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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Microsoft Office 365 & Dynamics 365

Microsoft Office 365 & Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 & Microsoft Office – Better Together

Every month, more than 85 million people are more productive thanks to Microsoft Office 365. Users can work from anywhere, at any time and across any device.

Add Microsoft Dynamics 365 to your Office 365 subscription and transform the way you work with customers.

Let’s take a look at how Dynamics 365 and Office 365 work together.

Office 365 and Dynamics CRM logos

Outlook & Dynamics 365

Track customer interactions – in one click

Create new Dynamics 365  records in Outlook. Never fail to track email leads again. Click one button and the email sender becomes a record in Dynamics 365. You can also bulk create records from any of your Outlook contacts.

Quick create customer tasks. Create activity lists in response to emails. Simply drag emails that need actioning into Outlook Tasks. These are automatically scheduled as tasks in Dynamics 365 and added to the customer record.

See important account info in Outlook. View account info next to the message. Dynamics 365 draws sales activities, cases and opportunity information about the account and places it next to the relevant mail.

Log your sales activities from within Outlook Calendar. With a single click from within Outlook Calendar, track meetings and customer appointments. Managers get an update on these activities without the sales rep having to log in to Dynamics 365.

 

OneNote & Dynamics 365
Sync Notes. Never lose a piece of information about a customer. Record text, photos, voice, spreadsheets and even handwritten notes. Access them directly from the customer record.

Mobile. Take notes on the move. Dynamics 365 will connect these to the customer record.

 

Word & Dynamics 365
Merge customer data into word templates. Pull customer information into quote and proposal templates at the click of a button. Word imports account information from Dynamics 365 into merge fields. E.g. Company Name, Account Contact etc. Creating sales documents has never been quicker.

 

Excel & Dynamics 365
Use Excel Online directly inside Dynamics 365. Perform analyses within Dynamics 365 and cut out the frustration of transferring data between applications. View your data in familiar Excel spreadsheets and perform functions like ‘what-if’ analyses. All analyses are saved in Dynamics 365, maintaining the sales workflow.

Connect Excel to Dynamics 365 data at the touch of a button. If you prefer seeing reporting data within excel, Dynamics 365 will link with whatever reports you produce. The data in Excel remains linked to Dynamics 365, so your reports update dynamically. And because the data is drawn from Dynamics 365, user security roles are maintained. If the excel doc contains some data above your security clearance, that part of the data will be hidden on the spreadsheet.

 

Power BI & Dynamics 365
Blend data from Dynamics 365 with other data to get smarter insights. E.g. Draw sales figures from Dynamics 365 and compare it against weather reports to see if outside temperature has an effect on sales. View this graphically to spot trends.

Create custom dashboards. Set up all your key metrics in one window. Import datasets from Dynamics 365 with a few clicks, using the pre-built content packs. It’s never been easier to see the data you need, all in one place, on any device.

 

Sharepoint & Dynamics 365
Documents added to SharePoint can be instantly accessed in Dynamics 365 against a customer record. And vice versa.

See calendars and shared docs from within Dynamics 365. Your company SharePoint accounts automatically get imported to Dynamics 365, making integration easy and seamless.

Smart collaboration on proposals. Source customer data from Dynamics 365 and those documents automatically get attached to the customer record.

 

Skype for Business & Dynamics 365
Click to Call. Call anyone from inside Dynamics 365 using Skype for Business. There is no need to invest in telephony platforms. The best part is that all calls will be logged inside the customer record.

Instant follow up. Conduct webinars or whiteboard discussions with Skype for Business and then immediately send a record of the event to participants. Dynamics 365 will track who received it, and add it to their customer record.

 

Office 365 Groups & Dynamics 365
Enhanced Group Collaboration. Office 365 Groups automatically import into Dynamics 365. So, you’ll continue to have a central access point for all shared documents and calendars. But now you’ll also see all customer and potential customer records there as well.

 

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10 Reasons Why We Use Dynamics 365 on the Microsoft Cloud

Here’s ten reasons why we’ve chosen to go with Microsoft Dynamics 365 on the Microsoft Cloud:

 

1. Higher Security

The level of data-security that Microsoft provide is far higher than many companies can afford to provide by themselves, and it is all included in the price, taking that worry away from you.

2. Less Hassle

Upgrades, maintenance, and system administration are all managed at Microsoft. This means you won’t need to spend time or energy managing a dedicated IT department or contractors when servers go down or software updates mandate a system tweak.

3. Lower Costs

Because there is not a big hardware install, your capital expenditure is much lower. So you benefit from better cash flow and greater flexibility, which reduces your overall costs.

