can watch the story below directly from the Microsoft Keynote:
Another key theme that we picked up on was how to make software and interfaces accessible to everyone. The presentation titled "Empower everyone: redefining accessibility and inclusivity leveraging the Microsoft Power Platform" was delivered by Transparity. They provided some eye-opening information about how we need to build our interfaces to include people with disabilities, either visible or hidden. They discussed how, by using software, 1bn people globally could be more easily integrated into the workforce. This can be done by introducing better colour schemes, clearer navigation that considers people who have disabilities. This was demonstrated through PowerApps which showed how it has the capability to provide recommendations on how to solve accessibility problems in your app and why its an issue.
An exciting development was being able to see how organisations are starting to put technologies such as mixed-reality into practice. The application helped onboard new car engineers to learn courses for new products. We were able to get a quick glimpse of this in action and watched delegates use the HoloLens to follow instructions on how to change an air filter on a micro engine.
This technology enabled Automotives to reduce the training and onboarding process significantly. As machines become more complicated, it becomes exponentially more difficult for employees to understand what they're working on. Using Dynamics 365 Guides and mixed-reality is a remedy to this.
Dynamics 365 Guides was utilised as a way to pull data which directs what the user needs to be doing next. Guides is an application which Microsoft intends to continue to develop, and more will be available further down the roadmap.
Microsoft's flagship event always impresses us. Each year they demonstrate new technologies that help us in our business and social lives. We even got to see how they were using AI to tackle significant issues such as climate change. What stood out to us was the emphasis on both Microsoft Teams and PowerApps. This was something the 3rd party partners were pushing as well, with various plugins, case studies and hardware demonstrated at their booths.
The final keynote was brilliant, as we were gifted with excellent insights from astronauts Major Tim Peake CMG and Helen Sharman CMG OBE.
In summary, we loved it, and we look forward to attending next year.
29 September 2019
The modern workplace is evolving at lightning speed, with distributed teams, brand-new business models, and complex security issues. The right digital tools connect and support employees, wherever they are, to encourage productivity, engagement, and collaboration. Microsoft 365 powers the global, modern workplace with one bundle of products: a smart, efficient operating system, mission-critical enterprise-grade security tools, and seamlessly integrated workplace productivity apps.
Dynamics 365 in particular has enabled businesses to transform their working environment which has allowed employee's to adopt a more flexible worklife balance.
CRM traditionally was on-premise, which meant that in order to be productive, employee's has to be physically in the office to be able to access the system and be productive.
With the Cloud, that has all changed. Employee's can access business level data from their own home, bringing a host of benefits to both the business and employee. According to HSO, 50% of UK workforce to work remotely by 2020.
This has the potential to bring advantages such as:
Technology has enabled workers to schedule hours that fits their needs and where those hours are spent, without a drop in productivity. Microsoft have become big investors in facilitating this change which it views as a core component of a true Digital Transformation.
25 September 2019
In late January this year, we we invited to take part at TVision's annual conference. TVision are a leading UK Microsoft Business Central partner specialising in ERP solutions. We were tasked with exploring some of the powerful synergies of bringing Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Business Central together, creating one system that performs the entire customer journey.
Customer Success Manager Alex Baylis spoke about the merits of adopting an end to end solution at the conference, exploring the intuitive navigation process and some of the advantages over historic implementations of lead-to-cash.
You can download the full presentation in PDF format from us to read at your own leisure.
We're veterans at implementing joined up business solutions for small, medium businesses and large enterprises. If you're looking to improve on your existing CRM or ERP, please don't hestitate to get in touch.
24 September 2019
Join Microsoft at ExCeL London on either October 1 or 2 2019 for an action-packed day of keynotes and breakout sessions from industry experts, networking opportunities with like-minded businesses and a hands-on expo to help you uncover how best to leverage the latest technology trends - both now and in the future.
Designed for business and technical decision makers, you'll leave the event with practical advice to prepare your business and employees for the future of work, in an AI-driven era.
We've always enjoyed attending Future Decoded, it always provides a glimpse of the future from Microsoft and 3rd Party tools which helps us plan improvements for our customers. The speakers are always inspirational and reminds us why we are apart of the Microsoft family.
If you're interested in attending the event, you can sign up today at the Microsoft Future Decoded website.
22 September 2019
The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook was developed to replace the popular Plugin which was the first real attempt to integrate email functionality and Dynamics 365 in one place. However, Microsoft found this difficult to support as it as it was naturally slower and could interfear with 3rd party plugins. In addition, it could only work on the full Outlook 365 application so mobile wasn't a possibility. The new Outlook App supports all versions of Outlook, including the full client, outlook web access and mobile. The install is super easy, and is pushed out directly from within Dynamics 365. It's automatically available from all modern versions of your Outlook, with no local install on any of your devices!
With Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, you can:
View information about Customer Engagement contacts and leads while you’re working in Outlook. You can view this info in the context of an email message, meeting, or appointment. For example, view phone numbers, company name, last and next activities, and recent records from Customer Engagement.
Link email messages, meetings, and appointments to a Customer Engagement record with a single click. For example, link an email message to a specific account, opportunity, or case. Dynamics 365 App for Outlook also supports custom entities.
Open Customer Engagement records directly to find or enter more detailed information.
Add a phone call, task, or appointment activity to Customer Engagement.
Create a new Customer Engagement record for any entity (record type), as long as the entity has been enabled for mobile and for multi-entity search.
Add email templates, knowledge articles, and sales literature when you create an email message or set up a meeting.
Track Outlook contacts in Customer Engagement.
It's fairly simple to install the app. Firstly you need to make sure you have the prerequisites. They are:
Your Customer Engagement system administrator can make Dynamics 365 App for Outlook available to your organisation or you can add it yourself if:
You have the Use Dynamics 365 App for Outlook security privilege.
Your organization synchronizes mailboxes with server-side synchronization.
After the prerequisites have been met, you can add the app directly from Customer Engagement.
1. Click the Settings button Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps web client Settings button, and then click Apps for Customer Engagement.
2. On the Apps for Customer Engagement page, under Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, click Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.
To display Customer Engagement data after you’ve added the app:
Select an existing email message in your Inbox, or create a new email message or appointment.
On the ribbon, click the Customer Engagement button.
Dynamics 365 App for Outlook ribbon
In Outlook on the web, click the Customer Engagement button in the email pane.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps button
The Customer Engagement pane appears on the right side of the screen and shows information about the recipients.
At Serversys, we love the Outlook App. It helps end users be more productive and its easy to support. It just works. As its web based and is contained in its own space, it means it doesn't conflict with other applications which was a common problem with the Plugin. We think this will help Microsoft continue to improve it in the future, without the worry of how it interacts with other software.
12 September 2019
Data protection is probably not the first topic people consider when it comes to Brexit right now, regardless if we get a deal or not. However, GDPR, which was legislated last May was under EU jurisdiction, you can be forgiven for wondering how this will impact the UK should we leave.
Recently, the UK Government published a paper about various topics in a no-deal situation. "Amendments to UK data protection law in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal" In the event of a no-deal Brexit and no arrangements made, the Government will advise organisations to prepare contracts that ensure EU citizens' personal data is protected and compliant with privacy laws. Also, the UK was one of the key contributors to the creation of GDPR and advocated for stronger data protection laws, so it would be unlikely in any scenario the UK has no-deal that these laws are removed. In the event we do get a deal, the situation is quite simple. GDPR will be incorporated into UK domestic law as part of the European Union (Withdrawl) Agreement and will continue to function alongside the Data Protection Act 2018.
However, the biggest challenge of the Brexit process is the prospect of leaving without a deal. The UK government has said that in the event of a 'No Deal', it would permit data to flow from the UK to countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, it has no control over the flow of data from the EEA to the UK.
The current legal advice is to examine if your business relies on cross-border data transfers. For example, you may need to review if you need to switch from an EU-based data processor to one in the UK, although this may incur extra costs.
There are many regulations that govern global data transfers. You may want to read up on the in-depth advice published by ICO, which explains how these restrictions work.
In conclusion, in the event an agreement is reached, the impact to your business should be minimal. Regardless of the political environment, you should be complying with GDPR laws which ensures you don't have any data breaches which compromise the data privacy of UK and EU citizens. However, in the event of a no-deal, you should ensure you can maintain data transfers across Europe post-Brexit. To continue trading with minimal disruption as possible, we encourage businesses to plan for the worst in a No Deal outcome.
10 September 2019
It's always been critical that employees are trained to use the tools they need to be productive. CRM software is no different. In order to be able to maximise the potential of both your systems and your workforce, they need to know which features and capabilities are available to them.
Fortunately, Microsoft has an excellent training course program for users both experienced and new. Each course completion also provides the user with a certificate which is excellent for empowering employee's and gives them knowledge transfer potential should they move department or an organisation. Companies that invest in their workforce have higher retention rates and are more productive, so it's worth looking at.
You can access training courses at Microsoft learning center. You will to login to your organisations Microsoft account to access it and record your progress.
09 September 2019
Did you know that you can now opt-in for early access to test the new features of Dynamics 365 Wave 2 before official deployment in October?
Dynamics 365 Administrators with Customer Engagement apps, preview features can be enabled in non-production environments in the Power Platform Admin Center in Environment > Updates
Once you have enabled this, you can't turn the preview off, so we recommend you are sure with preceding.
Some of the early access features in Wave 2 include:
From October 1st, these features will be available generally and by default in all environments throughout October. By the end of October 2019, all instances will have Wave 2 enabled for Customer Engagement Apps.
