Working Together For Social Cause

As humans, we all have a huge responsibility in making the world a better place and not taking things for granted.

In today’s world, it is a hard truth that most of us spend the majority of our time in dealing with our professional lives and not realize the importance of lending a helping hand to the affected, however small it may seem.

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

And for businesses, to solidify the philosophy, CSR provides the apt platform to give back to humanity.

Metadata, as a team, visited the Welfare Association Trust in Cochin, India on March 30th, 2019.

The visit opened eyes to the sight of people affected by mental and physical health issues, abandoned by family and close connections, abused and left all by one’s self.

It was a blessing to share a day’s meal with the residents. They were able to add a pinch of sweetness by slicing a delectable cake to honor their association with the WAT team.

To take it up a notch, an art and craft session was directed by one of the senior team members, Ramya wherein she guided the team to DIY beautiful origami roses. The team volunteered with the participants of the art session in creating an alluring flower out of scratch.

The residents at WAT entertained the team with sweet melodies, folk music, dance numbers, etc. With no hint of apprehension, they were jumping up and down, excitedly to perform. And all they needed, were a few visitors.

It was definitely a clear shock to see the immense talent bundled up within the four walls. Thankfully, the team also came prepared with a few performances.

The sunset created a realization that it was time to bid farewell to the hosts of the day. To treasure the moment, few snaps were clicked. However, they did not leave empty-handed. They were loaded with a handful of sweet home-grown “Java Apples”.

The moments spend were totally priceless. Taking time out of their busy lives to serve humanity is where the true spirit of love, care and empathy reflects. And that was the valuable takeaway from the day.

To quote one of the team members, “It was the most meaningful day of my life.”

In the end, it was all about smiles

Inspire 2018: Opening doors for partner innovation, growth and differentiation

Organizations around the world are undergoing transformation fueled by cloud, artificial intelligence, mixed reality and the Internet of Things. These technologies are helping businesses and society reach new heights – retail is becoming more personal, banking is becoming more seamless, and healthcare is becoming more predictive and preventive.

At the heart of these incredible stories of transformation – and more – are Microsoft partners. The Microsoft partner ecosystem is a group of hundreds of thousands of organizations driving positive, global impact. Building everything from line-of-business apps to industry-specific solutions on Dynamics 365 to gaming experiences, these companies are a natural extension of the team at Microsoft, delivering cutting-edge technology to millions of customers.

For Microsoft partners – their success is our success. We are squarely focused on delivering a true, two-way partnership with our partner network. It is with success and partnership in mind that, on the eve of Inspire 2018, I’m thrilled to announce new programs, tools and resources to help partners innovate, grow and differentiate their businesses.

Delivering innovation through apps and services

Whether they’re building apps or services, we know partners need access to the latest technology from Microsoft and guidance on how to extend that technology to build tailor-made solutions.

Today, we are announcing exciting new innovations in Microsoft 365, including a free version of Teams, new intelligent events capabilities, the Workplace Analytics teamwork solution and more. We are also announcing new cloud, apps and data technologies including Azure Data Box Disk, Azure Virtual WAN, Azure Firewall and more. We’re so excited to see how our partners will leverage these new offerings to help customers embrace and innovate in the modern workplace and continue to help customers in their journey to the cloud.

In addition to new technologies, we’re releasing new Digital Transformation eBooks, and practice-building playbooks, expanding on the popular resources already leveraged by tens of thousands of partners looking to build and enhance their practices.

Reach more customers to sell your solutions

In our third quarter, we noted that Azure revenue grew by 93 percent, with partners driving a considerable portion of that growth. To build on this great momentum, we’re doing two new things to fuel partner growth – leaning in on our marketplaces and enhancing AppSource as the entry point for selling with Microsoft, and enhancing our go-to-market benefits for partners to help them grow their businesses.

The new marketplace capabilities, available today, include integrated partner-to-partner solutions, private offers, and expanded consulting services. Each of these new capabilities provides partners new ways to get solutions in front of a bigger base of customers and to provide them with a better buying experience. There is no greater priority for us than connecting partners with customers.

