Increase business productivity with self-support tools and training through Microsoft Dynamics CustomerSource

CustomerSource is a secure site that allows you to access job-tailored productivity tools, including unlimited training courses and self-support resources like the knowledge base.

Keep your business and Microsoft Dynamics business management solutions running smoothly; CustomerSource offers:

  • Assisted support and self-support tools
  • Unlimited online training and certifications
  • News and events, conference highlights, online webcasts
  • Easy access to knowledgebase, troubleshooting steps, solutions to common issues, technical documentation, white papers, how-to-articles, installation and user guides
  • Microsoft Dynamics online community—receive answers to everyday questions and learn more about your solution from your peers.

Microsoft Dynamics CustomerSource is available for all Microsoft Dynamics customers and is offered in Global English, as well as in 32 local country sites.

 

 

Receiving unlimited access to resources and tools will help your team understand how the software works, showing them how to get the most out of your solution, and enabling improved business performance. Further, CustomerSource enables employees to troubleshoot issues on their own, enhancing overall productivity.

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For more information regarding regarding CustomerSource please contact us today.

The key benefits of outsourcing your Payroll

Regardless of the size of your business or organisation, there’s a lot to be said about the peace of mind that our Managed Payroll solution will provide a business owner or manager. No hassles, reduced internal overheads and no headaches – you’ll be left to focus on what you do best, running a profitable business. There are 7 key benefits to having a Managed Payroll solution, these include:

Better control of capital costs

For the last 30+ years business have benefited from the reduced costs associated with outsourcing. By outsourcing your Payroll, you’ll be able to release capital for investment elsewhere in your business and convert fixed costs into variable costs. Further benefits of outsourcing include your ability to avoid large employee related costs, and will help you’re your company be more attractive to investors, as you’ll be able to put more capital directly into revenue-producing activities.

Increased overall efficiency

More often than not, the internal systems and processes that businesses have in place to manage their Payroll are inefficient and manual. Dialog’s Managed Payroll solution offers automated processes that will improve efficiency and reduce costs, errors and time spent on internal Payroll matters.

Reduced delay to new projects

Our Managed Payroll departments core business function is to tailor managed Payroll solutions to that suit out clients’ needs. For this reason, we are able to quickly and efficiently begin new project giving you the ability to continue business operations with minimal to no impact.

Reduced labour costs

There can be a large expenditure associated with hiring and training employees. Staff don’t always live up to employer expectations, resulting in wasted resources and will absorb management time. By outsourcing your Payroll you’ll be able to better focus your human resources and ultimately streamline your business processes.

SMEs receive organisational support

Often small to medium sized businesses simply can’t afford the same in house Payroll support services that larger organisations would have. Dialog’s Managed Payroll will provide your business with access to the same economies of scale, expertise and efficiency that large organisations have.

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Our Managed Payroll team are highly skilled professionals with extensive experience in payroll processing and management across multiple industries. Our professionals become your Payroll Office, handling all the day to day tasks of payroll processing, reporting, banking and pay advice distribution, as well as handling all employee payroll enquiries.

Contact us today if you would like to better understand the benefits of using Dialog’s Managed Payroll service.

Incorporating Project Service Automation capabilities into your Microsoft Dynamics 365 will empower your organisation

Every company has its own processes, its own culture, and its own way of reaching out to customers. The project service automation (PSA) capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 empower organisations to bring people, technology and process together to deliver on-time and on-budget professional engagements.

Project Service Automation Module in Microsoft Dynamics 365

The PSA module in Microsoft Dynamics 365 will help you to build trusted customer relationships and a strong reputation for delivering outstanding project experiences each and every time. As a module of Microsoft Dynamics 365, PSA provides a single system or customer engagement platform for: opportunity management, project planning, resource management, team collaboration, time and expense management, and analytics and integration.

The opportunity management, or sales force automation functionality, captures project opportunities giving your managers quick access to project profitability, the ability to create contracts, track labour rates and generate statements of work in an efficient and timely manner.

Tools and Templates

Project planning tools and templates will make it easier for your sales managers to collaborate with project managers to estimate and define the work so cost, effort and sales values are clear and concise as the final proposal is prepared and submitted.

Resource Management

Resource management builds from real time consultant availability and skills to enable optimised resource recommendations and servicing open project roles that team members can see and apply for. PSA will enable your project teams and customers to connect, communicate and share the latest project details in many different ways, allowing for tracking of documents, deliverables and productivity within Office365.

Web, Office and Mobile Applications

PSA uses Web, office and mobile apps to make time and expense entry quick and easy. The software tracks estimated and billed time on team calendars to enable simplified time management. Project managers can then review, override, track over-runs and approve costs all in one place with the customer billing tools. Then, when it’s time to invoice, everything is in place to get accurate invoices out to your customers. Uniform tracking and financial events that affect profitability, revenue, accruals and expenses provide a strong basis for reporting, integration and analytics on interactive dashboards.

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The project service automation module capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365bring people, process and technology together to deliver on time and on budget professional engagements. For more information contact us today!

Deliver remarkable field service every time with Microsoft Dynamics Field Service

A large number of businesses operate in a business-to-customer capacity. They have a number of employees spending the majority, if not all, of their time in the field, as opposed to those who sit at a desk. These field staff and the like who, by necessity, are on the road needed a solution to enable them to operate smarter and cost effectively. Microsoft Dynamics Field Service fills this gap by enabling organisations to better manage and deliver service to customers while in the field.

The key features of this product include:

  • State-of-the-art routing and scheduling
  • Advanced work process automation
  • Robust reporting and business intelligence
  • Flexible customer and partner communication capabilities
  • Manages multiple volumes of assignments
  • Improves visibility between dispatch and mobile resources
  • Facilitates the optimal allocation to varying jobs in disparate locations.

Dialog Dynamics partnered with FieldOne Sky for 18 months prior to Microsoft acquiring FieldOne (now Microsoft Dynamics Field Service) enabling us to provide our clients with advanced technologies before our competitors.


The field service management (FSM) solution solves a myriad of field service challenges. Built from the bottom up, the Microsoft Dynamics Field Service platform is one of the most adaptable, flexible and configurable technologies on the market. Dialog is able to deliver an amazing level of customisation without burdening your IT resources or draining your budget. Further, this solution adapts to your business’ changing needs so, as you expand into new markets and locations, or add more scope to your services, the technology has the ability to expand with you.

Your customers want, need and increasingly expect a high level of service each and every time. Which is why at its’ foundation, Microsoft Dynamics Field Service has been built to assist you in providing remarkable customer service.

Having the capability to provide real time FSM will not only enable your employees to operate better, but will also provide your customers with a faster and more accurate experience. In essence, having a robust, adaptable and powerful FSM solution in place will provide great results for your top and bottom lines.

For more information please contact us today.

Make your food supply chain more Dynamic

Transform your supply chain with Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

LINKFRESH ERP is seamlessly integrated to connect and empower all areas of your business using a single platform. Whether it’s finance, sales and purchasing, consignments and trading, production and inventory, quality control, logistics, customer care, food safety, or traceability.

Download the LINKFRESH infographic on 5 Ways to Make Your Food Supply Chain More Dynamic and find out how ERP software can transform your supply chain, making it more lean and efficient, through:

  • Data driven decision making
  • Quick adaption to changing demands and seasonal strains
  • Easily overcoming disruption and speedily identifying vulnerabilities or weak links in your chain
  • Connecting silos of data so you can easily analyse trends and provide exactly what your customers demand

Download the LINKFRESH infographic by clicking on the image below.

LINKFRESH ERP is a single software solution which provides your supply chain with clarity from field to fork. For more information please contact us today.

Move, track and trace fresh produce in real time with LINKFRESH

LINKFRESH ERP is seamlessly integrated to connect and empower all areas of your business using a single platform. Whether it’s finance, sales and purchasing, consignments and trading, production and inventory, quality control, logistics, customer care, food safety, or traceability.

Since inception, LINKFRESH has been a Certified for Microsoft Dynamics NAV packaged solution designed and developed by food industry specialists to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Dynamics. In less than a decade, LINKFRESH has gained a majority market share providing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to the food sector in the United Kingdom alone and after partnering with Dialog Dynamics will revolutionise the Australian fresh food industry.

As a reliable and proven ERP solution, LINKFRESH is the ideal, real time technology platform to address the rapidly changing requirements of the food supply chain sector. Reported customer benefits include:

  • Improved efficiencies through reductions in data duplication
  • Reduced administration costs
  • Reduction in paper based processes
  • Full visibility and traceability of stock movements
  • Transparency of operations
  • Improved customer service
  • Improved operational practices
  • Rapid access to key performance indicators
  • Increased profitability

What is LINKFRESH?