To avoid disruption, these updates will be applied during a weekend, likely between 11-13th October in the UK.
31 August 2019
The CRM moves at a relentless pace; however, for a variety of reasons, the automotive industry has been slow to catch up with the latest and greatest technological innovations in the CRM space. However, with Dynamics 365 in the Cloud, that might be about to change, with many disrupting technologies available out of the box that will particularly benefit automotive industries.
Automotives are facing a paradigm shift from product-driven organisations to customer-driven. Clients are continuing to make bigger and bigger fleet purchases. This requires a stronger relationship between the dealership and the client to build trust. New technologies help facilitate this enhanced relationship. Automotives face the challenge of capturing customer data and applying it into their customer-driven strategies, which an optimised CRM is perfect for.
CRMs need to enhance the customer relationship and deliver on advanced capabilities which open up new sales opportunities for automotive organisations. This industry has traditionally been slow to adopt new CRM technologies, with the US and EU market being led by smaller, mid-market solutions that are built on-premise. These solutions "do the job" but they won't push the envelope, and due to their inherent architecture, are slow to adapt to the fast-moving business environment.
This might be about to change, with reduced capital costs, maintenance and technological advancements, many are starting to migrate to cloud solutions. By 2025, cloud-based CRMs such as Dynamics 365 will gain more traction and penetrate the market by 35%. Cloud solutions can deploy updates quickly across the customer base, supporting them to be able to use cutting-edge capabilities.
The pitfalls of old CRM leads to different challenges for customer experience.
In a survey by software advice, 56 per cent of buyers say finding the right vehicle is the most frustrating aspect of the car buying process. Another 31 per cent say haggling over the price is frustrating.
Modern automotive CRM software will help alleviate the tedious aspects of car buying. By synchronising a CRM to a portal, customers can view inventory online and make choices within a few moments, and it also gives them ideas before they arrive at the dealership and engage in the buying process by being more informed about what's available.
CRM industry experts are discussing the concept of CRM 3.0 for automotives. This might be too early for many companies on older architecture, although this table below from The Marketing Journal demonstrates the enhanced capabilities one will have when they decide to transition.
Clients and dealerships want unrestricted access to their service agreements and data. It empowers them with insights about when fleet contracts are up for review, or visualise pre-arranged volume commitments. In addition, they can present sales staff with key graphical indicators to provide guidance on targets and client registration trend analysis. Modern Portals are synchronised instantly with CRMs which have centralised, reliable data. Portals are highly customisable and can present granular information to a variety of end-users from across both the dealership and the client.
A modern CRM must integrate with back-office systems with ease, providing a complete aggregated view of information to management and sales staff.
How well do automotive companies understand their existing fleet customers as well as prospects? Modern CRMs help you understand the real value and support you in where you need to direct your sales resources.
Future CRMs will build closer relationships with clients and help sales, marketing and customer service teams perform in their roles better. This future automobile CRM will provide advanced contact management tools, easy access to automobile forms, dealership tools and email marketing tools. Marketing teams will benefit from detailed reporting and analytics, and service teams will benefit the end-to-end service management tools. Also, automation tools such as email marketing and chatbots will further enhance the customer relationship.
With Sales travelling more than ever, it's essential they can access to business information and can perform processes while in the field. Future CRMs will provide that capability, so they don't need to get back to the office to finalise car sales.
A dealerships success are dependent on its range of vehicles on the lot. The modern automotive sales environment has a more significant number of models and customisations available than ever before, which has meant we have entered an era of product information
Today's environment is one in which shoppers tend to know more about a particular vehicle than the salesperson selling it. The Internet has created this research tool that is empowering shoppers like never before in the course of an automotive purchase. The result of this is that the shift in knowledge from sales to the customer can hurt the dealership's reputation and confidence if they can't explain features in specific details to help qualify a particular vehicle from a potential purchase.
In the future of CRM, Salespeople need to get this advantage back during the discussion by providing critical information about any vehicle based on extensive data using mobile devices. This will keep the customer engaged and help to build trust, which will naturally increase sales.
We often speak to automotives, and we know this data exists, but many CRMs have been unable to deliver this information efficiently in real-time sales situations across dealerships.
Innovative technologies for supporting automotives are now accessible to dealerships both large and small through cloud architecture. Traditionally, this sector has been slow to adopt new capabilities so it will be interesting to see if
CRMs such as Dynamics 365 can persuade them to take the necessary steps to stay up-to-date.
See how Annata and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are delivering innovation to the automotive industry. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform is helping independent software vendors (ISVs), like Annata, to create a solution that improves customer satisfaction.
