The CRM Team welcomes changes to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

The CRM Team welcomes changes to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

The CRM Team welcomes changes to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

Microsoft continues to evolve its partner program and will be rolling out a new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. This change reflects the vast transition of business operations to the cloud, and Microsoft plans to support its partners in the future.

Microsoft is terminating its Silver and Gold competencies, achievements that partners could earn to help differentiate their businesses to customers beyond a baseline partner network membership status.

The CRM Team Head of Delivery Operations Bertha Musanhu says Microsoft is simplifying its partner programs with solutions partner designations, anchored on the Microsoft Cloud in six solution areas aligned to how Microsoft goes to market.

“By attaining these designations, you can demonstrate your organisation’s capabilities in delivering customer success in the solution areas. That’s valuable for you, because it’s where we see customer demand, and where the opportunity is for partners to scale to meet customer needs,” she explains.

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program will be open to Microsoft’s current partners including managed services providers, resellers, systems integrators, independent software vendors (ISVs) and device partners.

However, Microsoft is changing the way it categorises its partners to signal their cloud capabilities and experience. Microsoft will have six solution areas that partners can specialise in. Solutions Partner is the first new partner qualifying level.

The new partner program opens the opportunity to grow and develop as a Microsoft Partner. This model provides two qualifying levels: solutions partner and specialist/expert. The partner designations will be aligned to the six Microsoft Cloud solution areas including:

  • Data & AI (Azure)
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications
  • Modern Work
  • Security

Musanhu says a new partner capability score will rank partners’ performance and technical skills based on their certifications, new customers, successful implementations and overall growth.

“Microsoft’s new program will be mainly focused on several different areas: Azure data and AI, Azure infrastructure, Azure digital and app innovation, business applications, modern work, and security,” she concludes.

Microsoft continues to invest its partner ecosystem and continues to grow its Azure cloud offerings. These changes to the partner program certainly reflect their cloud-first approach. The new program introduces three levels of competency for partners who demonstrate expertise in the various Azure offerings. This partner status will solidify their authority as Microsoft experts.

 

Bertha Musanhu – Head of Delivery Operations

Bertha has been with The CRM Team for 5 years overseeing Delivery Operations, she is a Prosci Certified Change Management Practitioner, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant Associate and she holds a BCOM in Marketing Degree. She is currently busy with an Advanced Project Management Certification and is equipped to deliver projects using Agile Principles. Her Favorite workplace Moto is  “When our Customers Win, We win! ”

Become an IAMCP Member

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Teamed up for Success – IAMCP South Africa

Teamed up for Success – IAMCP South Africa

Teamed up for Success-  IAMCP South Africa

The International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) is a high trust community that bring Microsoft partners together. The IAMCP is dedicated to help Microsoft partners grow and broader their business opportunities through partnering with other IAMCP members.

To effectively serve customers in today’s demanding business environment, partners must build strong complementary partnerships.

At The CRM Team we are passionate about how digital transformation is shaping the world and our aim is to help businesses innovate and continue to expand.

We are proud to be part of the IAMCP South Africa board and strongly believe that by partnering with other like-minded IAMCP members we will continue to be innovative and collaborative within our sectors.

Why join IAMCP?

  • Develop business partnerships and opportunities.

IAMCP encourages its members to work together. A network of Microsoft partners, each specializing in a certain expertise, allows to create value that would otherwise be impossible to generate.

  • IAMCP serves as a voice for Microsoft partners, providing valuable feedback on how they collaborate.

Benefits for South African partners joining IAMCP?

  • Leveraging each other skills sets and strengths
  • Partner 2 Partner opportunities
  • Discover how to best navigate the Microsoft eco-system
  • And more…

Become an IAMCP Member

With an IAMCP chapter membership, you can be a part of that change all while fostering the important personal and business relationships that lead to mutual growth.

IAMCP offers three types of membership. For the details of these membership types and the pricing information, read the IAMCP FAQ or reach out to your local chapter.

 

Bianca Kruger – Marketing Manager

Bianca Kruger is the Marketing Manager at The CRM Team, with responsibility for marketing programs, brand management, strategic marketing campaigns that drive business objectives. Bianca has over 10 years of experience in B2B and B2C marketing and holds a qualification in Business Management.

Innovative, Dynamic, and Passionate is what best describes Bianca.