We’re also providing greater flexibility and more opportunities to unlock new benefits that help partners go to market. Starting later this year, partners with competencies will have a choice of benefits packages based on their business focus. We’re expanding core benefits to include access to services that support generating leads, improving lead velocity and increasing close rates for app or service offerings.

Focus on differentiation to attract customers

We hear from partners that specialization is key to growth. This concept has been a cornerstone of our profitability guidance to partners and many have taken that message to heart. The ask to Microsoft, from partners and customers, is to do more to help customers find the right partners with the right solutions. Today, we’re announcing new ways for partners to demonstrate their proven expertise to customers with the introduction of new advanced specializations and the new Microsoft Azure Expert MSP initiative. Partners can now demonstrate that they have the right capabilities to help with specific customer business challenges.

Last year at Inspire, we initiated a transformation at Microsoft, and a new journey with our partners that continues together. We are here for our partners, we are working hard to prepare them for the future, and we are committed to their success. We are at a unique time when the combination of technology and opportunity brings us together, and we need to rely on each other more than ever. In the world of Digital Transformation, everyone needs an ecosystem, and a partnership with Microsoft is a partnership with our ecosystem. Together, we are in a position to take advantage of the unprecedented $4.5 trillion opportunityand unleash the power of true partnership to unlock incredible growth and success – for each other, and for our customers.



Gold Certified Partner and What It Means To You!


When you’re faced with a Dynamics CRM Online Implementation, it can be a lengthy and sometimes tricky process to select an Implementation Partner. Some organizations prefer to run the projects internally and engage companies such as Metadata Technologies.  You can read about such an instance in our success stories which discusses the successful delivery of the MS Dynamics CRM Online implementation projects.

If you decide the Partner route this article is on the importance / value of utilizing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner.

While choosing a Gold certified partner is certainly not a guarantee of success, it can be a good indication that you are on the right track, this article is not to say that other Partners who do not hold a Gold Certification are not of value, rather this blog is to provide clients with clarity on what the difference is between the Gold and other.

We realize that selecting the right Dynamics CRM Online Implementation partner to entrust your project to can be challenging.  Beyond cost, you should compare factors such as project methodology, industry experience, support options and even company culture. And there are several reasons why narrowing down your list to partner with a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold competency makes sense.

Here are three requirements for the Dynamics CRM Gold competency and what this means for you as a customer:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Requirements:

  1. Multiple certified professionals
  2. Customer References
  3. Revenue or Seat Count Goals
  1. Multiple certified professionals

Six individuals collectively must pass exams dealing with Dynamics CRM Customization, Configurations, Applications, Installation and Deployment for the current version. Three individuals (Minimum) each must pass a Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations exam.

What this means for you: This requirement gives you an idea of the size and scale of the Dynamics CRM partner. In order for a company to have multiple professionals who have passed exams you know you are not dealing with a small “one man shop”. Several people within the organization have the skills needed to complete your project. That means there are more people available to handle your support calls too.

  1. Customer References.

A Gold certified partner must submit five unique customer references that feature how, within the previous 12 months, they have provided solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

What this means for you: The organization has a proven track record of delivering successful CRM projects with satisfied customers. Microsoft can call these customers to confirm the details of the project. This gives you an added level of trust that you are working with a company that others would recommend.

  1. Revenue or Seat Count Goals.

A Gold partner must add a minimum number of new customers and generate a minimum amount of revenue to Microsoft each year.

What this means for you: This requirement proves to you that the partner is active and productive. They are not just relying on maintenance work from customers who installed old versions several years ago. They are selling the current version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and lots of it. Many other companies, who hopefully have also done their research, have chosen to purchase from them.

When tendering for new work a Gold Certification is one of his biggest selling points. It provides prospective clients a multitude of reasons to strengthen their case offering – Certified Resources, Reference-Checked Projects, proven delivery capability and sound financial background.

According to Microsoft, “A company with a Microsoft gold competency has demonstrated its capability and commitment to meet the evolving technology needs of customers through solutions based on Microsoft products and technologies”.

It is clear that Microsoft Gold Partners should be your preferred option. This article shows what exactly makes a company a Microsoft GOLD PARTNER and how you can make your CRM project a great success by selecting a Microsoft Gold partner.


