When Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (@SatyaNadella) used this phrase in his recent Business Forward 2017 keynote (see video here) my ears pricked up and my mind engaged. It sent me back to my first interactions with the new technological equipment that was transforming the world of administration and secretarial services that I found myself in after leaving school. I had been trained as an audio typist on a manual typewriter with the keyboard deliberately created to slow us down whilst at the same time testing us on speed and accuracy. Yes, it seemed a bit strange at the time too! I worked alongside rows of other women all typing letters dictated almost entirely by men. It seemed to be the way the world naturally was but things were changing. We had no idea how fast though!
Electric typewriters were a badge of status then just as a super-fast, super-lightweight laptop or tablet is nowadays but in just a few years every office moved to having a word processing “work station” at which a specially trained operative (usually the same person who could use the telex machine) sat to produce specialist documents such as bills of lading or customs forms. I trained in Locoscript, one of the many word processing languages around at the time, and in the following years Word Perfect emerged as the almost universal word processing language of choice. This seemingly unassailable lead was to be lost to the emerging Microsoft Word for Windows heralding the beginning of the extraordinary globally successful project that Microsoft became under Bill Gates.
In that process the technology flattened the hierarchy, bosses began writing their own letters, emails did away with most of the need for them anyway, the typing pool pretty much disappeared. Also in that process, bright people from all over the world began to head to Microsoft headquarters to bring their creativity and intelligence to bear on the creation of the new software that was changing the world. It attracted people like the 24 year old Satya who was excited by the idea of forging connections between the various platforms and machines and using them to provide meaningful information.
The technological pathway of this equipment and the processes they brought with them, wound their, occasionally unexpected, pathways through all of our lives, leaving behind traces of business ways changed by their passing; evidence for future archaeologists and anthropologists of the seismic change they wrought on the way.
The digital transformation Satya comments upon in the attached video link continues on its way. This year sees the launch of the latest suite of apps in the Dynamics 365 stable, their watchwords remain connectivity and meaningful data however. In this instance the functionality of NAV has been harnessed to the vital customer interaction data held in CRM. This provides a way for small business owners to manage sales, purchasing, inventory, project management and sales using Outlook as the first port of call for information setting appointments, viewing contact and account information and of producing invoices. All this is available on a mobile phone or tablet making it truly possible to run a business with accurate real-time information from anywhere in the world.
The implications for this in terms of, the ability to respond quickly and accurately to customer requirements or queries and thus steal a watch on your competitors and opportunity for good effects in our work life balance makes Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business for Financials a compelling opportunity for anyone involved in the business world.
As always we will be bringing more news to you about this as it comes in. Why not consider joining us for our inaugural podcast on June 15th at 11am?
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Wendy Clifford is a writer with a longstanding interest in Technology and its impact on our lives both from a business and social sense. She can be found listening to music (analogue, digital and in a field with a Gin and Tonic), writing and reading, or scavenging for free food from the hedgerows which she turns into jellies and jams. Contact her via Twitter @wendyjoy1