Seamless Integration

LINKFRESH is the leading business management software solution designed specifically to keep your business dynamic, agile and profitable. The fully featured business management suite is straightforward to implement, easy to configure and simple to use.

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If you’re ready to drive growth through integrated ERP software, please contact us today.

Convert Word Layouts to Dynamics NAV 2015 Reports

With the introduction of a new reporting feature within Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, customers can use Microsoft Word to create alternate report layouts and use them when needed.

To make the most of the new Word Report Layouts feature, let’s step through how to convert your existing Word layouts to Dynamics NAV 2015 report.

Step 1: Save your word file.

Step 2: Open Dynamics NAV window client and search for Reporting Layout section in the NAV search box. You will need to filter the report list to find the sales invoice report; for example report #1306

Step 3: Select the report and click on Customer Layouts.

Check the Insert Word Layout option on the Customer Report Layouts page, and click OK. This inserts a new line on the page for report #1306.

Now it’s time to select the newly created record and click on the layout button. Choose the appropriate Word file for the new format. Once the import is complete, click on the Edit Layout button, which will open the report in Microsoft Word so it can be edited.

Step 4: Whilst in Word, select the SML Mapping Pane, and choose the Microsoft Dynamics NAV format from the drop-down list.

Place the cursor where you want each data field to appear. On the XML mapping page right-click the corresponding field and select the Insert Content Control -> Plain Text option.  Repeat for each field.

 

Go to the Lines section and select the first line on the detail section. On the XML mapping page go to the Line group and select Insert Content Control -> Repeating option.

Now place the field on the repeating section similar to the header section.

Save the file and close Word. Within NAV, press Yes to import the layout changes.

Step 5: You can use the format every time the report is run; simply go to the Report Layout selection screen chooswe Custom Layout under the Seleccted Layout column, and then select your new format. NAV will keep all of the formats in the database, making it easy to come back to this page and switch back to the RDLC format whenever required.

Find out more about converting your word layouts to Dynamics NAV 2015 reports, contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Driving Growth and Profitability in Professional Service Organisations – Part 4

To conclude our series on Driving Growth and Profitability in Professional Service Organisations, we will explore:

  • Breaking down the process silos
  • The Benefits of a Truly Integrated Performance Management System

Breaking Down the Process Silos

It is true that disparate, unconnected process applications allow firms to track operational metrics and they can even permit firm leaders and engagement managers to access this information in real time. However, truly integrated PMS solutions deployed across functional silos go well beyond streamlined metric-reporting to afford PSO leadership the ability to smoothly manage enterprise-wide operations.

A great deal of Professional Service Organisations start with off-the-shelf applications for separate functions (e.g., customer relationship management [CRM], accounting/invoicing, engagement tracking) that operate in relative silos and are managed by individual teams. As the business grows, such systems rapidly reach their limitations in terms of connectivity and functionality. Inefficient practices, such as poor prioritization of resources to satisfy problematic clients, or overstaffing/understaffing projects, can waste time and effort. Inaccurate budgeting and billing, and other imprecise controls over the financial aspects of the business can also create friction and drag that limit the organization’s ultimate potential.

Bringing together multiple applications into a cohesive and comprehensive PMS is a challenging prospect at best. Even if a smidgeon of cross-platform efficiency is achieved, the complexity and cost of maintaining this forced solution undermines any potential gains. Furthermore, the clarity across the entire PSO is compromised by the weakest application. Without this transparency, decision-making is affected, consequently producing negative effects on the business as a whole.

Consider, for example, client recruiting and engagement-management activities. PSOs traditionally employ multiple tools and processes that track prospecting activities from acquisition through engagement. These include everything from list and collateral creation to conversion and ongoing relationship marketing. Such efforts may be the responsibility of specific practices (e.g., geographies, industries, services) or supported by enterprise-wide staff – or some combination thereof.

CRM systems provide robust reporting capabilities from both a prospecting and retention-relationship standpoint. Furthermore, CRM systems are designed to build the trusted relationship between advisor and client through complete management of client communications and deliverables. These activities greatly assist Professional Service Organisations in securing future business.

Breakdowns occur, however, when CRM systems fail to connect relationship-management tasks with other financial and project-management systems. For example, separate invoicing systems might trigger automatic payment notices to clients without alerting the client-relations team. Similarly, pro bono work conducted for a key client to strengthen an existing relationship may exceed thresholds set to minimize the effect of such work on firm-wide margins.

The trend towards accelerated situational awareness and responsiveness to business conditions demands a real-time, holistic view of PSO operations, and firms must re-think their portfolio of business applications. The individual business solutions that leadership implemented to manage client-relationships, resource engagement, and financial management in its early stages, might be scalable within separate functional silos (i.e. CRM). But these solutions cannot effectively bridge the gaps between processes as PSOs grow. So continuing to employ these same tools and processes will ultimately have a negative effect on growth and profitability for the enterprise. To achieve a sustainably high level of profitability, PSOs must possess integrated internal operational systems that provide real-time visibility and control across all processes central to the business.

The Benefits of a Truly Integrated Performance Management System

Just as transparent communication is fundamental to successful relationships between PSOs and their clients, so too is seamless integration of PMS a prerequisite of all the processes associated with client-relationship, resource engagement, and financial management.

Recognizing the CEO/Managing Partner of a PSO bears ultimate responsibility for the firm’s performance, other key PSO leadership positions must work in concert with integrated business applications to provide complete and crystal clear visibility and control across the enterprise (see Figure 5). Only then does PSO leadership possess the detailed operational insights that allow the type of informed decision-making that drives consistent and profitable growth.

A key benefit of a successful PMS is that it provides a 360-degree view into a firm’s project accounting, allowing the engagement manager and the CFO to control costs, monitor variations in estimates, speed billing cycles, and reduce risk. In addition to project and cost controls, a PMS offers precise management of expenses, such as occupancy and training; savings in these areas affords a PSO the opportunity to invest more in sales and staff or simply allow professionals to focus on true value-add work.

As a practical matter, PSOs face an ever-increasing need to generate more information through portals or by customized management reports in real time. PSOs require key performance indicators that measure performance and alert management to deteriorating results before they become critical.

This is especially important when dealing with the increasingly complex reports required for demanding clients who want additional project milestones and detailed financial analysis of the project, embedded within these reports. At the same time, stringent country-specific governmental regulations force greater reporting detail.

This fast-paced global economy means PSOs need to have more ad hoc reports that can be generated with up-to-the-minute information to help analyse actual costs and gain new intelligence about internal operations. Projects can then be scrutinised in greater depth to identify profitability and cost by client, project type, and project teams. One of the great risks that firms face is forecasting project costs incorrectly, which can be highly detrimental to any PSO, particularly when bidding on a large, long-term project. PSOs also need to access data immediately to show return on investment (ROI) on their proposals.

Beyond their visibility and control over internal cost controls, firms must devote resources to comply with increasing and ever-changing corporate regulations for the regions in which they do business. For many mid-sized and smaller PSOs, this will lead to a further decrease in billable time for senior consultants, who are often tasked with that compliance.

Already, most senior client-facing consultants at mid-sized firms spend too much of their time running the business and not enough time with their clients. Total hours worked for this group has remained consistent over the last decade (Figure 6). And while billable hours have increased, the fact remains that fully one workday per week is consumed by non-billable functions.

Seamlessly integrated business management applications cut non-billable time by allowing firms to better manage budgets, create and consolidate reports, and look for trends and relationships in all parts of the business. Firms also gain more visibility into financial and project accounting, and this allows them to maintain tighter control over costs, shorten billing cycles, and monitor variations in estimates.

Effective PMS solutions provide PSOs with real-time financial intelligence about their business operations, which helps streamline operations and increase efficiency. In turn, these efficiencies allow more time for senior managers and partners to focus on clients and provide billable services. Converting even a small percentage of non-billable time into revenue generates enormous returns when applied across the enterprise.

Conclusions

The historical measure to running a successful PSO was maximizing the staff’s billable time. To achieve those results, PSOs often implemented – in silo fashion – very effective solutions for individual operational processes.

Individual PSO leaders take ownership of these processes – and the legacy systems – with the best of intentions for driving growth and profit. Unfortunately, the client-prospecting and tracking application championed by the CMO to measure campaign effectiveness fails to connect with the CHRO’s resource engagement tools. The result: prospecting calls are made on behalf of one PSO practice into the client of another practice from the same firm. Or the CFO’s engagement invoicing system is not transparent to engagement-relationship partners. Subsequently, automatically generated late-payment notices blindside onsite engagement teams.

In early stage growth, PSOs overcome the inefficiencies of these systems through “hands-on” management … literally. Leaders for each of the process-silos share information via weekly reports or operations meetings, and staff steps in when necessary to manually compile or reconcile conflicting data. PSOs will rationalize such ad hoc efforts against the perceived costs associated with, and disruptions created by, enterprise-wide PMS solutions.

