View from the office

It’s 0900 local time. I’m listening to BBC Radio 4 streamed through BBC Sounds linked to my phone on the yachts WiFi system via Bluetooth to the yacht’s sound system in the cockpit and saloon.

Had a brief chat with the team in Teams back in the UK where they are all working from home. My phone pings away with Teams messages and emails, while I plot the course to our next destination on the electronic chart system that would navigate the yacht all the way from this anchorage to the port we are headed to, but what would be the fun in that!

I can remember not that many years ago in a ski resort having to walk 2k to an Internet Cafe where I paid for a 30 minute connection to do my emails. That compares with last night being asked by the owner of the tiny restaurant on a tiny island in Croatia if we could just use email to make our next booking because he was struggling responding to Facebook Messenger, DM’s on Twitter, WhatsApp messages and SMS!

These days it is not a question of if you can be connected and continue to be engaged with your business, suppliers and customers, it is more a case of: can you disconnect and switch your mind off for a few days to get the headspace you need to reset!

Time to press ‘post’ and get this yacht underway.

Heathrow on a ‘normal’ day!

Seems very strange to be back in Heathrow after what we have been through recently. It was the build up that was so much more (rightly) complicated. Online testing to fly, entry certificate to land, online test booked to fly back and a further test two days after returning.

But! People are doing things… Flights for business and pleasure, shops open, coffee shops and lounges busy.

The world seems to be starting to spin faster again!

#heathrow #thenewnormal

The breadth of the Dynamics 365 stack

In the past couple of years it has regularly amazed me how much Dynamics 365 has progressed and how ‘complete’ a platform it is now.

What do I mean by complete?
Well take today for example.  I went to see a customer operating on AX2009. They knew they needed to migrate to something current but the CEO wanted to question what that might be and not just assume a straight transfer of what they have to, an in date version of the same. Their requirement was not complicated: sales, purchase and general ledger. The number of transactions was not huge. So, we recommended taking a look at Business Central, and they really liked it. But then, we quickly realised that they were asking for functionality to help improve efficiency which is right out of the box: authorisation levels, consolidation, attaching documents to POs, etc.  It just shows you cannot take for granted that the customer knows as much as you about what technology can do for them, or even that they are using to effect what they already have available!

OK, back to the point.  Having scoped out the implementation, migration and set to work for Business Central, I was asked to present what else we could offer. So, I lifted the lid on the toy box and let the customer peek inside.  In no time, there were smiles around the table (and in the Teams space as we had colleagues brought in from across Europe by this stage) and the realisation that we could light up project services, sales, HR and asset management workloads, all in Dynamics, all connected to their favourite tool: Outlook, and accessing the same accounts, contacts and users – just blew them away.  There was no process of function they came up with that I didn’t have a solution for, I just went back to they toy box and selected the right tool for the job.

Moral of the story: talk to the customer, try to understand what their processes are. Explain that they know their business but you know what Dynamics can do, and by bringing the two together, huge efficiencies can be gained, sales closures increased, customers more satisfied, staff better engaged and achieving more and ultimately – a more successful businesses.  But, the confidence to have that sort of conversation comes from knowing the platform comprehensively covers all processes a business might engage in.

I can’t wait for the next meeting where we start to scope the next sprint. I wonder which toy they will want to pull out of the toy box next?