Did you know that 89% of customers stop doing business with a brand after a bad experience? Having a unique product offering or a competitive pricing structure is no longer enough on its own. In today’s ever-evolving digital world, it is the customer experience that truly matters. Providing an excellent customer experience is conducive to business success as it helps companies build a strong brand reputation and drives customer loyalty.
Microsoft’s New Virtual Agent
Microsoft understands the importance of delivering excellent customer experiences and as a result, have delivered the new Virtual Agent – an intelligent bot that helps customer service teams optimize operations and drive efficiency. The Virtual Agent delivers personalized conversations depending on customer needs and helps to quickly resolve issues at any given time.
The Virtual Agent uses AI to help real life customer service agents deal with issues that can be resolved through an automated process. Customer service teams are empowered to build and monitor bots, update and tweak conversations as well as set rules for desired actions on the back-end. The ability to automate this process speeds up customer service and frees up time for agents to focus on more complicated tasks. The agents can see the whole transcript that a customer had with a virtual agent through the Dynamics 365 omni-channel engagement hub. This provides them with all the context and information they need from a specific customer interaction.
Virtual Agent Does Not Require Code
The beauty of this tool is that it does not have to be built by a technical person. Creating bots has traditionally been developer driven or required support from a data scientist. There have been several challenges linked to building bots on the old Microsoft Bot Framework. Firstly, it requires you to understand various API’s, databases, Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft Cognitive services as well as various conversation channels. Secondly, the reliance on multiple API’s to different application services can be potentially risky.
However, that is not the case with Microsoft’s new Virtual Agent. This new feature allows you to make a bot without any programming knowledge. It is entirely configuration driven and because no code is required it means you can quickly build it yourself without technical support. Once you have finished building your bot it outputs a bit of HTML code that you simply add to your live site. The bot is tied to Dynamics 365 CRM applications, but it will not perform tasks until you implement it with Microsoft Flows. Once flows have been created you can easily set the bot up to action commands based on a customer‘s response. For example, you can utilize the bot to update a contacts personal information in CRM or provide the customer with information on their purchase history based on information in your database.
I myself am a marketer, and was curious to see just how simple it would be to build a bot from scratch. I signed up for Virtual Agent and had a play around inside the preview to see what I could piece together. I was amazed at just how fast and intuitive it was to build a bot and create automated conversations that tied to easy to implement actions. I was equally impressed that the trigger phrases for conversations did not need to be an exact match. Virtual Agent understands the semantic meaning behind a conversation trigger and can respond accordingly. This really goes to show how Microsoft is using AI to empower the everyday professional to build upon and improve customer experiences.
Microsoft’s Virtual Agent opens up a world of opportunity for organizations looking to interact more efficiently with their customers. In addition to providing a more seamless experience for customers, Virtual Agent also offers AI-driven insights that draw attention to your organizations most relevant KPIs and emerging topics. You no longer need to look at cases individually as the AI does it for you, aggregating important data and enabling you to prioritize specific cases. It also empowers managers to understand the performance of their team and where there is room for improvement.
Test it out for yourself. Sign up for the Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent Customer Service Preview and build your own bot.
Got more questions? Our CRM experts are here to help. Contact us and we’ll get back to you within one business day.
The Chart of Accounts could now be considered your biggest financial reporting tool in Business Central. Thanks to Microsoft’s development of filtering and Excel functionality, generating your financials has become a whole lot quicker and extremely accessible. Add a Date filter, Account Type filter and then Open in Excel. Seriously, that’s it.
Let’s look at why it makes sense. Your Chart of Accounts is the core of your financial functionality. All your financial information runs through here and it provides you with account by account reporting. With the awesome ability to ‘stack’ filters in Business Central, you can simply turn this page into a financial report.
The main convenience of using the Chart of Accounts with filters is that there is no setup involved. You simply go to the Chart of Accounts page, apply your filters and it gives you the accounts and updated data that you require. All you need to do is add a couple of headings in Excel and totaling lines (e.g. Gross profit if exporting Income Statement lines) and hey presto – you have your report.