4. Greater Flexibility

You can add or remove users as your business requires them. So short-term projects become cost-effective, because you only pay for additional license fees for the duration of the project. And as your business grows, so does Microsoft Dynamics 365. Because it can run 100,000 users concurrently, Dynamics 365 will never cap your growth.

5. Quicker Return

Time is money, and with the on-premise set up being far more complex, you will get a much quicker return in your business if you opt for an online system. The online system can be installed in a day and your business can be running it at its max in a matter of weeks, meaning you’ll quickly see a meaningful return on your investment.

6. Assistance Wherever You Are

Wherever your company expands to you’ll find that there’ll always be a Microsoft partner proficient in Dynamics 365 nearby. This means that help or advice will never be far away. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 currently operating in 40 countries in 41 different languages, it’s truly a global product.

7. Greater Access

With the world becoming more mobile, it’s essential that everyone in your business can access information wherever they are. With Dynamics 365 you don’t even need a laptop as you can get full functionality via your tablet or even your cell phone (Android, iOS, or Windows).

8. Greater Cost Efficiency

You only pay for the users that are active on the system. In traditional deployments you purchase a number of licenses up front but with Dynamics 365, you can adjust what you pay according to the needs of your business. So the cost is mainly an operational cost, and only increases as your business does.

9. Guaranteed Uptime

Microsoft promise a 99.9% uptime or they will give you your money back. With multiple global data centres, you don’t need to worry about glitches or bugs, or even cyber attacks, as Microsoft has this covered, leaving you to focus on your core business.

10. Strict Data Protection

Because we care about your data, if you go with us, we’ll place your data in centres in Europe, where the strict European laws ensure that your data remains your own. In contrast, if you house your data yourself, you come under the data protection laws of the country that you reside in.

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Many state that the drawing really captures the essence of iterative and incremental development, lean startup, and MVP (minimum viable product). However, some misinterpret it, which is quite natural when you take a picture out of its original context. Some criticize it for oversimplifying things, which is true. The picture is a metaphor. That’s why we’ve made this video to put the picture in its true context. Enjoy.

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5 reasons why Agile is better than Waterfall

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5 reasons why Agile is better than Waterfall

Waterfall methodology used to be the way all IT deployments were done. It worked, was reliable and suited IT professionals. But then the Agile revolution happened. In a changing world, speed and the agility now matter to customers. They no longer can afford to be locked into long IT projects that, once set in motion, can’t be changed or adjusted. At The CRM Team, we joined the Agile revolution, and it’s now the only implementation method that we use. It’s better for our customers, and that means it’s better for all of us. In the realm of CRM deployments, here are 5 reasons why we believe Agile is better than Waterfall.

 

1. Less prone to error

Waterfall relies heavily on initial requirements. However, if these requirements aren’t documented precisely, or there was a misunderstanding around the detail of what the customer wanted, it makes things very difficult. Not so with Agile – requirements are checked and confirmed throughout the project.

 

2. More flexible

Once a step has been completed in Waterfall, it’s difficult to go back and make changes. In contrast, Agile builds a working version of the whole project (an MVP) so the customer can shape how it’s built. Seeing a working version early on in the project allows the customer to say ‘I like this, but I don’t like that’, and so shape the product according to their requirements. This is harder to do with Waterfall because the customer has to outline all their preferences upfront, without seeing a working version.

 

3. More predictable end product

With Waterfall, the product is mainly tested at the end of the project. If the customer’s needs weren’t captured well initially or they have changed since the start of the project, testing may come too late in the cycle to make big adjustments. The customer then has to find extra budget to get the product they now need. With Agile, testing happens regularly through the whole process, so the customer periodically checks that the product is what they envisioned. This also makes it more likely that the project will finish on time, and on budget.

 

4. More open to changes/additions

Waterfall isn’t geared to take into account a customer’s evolving needs. If business processes change during the project Waterfall isn’t set up to adapt to this. Often a client feels locked into a project that no longer meets the current business need. In contrast, Agile not only has the ability to adapt to changing needs, but it expects them and plans for them.

 

5. More customer involvement

Agile sees the customer as part of the implementation team and includes them at each part of the process. In contrast, Waterfall tends to spend a lot of time with the customer at the start, trying to document all the perceived requirements. But once this has happened, the implementation team usually take over.

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Microsoft | LinkedIn: Why competitors are *still* having sleepless nights.

Microsoft | LinkedIn: Why competitors are *still* having sleepless nights.

Microsoft | LinkedIn – Why competitors are *still* having sleepless nights.

It’s been three short months. Satya Nadella, Jeff Weiner and Reid Hoffman stood outside the LinkedIn Headquarters in Mountain View, California and announced the third biggest tech acquisition of all time.