Gartner Predicts CRM Will Be A $36B Market By 2017

The latest enterprise software forecast from Gartner shows Customer Relationship Management (CRM) increasing to a $36.5B worldwide market by 2017, a significant increase from the $20.6B forecasted in Q1 of this year. CRM also leads all enterprise software categories in projected growth, showing a 15.1% CAGR from 2012 to 2017, also revised up from 9.7% in the Q1 forecast.

The latest round of forecasts published in the report, Gartner Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2012-2017, 2Q13 Update shows CRM eclipsing ERP in worldwide market size in 2017.

The following graph compares the relative growth of CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence (BI), Supply Chain Management and Web Conferencing, Collaboration/Social Software Suites.

Key Take-Aways
•Comparing Gartner’s Q1 and Q2 CRM forecasts shows just how fast CRM growth is accelerating, netting a 56% increase in CAGR in the forecast period (2012 – 2017) from 9.7% in the Q1 forecast to 15.1% in the latest Q2 forecast.

•Worldwide enterprise software spending is projected to be $304B in 2013 in the latest forecast, up from $279B in the Q1 forecast. Gartner claims stronger demand for CRM, supply chain management and security are leading to accelerating market growth.
•ERP spending worldwide is projected to grow from $26.03B in 2013 to $34.3B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 7%.
•Business Intelligence (BI) worldwide is projected to grow from $14B in 2013 to $18.6B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 7.3%.
•Supply Chain Management (SCM) worldwide is projected to grow from $9.16B in 2013 to $13.6B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 10.4%.
•Data Integration Tools and Data Quality Tools worldwide are projected to grow from $4B in 2013 to $6B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 10.3%.

Bottom Line: Gartner’s latest forecasts show that enterprises are realizing the most valuable assets they have are solid, long-term customer relationships. Trust really is the new currency, as my friend Michael Krigsman often says.


Microsoft brings new AI-powered features to Office 365 and Dynamics 365

microsoftMicrosoft’s Ignite conference is bringing 23,000 IT professionals to Atlanta, Georgia this week and the company is using this opportunity to talk about how it plans to bring more intelligence to its tools and platforms.

As companies gather more and more data, Microsoft argues, it’s becoming imperative that the tools these companies use also become smarter. This means bringing better analytics to the workplace to help individual employees become more productive, but also bringing machine learning-powered tools to services like its CRM service Dynamics 365.

One thing the company’s representatives stressed repeatedly during a small press event ahead of the conference was that Microsoft doesn’t believe AI technologies will replace humans but instead empower them. We’ll see how that works out in the long run.

In concrete — and more immediate — terms, this means Microsoft is bringing more cloud-powered intelligence services to Office 365 in the near future, for example. The upcoming QuickStarter for PowerPoint and Sway will be able to give you curated outlines for any topic — including text and Creative Commons-licensed images — to provide you with the foundation of you presentation. In addition, Excel will also soon allow you to easily transform geographic data into Bing-powered maps and Tap for Word and Outlook will help you find existing content inside your company that could be relevant to a document you are working on.

Office 365 is also about to get a built-in tool that lets you track your productivity with the help of Microsoft MyAnalytics (previously known as Delve Analytics). The service allows you to compare your personal analytics (how much time to you spent answering emails, making Skype calls, editing documents, etc.) with those of your other team members (all without your manager ever seeing the data, though, Microsoft promises).

The company says Dynamics 365, too, will soon get smarter thanks to built-in AI assistants that will help surface actionable data and even help sales teams find the best next action as they are trying to close a deal. This new Relationships Assistant for Dynamics 365 for Sales is based on the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which Microsoft introduced in 2015.

Most of these new features are now available for Office 365 customers, though some — like the PowerPoint QuickStarter and maps for Excel — are only coming later this year.

Internally, Microsoft is also currently using a new AI-powered virtual agent across its U.S. call centers to help its employees better answer its customers questions.

Microsoft’s definition of “intelligence” is still pretty vague, of course, but it’s clear that the company believes its work in machine learning, when combined with its cloud platform, can give it a leg up over its competitors.