There is no maintenance required, unlike Account Schedules where you must manually add the line every time you make a new GL account. Not to mention that this must be done for every GL in every company you have on your database. When using the Chart of Accounts, it is super easy to update your filter ranges to get a whole different set of data for different time periods. Check out some examples below!
Simply ‘Filter totals by’ using a ‘Date filter’ for the financial period you want the report for. For example, 12/31/19 for a standard 2019 January to December financial year.
Now we want to ‘Filter list by’ and select the ‘Income/Balance’ option. Then select Balance Sheet.
The ‘Balance’ column now displays our financial data for our 2019 Balance Sheet.
With two quick filters we have limited our totals to transaction within our financial period and have only Balance Sheet accounts on display. With the ‘Open in Excel’ option, this data is now exported for our desired use.
For our Income Statement we will follow a similar process.
‘Filter totals by’ then use ‘Date filter’. However, this time we are going to set a range. For example, 01/01/19..12/31/19 for a 2019 January to December financial year.
Now we want to ‘Filter list by’ and select the ‘Income/Balance’ option. Then select Income Statement.
This time we are looking at the ‘Net Change’ column for our Income Statement financial data. Again, we can simply ‘Open in Excel’ and use this data as needed.
Cool tips and tricks!
Have a bunch of accounts that didn’t get used this year for you Income Statement that you don’t want to show? Add an extra filter to your stack to remove everything that has a $0 Net Change!
Why just look at the financial data for a year? Here’s how you could use some cool date formulas for on the fly reporting:
Leaving the top filters the same, we can change the ‘Date filter’ to -CY..T to give us year-to-date data.
This formula would come out like this:
Need a month-to-date Income Statement? Easy!
How about a quarter-to-date?
Okay, I think you get the idea now.
NAV’s infamous ‘Account Schedules’ are still here in Business Central deriving reporting from your ‘Account Subcategory’ setup and catering for a wide range of FP&A reporting.
Try making use of the of these awesome new features as they’re only going to get better. Our inside sources tell us the ability to save filters is coming soon! We do still recommend using Jet Reports and Power BI for official reporting at a detailed level. However, the filtering ability of the Chart of Accounts now gives a decent level of quick access reporting to use for most day-to-day and month-to-month reporting and contemporary reporting needs.
Stay tuned for more insight into the benefits of updated features as well as tips on how to get the most out of Business Central. For a bunch more information on date filtering for reporting check out this link here.
Migration to the cloud from Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premise is increasing with a huge number of companies adopting the Dynamics 365 cloud-based solution in favor of driving efficiency and reducing costs. One of the most compelling reasons for moving from on-premise to the cloud is that companies no longer have to maintain server infrastructure or worry about updates and stability. Migration to the cloud means that businesses will always be on the latest and greatest Dynamics 365 build. Ultimately, moving to the cloud is helping companies scale their business by reducing the ongoing cost that is required to maintain the on-premise version.
At Catapult, we understand that migrating your data to Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud services does not just happen overnight. There are a variety of factors that need consideration, such as which migration tool to use. It can often be quite difficult to weigh the pros and cons of various migration tools due to a few reasons including licensing costs, flexibility and ease of use. We review one of the leading players in the market that help companies integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premise with Dynamics 365 cloud services, KingswaySoft.
KingswaySoft offer a software integration toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics 365 built on SQL Server Integration (SSIS). This provides companies with great flexibility, ease of use and high-performance data migration. You will often see KingswaySoft compared with their competitor Scribe, another reputable provider who offer Scribe Online, an all-in-one platform specifically tailored to support cloud integration. However, there is a critical differentiation between these two players and it is not something that everyone is aware of – KingswaySoft offer a completely free migration toolkit for developers.
