Podcast: How to get more value from your Microsoft investments

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett

Technology delivers value when it meets a need. The closer aligned to the need, the greater the value. Yet, uniting technology with the need is only the first task. Once implemented, maintaining the right managed service support ensures continual alignment. This can be the difference between any new technology delivering value or becoming an expensive failure.

Define what value means for you

Technology affects almost every aspect of life. From transport efficiency and safety, to access to food and healthcare, socialisation and productivity. The internet has created and enabled global communities to form and share ideas and resources more easily. And it’s this drive for connectivity where much of the is found.

In just one example, local government authorities are looking at ways to anticipate service need before problems escalate, becoming costly and harder to solve. Connected applications that create direct links with citizens and communities, and share data between field workers and the back-office, is one way the challenge is being addressed.

In retail, for example, data shared between platforms, like Microsoft Commerce, and its warehouse systems, is improving the accuracy of stock availability and allocation. This reduces stock wastage and maximises profit where demand is greatest.

In these and many other such examples, achieving such value is possible right now with today’s technology. Yet the technology is only one part of a successful project. How you install, support, manage and build upon it are the key drivers of its short and long-term value.

Why it doesn’t just work

Technology has evolved. And as part of this evolution it has, in some ways, lessened in complexity. This is certainly the driver behind low code/no code developments in Power Platform. Or the modularisation of platforms such as Dynamics 365. But the very number of components to consider, working hand-in-hand and with data flowing across them all, has created a new complexity. And managing that complexity can throw technology projects off course. Even with the best laid plans.

Organisations, by-and-large, continue to operate with independent and siloed applications and systems. This reduces their effectiveness and value as a whole. To emphasise this point, HSO in the UK employs more than 300 staff, and it has to because of the range of technologies that it needs to remain current on and support.

Some organisations feel they can be self-sufficient. And at the right size, and with the right budget, yes, this is possible. But for most organisations, it is difficult to invest in the necessary skills and capabilities. It’s not practical, or profitable.

More value mean can mean more complexity

Twenty years ago, it was possible to set up a business dealing only in core Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology, with some extra SQL skills supporting it. With a team of ten you had the basis of providing specialist technology value. But that’s no longer possible.

To get value from your core ERP, you must consider the connection between many more applications. For example, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), data management applications, Business Intelligence (BI), and analytics tools. You have multi multifaceted integrations, many databases, a variety of supply chains, and many different ways of doing e-commerce. The list goes on.

The pandemic caused many businesses to fall by the wayside. Their inability to adapt to a changing world cited as a major cause. Almost in parallel with the pandemic, there has been a large-scale switch from on premise to cloud solutions. It’s no surprise then that those organisations that adopted cloud solutions early, creating a more connected delivery platform, survived the difficult trading environments.

To get value from today’s technology, each solution has to work in tune with another. Yet achieving this has increased complexity to a point where only the largest of organisations can afford to build the teams with the skills to do so.

Organisations like Microsoft are taking a modular approach to technology. They want to make it easier, faster, and more cost effective to get advanced innovation in place, but the challenges of connecting data between legacy and new applications and systems from different vendors, persists.

Technology being installed is only one part of a successful project. How you support, manage, and build upon it determines whether it adds value, or not. And when it comes to supporting growing variety and the complexity that comes with it, underpinning your project with managed services will ensure it delivers value.

Consider also that it’s the relationships you build that are as much key to success. Relationships within your organisation to ensure business buy-in and adoption. Relationships with partners to ensure alignment of the solutions to address an organisational imperative. And relationships with vendors like Microsoft. That relationship in particular opens the door to accessing more innovative approaches, solving a greater number of challenges. Which can only be good for business.

For more information on HSOs Managed Services, click here.