The decision-point for PSOs to implement an integrated PMS is never definite. PSOs regularly advise their clients very effectively about how to improve their businesses, but often ignore or simply forget to optimize their own business management processes. But as the speed of business increases and PSOs reach scale, their legacy systems can crumble to the point of relative ineffectiveness.

When the economy is up, many Professional Service Organisations do so well that they are too busy to implement solutions for their own business. And when the business slows, budget constraints usually forestall upgrading or implementing the needed solution. In order to create sustainable and strong businesses that optimize profit independent of economic conditions, PSOs must implement complete PMS solutions that seamlessly integrate the tools and processes for client-relationship, resource engagement, and financial management.

To find out more about Driving Growth and Profitability in Professional Service Organisations contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Driving Growth and Profitability in Professional Service Organisations, Part 3

In the third instalment of our Driving Growth and Profitability in Professional Service Organisations series, we cover:

  • Client Acquisition and Relationship/Retention Management
  • Talent Acquisition and Project-Based Deployment
  • Engagement Reporting and Cost Management

Client Acquisition and Relationship/Retention Management

For all industries, increased visibility into operations delivers greater opportunity, particularly in leveraging client relationships and engagements for maximum value.

There are many reasons a business’ gross margins may sink over time; in order to understand this, management requires engagement-level control over such contributing factors as the conflicting nature of rising compensation and discounted rates. By effectively managing margin expectations engagement by engagement, firms can address the three foremost drags on profitability, namely:

  • Failure to maintain client-quality in terms of profitability and retention
  • Failure to align the correct resources with the project at the proposal stage, which leads to increased costs further into the engagements
  • Failure to identify and then manage hidden costs in the client engagements.

The vast majority of Professional Service Organisations strongly prefer cross-selling new services to existing clients. The cost-of-sale is lower and client expectations are better managed. At the same time, a firm’s natural business turnover and long-term growth demand that it continue gaining new clients.

Maintaining control, therefore, begins with client selection. The problem is that many PSOs take on engagements (and clients) that appear attractive, only to find the clients prove problematic over time. So it’s important for PSOs to probe client churn and measure their most successful engagements to gain insights on attractive profiles.

Once clients are retained, cost control is vitally important, particularly given the increased client-side involvement of procurement professionals in acquisition of services across all PSO industries. Indeed, procurement has made clients more discerning in purchasing services. Firms can no longer pass along major (and minor) costs to clients; as a result firms must manage the expense side of the business engagement by engagement.

The point is that the central operational process of managing client relationships cannot be accomplished with a stand-alone system. Client service professionals and account managers need relationship management systems that tie into engagement management tools to scope and resource work with experienced professionals who know the client’s business. And they need for those same systems to tie into accounting processes to monitor work-in-process and burn-rates across client engagements and keep a finger on the pulse of the client profile.

While many PSOs can (and do) manage their operations with disparate systems for engagement and client management, an integrated PMS ties together the players with the activities. The result is a holistic view of the clients and the work being conducted – past and present. In turn, this allows PSO leadership to chart future engagements for current and prospective clients with an extremely high degree of confidence.

Talent Acquisition and Project-Based Deployment

As noted in the preceding paragraph, resourcing or staffing alignment is another issue. Over the last decade, PSO staffing models have evolved from pyramid-style organizations of fulltime professionals to flatter or diamond-shaped organizations where commodity-level services, such as analyst research and data compilation, are contracted or outsourced to lower-cost resources. As a result, virtual engagement teams have become more prevalent, and resulted in a significant change in service provision. The engagement team still has an engagement manager who leads a project onsite. But it’s common for the bulk of the engagement team to work from offshore or near-shore locations, and to be comprised of a blend of direct employees and sub-contracted resources.

The greater leverage is primarily the result of the increased use of virtual engagement teams, which can be cost effective by allowing professionals to work remotely. The offshoring of basic research and analytical capabilities is a well-documented trend among PSOs. But the wholesale move to deconstruct on-site engagement teams has abated over recent years as PSOs reinforce the importance of a physical presence between advisor and client. Consequently, the delivery of services continues to be a complex blend of onsite engagement teams augmented with offsite/offshore resources. This requires a PSO’s management and control systems to cross multiple time zones, language barriers, and cultures.

The challenge of managing across distance is further exacerbated when matching skilled professionals and the services they provide to clients. Aligning the best-equipped team for engagements is a long-standing issue for PSOs.

Traditionally, assigning people to projects has been the task of an administrator, or a process imposed by a legacy system. However, both alternatives often lack the detailed insights and data necessary to engage teams that satisfy both the client’s business problem and the PSO’s own profit expectations. Simply put, such legacy systems are often extremely inefficient when it comes to matching the skill sets of the people within the organization, and forecasting the potential profitability of those individuals for the engagement.

As with client relationships management, talent management and allocation to client projects cannot be accomplished consistently and profitably with stand-alone systems. Practice and operations leaders need to collaborate real-time with staffing coordinators across geographies and be able to identify best-fit resources, budget for costs, forecast revenue, settle intercompany transactions for bought and sold time, and manage profitability over the lifecycle of projects that frequently change in scope.

A primary concern for any PSO is retaining its best professional staff. Retention starts with resource allocations that balance the needs of the firm (client satisfaction and engagement profitability) with the requirements of the individual (satisfying and rewarding work). The benefit of an integrated system in relation to resource deployment is that an effective solution allows leaders to efficiently balance both objectives and achieve the firm’s ongoing goal of profitable growth.

Engagement Reporting and Cost Management

Over the past decade, PSOs have witnessed a tremendous change in the way engagements are performed. As noted, engagements have fewer team members onsite. Furthermore, projects have more built-in milestones and more complex fixed-fee, contingent and other contractual structures. PSO clients have also become more sophisticated about how they purchase professional services, in part because talent often moves on to work for industries they once serviced, bringing with them firsthand inside knowledge of how to interact with a PSO.

Collectively, these changes are forcing PSOs to focus on:

  • Managing costs
  • Increasing the use of virtual engagement teams
  • Employing contractors
  • Aligning the services provided by skilled professionals with client engagements

To compete against the challenges presented by the increasing number of lower-cost competitors and still maintain margins, established firms must be far more diligent about how they manage their own internal expenses. Managing client quality and engagement costs are the most controllable elements for PSO leadership.

Maintaining intense focus and absolute control over these expenses is an important condition for effective management. But the day-to-day reality is that PSOs are complex organizations involved in multiple engagements where client-facing professionals must work seamlessly with support staff.

To find out why growth-oriented professional service organizations require integrated client-relationship, resource, and financial management solutions, stay tuned for the final chapter of this series or contact Dialog Dynamics today.

6 Things Revolutionising the Field Service Industry

As field service professionals, it is essential that you stay abreast of trends and emerging technologies. These things impact your employees, customers, and your entire organization.

FieldOnes new report: 6 Things Revolutionizing the Field Service Industry highlights 6 key factors that are revolutionising field services:

  1. Visual Technology
  2. The Connected Consumer
  3. Drones
  4. Emerging Technologies
  5. The Internet of Things
  6. Predictive Service Models and Big Data

Visual Technology

Machine-to-machine communication, the Internet of Things, big data and analytics, and wearable devices are all being lauded for the ways they might revolutionize the service industry.

Amid all these exotic sounding concepts, it’s easy to overlook the significant impact already being made by two more conventional technologies—photography and video. As a result of their integration into field service management solutions, these two concepts are playing their own important part in the sea change currently transforming mobile service enterprise. The use of digital video and photographs has taken on renewed importance since it became possible to transmit and share images over the Internet.

The Connected Consumer

In field service, as in other areas of commerce and industry, the most successful businesses are those that let their customers drive change and progress. As most field service providers recognize today, through making the metamorphosis from break-fix to more proactive, customer-centric business models, mobile service activity can turn profits and add value to sales and marketing efforts.

Drones

As you have no doubt heard, Amazon has been trying to get drone deliveries off the ground (literally) for a considerable time. So far the FAA has only permitted them to fly the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) within sight of an operator, which isn’t quite what the online retail giant has in mind. However, by the time the legal battle has been won by Amazon and other companies planning to use drones, the technology, which is already quite advanced, will have reached a stage where hardware prices are viable for others in the field service industry.

Emerging Technologies

In the space of just a couple of years, new technology has helped many field service enterprises break free from the limitations of managing processes with Microsoft Excel, clipboards, and Post-it notes. Even as the laggards finally catch on and embrace digital process management, mobility, and automation, new innovations continue to emerge, many of which will strongly impact the mobile service sector in the near future.