In the world of CRM tools, Salesforce recently introduced its Einstein platform, which also promises to bring more smarts to its services. Google, which often leads the way in terms of deep learning research and applying it to consumer products, doesn’t currently play in this field, but that company, too, is starting to leverage some of this research across its productivity tools, too.


Microsoft Dynamics 365, An ERP CRM Cloud Workflow Combo


Smartphones to control combine harvesters? Not quite, more a case of electronic loans for the agricultural sector of Mexico — Image credit: Microsoft

Business transformation and (positive) digital disruption is everywhere. Yawn, yes we know, you’ve already gone to sleep. These terms have been over-used, over-hyped and hackneyed into a clichéd quagmire of unimaginative hogwash.

What transformation really means

Is it possible to talk about business transformation and stay awake? Possibly, but only if we can uncover what transformation really means today in 2016. So deep breathe then…

Business transformation describes the operational steps a firm takes to apply modern connected web, cloud, mobile, social, data analytics etc. technologies to do what it used to do before, but in a new faster and more efficient way. Essentially, this is a case of using new digital technologies to perform old business functions.

Business transformation can also describes the operational steps a firm takes to enter completely new markets. This act is sometimes (but not always) facilitated by the actual presence of digitization. Intel switched from memory chips to microprocessors, IBM switched from desktops to services, supermarkets starting to offer credit card services and so on.

It is not of course an a) and b) or 1. And 2. Conversation. There is a c) and most of the rest of the alphabet to finesse this argument in more complete terms, but this is a start.

Why the clarification here? Because Microsoft is getting ready to release it’s oh so ‘transformative-centric’ Microsoft Dynamics 365 product this fall — and to talk about it without some tangible grounding in business transformation feels like surrender to the hogwash quagmire. That’s why.

Microsoft corporate VP for cloud and enterprise Takeshi Numoto suggests that Redmond wants a world with applications where you don’t have to pay extra for capabilities like visualization, workflow automation and predictive insights. So how is Microsoft going to give us those functions, inside our apps, some of which we already use?

Connecting structured & unstructured workflow

Reflecting Alex Konrad’s report here on Forbes, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is essentially a piece of software that aims to unify both current CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to help manage specific business functions such as financials, sales, operations and customer service. The technology will integrate with Office 365 to connect the ‘structured workflow’ of business apps with the ‘unstructured workflow’ of collaboration and productivity.

“For example, a sales person receives an email and can respond directly in Office with a quote that is created based on information from both finance and sales apps, stored back to the right app, with right pricing, discounting etc. All without the user having to leave Outlook,” explains Numoto.

Microsoft is also working to natively embed its Power BI and Cortana Intelligence technologies to provide analytics insights and prescriptive advice to users. For example, Cortana Intelligence will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services a customer will need.

“Access to IoT data inside Dynamics 365 for Field Service will enable preemptive action from field service agents by connecting asset monitoring and anomaly detection so they can take action before failures occur, avoiding customer service issues,” said Microsoft, in a press statement.

Redmond is rolling out Dynamics 365 this fall 2016 — it will sit alongside its Microsoft AppSource offering which is available already. This is positioned as Microsoft’s new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft and its partners. At launch AppSource contains more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs.

One transformation tool to rule them all?

Is this one tool (or one software suite) to rule them all? Microsoft might have given its product a 365 every-day-of-the-year nametag, but it faces perennial market competition in this space from Salesforce, Oracle and (with ERP in mind specifically) SAP and a clutch of others. It will also have to work hard to make sure there is connected integrated compatibility throughout the evolution of Dynamics 365.

No, it seems we’re all going to be talking about business transformation and digital disruption for some time to come.

We will do this while also leveraging innovative better-empowered actionable embedded end-to-end user-centric mobile-first insight experiences, obviously. I hope you are well.



A New World: Cisco Holding Hands With Microsoft

After years of battling it out for collaboration supremacy, the ice between Cisco and Microsoft is thawing. Cisco Monday launched a new offering wrapped in channel incentives that allows interoperability between Cisco collaboration products and Microsoft’s Skype for Business.