The Starter Pack was first made available in 2016 and underwent updates in 2018 based on client feedback to ensure it covered important migration scenarios. This package is available for download on their website assuming you have the software prerequisites listed. The valuable thing about this migration tool is that you can migrate all your company’s data to CRM for free. You don’t need to acquire a license if you are using the software functionality within your development tools (Visual Studio or BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio)). You only need to pay if you wish to integrate your data as this involves collecting data from sources outside of your organization for analysis rather than simply moving data already stored into a different environment. Once you have installed the software you can build and evolve your data workflows within your developer tool and execute test loads. There is also the option to test the software outside of development tools if you sign up to the 14-day free trial period that they have on offer. When the trial period is finished the software will automatically revert to the free developer license and you will no longer be able to run SSIS packages on a scheduled basis or from outside of your development tools.
If your business requires a one-time migration, then this tool is perfect for you. Using KingswaySoft to migrate your data will save you the associated costs that you will find with other migration tools from competitors such as Scribe. Not only will it save you money, but it will provide you with the features you need for a seamless migration. However, if you did want the ability to run the designated version of KingswaySoft’s software outside of your development tools then you can sign up to their subscription package or perpetual license for a reasonable price. If you are looking to save costs, then look no further as KingswaySoft is a reliable and free migration tool to use. You can check out the frequently asked questions here.
Need migration support? Talk to an expert to find out how Catapult can help you migrate to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and achieve workable solutions for your CRM needs.
For as long as companies have been capturing data about their business processes in ERP and CRM platforms, it has been almost as important to extract and summarize it. Reporting software is a huge segment of the industry. Data flowing through ERP and CRM systems facilitates efficient workflow, while exporting and summarizing it facilitates business insight and decision making. In the past few years we have observed the emergence of powerful analytics tools and platforms that enable users to visualize data, slice and dice, and interpret in ways that were previously in the realm of sophisticated data science.
Microsoft was an early leader in business analytics and visualization software, and it should be no surprise since Excel has, for many decades, been the weapon of choice for number-crunching, tabulation, and analysis. Power BI represents a significant extension of the Excel story with a powerful set of tools for tapping into islands of data to identify patterns, trends, and insights and visually monitor key performance indicators in any business context. Dynamics 365 customers benefit from the bundling of PowerBI with Business Central and Customer Engagement platforms.
Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence platforms confirms Microsoft’s leadership. We think Microsoft started something significant in the enterprise business software industry as Salesforce announced its acquisition this week of data visualization software company Tableau. The tech giant acquired Tableau for a whopping $15.7 billion, a huge leap from their last market cap where they were valued at $10.79 billion. This acquisition empowers Microsoft’s CRM rival to broaden their offering to business analytics. Salesforce are to make Seattle the home of Tableau, and their official second headquarters after the infamous Salesforce tower in San Francisco. With Seattle being home to the headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon, we think it clearly signifies their desire to become a key industry player in business analytics.
But why has this happened now? It is interesting that Salesforce have chosen to make this acquisition public one week after Google acquire Looker and the same day that Microsoft announced their expansion plans for their Power Platform. Could it be in response to this? With Microsoft establishing such a clear lead in business analytics attached to their business app platforms, it is clear that Salesforce needed to be in the game also. Salesforce Wave Analytics, a business intelligence platform from Salesforce, was not as successful as they had once hoped. This recent acquisition of Tableau now aims to help Salesforce show their clients the value of their data, something that they have not been able to previously do.
It is no secret that Salesforce and Microsoft have had an ongoing rivalry over CRM, with a tug of war to acquire LinkedIn that ultimately resulted in a win for Microsoft in 2016. Since then, Salesforce have persisted with their efforts to widen its products and services for enterprises by attempting to offer deeper levels of analytics.
Microsoft, Salesforce and the Analytics Market
Microsoft has been an industry innovator in business intelligence and analytics for 12 consecutive years. The Power BI investment will continue to grow and expand its reach via the Power Platform. In February 2019 Gartner rated Microsoft number one leader and visionaries in their magic quadrant for analytics and business intelligence platforms.
This graph illustrates the value that corporations are putting on analytics and business intelligence, making it clear that Microsoft are winning the game on access to big data. Microsoft have tied purchases like LinkedIn to Dynamics 365 Talent and Power BI and have shown Fortune 500 companies’ valuable data on corporate employees and hiring practices. Their approach to big data has shown huge value and is forcing other technology giants to jump into the game, like Google with its recent acquisition of Looker and Salesforce with Tableau.
