I am always impressed by the sheer scope and size of User Group Summit conferences, held this year in Phoenix, Arizona on October 15 – 18th, and it did not disappoint. This massive event is by far the premier Dynamics User Group conference in North America and as advertised attracted thousands of Dynamics users and hundreds of exhibitors, including many Encore team members from our various Microsoft Dynamics Practices.
This multi-day conference included a pre-conference academy; break-out educational sessions both technical and business focused; and a massive Expo hall for all exhibitors to help the thousands of Microsoft users gain knowledge to help them on their respective digital transformation journeys. It was an action-packed week, and an excellent opportunity for many folks to enjoy themselves, especially during the nightly fun Karaoke events!
My experience at the Summit conference this year was different compared to other user group conferences that I have attended in the past 10 years. I had many opportunities to speak with users in Phoenix and learn about their digital “experiences” and where they are in their respective digital transformation journeys. As an example, for some just having their email in the cloud was a digital shift in a positive direction for their company.
The digital transformation concept has been out in the market for some time and means something different for every company. One can make a broad statement that it is the integration of digital technology (i.e. Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Finance and Operations; Sales; Marketing; Service – etc.) into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. However, I’m learning that it is more a people/cultural shift that requires users such as conference attendees to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often, and get comfortable with failure. This sometimes means walking away from long-standing business processes that their companies were built upon in favour of relatively new practices that are still being defined.
Experience at Summit
In this increasingly digital world we live in I want to emphasize that people, and not necessarily technology, are disrupting. One thing that is constant is change. As a well-established 25+ year Microsoft implementation partner, we’re seeing our customers at various stages in their digital transformation. They all need a unique digital experience to meet their business’ evolving goals that also aligns with their strategic plan.
We’re going to see a shift within the Microsoft implementation partner community as we move forward. There are partners that are going to excel and be part of the next evolution of delivering technology and professional services as an output. Partners that are adopting and evolving their project implementation approach and methodology by constructing digital offerings that align with their customer’s digital transformation journey need to provide them right-sized solutions to allow for future growth.
We’re at a frontier of change, Microsoft is having monumental growth with cloud computing and it’s a trend that is going to continue. Industries are adopting the cloud, security and data sovereignty are concerns of the past that have been addressed and are no longer roadblocks in their decisions. Customers are going to demand a different type of implementation service delivery model from partners, and they are highly educated because of the amount of information and content available to them. We’re going to be part of a change in the Dynamics community by streamlining the offering and having it tailored to what the customer is looking for.
To further the discussion of change when thinking about the future of implementation services, I believe that things are going to evolve based on the changes demanded by the market. Services are going to be based on output. By this I mean as we deliver a solution for a customer, they’re going to pay for the output as opposed to a time and materials engagement, billing to budget, or a fixed price engagement. I believe it will be based on; “This is the vision, this is the solution, we deliver on this component of the solution, you’re going to pay for the services based on that output”. This change could come with a subscription type model which is very similar to how Microsoft and other vendors have shifted for software; from perpetual licensing to subscription/monthly type models.
We’re becoming agents of change; we’re educators and facilitators, we are delivering solutions based on outputs that customers are demanding. What I saw at Summit was very forward-thinking and I am excited to be part of the next wave of change.
Contact us if you have any questions about digitally transforming your business.
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