Why We Worry Less When Clients Use the Microsoft Cloud

onedrive-logo-thing-590x330Some of the prospects we come across are still apprehensive about moving their business systems entirely to the cloud. They feel more comfortable and in control, knowing their data is close by in a server room they can hear and see. For us, it is just the opposite. We take a lot of comfort knowing that client data is safely in the Microsoft Cloud.  Here are some of the main reasons why:

  • With the Microsoft Cloud, we don’t need to worry about things that could unexpectedly go wrong such as power problems, physical security of the servers, hard drive or other hardware failures, IT staff who fail to keep things patched and upgraded.
  • With systems today, multiple server and software products are used and connected together to keep users productive. With the Microsoft Cloud, we don’t have to think about keeping things going when one of these products needs to get upgraded. Microsoft handles that for us. They also handle backups, and guarantee your up-time.
  • Microsoft’s current policy is to ship new features into their cloud version before they ship to their premise versions.
  • On top of all that, Microsoft is charging a premium now for premise-based licenses.

When you combine that with the cost of having IT people responsible for patches and upgrades, you get a pretty compelling business case to move things to the cloud.

Contact FIELDBOSS for all your cloud-based questions.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Financials Positioning Pivot

ms-dynamics-365-demoMicrosoft recently changed the positioning of Dynamics 365 Financials, their new accounting software solution. Launched in November 2016, Microsoft originally positioned D365 Financials as a more robust and low cost alternative to QuickBooks. Six months later, Microsoft has done a complete positioning pivot. Microsoft has announced that Dynamics 365 Financials will be a cloud-based derivative of Dynamics NAV, which is a very strong mid-market accounting solution. Dynamics 365 Financials will target companies with 10-500 employees, with very fast configuration features at a low monthly user subscription cost. Microsoft is targeting Q4 2017 for feature parity with Dynamics NAV, which will include strong capabilities in the areas of distribution, manufacturing, and numerous features for multi-location and multi-entity accounting and business intelligence.

Contact FIELDBOSS to answer all your D365 Financials questions.

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Is Your Field Service Company Ready to Upgrade to Dynamics 365 Financials – Business Edition?

ms-dynamics-365-demoDynamics 365 Financials – Business Edition is a business management solution for small and mid-sized organizations that automates and streamlines business processes and helps you manage your business. It is a cloud offering targeted at organizations that have 1 to 250 employees who are looking for typical system features for the SMB market. It allows users to start small by only using apps that they need and expanding as their business requirements change. The main business functions include:

  • General Ledger
  • Financial dimensions capability
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Banking
  • Sales orders
  • Purchase orders
  • Project or job costing
  • Inventory; stock and non-stock
  • Fixed asset accounting
  • Basic relationship management
  • Approval workflows

 

If your field service business is thriving and you are currently using Quickbooks or another entry-level accounting software, be on the look-out for some tell-tale signs that it’s time to move on to a new accounting system. Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Business Edition is one you should consider if you find that your business is struggling with:

  • Monthly reporting nightmares: QuickBooks designed its reporting capabilities for very small businesses.   In order to get more complex, meaningful financial reports, all of the data must be exported to Excel, summarized, formatted and printed manually each month. Change a single amount and you need to repeat the entire process again.
  • Disconnected systems: QuickBooks was designed to stand alone, creating disconnected sets of information that are very difficult to manage as you grow. Your field service company may have groups of data locked into different systems. As a result, there is a lot of duplication of data, making the company inefficient and increasing the chances for errors.
  • Limited users: Your accounting department has grown, yet you have a limited amount of user access.
  • Data and record size limitations: QuickBooks does have data and record size limitations that may become a problem for fast-growing field service companies. As a company begins to reach the limitations there is also the potential for the data to become corrupted. This may make it more difficult and costly to move the data to another system.
  • Too many outside spreadsheets: If your field service company is using spreadsheets for tracking and reporting much of your accounting related data, you have outgrown QuickBooks. Many fast growing service companies find the limited functionality inhibits data tracking, and therefore turn to spreadsheets. The separate information on various spreadsheets create extra work and increase the potential for errors, slowing everyone down.