What does this mean for Dynamics 365 customers?
The leadership position that Microsoft holds in business intelligence and analytics is a clear indication that there is value in investing in Office 365 and Power Platforms. Microsoft have always put data analytics at the heart of their business and understood that insights are an essential part of the overall product offering. There is a clear return on investment with subscription packages as these will keep paying off as Microsoft continue to make enhancements and superior products. Microsoft has been able to offer lower prices for business intelligence and analytics as part of these packages, and clients have been able to implement cutting technology at a fraction of what the cost used to be.
The new Unified Interface for Dynamics 365 introduces enhanced capabilities that provide an improved experience for all Customer Engagement users. For those who might be unfamiliar with “Customer Engagement” branding from Microsoft, it is essentially a bundle of customer relationship management applications available under one user license. They include Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service and Project Service Automation. Previously, these were packaged under the name “Dynamics CRM”. Microsoft sells the applications individually for customers that do not require the full suite of capabilities. In this article we will refer to Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement and Customer Engagement Applications.
This article focuses on the top five questions customers ask about the Unified Interface for Customer Engagement and looks at some of the new and exciting enhancements we saw with the release in April.
1. What is the Unified Interface for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to answer the burning question on many customers minds – what is the Unified Interface for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement?
The Unified Interface is a new user experience and interface for Dynamics 365 that uses a responsive web design to harmonize the way users access data and interact with Customer Engagement features across all devices, browsers and individual applications. A major benefit of the Dynamics 365 cloud platform is the ability to access and update records from any device, anywhere. In the past, customers had to be familiar with different interfaces for web, mobile and Outlook. The Unified Interface now ensures consistency across all device types, making the experience familiar and seamless. The Unified Interface also improved performance for Customer Engagement apps by ensuring that users get to the pages they need efficiently and that they load and refresh data quickly.
Microsoft’s goal was to make the Unified Interface the definitive client for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement solutions. The focus was on providing an enterprise class experience for all users, regardless of the type of screen, orientation, or the application it’s being accessed from. Examples of common experiences across devices include:
Similar form experiences to update and view your records.
Interactive dashboards across all devices to view your information and drill into it.
Reference Panel is now available to be used with all entities supported in Unified Interface.
The entire Dynamics 365 platform is shifting towards a responsive web experience that will ultimately result in the sunset of the classic browser client and mobile apps. According to Microsoft, Unified Interface apps are the only apps supported on phones and tablets for Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, version 9.0. When a user logs into the above org, they will only see the Unified Interface apps on their apps landing page.
2. How is Microsoft rolling out the Unified Interface?
Microsoft has set the Unified Interface as the default experience for a reason. With each new release we’ll see more and more of the features only being available on the Unified Interface as it is now the standard interface for all future updates.
This doesn’t mean that customers are no longer able to use the classic web interface and mobile app. However, it does mean that it will become increasingly important for customers to start making the transition across to the Unified Interface as Microsoft begin to phase out the legacy interface. It’s also beneficial for customers to adopt the Unified Interface as it will ensure that all users are privy to new features.
Microsoft are rolling this out in a strategic way that gives customers plenty of time to make the transition. We would expect at least 6 months’ notice but suspect it could be sooner, as they might decide the cutoff point is October in line with the next major release.
Most of the core functionalities of sales and customer service have moved to the Unified Interface experience. However, some of the features that are not yet on Unified Interface can now be accessed in the Unified Interface client.
The following features are not yet present in the Unified Interface but can be enabled for display as legacy dialogs in the Unified Interface through the hybrid experience.
In April Microsoft released enhancements to the Unified Interface that addressed some of the most pressing feedback from customers. We’ve listed some of the top new features we think customers should be getting excited about.
According to Microsoft, the most requested enhancement for the Dynamics Customer Engagement user experience is improved navigation. The new Unified Interface addresses these issues by making significant changes to the site map. One of the biggest changes is the expansion of the sitemap itself, with less deep nesting of data and simplification of information architecture, making it far easier for users to move within the application and quickly find the functions they need. The Unified Interface also offers a simplified instant access, bringing users’ most recent page visits and pinned items right to the top.
