Dynamics 365 helps manage high-speed chaos of your digital business
- Posted on May 31, 2017
Organizations can now access and benefit from ERP as a true digital and cloud based services platform and not just as a software product. As companies strive to become “digital businesses” and manage all the integration of people, processes, data and workflow required, they can now rely on their ERP solution to help them make that leap in ways not previously possible. More than any other ERP platform today, Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives organizations the power to transform their IT and business processes for the digital world at their own pace.
A lot of times, companies get out ahead of themselves in their digital journey. They change the front end to the customer (GUI, customer-facing web based technologies or “apps”), but then often neglect the back end. It’s sort of like a digital Potemkin Village where everything looks good from the outside, as long as you don’t get too close. Needless to say, this approach to building a digital business can breed chaos at speed and scale, and can come back to haunt an organization. To continue the Russian analogy, recall the scene in The Hunt for Red October where the submarine commander arms his torpedoes out of the tube (like going digital without the proper prep), only to have the weapon circle back and destroy his own vessel!
In fact, our latest research shows that 65% of senior IT decision makers believe that conventional IT systems and approaches are not fit for purpose for solving the emerging requirements of the digital business. As a result, we see numerous organizations each day facing an unprecedented number of challenges across sales, service, marketing, operations and finance as they strive to stay relevant and competitive. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is changing this. As recent third-party research shows, Microsoft’s latest ERP platform is re-setting the bar for “usability” and “functionality” for businesses.
And so I would re-iterate to our business-oriented IT executive readers here that to express yourself digitally with customers – from marketing apps, to points of sale, to just-in-time delivery of any product or service – it’s vital to get ready for that level of game with your back-office systems first, or at least in parallel. Because if you are not ready to execute against your vision of a digital business, you risk creating demand that you may not be able to meet.
For example, let’s say you’re an electric utility with front-end apps and marketing/sales infrastructure to help segment and target your consumers into dozens of buyer types, ranging from the “green” customer to the cost conscious. But, if you cannot read and understand their actual energy consumption patterns or billing and account history relative to your offerings, then you will have missed the whole point of your own digital transformation.
Or, imagine you are an asset management company where everyone of your portfolio companies is non-standard in its systems and processes, and yet you aspire to collect, analyze and report on those individual companies in aggregate. If you make that effort without a single, unified back end to help drive such change, that puts the cart before the horse.
We all know that historically ERP systems have been overburdened and over-hyped – any cursory web search will explode with mentions of cost and time overruns. Yet, just over the last year, Avanade has helped a diverse set of companies and not-for-profits to organize their workflow and data through a single unified Dynamics platform to help unpack all their various IT-enabled business processes.
With today’s Dynamics 365, organizations get a truly common data model and services so that all their applications and tools work together – from Microsoft Office to SharePoint to Power BI. As with the utility example above, by making the system more distributed and compartmentalized - yet integrated - we have also made it more resilient.
And when compared to other ERP providers like Oracle and SAP, Microsoft is the only platform that integrates all the business functionality and overarching workflows under one roof, so that front and back office work together by design, before you ever invite customers to engage. Dynamics 365 is the only platform that allows you to utilize the right set of tools to meet the right business requirements, enabling you to start off with the right part of the platform to streamline and accelerate your business in the digital marketplace, without having to build and manage everything along with way (including upgrades), which is what used to happen in non-federated systems. Now that makes sense!