With 2020 fast approaching, technology is continuing to rapidly change all aspects of our lives and how we see and think about the world. Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform is no exception with the latest release having contained over 400 updates, new apps and industry solutions1 and the list of over 200 3rd party connectors continuously increasing. Like all the items patiently waiting in your Netflix watchlist (other streaming services are available) – so much good stuff, so little time.
As a Dynamics 365 consultant I might be a little biased but there has been no better time for anyone using (or looking to use) Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Indeed there are now so many options on offer that you would be forgiven for finding it all a bit overwhelming and getting choice overload which will only get worse with the next release. And the next one. Fear not – Microsoft Partners like us here at AlfaPeople are here to help guide you through the technology maze and get you out the other end in one piece.
As it’s one of our key areas of specialism, we’ve summarized the 5 areas of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform that can be particularly valuable for organisations in the Events and Media sector.
1. One System to Rule them All
Just like in Lord of the Rings (bear with us…), the future of civilization (see: organization) rests in the fate of the One Ring (see: CRM system). Powerful forces are unrelenting in their search for it (ok we are done). For organizations with a large number of disjointed legacy systems, having a single view of the customer or just providing consolidated reports can be a challenge with a lot of manual updates and end-of-month administration to make it happen. This can be the case particularly for Events and Media organizations where operations span different geographical locations and time zones.
As a fully customizable cloud-based technology, Microsoft Dynamics 365 opens up a world of opportunities for companies to seamlessly incorporate event/exhibition/conference apps, floor planning technology, marketing and publishing tools, and more, into their core business processes. In a market constantly looking for audience expansion and growth, the Events and Media sector needs integrated technologies across marketing, sales, finance and operations. With Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s Cloud), Office 365 and the Power Platform, Dynamics 365 reaches new heights offering users independence, storage, scalability and access – anytime, anywhere.
The Event Management module with Dynamics 365 Marketing is also definitely worth investigating as it is a great industry-specific module that allows you to manage events, webinars, speakers, sponsors as well event registration/pass information and attendee scanning (and much more) all in one go.
2. The Power is in Everyone’s Hands
With the introduction of over 200 connectors within the Power Platform, it is easier than ever before to connect Dynamics 365 to other systems and not just those within the Microsoft ecosystem but 3rd parties too (even Salesforce if you really must) with no development effort using Power Automate (previously Microsoft Flow). This not only means functional consultants can do more before having to utilize technical resources (and introduce customizations) but you as a user of the platform have a lot more power to create and manage apps, truly making the system your own.
Since the introduction of the Power Apps, there has been a rise in employees from all different departments in an organization (not just IT) creating their own apps and engaging with Microsoft tools to change the way they work for the better. It is no surprise that this trend is expected to continue with 40% of professional workers expected to have created their own business application experiences and capabilities, like they do their music streaming services, by 20232. There are so many inspiring stories just for Power Apps alone, you can find some of them here. We knew we weren’t the only Microsoft geeks out there!
3. Information, not just Data
When making business decisions, it is vital that the right information is available at all levels of an organization providing an overview of the organization’s key KPIs, targets and metrics so that decisions are made based on facts – not assumptions. Having a system that has extensive reporting capabilities to provide this level of detail and allow you to gain information out of data is fundamental.
Dynamics 365 itself provides a range of analytics from the day-to-day focused reporting and dashboards within the platform to new additions such as Sales Insights that allows you to increase sales and improve decision making, and Customer Insights to analyse and respond to customers’ behaviours and personalise their experience. Both use Dynamics AI to analyse and identify trends in data and provide valuable insights. Outside of Dynamics 365, Power BI provides extensive business intelligence tools and dynamic reporting across multiple sources allowing large volumes of data to be analysed. Tools like Power Query and the Data Export Service provide greater flexibility in updating, transforming and migrating data as well.
4. Interconnected Islands
No successful organization ever stays the same – as the famous quote by Will Rogers goes ‘Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there’ – and no one wants that. The extensive amount of functionality when it comes to Dynamics 365, the Power Platform and Microsoft technologies does provide a lot of flexibility and options for the future. Due to the fact that each module within Dynamics 365 is stand alone, you could easily start with a sales focus and gradually transition to customer service, marketing and finance as the organization grows or is ready to transition. You could equally do none of the above and start with a trial of a canvas app within the Common Data Service if that is more relevant. What is important to remember is that everything within the Microsoft umbrella is an island onto itself – and can be connected to any other island as and when you are ready. This means that whatever the size of your organization, you can mix and match what you need from the Microsoft stack right now, without compromising on what you may wish to do in the future.
5. The Time to Transform is Now
Here at AlfaPeople we have worked with one of the world’s biggest and most successful exhibition companies, Hyve Group (previously ITE Group), to completely transform their global business through the use of Microsoft technologies and tools. We implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement to relieve the company of ageing technology and multiple legacy systems and there is now a single online Dynamics 365 instance used in 17 countries across the world with over 350 daily users across web and mobile platforms. We provide a bespoke Dynamics 365 package for events and media organizations helping them extend Dynamics 365 to meet their specific needs in terms of event setup, order processing and contract management as well as after sales care. We speak from experience and are passionate about maximizing an organization’s investment in technology to make a real impact and truly transform their business. If you are considering embarking on this journey it is worth remembering that when it comes to transforming an organization through technology, the time to do it is now especially if you are a large organization – digital innovation timelines and associated costs are expected to double in the next year alone3.
Ready to take the next step? Get in touch.