Competitive advantage through the cloud

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud first solution. However, for many organisations the default position is still initially to look at an on-premise version, or as Microsoft call it ‘Local Business Data’.

How do you decide if you should go cloud or on-premise for your ERP?

When faced with this dilemma, many businesses focus on the traditional infrastructure areas like the cost versus in-house hosting, data security and strength of the internet connection. For some businesses, the answer to these basic questions leads them down an on-premise route.

What if you came at the decision from a different angle – can you live without the capability available in the cloud?

Beyond the well documented benefits of cloud (see blog here) which drive down cost and internal IT resource, Microsoft offers some impressive capability in the cloud that will help your business succeed if applied properly. There are a couple of main features that are primarily available through the cloud worth paying attention to: PowerApps and Flow and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

PowerApps and Flow

Microsoft business platform services, PowerApps and Flow, support businesses with an easy route to building custom applications and to automate processes. They are codeless solutions that use a simple visual interface. For PowerApps you simply select the data you need, decide on the outcome or action you need to capture and it will suggest a simple interface for you.You can then publish this app and make it available via web or mobile for use by your employees. It offers a simple and quick way of launching apps with very little development required. Flow allows you to automate repeatable business processes.  Again the value here is that it can connect to Office 365, Dynamics 365 and all your data in these systems.

The Solutions are also underpinned by Microsoft’s Common Data Service. This service is designed to extend the capability across the Microsoft platform by connecting it to all your business data no matter where it is stored. You can connect your data from a range of different places including SharePoint, SQL Server, Office 365, Salesforce, Twitter, and more.

Artificial Intelligence

The second area is Artificial intelligence. You might be thinking that AI is just for big high tech companies, but it is now very accessible and beneficial to regular SMEs via cloud. Whilst Artificial Intelligence isn’t exclusively available in the cloud, the level of processing required to run it would be prohibitive on-premise.

Artificial intelligence is embedded across the Microsoft range, with solutions being available through Dynamics 365 as well as access to advanced features via Azure. They are designed to help improve a wide range of areas and over time this will become more pronounced. It helps improve manufacturing and supply chain execution, makes field service operations more efficient, enables more effective selling and ultimately delivers exceptional customer experiences. Built-in intelligence capabilities are infused throughout Dynamics 365 apps including: sentiment and intent analysis, preemptive service, relationship insights, lead and opportunity scoring, product recommendations and up-sell/cross-sell, and many more.

Competitive advantage

Organisations that embrace these new capabilities will undoubtedly improve their businesses and find competitive advantage. Improved productivity and efficiency of staff through apps and automation will allow you to focus on value adding activity and Artificial Intelligence will optimise your operations and this will grow in prominence across every area of business.

If you are interested in learning more about Microsoft Dynamics, Power Apps or Artificial intelligence please contact us today.