Business Process Flows
Business process flows are among the most important capabilities in the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement platform because they empower organizations to dramatically improve efficiency and visibility within key functions like sales or customer services. Business process flows have been improved to work seamlessly on all browsers and device types. Users can now simply click a business process stage to access the relevant field.
The inclination to stay with what you know when you’ve been working with a solution like Dynamics GP for some time is quite natural.
That said, as Dynamics 365 Business Central – Microsoft’s cloud ERP offering for the SMB market – gains ground, a few common motivators have been driving GP customers to migrate from GP to Business Central.
Here are 3 major reasons why Dynamics GP customers are moving to Business Central:
1. TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP / Value
We’ll let the numbers do the talking but in our eyes, Business Central is a no brainer:
More predictable costs each year. Assuming you aren’t repeatedly adding new users, you’ll see that the costs with SaaS each year are fairly consistent.
Fewer dedicated IT staff requirements.
Upgrades and updates included in subscription meaning you are always on the current version. You’ll never have to consider a large upgrade ever again.
For illustrative purposes, we compared the total cost of ownership of Business Central vs. NAV on-premises over a 5 year period. The conclusions from this apply to many businesses that are running legacy on-premises solutions.
2. MORE FEATURES
With operational growth comes the need for more functional capabilities and productivity-enhancing features that aren’t necessarily available in Dynamics GP on-premises – no matter what version you are on. Some key wins for customers who make the move include:
Exposure to the full breadth of the Microsoft stack. It goes without saying that the close integration with Office 365 is a game-changer for businesses who are already using Office. For example, with Business Central’s Outlook integration, users are able to create Sales Orders in their ERP directly from their email. Additionally, many GP customers want to take advantage of the built-in analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools within Business Central for improved visibility and decision making.
Access to advanced functionality. Finally, GP customers get access to more advanced functionality (from NAV) that they didn’t have previously such as multi-company consolidation and inter-company transfers.
Moving from an on-premises system to the Dynamics 365 cloud is like night and day from a cost and efficiency perspective. Many Dynamics GP customers struggle with remote connectivity and slow performance issues, so they decide that the lower overhead costs, automatic upgrades, and fast performance are strong enough reasons to replace their current on-premise system.
DOWNLOAD THE WHITEPAPER
Delve into our white paper and discover why now is the time for customers to move to Dynamics 365 and what to expect. Get your free copy today.
Contrary to popular belief, the sky is not falling for Microsoft Dynamics GP on-premise customers.
The rumors around Dynamics GP being retired or in maintenance were based on assumptions kicking around the ecosystem this past year. From Microsoft’s push towards cloud services, the introduction of its first cloud-based ERP solution (Dynamics 365) – oh, and the fact that you were probably offered a discount to migrate to Dynamics 365.
While some of these signs might still make you wonder, we’re going to try to set the record straight and give you all the information you need to form your own opinion on Dynamics GP’s future. Armed with the facts, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether you want to stay on the same path or make the move to the cloud.
Dynamics GP Roadmap to 2020
Last year at the GP Tech Conference, Microsoft released the GP Roadmap featured below. This roadmap shows two to three versions out, clearly showing continuous support and core enhancements to the product well past 2020.
As you can see, the next release is GP ‘Next’ and includes top features requested by the customers and community, as well as Intelligent Edge enhancements. For those of you unfamiliar with the Intelligent Edge, this new feature allows you to connect your Dynamics GP on-premise data to the cloud through Dynamics 365 Business Central. It is designed to give you an opportunity to experiment with Dynamics 365’s built-in capabilities, like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Power BI, Power Apps, Flow, and Common Data Services; while remaining on your current system.
Microsoft says the Intelligent Edge was built to “bridge the digital and real world,” but we think that it’s really meant to bridge the on-premise world with the cloud.
And this is where the road gets muddy.
What’s Next for Dynamics GP?
While Microsoft continues to invest in Dynamics GP, they are trying to make it easier for you to move to the cloud. By opening up the doors to Dynamics 365, you will have a chance to see if actionable analytics, enhanced collaboration, and instant accessibility are enough to make you switch.
