Historically, workers at most organizations had a defined role that was written down. Set hours during the day that they were expected to work, after which they were free. Whether in an industrial factory, a retail store,or a hospital, workers had a defined set of tools they used each day to complete their tasks and for many information workers, a set area to perform said tasks. A desk certainly; an office, if one was lucky. Even as recently as fifty years ago, the only tools required to perform most tasks could be summed up in a single sentence: a telephone, a filing cabinet, a set of writing implements (pens, pencils) and perhaps a physical “in box” for corporate communications. Times have changed. But many businesses have not. Is yours among them? Think of the number of tools one uses throughout the day. We will keep it simple: how many webpages, traditional desktop apps and even mobile apps does one need to do one’s job? For many information workers today, instead of three or four, that number approaches the high teens to in extreme cases, more than 20. For organizations that are younger, have immature IT organizations or less governance, the proliferation of web applications has sent this number skyrocketing. What’s worse, many of the tools were built by various groups from internal development teams, to 3rd party SaaS providers, to major software houses such as Microsoft. Thus, the UI and UX vary wildly between tools, forcing staff who understand one set of tools to learn a completely different interface each time they switch toolsets. Oh, for the days of less tools than fingers on one’s hand. This isn’t the first time that this has happened. Over twenty years ago, many firms struggled with software issues when various folks used different word processors, spreadsheet applications and presentation tools. The consolidation of business productivity tools in a single Office suite was a huge factor in the increase in productivity among information workers: organizations could ensure that documents shared with partners, customers and internally all simply worked as expected. That level of “it just works” is now needed for traditional business functions, from timesheets and accounting, through to sales, marketing, field service and project service automation. Enter Dynamics 365. Much as Microsoft consolidated email, document sharing and collaboration tools into a single cloud-hosted suite in Office 365, they are now going after every other function necessary to run a business. That may begin with marketing, continue through to sales, but then dive into the delivery of services and executing on work, through to billing customers themselves. All in a single suite, all available through the cloud, with rich analytics and a common data model to allow insights for employees at all role levels. What does this look like, in practice? Imagine entering your timesheet, and having that integration available immediately, to folks working in both your sales department and delivery department. Your calendar available for marketing efforts. Being able to see when SOWs crossed the finish line, and real-time customer satisfaction scores as projects progress. All of these are designed, from the ground up, with the same aesthetic and interface so training and education is reduced significantly. Is this ambitious? It sure is. But Microsoft has already laid the groundwork in the various technology suites, just as when they united Word and Excel and PowerPoint into Office, or Exchange and SharePoint and Skype into Office 365, they’ve already got all the constituent parts ready to roll, in use at customers across the globe today. Making a single suite just makes it easier for customers to gain value from the entire set of services. Dynamics 365 is coming this fall, but if you’re interested right now in reducing the number of tools at your business, and increasing staff satisfaction, reach out to New Signature today. We can put you on the path that results in a greater experience for all.