 

Contact FIELDBOSS to answer your questions about Dynamics 365 Financials Business Edition or to upgrade your field service company from Quickbooks or other startup accounting software.

 

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Where is my data?

captureEarlier this year, Microsoft added two new data centres in Canada to their growing list of data center regions for Office 365 for business services. The new data centers, located in Toronto and Quebec, were opened to support the ongoing customer demand and usage growth. The cloud continues to gain acceptance over traditional on-premises data storage servers due to its flexibility and cost efficiency. Cloud services can free smaller enterprises from spending money on IT infrastructure and offers data security on par or superior to on-site storage. This is all part of Microsoft’s multi-billion ongoing global commitment to cloud infrastructure and research. The exact locations of the data centers aren’t revealed as they typically restrict access and feature high security such as motion detectors to guard against physical and cyber-attacks.

So, do you ever wonder where your Microsoft Dynamics cloud data hangs out? Well, this web page shows you where your data goes once you hit that save button.

Contact FIELDBOSS to answer all your cloud questions.

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Improving Business Processes with a New Software System

dreamstime_12660438How your company handles day-to-day work, from the time sales come in the door until the work is complete, has likely developed over many years of business experience and staffing changes.   Often a business will have very senior resources both in the office and in the field that have over the years put their stamp on the business by instituting new and improved ways of working.  The desire to improve how you do things is a good thing and generally encouraged by successful companies.  Improving the way you work has been around a long time before technology and the micro-chip.  It’s just a matter of how fast it needs to happen.

With the rapid pace of technology and automation now available to business, the need to change and improve is not only more important but it is in some cases essential to growth or even survival.  “Change” can be extremely difficult to accomplish for businesses with their processes still stuck in a hybrid of manual paper, phone calls and old back-office systems.  It also becomes nearly impossible to implement change quickly due to the many old manual paper process and legacy systems.  Along with this hybrid of manual processes and technology, there is usually a parallel of old and new staff using them.  This combination of manual or old systems and the staff that are holding on to them dearly, creates significant tension and resistance to change.  The newer generation are born and grow up with smart phones, tablet and social media while the people with the deep business acumen in your business in many cases are still writing manual work orders and phoning or emailing when they want something.

The good news is that all of the technologies have now evolved to the point that most all sizes of businesses can afford them.  Yes, sometimes it is a stretch, but a lot is on the line.  You can now remove the majority of paper and have end-to-end integrated processes with intelligent data at your fingertips through mobile devices, secure browser or even directly inside Outlook. All of this great technology is served up in the cloud from servers that you no longer worry about.  The not-so-good news is there is both a cost and effort to make the decision to dive-in and to implement a new system across your business.  The easier decision is to procrastinate and put it off for another year.  When you finally do make the jump, and you probably know you will have to, your staff will need to be managed and supported through the change and the way you work will need to adapt at most all levels, including management.  More than ever you need an experienced company to partner with to help you through this transition.  Change is not always easy for people.  However, there is never a better time to slow down and do it right.  You don’t have to change everything overnight, nor use all the great new capabilities, but you will find that the short term pain will be just that, short term.  Your more experienced staff may take longer to come on board but once they do, their creative juices will be re-invigorated.  It is pretty exciting to see your teams not only embrace the culture of change, but finally have the tools and technology to do it quickly.

For more information on how you can improve your business processes, contact us here. 

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Announced

imagesToday,  Microsoft announced they will be releasing the next version of CRM — Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 — in Q4 of this calendar year.  This will be the most comprehensive CRM release and a milestone in the company’s efforts to reinvent productivity.

Here is a sneak peek at the new capabilities:

1)     An enhanced Excel experience within CRM, including new Excel templates to automate many core tasks.  This helps our customers across the board but particularly in the sales as it allows them to do things like calculate commissions or manage a sales forecast.  They get analysis and insights directly in their sales processes, without the need to export or switch – just easy toggling to reduce countless steps and eliminate the complexity. 

2)     The next generation of our CRM app for outlook enables people to track emails, add contacts from within an email or even create new records to track emails through the browser on PC, Mac or mobile browser on a phone. 