The Internet of Things

All hype aside, it really does appear that the IoT is going to disrupt field service in a big way. Indeed, service providers in some areas of manufacturing are already connecting directly to their customers’ installations, receiving and analysing data to pre-empt problems and reduce downtime.

Predictive Service Models and Big Data

Is your organization ready for the field service revolution? If you are in any doubt as to the validity of claims about the Industrial Internet of Things and the transformative power of predictive analytics, you might want to read the recent press release from consulting firm Frost and Sullivan. According to their research, the demand for predictive and even prescriptive analytic software is about to explode across the manufacturing sector.

Read the full report here, or contact Dialog Dynamics for more information about Microsoft’s Field Service Management solution, FieldOne.

Key Levers of Professional Service Organisation Profitability

In order to drive growth and deliver on target margins Professional Service Organisations (PSOs) need to address these four key levers :

  • Fees – The monetary rate charged to the client for staff or professional time
  • Compensation – The amount the PSO pays its client-serving staff
  • Leverage – The firm’s structure in terms of the leadership-to-staff ratio
  • Utilization – The percentage of staff time that is billed to clients

Different PSO industries will encounter considerable differences in terms of the relative importance of these levers; fees are offer a good example of this diversity. Take the legal field; fees for similar types of professional staff at like-sized law firms are fairly consistent across the board. On the other hand, within the IT consulting industry, fees for the same services can vary greatly due to offshoring capabilities, and further adjustments based on explicit competitive factors (for example providing discounted consulting services within an outsourcing engagement).

Utilization and leverage are also varied among providers. Law firms, for example, might have a 2:1 leverage ratio that skews more towards senior-level professionals and a smaller number of entry-level lawyers. On the contrary, an IT consulting firm, where engagement partners could be managing several offshore teams, the leverage ratio might closer to 100:1.

The Unintended Consequences of Adjusting Operational Levers

Quite often, leaders will make reactive adjustments in response to either market situations or client demands. The problem with adjusting one operational lever with limited visibility into the financial and operational consequences among the other levers creates unintentional long-term costs. For example, early into an engagement, a firm may decide to boost its service team with senior staff to address perceived client concerns. As a result, the profitability of that engagement is adversely affected, with the client expectations become anchored around a high level of attention.

Depending on the natural predisposition for PSOs’ fortunes to surge or recede based on general economic conditions is less than optimal.  Even in a good business climate where rates rise, well-managed consultancies can’t rely on solving their profitability problems by linking their business performance to what may be their clients’ discretionary buying habits.

By managing individual staffing assignments more precisely, fees and compensation costs could be balanced more effectively. Increasing utilization within specific engagements by another percentage point beyond marketplace levels could add revenue and increase overall profitability. Granular-level control over engagement utilization would also allow leadership to  manage staffing efforts in a manner that minimizes burnout.  To perform any of these actions successfully a deep visibility into operations, a precise grasp of interdependencies, and nuanced control of levers of the business is required.

Mind-Shifting from Operational Levers to Process Controls

In order to manage margins, PSOs generally maintain standards at the top-most level over the four operational levers, based on a combination of market conditions (leverage, utilization) and the competitive environment (fees, compensation).

The operational levers are reasonably straightforward: fees are set; compensation is paid, leverage exerted; and utilization realized. More realistically, however, the levers are embedded within innumerable, connected PSO business processes where clients are identified and nurtured, proposals are developed and delivered, new services are devised and refined, invoices are generated and payments tracked.

Instead of managing against the four levers, PSO leadership need to shift their focus to three key processes:

  1. Client acquisition and relationship/retention management
  2. Talent Acquisition and Project-Based Deployment
  3. Engagement Reporting and Financial Controls

We will cover these over the coming weeks.

To find out why growth-oriented professional service organizations require integrated client-relationship, resource, and financial management solutions, stay tuned to this blog series or contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Driving Growth & Profitability in Professional Service Organisations

No matter what size the business, the core offering of any professional service organisation (PSO) is the set of knowledge, experience and skills their people possess.

Leveraging those assets profitably via a time and materials approach tends to be a fairly straightforward proposition when such organizations are small. However as those businesses grow, it becomes more complicated to manage resources and the work they perform, such as:

  • client-service agreements that span service offerings
  • expansion into multiple domestic or international locations
  • sharing of skilled talent across offices
  • the need to manage risk and client expectations across more engagements

The business solutions that leadership implemented to manage client-relationships, resource engagement, and financial management, when the business was founded – or in early-stage growth – do not serve the business effectively as it expands. Ultimately, continuing to employ these same tools and processes will have a negative effect on growth and profitability for the future of the organisation. There is only so much manual processing an organization can handle before coordination costs begin to smother profits.

PSOs can achieve success by leveraging integrated systems to help manage their businesses. These software solutions can help provide seamless control over the central aspects of PSO operations including:

  1. Client acquisition and relationship/retention management
  2. Talent (human capital) acquisition and project-based deployment
  3. Engagement-centric financial controls, reporting and risk management

In this series of blogs we will discuss the challenges facing PSOs in managing their business operations, with emphasis on the three central aspects of client-relationship, resource-planning, and financial management processes, and the benefits of integrated business solutions.

Over the coming weeks, we will cover:

  • The key levers of PSO profitability
  • The consequences of adjusting operational levers
  • Mind-shifting from operational levers to process controls
  • Client acquisition and relationship/retention management
  • Engagement reporting and cost management
  • Breaking down the process silos
  • The benefits of a truly integrated performance management system.

To find out why growth-oriented professional service organizations require integrated client-relationship, resource, and financial management solutions, stay tuned to this blog series or contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Microsoft Azure, or On-Premise Installation for a Microsoft Dynamics AX?

When choosing an ERP business management system, you also need to decide whether to install on-premise or the cloud.

One of the most common reasons for not going to the Cloud is based on fear: people are concerned about the security of their data. To counter this fear, consider the fact that in today’s business environment, most businesses need exposure to the web to enable remote access by employees and customers. This means your system is already exposed to the big bad world. By deciding to host your system on a Microsoft Azure Cloud, you have the added security of having the giant that is Microsoft watching over your network security.

Now that we’ve ruled out security as a reason to avoid the Cloud, let’s take a look at two common reasons which could have real validity for your organisation:

  • Firstly, if you already have significant IT infrastructure in place, you might as well utilize it.
  • The second reason, which is still partly based on those organisations which already have significant IT infrastructures, is the cost of the Cloud. It can become quite expensive, as you are now investing in two sets of infrastructure, one in the Cloud and the other in-house.

There are three common situations where the Cloud makes a lot of sense.

  • The first is where the organization does not have any real IT capability and it becomes cost-effective to spin ERP off to the Cloud.
  • The second is where a business needs to rapidly start up a new business venture and the Cloud generally makes this possible. The ERP system can usually be moved in-house later, if required.
  • The third reason is to preserve scarce investment capital where the business can generate sufficient operating cash flow to pay for the system.

Find out more about about when to choose Microsoft Dynamics Azure Cloud, or on-premise for your Microsoft Dynamics AXinstallation, contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Which Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Licensing Model is Right for You?

You’ve decided that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 is the best ERP option for your organisation, but what licensing model should you choose?

For small and medium sized businesses looking for powerful but easy to use business management software, Microsoft Dynamics NAV offers a rich and complete solution that covers:

  • Accounting and financial reporting
  • Sales and purchasing
  • Marketing
  • Cash management and banking
  • Inventory management and warehousing
  • Manufacturing
  • Job and project costing
  • Service management

Dynamics NAV delivers this in multiple formats, to suit individual user needs:

  • A rich Windows Desktop Client
  • A highly functional Web Client that runs in a range of browsers including Internet Explorer, Google Chrome & Apple Safari
  • A downloadable Tablet App for Windows, Android and IOS tablets

Business also have a choice of licensing models, so they can completely tailor both the software licensing and deployment models to suit their needs.  The range of options, and what is the best fit for each individual situation, can get confusing, so let’s take a look at the key factors you need to consider.

 

Licensing Models – Perpetual Vs Subscription

Microsoft Dynamics NAV can be accessed under the Perpetual license model or the Subscription model. There are some very distinct differences between the two models.

The Perpetual model is favoured by customers who wish to run and manage software on their own infrastructure.

In the Perpetual model, customers purchase the software license as a once-off cost for the required number of users, and then pay an Annual Enhancement Plan, currently 16% of the license cost, which includes the right to all new software versions and updates, and access to Microsoft’s Customer Source website.

Customer Source delivers a range of services, including eLearning, product documentation, Knowledgebase and User Forums.  You own a perpetual, non-transferrable right to use the software in your business, and can upgrade to new versions while you have a current Annual Enhancement Plan in place.

For customers preferring to access software as a Cloud delivered service, the Subscription licensing model provides access to the software on a simple “per user per month” subscription basis.