Become an IAMCP Member

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Microsoft Ignite – helping businesses get on with business.

Microsoft Ignite – helping businesses get on with business.

Microsoft Ignite – helping businesses get on with business.

The Microsoft Ignite digital event was held between 2 and 4 November 2021. This event was the second to be held this year. Over 100,000 attendees from all over the world were expected to attend the November 2021 Microsoft Ignite event.

 

Microsoft showed up with many of its heavyweights to present the company’s newest services offerings. Here are a few new services that Microsoft either has already implemented or will implement soon.

 

Industry-specific cloud services.

 

The company also announced some industry-specific services. One of these is the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing. Some smart factories can generate 1 petabyte of data each day. This data can be precious if harnessed correctly. Still, most companies use less than 1 percent of their data to generate new services or business models.

 

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing connects the intelligent, integrated cloud, and edge capabilities of the Microsoft stack to essential manufacturing processes. It connects your staff, assets, workflow, and business processes to enable you to build a more robust manufacturing business.

 

Another industry-specific offering announced by Microsoft is the Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services. The Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services incorporates Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform with unique features designed to support the financial services industry.

 

According to Microsoft, the Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services “was also designed for even the most complex control frameworks and regulatory requirements facing the industry, with [their] multi-layered security, comprehensive compliance, and trust commitments build-in”.

 

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services aims to enhance customer and employee experiences, combat financial crimes, and manage security and compliance.

 

Microsoft also released the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. This tool is built for roles unique to the nonprofit sector like fundraisers, program managers, and volunteer managers. Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit assists role players to better engage with supporters, manage data, and design and deliver programs.

 

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability assists organizations pursue and achieve their sustainability goals. The tool enables organizations to record, report, and reduce their carbon emissions.

 

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare also received new updates that will enhance patient experiences, frontline worker collaboration, and care coordination.

 

New features for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 also received new features to assist businesses and their employees in navigating the new hybrid world. These features revolve around enhancing connectivity and streamlining communication and collaboration.

Collaborative apps for Microsoft Dynamics 365, Power Platform, Office 365, and Teams.

Updates to Dynamics 365 that are currently in preview will allow organizations to “operate as one business, everywhere.” Dynamics 365 and teams promote accessibility to business data. That means relevant information gets to the persons who need it most in order to make informed business decisions.

 

These new features give sales teams access to experts in your organization. This will allow your sales team to build informed proposals that address your customers’ needs. Sales teams can invite anyone in your company to collaborate with them via a Teams chat or channel. They could also make use of the “chat now” pop-up feature in Dynamics 365 or use the inbound/outbound digital voice feature.

 

The new collaborative features encourage real-time engagement. Collaborators can see who is working on a project with them. The Dynamics 365 apps also make it easy for individuals to contact those who are collaborating with them. These communication options include calls, chats, and scheduling meetings.

 

Microsoft Customer Experience Platform.

The Microsoft Customer Experience Platform allows your business to harness your customer data to create more personalized customer journeys. “With a deep understanding of customers and rich, out-of-the-box insights, organizations can now understand and predict intent to deliver the right content on the right channel and I the right moment.”

 

The Consent-enabled Customer Data Platform (CDP) (currently in preview) permits your chief data officer to use consent data in the consumer platform. This can help your business construct complete customer profiles while protecting their data.

 

The business-to-business CDP merges customer data from various sources. This includes CRM tools, email, websites, social networks, partner systems, and even point-of-sales.

 

In addition to this, AI content creation features automatically generate content snippers that can be used as the starting point for customer emails. This simplifies segment creation and enhances targeting to specific audiences.

 

Microsoft Dynamics Supply Chain Management.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can help you to “predict demand shifts, supply constraints, and equipment downtime by eliminating siloed Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to improve visibility of the production floor”.

 

More than that, Microsoft has added a priority-based feature (in preview) to the planning optimization engine in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain management. This helps to avoid out-of-stock situations. This feature automatically calculates which high-demand stock needs to be replenished based on outstanding orders, current stock levels, and projected inventory. This automation can streamline a company’s supply chain management processes.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service voice channel.

Customer service solutions revealed during the Microsoft Ignite event include the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service voice channel. According to Microsoft, “this addition to the existing omnichannel capabilities leverages the power of Microsoft Teams to bring traditional Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS), Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), and Customer Engagement Center (CEC) under a single, integrated customer service Software as a Service (SaaS) solution with Dynamics 365 Customer Service”.

