Higher Education System The Answer For Digital Transformation
Technosoft Insider May 2018
We’re in the mid of exciting digital transformation. Moving from traditional to modern process is critical challenge for education world. In the beginning, lets start one question “how”. For simple example, how to become effective, efficient and go green. Providing tool for student self service by using a great portal is one of the answers. The portal capability is able to facilitate the student to Connect with the constituents in a whole new way, like students are able to submit the application form and track the application step or status, beside that, the students could submit the task, pick courses that need to join anytime, anywhere by using any device.
This transformation process should be applied whole education area, not only student side but school, educators and faculty also. Excellent collaboration among students and faculty is required as part of process. To support the whole process, choosing the right system is the key to provide comfortable process in blending the digital and physical.
We are excited to share our vision of what’s coming next for Technosoft Higher Education System. Many more update info and features of Technosoft Higher Education that you should know.
Feel free to contact us, if you are eager to know more.
Volume XVI – Issue V
1 May 2018
Table of Contents
- Executive Q&A: How Manufacturers Can Benefit from Robotic Process Automation
- Survey Report: Are Microsoft Dynamics Users Open to ‘Smart’ Timesheet Applications?
- A Connected B2B Ecosystem: Benefits of Integrating CRM and eCommerce
- Microsoft Dynamics Profile: For New Australian MVP, Love of the D365 / CRM Platform Drove Professional
- Story About Attitude
- Dilbert of the Month
Executive Q&A: How Manufacturers Can Benefit from Robotic Process Automation
The manufacturing industry is awash in data, but time consuming manual processes prevail at many organizations, preventing them from fully leveraging operational information to benefit the bottom line. MSDW spoke with Nick Sprau, vice-president of marketing and sales at Metafile, makers of MetaViewer, about the ways manufacturers can use robotic process automation (RPA) to boost their business. Sprau offers his take on what RPA is all about and why manufacturers in particular are likely to find ways to incorporate this new generation of process automation technology into their businesses.
MSDW: What are some characteristics of robotic process automation (RPA) that set it apart from typical workflow automation?
Nick Sprau: I consider RPA to be an evolution of the workflow process. The more the process can intelligently manage these business functions in a touchless manner, the closer to RPA it becomes. Technology that can learn the nuances of the day-to-day decisions that orchestrate the workflow can begin to manage these processes with fewer and fewer human interventions. It is the artificial intelligence, learning capabilities, and the ability to set and measure tolerable “thresholds of certainty” that allow this to become more and more autonomous.
Do today’s manufacturers who are still working in paper processes recognize that they have a problem?
I believe by now most modern organizations realize that paper is not an efficient way to handle business functions. However, because the amount of information (and therefore paper) has grown steadily for decades, many of these companies have developed elaborately complex paper pushing processes that are totally engrained in the day-to-day lives of the employees. Since they have found creative ways to survive the necessary evil of paper, it is often not seen as a priority for process re-engineering. All the companies we help through this process and realize the benefits (and the real daily costs they were incurring) have a hard time imagining how they dealt with paper for so long.
What are the most common areas of improvement you see when working with a manufacturer who is currently lagging in automation?
One of the key, but not obvious, ways we see improvement is once an organization implements this technology and the best practices we have developed. It is then that they realize how many unnecessary steps they had in their processes because the information was on paper. We really try and evangelize to the client to go beyond just digitizing their outdated paper-based process and take full advantage of the automated processes we offer.
If a company has already adopted a mindset to embrace automation, are there more sophisticated steps they can take to continue improving their performance?
We encourage all our clients to keep it simple at the start. Our standardized solution can be implemented very quickly and benefits realized much sooner than trying to solve every obscure anomaly in their process upfront. This technology is easy to use, but also very powerful and infinitely flexible. Once the paper is eliminated, the technology is implemented following our best practices, and the initial benefits are realized, the organization is in a much better position to evaluate what more the solution can do for them.
You’ve written about monitoring and compliance of financial security standards as a benefit of RPA (like monitoring the creation of vendors). How might that monitoring change an organization when RPA is applied?
Because the information is now all electronic there are no blind spots in the transactional processes. Robotic sophistication eliminates errors on the high volume of routine tasks and lets financial personnel focus more on the remaining exceptions. I like to describe this as letting the technology do what it does best – high volume routine tasks – and letting the humans do what the humans do best – low volume exceptions that do not fit a repeatable decision-making process. Our solution is designed to quickly determine which category each transaction falls into and manage them accordingly.
Automating invoices is a common use case for MetaViewer workflow software. Are other automation scenarios becoming more prevalent today?
Since the underlying technology is paperless workflow automation, any identifiable paper-based process is fair game to manage with MetaViewer and can be leveraged once the initial investment is made. This includes order processing, payroll, HR, contracts management, requisition, expense management, and more.