The Annual Enhancement Plan benefits are included as part of the monthly subscription, and you have similar rights to new version upgrades.

The software can be hosted on Microsoft Azure, or on a private hosting arrangement that you may have in place. All you need is access to the Internet.

Importantly, if you prefer to purchase your software license outright, but don’t want the hassle of managing your own IT infrastructure, you can have your Dynamics Perpetual License hosted in a 3rd party Data Centre.

 

License Functionality Packaging – Starter Vs Extended Packs

In the Perpetual license model, the full range of Dynamics NAV functionality is packaged into two “bundles”:

Dynamics NAV Starter Pack:

This is the base requirement, and includes the Financial & Accounting modules, Sales, Purchasing and Inventory Management, in addition to Job/Project Costing.  This also includes 3 x Full User licenses.

Dynamics NAV Extended Pack:

This includes all other available modules, such as Manufacturing, Advanced Warehousing and Service Management.

Customers purchase either Starter Pack, or Starter Pack plus Extended Pack, and then any additional users they need over the three included in the base package.

Under Subscription licensing, customers can choose license levels that give their business access rights to either the Starter Pack or Starter + Extended Pack functionality.

 

User License Types – Full Vs Limited

Dynamics NAV supports the concept of both Full Users and Limited Users.

Full User can access any system functions allocated to their user profile by the System administrator. They can create and post invoices, post General Ledger Journals, receive goods etc., as their security profile allows.

Limited User has full enquiry and reporting access, within the security profile they are allocated, but have limited data entry capabilities.  They are not able to post any transactions to the financial ledgers.  They can, for example, create a Purchase Order or Invoice transaction and send it for approval, but cannot post the approved invoice.

 

User Access Types – Concurrent Vs Named:

This is a key difference between Perpetual and Subscription Licensing models.

Under Perpetual Licensing, the system permits concurrent access for just the number of users, both Full and Limited, that you have purchased licenses for.

You may register any number of Full or Limited users in the system, but when users log into Dynamics NAV, the Dynamics NAV Server restricts concurrent logins by user type to the number of each type purchased.  Users must be nominated as Full or Limited users when you register their user details in the system.

For example, if you purchase the Dynamics NAV Starter pack, which includes 3 x Full User licenses, plus 5 x Limited User licenses, the Dynamics NAV Server will allow this maximum of each type to be logged in at any time and, if a 4th Full User or 6th Limited User tries to log in, they will receive a “no licenses available” message.

Under Subscription Licensing, you need a named subscription license, either Full or Limited, for every user who will access Dynamics NAV, regardless of how often they might use the system. The system does not physically restrict logins, but you need to keep track of your user numbers and regularly provide an updated record of user numbers to your service provider, who will audit this from time to time.

So, in summary, there are a number of factors to be considered before deciding on the appropriate Dynamics NAV software licensing option for your business:

  • Decide if you prefer capital purchase or “pay as you go” monthly subscription
  • Are you more comfortable managing the system on your own IT environment, or prefer someone else to manage that for you, and you just access it via the internet
  • Does your user population type and frequency of access lend itself more to the Named or Concurrent user models?
  • Consider if you have a mix of full or “power” users an Limited or “light” users that can be accommodated by the different license types, as there is a significant cost difference between the two

Further details on perpetual and subscription licensing, license packaging, and full vs limited users can be found in the Dynamics NAV 2015 Licensing Guide. Request a copy of this guide here, or contact Dialog Dynamics to find out more.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Professional Services Organisations

The way clients interact with professional services firms is changing. Immediate responses and on-demand self-service access to information is now a general expectation. In order to build trusted relationships and maintain a solid reputation, you must deliver outstanding experiences across every client interaction.

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides professional services organisations with a 360-degree view into client relationships.  This integrated business solution works across multiple business focus areas and individual roles, allowing business leaders to:

  • Optimize people and processes
  • Streamline operations
  • Deliver distinctive client experiences
  • Fulfil profitable growth objectives

Microsoft Dynamics AX helps firms achieve these benefits through solutions that work together, empowering employees to deliver the very best a firm has to offer at every client touch point. They help improve efficiency, make it easy to find and share information and insights, provide transparency into and across the business, and enable firms to react quickly to take advantage of new opportunities.

Specifically developed for project-driven organisations, Microsoft Dynamics professional services software is a tailored Time Billing, Project Accounting solution.

With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 integrated professional services software solution, plus Dialog Dynamics’ purpose built project accounting add-on modules, we provide a fully integrated “from Timesheet to P&L” Professional Services organisation based ERP solution.

To find out more about how Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you address common denominator operational and administrative challenges, read this whitepaper:

Professional services organisations who have implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX are experiencing notable improvements including:

  • Tightened revenue-to-cash cycle
  • The availability of more detailed, timely, and actionable operating information

Learn how to become a more dynamic professional services organisation with Microsoft Dynamics AXcontact Dialog Dynamics today.

Keep Your Systems & People Connected With Microsoft Dynamics NAV

The time has come: your organisation is ready for an upgrade to an ERP software solution.  You’ve heard that Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides businesses with greater control over their financials, and simplifies supply chain, manufacturing and operations; but will it integrate with your current IT systems?

If your systems and tools are disconnected, it’s likely that your employees and general business processes are too. The last thing you want to do is cause even more disconnection by adding yet another application into the mix. Thankfully, Microsoft Dynamics NAV plays well with others.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV helps better connect the moving parts of your business and the systems that manage them.

It can be adapted to the way your business works, integrated with existing systems, and extended to meet industry-specific needs. Microsoft Dynamics NAV works like, and with, other Microsoft products and technologies that you may already be using, helping to ensure a smooth implementation, minimize training requirements, and provide a solution that can move your company into the future.

So yes, it will integrate with your existing systems. Now the real question is “What more can I connect with Microsoft Dynamics NAV?”

Watch the following video:

If you’d like to know more about how Microsoft Dynamics NAV can integrate with your exisiting systems, contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Easy, Flexible Software Licensing With Dynamics AX

As businesses grow and change, so do their needs. This can make the already confusing topic of software licensing even harder to understand. Fortunately, Microsoft Dynamics AX makes it easy by utilising a licencing model that is powerful, simple, flexible and competitive.

Users and devices are licensed based on the functionality required by your organisation, making Dynamics AX 2012 one of the few “mix-and-match” ERP solutions that can fit any on-premise, cloud, or hybrid deployment options.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is available through the familiar Microsoft Server/ Client Access Licenses CAL) licensing model. All Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 customers need to license:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 solution functionality, which is licensed through the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Server license, and contains only the modules provided by Microsoft
  • If you want additional application object servers or additional server instances, you may purchase additional Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Server licenses
  • Direct or indirect access to the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 solution functionality by users or devices, which is licensed through CALs.  All CALS (User’s licenses) are named users (i.e. each person accessing the system requires a license)

4 named CAL license types exist:

  • Enterprise License
  • Functional User License
  • Task User License
  • Self Service.

Each named user is required to be licensed for the highest function they perform. I.e. if a person does a Self-Serve function and an enterprise function, they need to be licensed as an enterprise user.

Each of these levels grants an increasingly wider spectrum of use rights, giving you the flexibility to license the solution based on how your users will use and derive value from the solution.

The Dynamics AX licensing model also makes it possible to deploy a mix of user and device licenses for your organisation.

To find out more, request a copy of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Licensing & Pricing Guide, or contact Dialog Dynamics today. We will discuss your business requirements and help you select the most suitable Microsoft Dynamics AX licensing model, and the right service and support plan to maximise the value of your investment.

How will your Business Benefit from Mobility for Microsoft Dynamics AX?

Having a mobile-friendly business doesn’t simply mean providing your team with the latest mobile devices.  Mobility of software functionality is also critical, and delivers many business benefits which result in cohesive, consistent experiences for the business and its customers regardless of the device they are using.

Microsoft continues to demonstrate its commitment to “mobility first’ by extending its proven architecture with a series of web apps for Microsoft Dynamics AX, including Time Entry and Expense Management.