 

The Microsoft Ignite event revealed a smorgasbord of exciting new features that encourage more effective and efficient collaboration and business processes, helping your business get on with its business.

Transform your business

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POPIA Explained: Your 5-Minute Guide to SA’s New Data Privacy Law

POPIA Explained: Your 5-Minute Guide to SA’s New Data Privacy Law

Has your inbox suddenly been flooded with mails all about POPIA, privacy and new legal changes? Ours certainly have been!

Now that the dust has settled a little, we’re posting to clarify any remaining questions you might have, and give you a helpful recap about what POPIA is, and what it means going forward.

Intro to POPIA

On July 1st 2021, South Africa’s new Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) came into force. With it, data, privacy and record-keeping requirements changed for thousands of organisations around South Africa. Not only for government entities and large corporates, but SMB’s, too.

In brief, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is South Africa’s new data protection law. It’s aim is to protect individuals from harm by ensuring the their personal data is always handled correctly, prudently and with their consent.

To do this, the Protection of Personal Information Act lays out a number of specific conditions for when and how it is lawful for someone to process someone else’s personal information. It also places strict requirements on how that data is safeguarded and used.

What do the requirements include?

The POPIA requirements cover factors such as accountability, processing limitations, information quality, openness, security safeguards, and data subject participation, among others.

Some of the basic principles include:

  • Personal information may only be processed in a fair and lawful manner and only with the consent of the data subject.
  • Personal information may only be processed for specific, explicitly defined and legitimate reasons.
  • Personal information may not be processed for a secondary purpose unless that processing is compatible with the original purpose.
  • The data subject whose information you are collecting must be aware that you are collecting such personal information and for what purpose the information will be used.
  • Personal information must be kept secure against the risk of loss, unlawful access, interference, modification, unauthorised destruction and disclosure.
  • Data subjects may request whether their personal information is held, as well as the correction and/or deletion of any personal information held about them.

What is “personal information”?

For the purposes of the act, “personal information” means information relating to an identifiable, living natural person and, where applicable, an identifiable company or other similar legal entity.

Information about age, gender and race, identity numbers, telephone numbers, location information, online identifiers, and personal opinions and preferences are all included in the definition. Personal data on disabilities, physical or mental health, financial, criminal or employment histories are also included.

Who is affected by the act?

Any natural or juristic person who processes personal information – including large corporates and government – are affected. Currently, SMEs are also included.

What steps do companies have to take to comply with the act?

There are various requirements placed on companies by POPIA. Among them are the need to:

  • Appoint an information officer
  • Draft a privacy policy
  • Raise awareness of POPIA among employees
  • Report data breaches
  • Only share personal information when they are lawfully allowed to

At The CRM Team, we’ve always been committed to the strictest client confidentiality and data security protocols. You trust us with your personal data, and we work hard to keep that data secure. With the passage of POPIA, we’re doubling down on that promise, to ensure your personal information is always used appropriately, transparently and in accordance with the applicable laws.

If you have any further questions about POPIA or want to get your business compliant, feel free to get in touch.

Get POPI compliant now!

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The CRM Story

The CRM Story

What is CRM?

HINT: It’s not just about software.

Many people think that CRM is software. But it’s far more than that. 

Customer Relationship Management is about blending technology and strategy to guarantee great customer experience.

Customers are at the centre of every business. Whether you are B2C, B2B, B2B2C, etc. your business success depends on the experience your customer has with you. In every business this experience is shaped at four customer touch points:

1.  Marketing

2.  Sales

3.  Delivery

4.  Service

It’s not sufficient to be good at two or three of these touch points. Your relationship with your customer is dependent on all four.

A bitter let down

A guy in our office recently ordered a cell phone from a tele-sales company. Their marketing was excellent and they had created a strong brand that he trusted. The salesman on the phone was very knowledgeable. His easy manner made buying a simple process.

But when it came to receiving his phone, he had a different experience. On opening his package, he realised the phone was completely different to the one he ordered. When he contacted the company to correct things, nobody seemed to care. It took him a long time to get the company to deliver the phone he’d actually bought. When they eventually did, he vowed never to buy from them again.

Customers are lost through experiences like this.