Jason Gumpert – MS Dynworld
Survey Report: Are Microsoft Dynamics Users Open to ‘Smart’ Timesheet Applications?
When you think of the future of work, what do you think of?
Chatbot & Artificial intelligence (AI) that automates the completion of certain tasks?
Software applications that connect with each other to share key data?
The impact of cloud and mobile technology on where and how work is done?
All of these factors, plus many more (such as business intelligence), are shaping the future of work – both technologically and economically. How employees complete their work and get the information they need to do so has evolved so dramatically – even over the last ten years – that the tools and technology they use for their daily work are practically taken for granted. To support new work habits and processes, we need tools that increase our accessibility and efficiency in ways we never imagined before.
Consider, for a moment, your timesheet. Timesheets are such a mundane part of our work day, and if you’re required to track time on your work, then you know how unappealing a task it can be as well. Many employees dislike filling out their timesheets, even viewing it as nuisance and arbitrary task they’re made to do. While tracking time on work is, in fact, essential for driving payroll, billing, and project management/accounting processes, employees look on it with disdain for one simple reason: it takes too much time.
‘Smart’ Timesheets and the Future of Work
So, how is the downtrodden timesheet in a unique position to not only change employees’ views of tracking time, but to reshape the way they work across teams, applications, and projects? A new report from Journyx, How Smart Timesheets are Shaping the Future of Work, explores this topic in-depth, answering this question with data culled from a recent survey conducted in partnership with MSDynamicsWorld.com.
The survey, conducted in December 2017, focused on how people track their time and how the process of filling out their timesheets could be easier. Garnering 186 responses from MSDynamicsWorld.com members, the survey underscores the growing need for more intelligent time tracking applications that make the oft-maligned task of filling out a timesheet easier than ever before.
What are ‘smart’ timesheets, anyway? “Smart” software applications are usually built on a foundation of artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning algorithms, learning from the data inputs to make the user experience easier and more efficient.
In the world of time tracking software, an increasing number of applications are using this technology to develop smart timesheet features. Such features use relevant data to move processes forward without human intervention. For example, data from other relevant software applications could be synced into a timesheet and automatically categorized in the proper projects and task sets – making the process of filling out the timesheet exponentially easier for the end user.
Smart Timesheets in the Dynamics Landscape
Survey participants were asked about the different software applications they use for different types of work, such as accounting, sales and marketing, development, project management, and productivity (i.e. email, collaboration, and communication). It’s not surprising that an overwhelming majority of respondents are using Microsoft applications for their daily jobs:
- 73 percent indicated they use some form of Dynamics ERP software.
- 85 percent reported they use some sort of Microsoft and/or Office 365 application for productivity
- 46 percent said they use Microsoft Project
- 43 percent use Dynamics CRM for customer service, while 42 percent use it for sales and marketing
Since a smart time tracking application works with other software applications to gather data for populating a timesheet, then users of Microsoft applications (like those listed above) would see their timesheets pre-populated with data like:
- Outlook Calendar and Task entries
- Projects they’re working on in Microsoft Project
- Time spent in certain Office 365 apps
- Customer support tickets or client management in Dynamics CRM
- Are Dynamics Users Willing to Adopt Smart Timesheets?
As mentioned before, smart applications are typically built on a foundation of AI and/or machine-learning algorithms – with an emphasis on “learning.” This means that users of a smart time tracking solution will need to spend some time “training” their timesheet – in other words, changing any pre-filled data fields so the sheet can learn to make corrections and better suggestions for entries. When asked how willing they would be to do this, most responses were favorable:
- 76 percent would be very or somewhat willing to do this if it meant their timesheet would be easier to fill out.
- 74 percent would be very or somewhat willing to do this if it meant their timesheet would be more accurate.
- 73 percent would be very or somewhat willing to do this if it meant their timesheet would be faster to complete in the future.
It’s Time to Get Smart About Timesheets
Survey responses indicate that Dynamics users have a need and willingness to adopt a smart time tracking application. Millions of dollars are lost annually on inefficient time tracking processes, which is especially difficult to take in project-based environments where time is billed to clients. Smarter time tracking applications can not only make the task of filling out timesheets easier and faster, but also enable the tracking of time on things that may not have been tracked before, such as email communication. These sorts of tasks can now be billed because they’re tracked automatically and accurately to a particular project (instead of overhead).
For a snapshot of some of the key findings of the report, view the infographic Is the Workplace Ready for Smart Timesheets? The full report, How Smart Timesheets are Shaping the Future of Work, is available for download here (registration required).
Kari Foster Director of Marketing at Journyx
A Connected B2B Ecosystem: Benefits of Integrating CRM and eCommerce
B2B ecommerce is growing and evolving. In this time of growth, estore owners must focus on standing apart from the competition, and the best way to do that is through personalization.