Drive Business Value

With mobility being the driving force behind cost-saving and revenue-enhancing benefits, mobile applications and strategies provide a variety of benefits for businesses:

  • Mobility offers a whole new channel to reach customers with your messaging and promotions
  • Mobile apps facilitate more convenient interactions and provide better customer experience, which results in increased customer retention
  • The Microsoft Dynamics AX Time Entry app simplifies administrative tasks by allowing employees to capture time worked on projects; providing businesses the opportunity to improve working capital through decreased billing cycle times
  • Gain greater employee productivity due to more communication opportunities, better knowledge transfer, and less time waiting for information.
  • Experience an increase in operational efficiency with Microsoft Dynamics AX’ Expense App, which helps streamline internal processes by allowing employees to quickly and easily file expense claims

Mobility and the Cloud

Cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure have been a major factor in the success of mobility, providing a range of business benefits such as:

  • Greater flexibility and scalability – organisations can scale up and down to meet their requirements. This flexibility means IT expenditures can be adjusted to meet immediate needs, rather than operating based on past decisions and future predictions
  • More robust security – the cloud offers better data security than hard drives or unsecured server closets
  • Reduction in demand on IT resources – the requirement for IT teams to help human resources manage systems is reduced; allowing them to focus on how your investment in technology will help achieve business goals
  • Lower costs and easier license management – maintenance fees are reduced, as there are no more servers, software or update fees. A transparent subscription fee covers costs associated with software implementation, customisation, hardware, maintenance and training
  • Improved connectivity – internet standards and web services can be connected, which means information is centralised and made more accessible from anywhere in the world on any device, at any time.

To find out more about how your organisation can benefit from Mobility for Microsoft Dynamics AXcontact Dialog Dynamics today.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV: Ensure Amazing Customer Service for Wholesalers

Every good business knows that customer experience is paramount to their success.  This can be more easily achieved through Microsoft Dynamics NAV connecting the back office and front office, allowing the entire organisation to mobilise around the customer.

Whilst the front office and back office have different objective, priorities, skill sets and processes, they still each possess data that is essential to the other for the overall benefit of the company.

From a systems perspective, front office departments such as customer service, marketing and sales are more CRM centric. Whereas back office functions within operations, finance, supply chain and HR, don’t have that direct customer contact and are more heavily reliant on their ERP system. Using two different systems can result in common and costly problems including:

  • The development of data silos – without access to the correct/relevant information, the various departments are operating from an uninformed position, which can result in embarrassing customer service scenarios such as sale of stock that isn’t available.
  • Time inefficiency – time is wasted whilst chasing and liaising with others to gain access to information that should be readily accessible to all areas.
  • Basing decisions on incorrect information – Lack of access to key information increases the chance of mistakes being made. This can include the sales team selling products to a client who has been put on credit-hold for failure to pay outstanding accounts.
  • Unsatisfactory customer journey – from first point of contact through to product delivery, it is imperative that customers have a satisfactory journey in order to maintain loyalty and build a good reputation for your business.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is designed to address the basic fundamentals of business:

  • Simplify and streamline business processes
  • Help gain better control
  • Increase margins
  • Drive profitable growth

Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives you greater control by providing visibility into how your business is performing from every angle.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV has a strategy for connecting the front and back office to help companies share data and connect teams around three key areas, including:

  • Understanding customers
  • Employee productivity
  • Business insight

This strategy involves a set of tools, including:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM – which interoperates with Microsoft Dynamics NAV to connect your business by sharing common data across front and back office departments. There is a Connector for Microsoft Dynamics NAV which connects information for the most common touch points between the ERP and CRM systems.
  • Connector for Microsoft Dynamics – this free tool offers a number of key benefits such as increasing the likelihood you will have the information you need for closing more sales and significant time savings.
  • Office 365 Integration – Microsoft Dynamics NAV works with Office 365 to extend your business solutions value with enriched productivity, collaboration, mobility and business intelligence.
  • Power BI – Microsoft’s latest version of Power BI, a powerful business intelligence tool, can help across the customer value chain, allowing you to market smarter, forecast sales better, analyse individual client cases, and bring your data together, creating personalised dashboards in seconds… consequently making the right data-driven decisions with key business metrics.
  • eConnect – allows business to enhance Microsoft Dynamics NAV applications by adding real-time data and sharing financial management data across applications.

By optimising Microsoft Dynamics NAV and bring the front and back offices together, you will have better insight into your business. To find out more, contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Dialog IT: 2015 Microsoft Dynamics Reseller of the Year Finalist

Dialog IT has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 Microsoft Dynamics Reseller of the Year for Asia Pacific.

The Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year awards demonstrate exceptional business success by optimising the use of Microsoft Dynamics

to deliver innovative solutions that exceed customer expectations and surpass business goals.

Award finalists and winners were recognized at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, the company’s annual premier partner event, which took place this year in Orlando, Florida. Microsoft Corp. honored partners from around the world with the 2015 Microsoft Dynamics Regional Partner of the Year awards.

Regional winners and finalists were chosen from the following regions: Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Central and Eastern Europe, France, Germany, India, Japan, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Western Europe.

Award finalists were selected based on their strong business performance and dedication to delivering solutions that meet diverse customer needs. Several key criteria were considered in selecting Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partners for the special recognition, including outstanding sales performance, thorough technological expertise on Microsoft Dynamics products and services, and feedback from Microsoft team members.

“Each year we recognize and honor Microsoft Dynamics partners from around the world for exemplary performance,” said Neil Holloway, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Sales & Partners. “Microsoft is honored to recognise Dialog IT for their achievements this past year and for their dedication and support of Microsoft Dynamics applications.”

Dialog IT is dedicated to helping customers find the best solutions and services by optimizing the use of Microsoft Dynamics to deliver the most innovative solutions that will bring new levels of success while providing exceptional customer service. By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, Dialog IT maintains a comprehensive understanding of the Microsoft Dynamics platform to provide innovative solutions, dedicated services and unparalleled value to Microsoft Dynamics customers.

Dialog IT provides implementation, training and consultation in Australia for small, midsize, corporate businesses and government organizations using business enterprise applications. Dialog IT specialises in Microsoft Dynamics AXMicrosoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics CRM to develop and deploy solutions that help companies across multiple industries, including Professional and Engineering ServicesHire and Rental, Meat and Livestock distributors and processors, and Not for Profit Organisations, get to market faster and achieve continued success.

Learn more about Dialog Dynamics here.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV & Power BI: any data, anyway, anywhere

A cloud based business analytics service, Power BI transforms your data into rich visuals to be collected and organised, allowing you to focus on what matters most.  Stay in the know, spot trends as they happen, and push your business further. It has a central dashboard feature where you can log-in and view data from your business and other third parties like Google Analytics.

Initially launched in July 2013 as part of Office 365, the newest version of Microsoft’s Power BI has had some impressive upgrades. Microsoft released Power BI as a beta earlier this year, and the new service is now generally available.

Microsoft built its Power BI around three essential components: datasets, reports, and dashboards. Power BI can draw content from a firm’s data, for instance, leveraging connections to multiple sources such as Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Database, SQL Server Analysis Services and more.

The new list of new features includes:

  • Globally available and localized to 44 languages
  • New visuals – Tree Map, Combo Chart, Funnel, Gauges, Area Map, Waterfall, Donut, Area Chart, Matrix and others
  • Significantly enhanced Power BI Desktop (renamed from Designer)
  • Native touch optimized mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows
  • Rich control over visual coloring, including conditional formatting in Reports
  • Visual formatting and customization  in Reports (Title, Background Color, Legend, Data Labels, and X/Y axis for Cartesian charts)
  • Support for Hyperlinks in Reports and report tables
  • Report publishing directly from Power BI Desktop to the PowerBI.com service
  • New styling, look and feel
  • Simple and categorized Get Data Experience
  • A dozen ISVs delivered content packs for Power BI, providing rich, out-of-the-box reports and dashboards for a variety of popular business services (Acumatica, appFigures, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, QuickBooks Online, SQL Server Database Auditing, SweetIQ, Twilio, UserVoice, Visual Studio Online)
  • Four direct query sources enabling users to build Power BI reports and dashboards without the need to move data (Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, SQL Server Analysis Services, Spark on Azure HDInsight)
  • Easy import of CSV files
  • Support for connecting and refreshing from on-Premises data sources
  • Enhanced data modeling in Power BI Desktop  (Calculated Columns, Data Categorization, Smart DAX Formula Editor, 12 new DAX functions)
  • Enhanced data transformation and mashup capabilities in Power BI Desktop with ten new transformation functions
  • Direct report exploration over Analysis Services tabular model from Power BI Desktop
  • Building and publishing Organizational content packs
  • Power BI Groups to enable collaboration on a jointly owned set of datasets, reports and dashboards
  • Browser rendered Excel reports in Power BI
  • Power BI REST API
  • Support for real time dashboards over massive data streams through Azure Stream Analytics
  • Open source Power BI visualization stack to enable Developers to starting building custom visuals
  • Developer samples and test bed for getting started quickly using the REST API
  • Many, many more small but impactful enhancements sprinkled all across the product

With Microsoft Dynamics NAV and PowerBI you can see all your data in a single pane of glass. Through live dashboards and interactive reports you can:

  • Monitor live dashboards for the data that matters most
  • Ask questions of your data through natural language query
  • Drill through to underlying reports to explore and discover new insight
  • Pin new visualisations and KPIs to monitor performance

Power BI and Microsoft Dynamics NAV allow you to visualise your data in new ways, and stay connected from any device:

  • Native apps for iPad, iPhone and Windows devices
  • Receive alerts to important changes in your data
  • Share and collaborate with colleagues and take immediate action

 

Watch the video below to see how you can experience your data. Any data, any way, anywhere.