With Dynamics GP now aligned with the Dynamics 365 Business Central plan, it remains to be seen what happens after 2020. Dynamics GP is a proven and mature solution that you’ve likely invested thousands of hours and dollars to perfectly fit to your operations. If you are currently experiencing performance issues, growing infrastructure costs, and a few versions behind the latest Dynamics GP release, all we can tell you is to keep your options open.
While you’re not in imminent danger of losing support from Microsoft, there are still a ton of Dynamics GP on-premise customers who are making the switch to the Dynamics 365 cloud.
Download the whitepaper
In our latest whitepaper, From Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365, we outline the reasons why these customers have made the move, what they have gained with Dynamics 365, and what you can expect if you decide to move forward.
The official Business Central Licensing Guide is a great resource. However, we’ve found that, given the shift from on-premises to cloud-based subscription licensing, there are new concepts in this document that our clients often want further explanation on.
With the news that new NAV licenses will no longer be available, many customers are also wondering what this means for them moving forward. If you’re in that position, or already considering adopting Business Central in your company, refer to the following Q&A for a detailed understanding of the new licensing scheme.
Still considering the move to the cloud? Compare the cost of Business Central with NAV On-Premise.
Business Central Licensing 101
We’ve provided the details below but let’s start with a brief an introduction…or the quick 101 summary of Business Central Licensing:
There are two types of licenses: Essentials ($90 CAD/user/month) and Premium ($128 CAD/user/month), each offering different functionality
There are two types of users: Full and Additional users (i.e. Team licenses who require mostly read-only or approval access)
External users who aren’t performing business processes on behalf of the organization can access the system
Q: What’s included with the Essentials License vs a Premium License?
A: Essentials has:
Supply chain management
Premium includes all of these, plus:
NOTE: You must either select Essentials or Premium licenses – you cannot have both.
Q: Team licenses are cheaper! Can everyone be on them?
A: No. These are really designed to be read-only licenses. “The Dynamics 365 Business Central Team Members subscription is a named user subscription designed for users who are not tied to a particular function, but who require basic Dynamics 365 Business Central functionality.”
ln addition, to have team licenses you must license at least one Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials or Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium user.
Q: What exactly can you do with a team license?
Users of this licenses get full read access as well as some write access. They can:
Use PowerApps to access D365 Business Central
Update existing data. This could include customer records, vendor records, or item records
Approve/reject tasks in a workflow
Create, edit or delete a quote OR personal information
Enter a time sheet for jobs
Having this option is particularly valuable when it comes to approval areas. There are a number of areas in Business Central that a team member could have an impact on but never enter, edit, or delete those documents or master records. If you are a manager, you could approve items entered into the system by a user. You can see all the data and only take action on workflows and timesheets, for example.
Q: Can multiple users use the same license?
A: No – with the subscription license, each license must have a named user.
Q: Who counts as external users?
A: Your customers and suppliers.
External users cannot use any clients provided by the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Application Programming Interface (API), such as the Windows client, the Web client, the Windows, the iPad or iPhone app, or the Android application.
Learn more about our subscription pricing for Business central
We have launched subscription-based pricing for the set-up, subscription and ongoing support for a Business Central Solution. The model flattens out the capital costs of a major upgrade project and bundles in the subscription of Business Central and ongoing Support Desk and Proactive Support Services.
If you are contemplating moving to Business Central, explore our subscription offers, and as always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
The big update from Microsoft in October was the announcement that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is generally available worldwide, for cloud, hybrid and on-premises deployments.
Microsoft has made significant investments into the research and development of Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, to bring full NAV functionality to the cloud and create a modern, intelligent suite of business applications.
Since the October release, Microsoft has made further updates to the solution. From the updated roadmap which Microsoft has recently published, it shows that the Business Central product name will be continued with for the foreseeable future…
This means there will NOT be a Dynamics NAV 2019.
In addition, Microsoft has made some changes to how the solution is licensed vs what you, as a NAV customer, are likely used to. In fact, no new NAV licenses will be sold from April 2019.