CRM has an important role in personalization. It is a gold mine of information on an account or use that can help create personalized experiences for B2B ecommerce customers. In this article, we discuss the possible use-cases for CRM-ERP-ecommerce integration, potential opportunities in leveraging personalization, and the role your implementation partner can play in this.
CRM plays a vital role in a B2B ecommerce ecosystem; a connected setup of multiple systems that enables the sales team and customer service team with relevant information and helps them serve the customers better. Below are a few use cases where the CRM integration with ERP and ecommerce can actually improve the end user experience.
Improve Customer Experience
Customer information available in CRM can be put to good use in many ways. One primary role is to provide relevant information on a customer portal. Customizing this portal based on information in CRM can actually help estore owners reduce dependency on a customer support team, which saves time, resources, and reduce errors due to human intervention.
The other benefit of building a connected ecosystem is designing an omnichannel experience for the estore visitors. Building an omnichannel, seamless experience requires estore visitor data which resides in the CRM. By bringing together CRM, ERP, and ecommerce, you are truly creating an omnichannel experience for customers.
Most ecommerce players thrive on standardization. As this is a limitation with most ecommerce players, some set themselves apart by bringing customization into the mix.
A hair equipment company with which we have worked uses this approach to enhance customer delight. The field personnel using the CRM to capture the custom requirements. These requirements are then transferred to Magento and associated with the client before sending the details to Dynamics GP. These details are used to generate a sales order. This entire workflow is customized to suit the business process of this ecommerce player. By solving the backend challenge of customization, the end-users can access hair equipment custom designed for their needs.
Marketing promotions are vital to any ecommerce house. Most marketing campaigns succeed when they are relevant to the audience. However, in a disconnected ecosystem, relevant information is trapped in the CRM and marketing campaigns are not sufficiently personalized. Information such as order volumes, order frequencies, quantity, shipping location(s), etc., can help marketers create and promote personalized campaigns. In a connected ecosystem, CRM is updated with all the relevant information necessary for these campaigns.
Pre-sales customer experience
B2B ecommerce companies often have sales teams, too, and they must operate through a regular sales process. Sales teams strive hard to maintain consistency in the information they put forth during the deal negotiation process. These negotiations might happen over a long period i.e. over weeks or months. Maintaining a consistent information exchange is vital. A connected ecosystem can ease this process of information management. Additionally, sales teams can access information like available discounts, shipping options, inventory details, etc., in real time. This helps sales teams to personalize the deal to increase the prospects of closing an order and in turn increases the revenues for the organization.
Demand planning is connected to sales forecasting. Details like what customers are ordering or ongoing marketing campaigns can help predict the demand better. This helps in avoiding overstocking or understocking of goods. In addition, knowing shipping patterns also help companies stock their warehouses accordingly.
Managing Returned Merchandise Authorization (RMA)
Giving an option of returns to customers can help with customer delight. However, this introduces customer service challenges. Customer service representatives often face challenges in addressing customer queries due to lack of information. Integrating CRM with ERP and an ecommerce platform allows customer representatives to handle the customers effectively.
An estore owner looking to croeate an awesome customer experience needs the necessary tools to execute effectively. With most competition embracing personalization, companies need to focus on building the necessary competency into their ecosystem. These competencies might range from critical functinal understanding to deeper technical knowledge. A partner will often be able to help an estore owner to build an experience to meet this need.
Kasyapa Malladi, Marketing Manager, i95Dev
Microsoft Dynamics Profile: For New Australian MVP, Love of the D365 / CRM Platform Drove Professional Growth
First-time Microsoft Dynamics MVP Andrew Ly has been involved with Microsoft technologies since 1997, starting with Windows NT deployments then moving to an application development background in the health technology sector developing clinical trial management software.
These days, Ly, who specializes in Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM, wears two hats: national Microsoft technical pre-sales lead and regional Dynamics 365 and Office 365 practice lead at Perth, Australia-based ASG Group.
“Currently, as a regional practice lead for the South Australian region I look after a team of about 12 Microsoft specialists within the organization,” says Ly, who was named an MVP in February. “We help deliver digital transformation projects for our customers, which are typically mid to large enterprises and government agencies.”
One of the focus areas for Ly and his team is design thinking and human-centered design. For example, the team sits with call center operators to understand exactly what their problems are and figure out how to use Dynamics 365 and Office 365 to help solve those problems.
“It’s a fantastic process and we get to sit with our stakeholders and follow them around [to learn about their jobs], and then make it better for them,” he says.
As a pre-sales lead, Ly assists with the qualification of the company’s opportunities and bringing those opportunities through to fruition.
“I’m more on the technical side of pre-sales, involved in vetting opportunities, establishing the technology architecture, and being able to involve the right resources internally and to present [the solution] to customers,” he says.