Try it For Free

Interested customers will be able to try out Power BI for free if they sign up with their business email address. The free tier comes with a 1 GB data cap per user and allows users to update their data only once a day. A Power BI Pro subscription will be available for a monthly fee. This subscription-based model will boost data capacity to 10 GB and allow users to refresh their data every hour, in addition to other perks and benefits.

Speak to Dialog Dynamics today to find out how Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Power BI can help your organisation experience your date, anyway, anywhere.

Microsoft Dynamics SL 2015 Release Provides More Flexibility

Part of Microsoft Dynamics’ ERP suite, Dynamics SL is a project-focused business solution that is quick to deploy and easy to use, with the power needed to support your business ambitions.

Microsoft Dynamics SL helps customers reduce the costs and handle the complexities of growing their business by:

  • Increasing productivity with great end-user experiences customised for each user role
  • Streamlining business processes through automation and efficient management tools
  • Enabling new ways of working through automation and efficient management tools
  • Enabling new ways of working through secure collaboration and shared business processes

The latest release – Microsoft Dynamics SL 2015 – focuses on capabilities and functionality such as flexibility across operation systems, browsers, and devices. It also derives maximum benefit from the Microsoft Cloud.

The key features of the new Microsoft Dynamics SL include:

  • More flexibility and options for users to personalise and configure their system to best meet specific requirements, through system-wide foundation capabilities
  • Tighter integrations with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Azure
  • Superior web client and apps to enable self-service options and greater mobility

Foundation Capabilities:

  • Business Analyser 7 is a windows application that provides business intelligence using Microsoft Dynamics SL Microsoft SQL Reporting Services and Microsoft Excel charts. Find an image for busness analyser 7
  • Quick Query allows you to slice, dice and filter business data to provide quick answers through quick query.
  • SQL Server Database. The Microsoft SQL SErvier technology is utilised by Micrososft Dynamics SL
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL Application Server helps control where processes execute, whtether centralised on the database server, on separate application servers distributed througout the network over a wide area network or over the internet
  • Customisation Manager allows you to adapt your system to the specific requirements of your organisation with Microsoft Dynamics SL Customisation Manager
  • System Manager provides flexible control with capabilities that help import and integrate information and optimise system performance across the entire organisation
  • Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics SL. You can extend connections with a web services architecture that leads to better performance and efficient application integrations
  • Companion Applications. These are lightweight client apps designed for users who need only interact with Microsoft Dynamics SL for specific tasks
  • Light User provides connections to Microsoft Dynamics SL ERP data through tools such as Microsoft Excel and SQL Reporting Services. It also included a Management Reporter Viewer User

Focus on a Single Business Solution with Microsoft Productivity Integrations

It works together with Office 365 to extend the value of your business solution with enhanced productivity, collaboration, mobility and business intelligence.  Microsoft Dynamics SL complements much of the functionality of Office 365 such as document management and collaboration, Excel-based analysis, presence and instant messaging through Microsoft Lync, and many other features available in the Cloud with Office 365.

Microsoft Dynamics SL can also be used in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to connect your business by sharing common data across front office and back office teams. There is a connector for Microsoft Dynamics SL that links information among the most common touch points between the ERP and CRM system.

Deployment and Access

Microsoft Dynamics SL has the choice of two methods of access:

  • Web Apps: Microsoft Dynamics SL provide access to data where and when  it is needed; either on a tablet, smartphone or desktop
  • Cloud Deployment: By deploying Microsoft Dynamics SL in the cloud on Microsoft Azure, the easy to use and powerful solution is brought together with the flexibility and enterprise-class security, reliability and scalability of Microsoft Azure

To find out more about how Microsoft Dynamics SL 2015 can help provide more flexibility for your organisation, contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Dialog IT Selected for 2015 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club

Dialog IT, a leading Gold Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM partner in Australia, has been named in the 2015 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club.

The Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club is a highly sought-after honour that recognises the top 5% of Microsoft Dynamics partners world-wide. Membership in this prestigious club honours high-performing Microsoft Dynamics partners for their commitment to offering customers solutions that meet their needs, and are reflected in their business success and growth.

“This is a great honour.” Said Darren Smart, General Manager of Dialog IT’s Dynamics Practice. “Being named in the Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club is true testament to our commitment to providing the best support and service to every one of our clients.”

Dialog’s acknowledgment came during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2015, the company’s annual premier partner event, which took place this year in Orlando, Fl. WPC provides Microsoft partner community with the largest opportunity to learn about the company’s road map for the upcoming year, establish connections, share best practices, experience the latest product innovations and learn new skills.

“Each year we recognize and honour Microsoft Dynamics partners from around the world for exemplary performance,” said Neil Holloway, corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions Sales & Partners.  “The award-winning partners contribute to the ecosystem and customer businesses alike through their exceptional commitment and expertise.  Microsoft is honoured to recognize Dialog IT for their achievements this past year and for their dedication and support of Microsoft Dynamics applications.”

Dialog IT Dynamics Practice is one of the largest Microsoft Dynamics providers in Australia, offering existing and new clients an ever-increasing number of resources and depth of expertise around Microsoft Dynamics AXDynamics NAV, Dynamics SL, Dynamics CRM and FieldOne.

Microsoft Acquires FieldOne

Back in 2013, Dialog recognised that customer demand for field service management software was being driven by the need for mobile software, cloud-based solutions and was looking for a solution for its own clients. FieldOne, with its deep functionality and flexibility derived from being built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, made it Dialog’s choice, and so a strategic alliance as their Australian and New Zealand partner was formed.

FieldOne has grown from strength to strength capturing the attention of Microsoft who selected them earlier this year to join its Strategic Global Independent Software Vendor (ISV) program. Microsoft has since identified field service management software as a rapidly growing market, and as such made the decision to acquire the company.

Since then, Dialog’s FieldOne team has been responsible for the successful rollout of the FieldOne solutions here in Australia and New Zealand. Our extensive experience with this offering means we are well-positioned to deliver the functionality that organisations need to drive a more effective field service operation.

“This acquisition is tremendous news for us and all our Clients as it reinforces the decision to adopt the FieldOne solution. Microsoft’s purchase of the FieldOne means Field Service Organisations now have a mainstream best of breed solution to adopt which will improve service efficiencies, customer satisfaction and grow revenue.” Terry Ryan National Practice Manager, Dialog Dynamics Field Service Solutions.

About FieldOne Systems: FieldOne Systems provides state-of-the-art software and services addressing the complex challenges customers face in managing enterprise field service organisations.

Recognising the disruption driven by Mobility, Cloud, and Big Data required a revolutionary solution, FieldOne designed FieldOne Sky to harness these new technologies. Sky provides a comprehensive feature set; open architecture for simplified integration, flexible deployment options, and on-demand configuration. These combined drive rapid implementation, maximum adaptability, and the fastest Return On Investment in the industry.

To find out more about FieldOne contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Glossary of Terms

Can you really talk the talk when it comes to ERP? Do you and your employees understand the terminology?

Whether you’re already using an ERP system or just looking for one, familiarising yourself with the lingo is an important step. If you don’t understand the “ERP speak” frequently used, you could sabotage yourself from the start.

A comprehensive ERP solution, primarily for midsized to large, multinational firms, Microsoft Dynamics AX is designed to empower your people to work effectively and compete globally. With Microsoft Dynamics AX it is easy to operate across various locations and countries, but only if everyone is on the same page when it comes to the terms being used to communicate with each other.

We’ve highlighted some of the essential Microsoft Dynamics terminology below:

Abend – The premature ending of a program because of a program error or system failure.

Capacity planning – A procedure for determining the resource capacity requirements that meet the demand of future output during specific time periods.

Derived class – A class that assumes a child role when it participates in an inheritance relationship with a parent (or base) class whose methods can be extended or redefined and whose member access can be restricted.

Enterprise portal – A Web site that provides a single point of entry for internal and external users of an organization to access a wide variety of business information.

Load planning – The process of scheduling, picking, packing, and consolidating one or more shipments of warehouse inventory items for transportation and delivery.

Performance dimension – A dimension used to distinguish and categorize key performance activity against objectives.

To help ensure the success of your Microsoft Dynamics AX software, your employees and your business, familiarise yourself with the full list that Microsoft has compiled here.

Be confident that your business management solution meets the demands of your business and enables collaboration and ease of communication among your team; talk to Dialog Dynamics today.

Jet Express for Word Extends Dynamics NAV Usability

Jet Express for Word is the new buzz word for reports in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015.