NO more nav?
Several of our Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers have asked what this means for them as they are unclear as to whether their current NAV solution will become obsolete, whether they should migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, how much a migration will cost, and when they should make the leap to the new solution.
If you are an existing customer and current on your Annual Maintenance, you can continue to buy licenses, but the platform will not be continued from a development perspective and no new NAV ERP solutions will be sold past April this year. The path forward is Business Central.
the path forward
We recognize that budgeting the cost, time and effort for an ERP migration is not something that most companies want to do. It has always been necessary with on-premise deployments. With Business Central, however, there is an opportunity to move to a modern ERP solution without ever having to contemplate a major upgrade again.
As such, we have launched subscription-based pricing for the set-up, subscription and ongoing support for a Business Central Solution. The model flattens out the capital costs of a major upgrade project and bundles in the subscription of Business Central and on-going Support Desk and Proactive Support Services.
If you are contemplating upgrading your NAV solution, explore our subscription offers, and as always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
To achieve their best performance with ERP and CRM and ensure continued adoption, proactive support is critical. Businesses need training, process alignment, regular system enhancements, upgrade management, system administration and last but not least, responsive help.
While the wisdom around how to properly approach a project is varied and extensive, ideas about how to properly support an ERP or CRM solution are less plentiful, so we’ve covered off a few approaches that we consider critical investments in the health of your solution.
In the first week following go-live day, we would typically be onsite for two full days to aid end users and staff as they begin to get comfortable with the new system.
After the first two days, we would facilitate end-of-day check ins with key users and staff. During these check ins, we discuss end user experiences, successes, challenges or frustrations, explore configuration issues, and begin to discuss ideas for further optimizing business operations using the new capabilities.
After the first week, any major operational concerns would have likely been addressed. Now is the time to tweak and adjust system configuration based on feedback from the first week. At this stage, we would also recommend moving to weekly check-in calls using screen sharing and remote sessions to provide additional training or assistance or to walk-through specific scenarios.
In this period, we would also deliver an end-user questionnaire to get feedback to be shared with the management team and used to further refine the system and processes. The focus of the check-ins is end-user experiences, process effectiveness, and addressing questions or concerns about the system.
For the first three month-end close periods, we can provide assistance to ensure that best practices are followed and help guide the team to use the system effectively to promote efficiency and high-quality business information.
Month-end close assistance typically includes support for posting journals, recurring journals, balancing AR and AP subledgers, and bank reconciliations, plus financial reporting. During the month-end close process, it is also useful to have training sessions for users or new staff and look at opportunities for process improvement.
After one fiscal quarter of use, or sooner, depending on business need, we would facilitate a collaborative report building session and refine existing reports. At this time, we would also work with key users to evolve their system dashboards to make the information presented more relevant to their work and goals.
Dynamic 365 runs in the cloud on Azure servers sitting atop world-class infrastructure. For this reason, there is no requirement for traditional IT operations management. However, it is best practice to monitor system performance on a continuous basis to maintain adequate storage and perform basic optimization tasks as needed, including monitoring for updates from D365 that may need to be applied.
System administration also includes changes to user permissions and roles, adding and changing users, and minor configuration changes.
New Feature Planning
With each new release and update from Dynamics 365 comes new features and capabilities. Staying educated about these changes – through blog posts or webinars – means you will understand which new features you can leverage and put together a plan to adopt them.
New releases come out at a much higher cadence than they ever did in the on-premises world. To ensure that you’re always on the latest version (and that nothing breaks in the process), we would oversee the upgrade process each time D365 publishes a new release. With each upgrade, we would run through a series of tests, or work with users to conduct tests, to make sure that the upgrades do not negatively impact any processes or data. We also validate the correct functioning of the integrations after each upgrade.
New Employee Training
What happens when a key employee exits the organization and a replacement isn’t found in time? Or what if a few of your users want a bit of a refresher? Role-specific training will keep users up to speed and on top of best practices.
For more information on how Catapult can support your business with their Dynamics 365 ERP or CRM solution, please explore our on-demand and dedicated support services.