Ly began his career working with CRM technology from scratch as a senior systems engineer at the University of South Australia.
“We were building a CRM of sorts in Java and Oracle,” he says. “It was basically a form-based platform that was extensible, configurable, and you could build plug-ins and extensions and that sort of stuff on top of it. I did that for about nine years, primarily for the health industry.”
Then Ly took a job at a consulting firm where he was introduced to Dynamics CRM 4 and 2011.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this is fantastic,’ because all the things that we had been building from scratch were essentially built for us,” he says. “Microsoft had already taken care of single sign-on and patching and security controls. Literally I had spent 80% of my time fixing bugs with the platform rather than solving problems.”
From then on, Ly says Dynamics CRM became an addiction, and he wanted to learn everything the platform could do and how it could be extended.
“I fell in love with the platform, what it could do for [the company where I was working] and what it meant for our customers,” he says. ‘And just being able to focus on problems rather than fixing bugs was a refreshing change.”
About five or six years ago, an MVP in the UK encouraged Ly to start speaking at the local Australian chapter of the Dynamics CRM User Group.
“He told me it was a good platform to improve public speaking,” he says. “So I got involved in the user group and it took off from there. I also got involved with the blogging community and reading what other people were blogging about.”
Soon, Ly realized that he too had some interesting ideas to share with the community, so he started his own blog about four years ago and he also put a couple projects up on GitHub, including one that centered on how to use 3-D modeling within Dynamics 365.
Currently, Ly is chairperson for the Australian Dynamics 365 User Groups, which run in each mainland state of Australia as well as a regular speaker at local user group events.
“We have quite a large membership – there’s about three and a half thousand people,” he says. “We try to meet up once a month in each mainland state. We put on a bit of food and have a decent chat about Dynamics. We also have a pretty good presentation and sometimes we have guest speakers. It’s like a D365 Saturday, but it’s probably more frequent and not as big as a whole day event. In every state we host at the local Microsoft offices, aside from Sydney, where we host out of the KPMG offices.”
As for being named an MVP, Ly says it is a tremendous honor.
“It’s recognition that you’re doing something that’s benefiting the community as a whole,” he says. “Being able to communicate directly with the product team and give my thoughts about how things can be improved or what I liked or didn’t like and just driving product development means a lot to me.”
Linda Rosencrance, Ms Dyn World
Once, a young school boy was caught in a fire accident in his school and was assumed that he would not live. His mother was told that he was sure to die, for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body. Even if he were to survive, he would be a cripple throughout his life.
But the brave boy did not want to die nor did he want to be a cripple. Much to be the amazement of the doctor, he did survive. But unfortunately from his waist down, he had no motor ability. His thin legs just dangled there, lifeless. Ultimately he was discharged from the hospital. But his determination to walk was indomitable. At home, when he was not in bed, he was confined to a wheelchair. One day, he threw himself from the chair and pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him. He reached the picket fence, raised himself up and then stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, his resolve to walk undeterred. He did this every day, with faith in himself that he would be able to walk unaided. With his iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability to stand up, then to walk haltingly, then to walk by himself and then to run.
He began to walk to school, then run to school, to run for the sheer joy of running. Later in college he made the track team.
In February 1934, in New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, this young man who was not expected to survive, who would surely never walk, who could never hope to run – this determined young man, Dr. Glenn Cunningham, ran the world’s fastest mile.
An epitome of the power of positive thinking and faith in one’s self, Glenn Cunningham continues to be an inspiration for many, and his story, a brilliant testimony to how one can bounce back even when all odds are stacked against one, to the extent that death seemed the preferable option.
Dilbert of The Month
Mind Bender : Vision Ahead
How many squares of the same size can be made with the seven matchsticks shown below (perfect squares only, not rectangles)?
Submit the answer, your name and company to Technosoft fax at +62-21-563-2078 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer will need to be submitted by May 30th, 2018
A Lucky participant who submits the correct answer will be granted shopping voucher. Winner will be announced on the following month of Technosoft Insider Edition
Only Technosoft Customer will be count on the participation.
April 2018 Quiz Answer : 8-4=4
Congratulations to Mr. Arman from PT. Arta Batrindo for winning the shopping voucher, solving the Mind Bender in April 2018.
Established in 1996, Technosoft is the leading cloud business solution provider for small & medium business. We have delivered over 18 years successful business solutions for more than 120 clients in more than 20 industries and 12 countries, by designing, implementing and managing technology solution that power and empower their business.
With our business experience, combined with strong product and technical knowledge, our consultants will analyze your needs and requirements and design and develop a business solution that is reliable, efficient and works for your business.
Our commitment has always been to establish long term partnership with our clients to assist in increasing their efficiency, productivity and profitability through comprehensive IT solutions and services and business critical applications.