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Microsoft Dynamics as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation

Dynamics Cloud ERP can be a prime enabler of Digital Transformation for your business
Hamish Haldane
April 28 2016

The Digital Transformation underway within enterprises has actually been occurring for many years. Just think about the rise of online banking. It’s the norm now, and some people reading this would have grown up with nothing else, but some will remember the change and the massive leap in convenience that online banking has brought to the world.

Today, Digital Transformation is entering an accelerated growth phase, complete with its own buzz phrase. This growth is powered by the pervasiveness of personal mobile devices and social media, the rise of the “Internet of Things”, ubiquitous connectivity, big data capability, and the availability of cloud computing resources on an industrial scale.

These elements of Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data are transforming the way your business works, how you and your people work and how your customers expect to be treated, at an incredibly fast pace. In fact, you could call this current phase “Digital Disruption” not just “Digital Transformation”.

This phase will generate a new wave of reinvention within organisations from the inside out. Thus, most enterprise ERP systems, which operate at the core of business, are positioned ideally as the starting point for the coming transformation.

But surely, I hear you say, Digital Transformation should be about something cooler – social media, for example. Social is of course part of it, but it’s only part of it. For another element, let’s take the Big Data phenomenon. Being data driven is great, but all data is largely passive unless you have a system to aggregate, analyse, review, distribute and execute on the results.

Digital Transformation is about bringing all these elements together to transform how a business works.

Just what is Digital Transformation? The MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Consulting 2015 digital business report explain that: “maturing digital businesses are focused on integrating digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, in the service of transforming how their businesses work. Less-mature digital businesses are focused on solving discrete business problems with individual digital technologies.”

And that’s why Dynamics Cloud ERP is an ideal candidate to be a core enabler at the centre of your Digital Transformation, because it can transform the way you do business, across your whole business.

If you move your Dynamics ERP to the Cloud you create the platform to lift the benchmarks across every part of your business. Here are just some of the areas where you can improve your business and disrupt the competition:

  • Provide omni-channel customer experience, service and relationship management by connecting every customer interaction through a single system
  • Enable seamless collaboration and reporting with your suppliers and vendors
  • Deliver greater workforce engagement, collaboration and productivity with every office enjoying the same real-time experience
  • Build an “IOT” featuring your own connected assets, plants, machinery, printers, fridges…anything
  • Incorporate the Microsoft Cloud to manage your Big Data needs with Power BI and improve transparency and management decisions, deliver Office 365, add CRM with integrated social tools, and much more

The goals of Digital Transformation align with ERP

The adoption of ever more efficient and profitable digital technologies increases business competitiveness, in existing and emerging market segments. These technologies enhance operational efficiency, productivity, increase internal collaboration between people and departments while positively impacting customer experiences of your products and services.

Furthermore, these technologies enable faster, more accurate management decisions, reduce response time to market changes, decrease transaction costs and improve resource utilisation. These goals align well with ERP systems as well. Thus, it makes sense to drive your digital transformation strategy from there.

The key to transforming legacy ERP systems

Taking your ERP to the next level requires a cloud-based solution. Cloud ERP systems provide your workforce with complete mobility and transparent access to operations and processes, the supply chain, production line, customers and the systems they need to accomplish their job anywhere and at anytime.

Being this nimble improves employee effectiveness, partner integration and customer service.

It can only be achieved by taking advantage of the cloud’s scalability, elimination of legacy development and maintenance costs, and global, 24-hour access to services and data vital to your business operations. Without these benefits, not only will the enterprise fail to keep pace with competitors but, inevitably, your most innovative, demanding and valuable customers will build an increasingly negative impression.

More flexibility, more power and deeper analysis

Moving ERP to the cloud offers business a more versatile, flexible architecture of services that can be mixed, matched, scaled and integrated with the latest analytic technologies that enable deeper monitoring, plus capabilities for real-time testing of markets and process changes.

Naturally, such a move is not without potential pitfalls. Change creates a lot of friction, and much depends on existing cultural characteristics with respect to legacy inertia, the degree of internal collaboration and the willingness of the organisation to meet fast-changing customer requirements moving forward.

Transitioning to Cloud ERP

Fortunately, cloud ERP allows you to stage your transition. Services can be added in priority fashion and corresponding in-house ERP processes decommissioned as these services come online. ERP extensions that reach into the social, mobile and analytical aspects of the customer experience are also available. Besides creating tighter integration with customers, these are critical in gaining employee adoption as well.

Many enterprises employ a dual-tier strategy for cloud ERP solutions. Some initially adopt ERP services within the organisational core to support and replace legacy operations. This tier merges legacy silos of data and processes, provides increased cross-business transparency, plus actionable insights via analytical tools. As this tier becomes established, a second tier (or third) can be deployed to incorporate more and more transformational processes.

Conclusion

Digital transformation is an ongoing process that touches all parts of an enterprise’s activities. Since most ERP systems already reach across the organisation, these represent a logical place to begin or continue the next wave of digital technologies, software and services, and drive a new phase of productivity and efficiency improvements.

Old paradigms rarely go down without a fight, however, so carefully planning your ERP transformation is imperative. Upfront, detailed assessments of where you are and where you want to go ensure that moving to a cloud-based ERP meets strategic business objectives, solves the right problems in the right order and positions your enterprise for the next digital technology surge.

Contact SaaSplaza for a consultation on how to digitally transform your business with Microsoft Dynamics ERP

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