Since then we’ve learnt 3 fascinating facts about the deal:

  1. LinkedIn went with Microsoft over Facebook, Google and Salesforce.com (Say what!?)
  2. LinkedIn went with Microsoft even though Microsoft wasn’t the highest bid. (Say what!?!?)
  3. The battle was fierce and went down to the wire. (Understandable)

And the deal is still making waves!

Last week Salesforce.com’s stock crashed on less-than-expected projected earnings for the third quarter (one wonders why!) Meanwhile, Microsoft quietly overtook them as the world’s biggest enterprise SaaS provider. And that’s without counting LinkedIn’s contribution!

Salesforce’s CEO, Marc Benioff, is obviously rattled. After a period of collaboration and partnership, he has now declared the rivalry with Microsoft is back on. His words are defiant, but it doesn’t look great for the CRM-focused company. Microsoft’s new combined cloud CRM/ERP offering, Dynamics 365, with LinkedIn’s mighty Sales Navigator is going to be a potent combination and a big worry for them. This was a big win for Microsoft and LinkedIn. Salesforce.com lost out – big time.

Much more than CRM

But it would be unfair to make this a deal about Dynamics CRM vs Salesforce.com. It was much bigger than that. And both Microsoft and LinkedIn know this. You can’t box the 10,000 strong, 433 million member, professional network megalith as a simple CRM add-on. Jeff Weiner, who remains as LinkedIn CEO, said that Microsoft gives LinkedIn “advantages most companies can only dream of leveraging”. That’s got to hurt, Marc.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was also very excited about the deal:

‘[it] brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network’

We agree. With a combined reach of 1.5 billion+ people (Microsoft’s customer base and LinkedIn’s membership), the possibilities are staggering.

Nadella told his 114,000 employees:

“Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world.”

Microsoft already helps over 1.2 billion people become more productive through the Microsoft Office suite. Imagine integrating LinkedIn with this. LinkedIn’s reach increases dramatically, and Office’s usefulness gets better and better. Nadella has stated that Microsoft wants to integrate the LinkedIn data with their artificial intelligent assistant Cortana. As Nadella said, “Imagine walking into a meeting and Cortana tells you about people you are meeting and what you need to know about them”.

But it won’t just be Microsoft Office that benefits from LinkedIn. Microsoft wants to integrate their powerful machine learning capabilities with the professional network. And being part of the world’s biggest software company will have also have its benefits. Not only can LinkedIn now get input from the best engineers from Microsoft’s 114,000-strong workforce, but partnering with Microsoft also brings a healthy financial stability. Jeff Weiner said we are now,

‘not pressured to compromise on long-term investment… or hamstrung in the way we can reward and acquire new talent due to stock price concerns’.

Weiner predicts that through combining with Microsoft they’ll now be able to innovate and disrupt in some of the following areas:

“the corporate directory, company news dissemination, collaboration, productivity tools, distribution of business intelligence and employee voice…”

Prepare for more creativity and innovation from LinkedIn.

And the timing is great.

Digital Transformation is going to be a huge thing for companies in 2017 and much of this will result in big growth for cloud computing (read: Saas, PaaS and Iaas).

The SaaS (Software as a Service) market is growing rapidly (33% growth last quarter) and there is plenty of scope for Microsoft | LinkedIn to dominate here.

  • LinkedIn: Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn has been extremely successful at SaaS. On its own, it’s been in the top SaaS providers in the world for years. Last year it’s recruitment suite, Talent Solutions, brought in $2 billion (!) in revenue alone. Combined with its sales tool, Sales Navigator, it already has a healthy subscriber base of 2 million people. This will grow rapidly through the access to Microsoft’s 1 billion plus customer base.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft has already had a successful transition over to SaaS. Its launch of Office 365 five years ago saw it move its famous desktop brand into the cloud. (Recently, even Facebook announced its adoption of Office 365). It also offers SharePoint Online and now, this Fall, their ERP/CRM clouds solutions will be relaunched as Dynamics 365. We at The CRM Team, have already stated our belief about how seismic a shift this will be. Integrate this with LinkedIn and it becomes even more powerful.

When it comes to IaaS and PaaS (Infrastructure/Platform as a service), Microsoft are already positioned well here, second behind Amazon, but ahead of Google and IBM. If, as predicted, LinkedIn moves its hosting to Microsoft’s Cloud (Azure) then that will bolster Azure even further.

But the Microsoft | LinkedIn deal is not just a strategic move to stop Amazon getting LinkedIn’s business. What Microsoft and LinkedIn realise is that currently their offerings and customer base are quite different. Place them all on one platform and the combined graph is eye-watering for developers:

Who can compete with that?

This deal is a great move for both Microsoft and LinkedIn and it’s going to shake up many industries. There should be lots of companies having sleepless nights – for a good while to come.

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