23 June 2019
Learning company software is often seen as non-productive and non-revenue generating and naturally not viewed as a good time investment. We get it. It requires not only the person(s) to learn the software, but also a specialist to sit down and go through the application which, is an exhausting process. Management and software veterans tend to have a bias that new employees can simply pick it up along the way.
We propose a different perspective. What is the cost of not training your staff to use CRM?
At Serversys, we've delivered countless training sessions, demonstrating some of the excellent features to make employee's lives easier.
We're constantly given feedback such as:
'I didn't know we could do that.'
'I've never seen this before...'
'Wow, this chart will make things so much easier!'
Employees want to feel empowered, that they are learning and progressing in their career and making a valuable contribution to your organisation. CRM can help them achieve that, in turn, encouraging them to stay.
We've put together the top 5 ways your CRM can help to retain your employees.
A robust CRM system such as Dynamics 365 will breed confidence that the actions they take have an impact on contributing to business goals. Excellent sales facilities such as comprehensive, reliable forecasting features help sales teams feel confident they are on the right track and have goals they can look towards. Marketers like to understand their audience and want to be able to delve into reports and charts to know that they are reaching their intended market.
Without these tools, they will feel powerless and insecure about their performance leading to job dissatisfaction.
New employee's with a history of working with your organisations CRM will find it easier to be integrated into business work processes if their solution is intuitive and aligns with their job role.
Joining a new organisation is a daunting prospect for many, and being tasked with learning an entirely new complicated system only adds to the problem. We know CRM's are complex, but they shouldn't be for non-tech users to do their job. A CRM implemented correctly for an organisation should have no issue on-boarding a new employee, this will help them to settle in with all their work tasks in the same place. This should remove some of the insecurities of joining a new organisation.
Better yet, bigger CRM's such as Dynamics 365 has millions of users, so new employee's may already have exposure, bringing transferable skills and cutting down on training.
Employees often spend significant time on non-revenue generating work tasks. CRMs can help eliminate parts of this with automated workflows.
Repetitive tasks make us feel that we're not making decisions or contributing to major goals of the business - getting in the way of the more interesting aspects of our job.
Are you manually creating marketing reports each month, costing you hours of work? Let CRM automate it. You can spend that time chasing leads or designing your next marketing campaign.
Good CRM's foster excellent communication regardless of geographical location. The ability to share marketing lists, dashboards, sales data across offices, teams and departments gets everyone singing from the same hymn sheet. Decentralised data and reporting systems do the opposite. No one agrees on which data is correct, leading to political issues and poor decision making and encourages a toxic atmosphere.
Without CRM, communication with customers becomes increasingly difficult as your scale. Employees aren't always sure at what stage of the process the customer is in, and what prior communications had with other staff. Of course in Outlook you can copy people in, but this becomes quickly unorganised with communications forgotten, misunderstood and lost. This can lead to a blame game when, in reality, the culprit is the system itself.
Using the Cloud, your employee's can work from home or using a mobile phone and tablet when visiting customers. HSo predicts that 50% of the UK workforce will be working remotely by 2020. CRM's such as Dynamics 365 are adapting to this work environment by operating in the Cloud. No longer will you be chained to a desk input a new customers details on your CRM. This provides more up-to-date CRM records and the ability to react faster as a business. Do you want to get a new email out but are waiting for your sales staff to provide new entries for your list? You can now update those new records and push out the email, delivering to a broader audience.
Remote working and flexibility will increase in the coming years as technology enables us to be just as productive outside of the office. Cloud CRM's that offer the possibility to work from home will undoubtedly lead to higher job satisfaction across your business and help you retain employees.
21 May 2019
If you're looking to get up to speed on the latest updates for Dynamics 365, or need to mentor new employee's, then look no further.
Learn how Dynamics 365 Business Central works together with Office 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and make better decisions.
54 percent of organizations struggle with process and system integration issues, based on a survey of SMB leaders. This webinar explores how disconnected systems constrain growth in today’s business environment as well as new ways to connect and scale business management tools and processes in the cloud. A “better together” demo explores how to bridge capabilities in Office 365 and Dynamics 365 Business Central to break down silos across people, data, and processes.
webinar series provides a wealth of insights from Microsoft experts, market researchers, and industry luminaries with one goal in mind: to help you optimize your business and accelerate digital transformation
initiatives. The latest additions are essential viewing for professionals across sales, marketing, customer service, and finance.
MVP and current Microsoftie, Scott Sewell. He is on the Community Corner to show off a neat demo he has created using datasets from the Titanic (yes, the infamous ship). It is a great example of how to use all the Business Apps
Customer service is changing and the revolution is well underway. Customer service is quickly becoming the epicenter for leading customer experience and customer engagement initiatives, focusing on consistently delivering a positive customer experience to continually build engagement. These initiatives are reinventing customer service, helping organizations become more strategic, and adapt to the way customers want to be served.