A collaboration between Microsoft and Jet Reports, Jet Express for Word is an add-in that provides an easy-to-use interface for creating and modifying NAV documents.

The simplified ability to design and customize document templates within Word extends the usability of Dynamics NAV to give more power and flexibility to the end user.

No programming is required; simply open your documents in Microsoft Word to make layout changes to documents such as invoice or credit memo layout. This interface also allows users to search NAV fields in plain text and double click to add anywhere in the Word document.

With Jet Express for Word you can create a layout from scratch, choose from templates provided or select from the Office Store.

Users can easily customise reports with the ability to add company logos, change fonts and easily tailor to specific departments and regions.

New functionality in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 allows you to import these document layouts into NAV and run them from within the NAV client.

Easy to use:

  • Ready-made templates are available or bespoke templates can be created from scratch
  • Document layouts can be created or customised in Microsoft Word using a simple interface
  • Customisable templates allow companies to add their own logos, change fonts, modify fields
  • Easily customisable for multiple regions
  • Add available field with plain test field labels and search functionality

Software requirements:

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015
  • Office 2013 Desktop edition
  • The Jet Express for Word add-in

To find out more about Jet Reports and how to utilise Jet Express for Word and get the best results for your organisation, contacta Dialog Dynamics expert today, or watch the short video below:

Easy processing & compliance with Australian Payroll for Dynamics NAV

Dialog Australian Payroll for Dynamics NAV is an add-on to Microsoft Dynamics NAV that manages payroll processing requirement with ease.

It has been developed within the Microsoft Dynamics NAV environment and is fully compliant with local statutory requirements.

Dialog Dynamics’ Australian Payroll for Dynamics NAV automates payroll processing and calculations, and uses a logical workflow.

We have just released our new Australian Payroll for Dynamics NAV brochure; view a copy here.

Find out more about Dialog Australian Payroll for Dynamics NAV NAV Payroll

Power BI and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015: The Perfect Match.

The benefits of the new Power BI mean that Microsoft Dynamics NAV users worldwide can now leverage their existing technology to get more insight from the data in their NAV application.

In this blog post we will take a look at how Microsoft Dynamics NAV can take advantage of the benefits, and expose data to enable the building of a dashboard like the one shown below.

Expose refreshable data in PowerBI.com

For the data to be refreshable from PowerBI.com, the instance of Microsoft Dynamics NAV that is used for this must be configured to use Username/Password authentication.

To begin, a dataset from Microsoft Dynamics NAV is needed. Ideally you should use a query which provides a performant way of reading all sized datasets in Dynamics NAV, to do this.

You’ll see below a simple query called CustomerAnalysis:

After the query is saved and compiled with the object ID 50000, it must be exposed as a web service for the outside world to be able to access the data. This is done in the Web Services page:

The query can then be consumed outside Dynamics NAV using Excel.

The first step within Excel, is to add a data source:

 

This particular query is exposed as an OData web service, so choose OData Data Feed in Excel. This will bring up the Data Connection Wizard that will help configure the data source for the Excel worksheet:

 

When choosing the location, specify the OData URL from the Web Services page in Dynamics NAV for this web service. It is essential that you specify the user name and password so that the data in Dynamics NAV can be connected to.  To see the dataset in the web service as configured in Dynamics NAV, click NEXT:

By clicking NEXT you will be taken to the configuration of the data connection file:

You must select save the password in file field to allow the data to be refreshable from PowerBI.com. By doing this, the connection between the dashboard and reports will be made in the context of the user that created the spreadsheet every time the data gets refreshed. Whilst all users of the spreadsheet still need to be licenced users of Dynamics NAV, the exposed data will be available to everybody that is able to connect to the PowerBI.com dashboard. In turn, this means that Dynamics NAV security does not apply to what is in the spreadsheet at this point. Anyone who has access to the spreadsheet also has access to the data that is in the sheet.

It is now time to import the data into Excel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a Power View Report and click OK to upload the data, and then you will be able to design a Power View report in Excel:

A basic report with three clustered column charts – one with Sales_LCY per Country/Region code, one with Sales_LCY per Salesperson_code and one with Sales_LCY per Customer_Posting_Group – is created

Now save the spreadsheet with the name CustomerAnalysis to your local computer and you will be ready to upload the report to PowerBI.com:

Open PowerBI.com in your browser and log in.  Click GET DATA to import the spreadsheet

Select the Excel Workbook, and then choose Connect. Once you have located the saved workbook choose Connect to upload your workbook. When it has uploaded you will have access to your dataset and report:

If you are the owner of the data, you can now right-click the data source to gain the access to refresh the data in the report and dashboard.

For more information on how Microsoft Dynamics NAV and PowerBI.com can form the perfect match, including how to set up the Dashboard, contact Dialog Dynamics.

Mobile Business Apps for Microsoft Dynamics AX help Professional Services Firms.

With the increase of the mobile workforce, mobility for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is becoming increasingly more important for professional services organisations.

For most Australian professional services organisations, an ERP solution is a critical system. ERP systems process operational and financial transactions, hold huge amounts of data, including project, client, inventory, financial and HR information, and until relatively recently have only been accessible through a desktop or laptop computer.

With these new Microsoft Dynamics AX’s Timesheet and Expense mobile apps’ staff instantly, and easily have access to this functionality on their smartphone (Windows, Apple, Android). The Apps are designed with a rich, touch-enabled user experience to encourage higher user adoption.

By accessing these new apps, the amount of time staff will need to spend on administrative tasks will be greatly reduced, allowing them to focus more on delivering customers’ needs.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Timesheets App

Mobile workers can stay productive at all times, creating, editing and managing timesheets on the go.

Features include:

  • View a list of timesheets
  • Create a new timesheet
  • Add or modify timesheet entries
  • Submit timesheets for approval

Microsoft Dynamics Expense App

Remote and mobile staff will have the ability to manage expense reports from anywhere on any device. Utilising this expense app will result in fewer missing expense receipts, as staff capture expenses on the go.

Features include:

  • View a list of expense reports or unreconciled expenses
  • Create an expense report
  • Add expenses and receipts to expense reports
  • Add a photo to an expense item
  • Modify expense reports to provide more detail
  • Submit expense reports for approval

To find out more about Microsoft Dynamics AX’ mobile apps, contact Dialog Dynamics today.

Why Microsoft Dynamics AX is the Best ERP Choice for Engineering Firms

When it is time to upgrade to a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, engineering services firms have a lot to consider. In order to track billable hours and create the corresponding invoices, they need project-based solutions, with time-recording, project expense capture and multiple flavours of billing function types.

Microsoft Dynamics AX  and Dialog Dynamics’ Project Accounting Software for Engineering Services offers proven capability to meet these specific industry needs, as well as core modules such as the general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Dynamics AX also addresses other typical engineering ERP software requirements, providing the following features:

Project management:

Engineering software’s project management capabilities allow the user to keep the contract details for the project, estimate, schedule and allocate resources, build accurate project budgets and manage staff time effectively around the tasks of the

Functionality that keeps track of charge rates per role, and know what to do with projects expenses – bill them, add a margin prior to billing etc.

Time & resource billing:

The system should be able to meet the different billing needs of an engineering firm, billing by hour or by milestone, fixed price, time and materials or a mix of both, as well as the flexibility to all billing o based on an estimate of the completed contract to date based on a $ value or % of the agreed value.

As well as capturing time for people, the ideal software will be able to track the use of resources on a project.

Configurable workflow:

ERP Software for engineering firms should have configurable workflow for use during the timesheet approval process. This can speed up billing, as all data has already been approved and reviewed and billing is simply an invoice generation event, rather than a process for sorting timesheets.  This more systemic process limits mistakes in invoicing, which results in less credit notes needing to be issued.

The option to enter timesheet information on the web and mobile devices is another important feature to look out for.

One version of the truth – one integrated system:

Speed up reporting and enquiries by having all information come from one system, one database, one version of the truth. No exporting data and massaging data from multiple places to provide reporting. Have everyone at project review meetings, from Project Managers to Finance have the same numbers!

Having one integrated system lowers risks by minimising or eliminating multiple systems and integration points.

Client communication: 

Effective customer relationship management can help you attract new business and strengthen existing relationships. This includes automating client and contact management and tracking leads, marketing campaigns, contacts and sales all using the same system.

Comprehensive Audit Trail:

This describes the ability to track any item from opportunity through usage/completion, providing a complete account that can be drilled down for more detail.

Implementing an ERP solution can be a timely and costly endeavour, so it is imperative that you carefully evaluate any system you are considering.

Always check… “Does the Provider have specific experience in your industry?”

Dialog Dynamics does.

Contact us today to find out how our proven experience within the Engineering Services sector, along with Microsoft Dynamics AX and our Project Accounting Software for Engineering Services can help your organisation.

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