It doesn’t matter how good certain teams in your business are, without consistency across the four touch points, you’ll always hemorrhage customers and revenue. This is where Customer Relationship Management comes in.

CRM gives you this consistency. A good, functioning CRM system provides great customer experience – right across your business. And because customers have a good relationship with you, you’ll be able to keep hold of them. This creates up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. Selling to current customers is far easier than attracting new ones.

Great customer relationship management doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey. But it’s a journey every company needs to be on.

Let us help you

At The CRM Team, we are experts on this journey. Whatever stage you have reached, we can assist you to get to the next one. See which stage you are at.

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Power BI: Microsoft is the BI and Analytics leader –  Gartner Magic Quadrant 2018

Power BI: Microsoft is the BI and Analytics leader – Gartner Magic Quadrant 2018

Gartner 2018: Microsoft No.1 for BI & Analytics

Microsoft’s been innovating in analytics and business intelligence for a long time. However, Gartner’s 2018 BI and Analytics report ranked PowerBI as the no. 1 product in terms of both vision and the ability to execute. This put Microsoft ahead of 10+ niche tech firms. But it also put it well beyond the established big players, including SAP, SAS, Salesforce, Tableau and IBM.

2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms*

 

Why is this so exciting? The top spot in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms can be claimed only by a company with huge amounts of both vision and grit. A company that can see the future – and then make it happen. For real.

It’s no big surprise. For 11 consecutive years, Microsoft has come out as a leader in the Gartner rankings. And for 3 of those, it has claimed the spot for having the most complete vision of in the BI and analytics space. All testament to the calibre of Microsoft’s global leadership and unceasing drive for innovation and excellent execution.

What is Power BI?

At its core, Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. The technology enables decision makers to monitor their business and get answers quickly with rich dashboards available on every device. It’s built on the same data model as Office 365 and Dynamics 365 so it has deep integration there, but it also has hundreds of data connectors, making it very simple to bring in your data and start giving you the insights you need.

The Magic of Microsoft

Hundreds of thousands of businesses are already plugged into Microsoft’s BI solutions. And the reasons include everything from cost-effectiveness (the professional license is only $9.99/user/mth and is often bundled in many Office 365 plans) to how comprehensive the end solution truly is.

It’s also great for multinationals with offices across the globe – Microsoft guarantees great performance and security everywhere in the world.

Check out the experiences of some of Microsoft’s major clients:

“We use Power BI in Office 365 to turn data into insights, so we can ensure our place in the future of the luxury car industry.” 

– Andrew Palmer, Chief Executive Officer, Aston Martin

“With Office 365 E5, we’re delivering an intelligent workplace, where employees gain self-service access to interactive, graphical reports and dashboards through Microsoft Power BI … It’s easy to use Power BI to analyze real-time sales data and fine-tune our marketing activities to drive sales.”

– Markus Petrak, Corporate Director, Henkel

The solution is both scalable and flexible, too. Power BI allows companies to tap into architecture allowing easy and rapid integration with both Microsoft and 3rd party products. Moreover, businesses only pay for the capacity they need, meaning no wasted spend – but plenty of room to grow.

Rave Reviews

At The CRM Team, our own customers rave about the insights they receive. These insights have led to higher lead conversion, reduced customer churn and better engagement. Whenever we do a Dynamics 365 implementation we always leverage PowerBI to provide incredibly rich and relevant data visualisations. It’s such a great product and it enables us to add a lot of value to our clients.

All businesses search for that ‘edge’ over rivals. Microsoft is no different. It is determined to remain a leader and visionary in the BI platform environment. And it looks like Microsoft is getting it right – delivering modern BI and analytics solutions for a variety of users, and getting rave reviews in the process.

Why? Not only does the technology behind Power BI enable users to create and share insights in real time, but Power BI lets users create develop rich, compelling stories. These stories perfectly visualise data, allowing decision makers an at-a-glance understanding of how their business is doing. Custom visuals only add to the magic and personalisation.

What new heights Microsoft will reach from here is anyone’s guess. The company is on a rocket trajectory – who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Want to get more information what a Microsoft CRM solution could do for you? Check out our solution’s page. All of our solutions incorporate Power BI to enable incredible data visualisation and reporting. 

 

*This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Microsoft (The CRM Team is a strategic partner with Microsoft). Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organisation and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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