3)     Delve functionality to surface trending content that is most relevant to what a person is working on and what is trending around them.  For example, Delve might show popular presentations or proposals to help our customers with their opportunity or account.

4)     Contextual documents across SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, and Office 365 Groups for any CRM record. Our customers can now seamlessly open various Office apps within CRM or the CRM mobile app.  We’re making it easy for people to open a document in the CRM app using different application on various devices like Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad or Microsoft Word for iPhone. After reviewing the document, they can return back to the CRM app simply by just tapping on the “back” button.

5)     Personalized sales documents based on CRM data are now easier to build with Document Generation.  People no longer need to manually extract CRM data for documents such as account summaries, quotes/orders/invoices, product sheets in Word. Automation of this core sales task is another way we’re saving people time.

As you can see, this will be the most comprehensive Dynamics CRM solution ever.  You can find out more about the exciting new capabilities of Dynamics CRM 2016 in the Release Preview Guide.

Check back on our blog for more information and updates as they come in! If you have any questions about FIELDBOSS CRM, contact us here.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Update

Microsoft is currently scheduling the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online update 1 upgrade process for October or November. This update is for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015. Companies who wish to take advantage of the new features sooner can reschedule to an earlier date.

In the past, Microsoft had a lot of complaints about how quickly Microsoft Dynamics CRM upgrades were being offered to customers. Most companies wanted to push the upgrades out to a later date to reduce the risk of update issues. Microsoft responded by scheduling current updates further out from the release of the update. Because this new CRM Online update is within the same software framework, the update is considered to be less risky, resulting in companies complaining that the updates are scheduled too far out.

Microsoft has been reasonable accommodating upgrade dates. It is important to schedule the non-production environment upgrade first. New flexibility around scheduling upgrades and refreshing the non-production environments now makes being online as easy as being on premise. For more information on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online updates contact us here.

CRM-2015-Update-1-Navigation
The improved Navigation for CRM 2015 Update 1

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CRM Online Integration with One Note and Excel

 

onenote-amazon-app-store-100361701-largeWe have received a few questions from our customers about the CRM online integration with one note and Excel.

CRM Online can be integrated with OneNote Online by linking to the OneNote record and Excel Online spreadsheets can be live updated to CRM Online. It is important that companies set a policy as to what kind of data should be stored in OneNote vs CRM Online. Keep in mind there is no way to control user data within OneNote.

Both the One Note integration and the Excel Online integration are not available for CRM premise deployments.

For more information on CRM Online integration, contact us. 

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Microsoft Reorganization and The Impact On FIELDBOSS Customers

microsoft-130624With the upcoming Microsoft Year end on June 30 Microsoft has reorganized, as they frequently do at this time of year. Yesterday, we learned that Microsoft moved the Dynamics development teams (the only group not impacted in the last reorganization) to the Cloud and Enterprise group.  COO Kevin Turner is taking over the Dynamics Sales and Partner Organization of Dynamics.

Here are two interpretations about these changes

  1. Kevin Turner has a reputation as an extremely capable operations person and one of the strongest leaders Microsoft has. He has unique execution and product management capabilities so we are expecting renewed energy and innovation around how Microsoft’s engages with Dynamics Customers.
  1. Splitting Dynamics engineering from sales and partner management means that Dynamics software will be better integrated into Microsoft’s focus. Which is building infrastructure and business services such as data and analytic products, security and management offerings, and the business processes solutions we sell. This change should enable Microsoft to accelerate their ERP and CRM engineering work and mainstream them as part of the core engineering and innovation efforts across all products.

We are excited that these changes will assist and accelerate how FIELDBOSS services all contractors on our business management software platform.

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Microsoft Clouds Cover For Ontario & Quebec

onedrive-logo-thing-590x330On June 2nd , Microsoft made one of the most significant announcements in its 30 year Canadian history as they announced a major capital investment in locally delivered cloud services across two new Azure regions in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec for calendar year 2016. Provincial delivery of cloud services will support the range of offerings including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The new cloud technology services will enable FIELDBOSS customers and prospects to deploy in the cloud and to enjoy the benefits, efficiency, scalability and cost-savings it offers. To learn more about the service, visit reimagine.microsoft.ca.

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