5 Ways to Make Digital Transformation with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Actually Work (PART II)

By Bas Bergstra

In my previous blog about Digital Transformation (‘DT’) with Dynamics 365 initially the concept of DT was briefly explained by stating that it serves strategic objectives of our customers, which can be realized with support of Dynamics 365. Next, I emphasized that DT can be applied in a variety of ways. After this introduction my blog then zoomed into two ways of making DT with Dynamics 365 work. As the title suggests, it is now time to bring in three additional best practices.

The earlier discussed way number 2 for DT with Dynamics 365 regarded the importance having strong awareness of out-of-the-box features. On the other hand, it is crucial to have your semantics in place. Besides the point of that each industry or even organization is likely to have its own jargon; once having deciphered that, you may experience another haze. Often departments, teams or groups people commonly have different interpretations for the same concept. Another challenge is that you may assume familiarity of your counterpart with concepts such as Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) and Robotic Process Automation (or ‘RPA’), but these are still not so mainstream as you might assume. Just imagine how long it took before the term ‘Internet’ was starting to resonate with your grandparents. So before introducing more advanced Dynamics 365 functionality such as Customer Insights and Lead Scoring Models, make sure to get your audience acquainted with the underlying concepts.

Finding out the DT maturity level of your customer is an effective route to determine appropriate timing of introducing Dynamics 365 features to them. This fourth way of making DT with Dynamics 365 work also relates back to the second challenge previously mentioned in this blog. The reason is that interpretation and timing often go hand in hand. Consider an example regarding a customer service manager who currently receives a weekly report on customer complaints expecting the same from the new Dynamics 365 solution.  After finding what he perceives as a ‘report’, you realize that his requirement could be met by simply providing access to of view of cases in Dynamics 365 Service. Do this instead of overwhelming him right away with Dynamics AI for Customer Service, thus time the pace of digitally transforming their processes to support customers. Remember, Rome was not built in a day either.

The last success factor for a Dynamics 365 implementation that I would like to share here regards user adoption. DT implies change and the willingness to adopt varies per user. Roughly spoken users can be grouped into three categories, i.e. 10% very open to change (referred to as pro-change opinion leader), 10% resistant to change (alias ‘con-change opinion leader’) and the opinion of the rest (80%) is likely to be affected by the opinion leaders. With tactical involvement of the group who is in favor, you are likely to win the majority also with your demonstration of added value with Dynamics 365. So, make sure to first focus on the pro-change opinion leaders and convert them into ambassadors or advocates inspiring the 80% group.

With these 5 ways you have a head start to leverage Dynamics 365 and transform your customer’s business. Please feel free to share your experiences, so I can start improving and or extend these ways in new posts.

Link to part I of this blog.

Dynamics 365 – Transition to Unified Interface

By Robin Schaareman

Earlier Microsoft announced that in October this year (2020) cloud organizations need to be on the newest Unified Interface. Via the website https://runone.powerappsportals.com you can check what date is set for your own environments. You can postpone this date to a date which suit you and/or your organization more. Be aware that 1st of October is the deadline, after this all environments should be on the Unified Interface.

On the Microsoft website you can find a lot of information how to check whether your solution is ready for the Unified Interface. Most of the information will be about if the technical parts in your solution will still function after you transition to the Unified Interface. However this is really important it is just as important that all the end users will benefit/work with the new interface as well.

Since it has been changed a lot it is good to discuss a suitable approach to implement this feature. Via this blog I will share my approach in how I implement the new Unified Interface at a customer. It might be a standard approach but in my experience this was effective enough to bring the new feature in the organization.

  • Prepare with your team

Before you inform the users about this new feature it is important to check if your solution is applicable. If this is the case you can create a new App within Dynamics 365. This app can be used for testing all the forms etc and see how it looks. If it all looks good you can strip this new app to make the sitemap just with the minimal entities needed for sales to do their work. For example, accounts, contacts, activities and opportunities. This will be the app that will be used during a pilot period with the users. Create a separate security role so the users that will attend the pilot can access the new app.

  • Inform important stakeholders/champions

Most of the time at a customer there are some enthusiastic users which are happy to hear about new features or changes. These users can help you get a platform to all other users and make them enthusiastic as well! Get those people in a room and inform them about the new Unified Interface. Show them the benefits of the new interface (its faster than the “old” version 😉) and discuss your plan in how to implement this new feature. Important outcome in this meeting is a date and a list of users that can attend the demo/pilot.

  • Give a demo to the users + surprise pilot!

After you have set a date with the stakeholders you can give a demo to a group of users that will attend a pilot (which they don’t know yet!). During this presentation you can show the new Unified Interface and all the benefits that comes with it (tablet/mobile version etc). At the end you have a small surprise, users that want to attend a pilot can start with that right after the meeting. Show the users that they can access the new features via the new app and at all times can switch back to the more familiar interface (if they get stuck or something). Also try to explain that they work within the same database.

  • Discuss the outcome and way forward

During the pilot you need to be pro active and ask pilot users how it is going. If they found any issues or have recommendations just write them down and discuss them with your team and the other stakeholders. In the end you can facilitate a meeting with all the pilot users to discuss the outcome and which of the feedback will be implemented before the release. After that you can propose a date to go live 😊 at the beginning you can still make an app which contains the old version of the UI. For some users this can be helpful in the transition to the new UI. Like I said, pretty straight forward but in my opinion an effective way to implement the new UI. Hope this helps