James and Sue presenting at the Twilight Seminar in Wellington
There’s no surprise that the movement to mobile is yet another critical factor that’s changing the landscape and nature of business systems. James Page, Intergen’s Dynamics Practice Principal, Nick Johnson, Intergen’s Dynamics Practice Lead for Auckland and Sue Driscoll, Microsoft’s Dynamics ERP Specialist, spoke with our Twilight-goers and highlighted interesting new influences that are changing ERP, and looked at what Microsoft has in the pipeline.
There are the traditional pillars of investment in IT that we’ve seen over many years, from IT vendors focused on deep verticals, broader functional footprints to process simplicity and automation. Whilst these core tenants still remain a focus, over the last few years there has been a shift in focus to incorporate some emerging design themes such as workloads, hybrid-cloud, mobility/BYOD and social.
This is new term we have been hearing from Microsoft. Perhaps recognising that within larger enterprises there are a number of well-established point solutions, therefore Microsoft Dynamics needs to provide a platform from which integrated capabilities and processes are delivered in harmony with existing best of breed solutions. For many businesses, decommissioning everything in one go presents too much operational risk. So instead the organisation creates an integration platform strategy that over time consumes more workloads such as financial management, expense management, procurement and supply chain management, while still interacting with all other third party systems. For an example of Microsoft’s Business Integration Platform check out slides 7-10 below.
As James says, “This isn’t revolutionary; many systems integrators like Intergen have been assisting organisations with these strategies for years. What is interesting however is the focused investment Microsoft is making in the supply of key workloads, rather than just focusing on the end-to-end system replacements.”
Who isn’t talking cloud? However in this instance, it is the influence of “choice” that is interesting, this appears to be having an impact on ERP design. What is increasingly used is the term “Hybrid-Cloud”. We now have choice as to where we store our data – from on-premise, private hosted cloud or a shared public cloud. Just ten years ago we were demanding fully integrated systems, now we are demanding fully integrated workloads across a connected hybrid system architecture with everything just working together!
It is likely that we will see continued investments in discrete processes or workloads being provisioned on a Public Cloud to take advantage of elastic processing power. Some examples of where such cloud provisioning of discrete workloads would add real value are - the process intensive functions such as a lengthy MRP replenishment processes or detailed analytics across masses of transaction data. Microsoft Dynamics already provides a number of cloud workloads for CRM or product registration, customer feedback and job recruiting workloads using Sites for Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
BYOD (Bring your own devices)
With a move to a more mobile workforce, organisations now need to manage, support and integrate mobile devices into their business processes. New ERP systems are evolving around the core themes from the devices we are rapidly becoming socially dependent on. With the recent announcement of the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 platforms it is evident that Microsoft is taking leadership in this space and converging our digital work and life assets. ERP design themes will likely follow ensuring that common capability and design will be delivered across all deployment channels the user chooses. In particular, natural user interfaces and simplicity of design concepts found within social devices are providing the benchmark for usability.
Finally we have the enormous consumer voice that prevails through the various social channels. Businesses are considering how to use these devices to better understand the customer, to communicate, to support their brand, to monitor the ‘heat’ of the brand/business, to drive promotions, to drive product research and to bring about better design decisions. This technology alone is shifting organisations into a customer-centric rather than product-centric focus.
With Microsoft’s recent purchase of yammer , we’re likely to see Microsoft building open platforms that allow social media data feeds to come through into Dynamics applications. Slide 19 gives a good example of using Yammer to communicate new leads and opportunities from Dynamics CRM. Recent demonstrations of the Dynamics ERP concept designs at Microsoft Convergence and our Twilights this year showed how important ‘social’ influences are and how providing “What’s New” social styled activity feeds are to keeping teams informed.
Below is a neat example of a business using social devices to capture geospatial data that integrates a Dynamics platform that manages resolution and feedback.
For more info about this presentation check out the slides below.
Our next Twilight will be looking at how SharePoint can help improve collaboration and communication within your organisation. We’ll be presenting in Wellington and Auckland to find out more and to register check out Our events page.