Marketing campaign? What’s a marketing campaign?

Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in Click Dimensions, Cloud Solutions for Business, Dynamics 365 CRM, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing | 0 comments

I vividly remember the day that Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 CRM was deployed in the business I was working in at the time.  In those early days of cloud this was an on-premise version, out of the box with no customisation and was a strange looking beast with peculiar habits that we needed to bring into our company culture with very little external or expert help.

Once we had taught it our language (english, UK) we then had to get to grips with the functionality, For a home-grown IT services company more used to discussing bits and bytes than to considering the ins and outs of customer nurture programmes this was no small task.  We had so many questions, starting with the basic “What was a marketing campaign?” to “How did subscription lists differ from marketing lists?”, and once we had identified what these actually were, “How could we generate good looking and well written content to woo our potential clients with?”  I suppose we were faced ultimately with asking what it was we wanted to say before we worked out how to say it.

Our answer at that time was to engage the services of a marketing company to help us come up with the answers to these problems but, as is the way with new territory we soon hit another one.  We discovered that no one understood our services and our customers as we did, not only that, not everyone was sufficiently enthused by IT services to put in the effort to do so – imagine that! They also didn’t really understand how to use our new CRM system to make sure that we were gathering the information we needed to make informed decisions about what worked and what didn’t.  It all fizzled out like a damp squib, a poor show at the end of what looked like a promising start, with all the frustration that comes with such unrealised potential.

What we needed then, and arguably most SMBs still do today, was access to a technically literate creative source of campaign and content input, someone that was comfortable with our systems, understood our business and would help us to generate informative and engaging content that we could then use and monitor its effectiveness, at a price that we could afford.

Life has moved on since then, Dynamics 365 CRM which is now available in the cloud with all the benefits associated with that: of security of information, ease of access, and its simple and affordable licensing programme, seamless integration with the Dynamics 365 stack and now a range of exciting additional apps that allow it to be rolled out across a business providing one point of access to a range of business functionality.

To complement our CRM development services here at Cloud2020 we have also rolled out a range of services via the Microsoft Appsource portal that answer the issue that businesses are still faced with – namely creation of marketing content and developing it into a coherent set of campaigns and programmes, all monitored and managed from with the Marketing module of Dynamics 365.  These well priced and focussed services are due to come online and to be available in November 2017.

We will be discussing these exciting services on our podcast on 26/10/17 at 11 am – check out our previous podcasts here – this  month we will be talking about at our event “Full Steam Ahead – marketing in the modern world” on November 15th 2017 at the Swindon Steam Museum –  to sign up for this click here

You can also email me at wendy.clifford@cloud2020.co.uk for an invitation – we look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

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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 in a social sense.  She can be found listening to music (analogue, digital and generally 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

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What is GDPR and what does it mean for my business?

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

The General Data Protection Regulation is due to become law in the UK in May 2018 and all businesses in the UK that hold or process any of their customer’s data will need to be compliant with this regulation by this time

This regulation gives EU residents and those countries doing business with them greater control over personal data.  Non-compliance should be viewed as a risk both of reputation damage and of incurring financial penalties of up to 4% of annual turnover

The regulation is comparatively clear in its application to businesses using such data although it may prove problematic for those that engage in research and use old data; consent for which use can no longer be given, the use of 17th century ships’ logs for climate research is one of these examples.  This grey area is still to be clarified.

It seems fair to say that individual rights are strengthened within by this regulation – the official website for all information regarding GDPR has this to say regarding the intersection between business and individual rights.

“Your lawful basis for processing has an effect on individuals’ rights. For example, if you rely on someone’s consent to process their data, they will generally have stronger rights, for example to have their data deleted.”

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/key-areas-to-consider/

Microsoft’s stance and commitment to supporting their partners and customers to be compliant regarding GDPR is clear from this quote taken from their Trust Center section on Privacy:

“We understand that GDPR compliance is a shared responsibility. That is why we are committed to be GDPR compliant across our cloud services when enforcement begins on May 25, 2018.”

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/TrustCenter/Privacy/gdpr/default.aspx

Microsoft identifies access to data as having a key part to play in enabling businesses to become GDPR compliant and in Dynamics 365 CRM (Cloud2020’s centre of interest) access to data is managed via Security Roles.

  • Role-based securityin Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to group together a set of privileges that limit the tasks that can be performed by a given user. This is an important capability, especially when people change roles within an organization.
  • Record-based securityin Dynamics 365 allows you to restrict access to specific records.
  • Field-level securityin Dynamics 365 allows you to restrict access to specific high-impact fields, such as personally identifiable information.

However, a CRM system is not just a sales but also a marketing tool, this is the place where vigilance and proactivity is required to take on board the regulations and understand the implications for your interactions with your customers. Luckily there are several ways that Dynamics 365 and the third party applications available for it can help you.

Click Dimensions

As a marketing tool specifically built for Dynamics 365 CRM Click Dimensions has responded thus to the challenge of GDPR

 “As many of you know, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) will be effective May 2018. The GDPR regulates the collection, processing and use of personal data of EU individuals. We are currently working with a consultant to help us implement the necessary procedures to facilitate compliance in our role as a “data processor” under the GDPR. ClickDimensions customers are the data controllers.

 Neither the current EU Data Protection Directive (enacted in 1995) or the GDPR prohibit processing of data outside the EU; both legislative schemes require that certain commitments are made by the data processor (ClickDimensions).

 ClickDimensions is currently certified for the EU-US Privacy Shield and will be renewing this fall. We are becoming certified for the Swiss-US Privacy Shield as well. These certifications, like the EU Model Clauses, are related to data transfers and security.

We will continue to provide GDPR updates as new information becomes available. Updates from the EU Working Party are expected to be released in Q4 2017. “

However, there are several ways that it is already able to help businesses seeking to ensure that they are adhering to best practice with regard to consent and record keeping of activity already in place in Click Dimensions.

In order to be entirely sure that users are fulfilling the requirements to ensure consent there is now an option to set up “double opt-in”  http://help.clickdimensions.com/setting-up-double-opt-in-with-clickdimensions/

There is also the opportunity to use “Subscription Preferences” to ensure that there is a record of consent being given to be marketed to from existing and longstanding contacts.

http://help.clickdimensions.com/how-to-create-a-subscription-management-page/

Ultimately though the main impact of the GDPR will be that it will require businesses to be vigilant about documenting consent given and actions taken upon receiving requests to unsubscribe or to “forget” data already given.
5 steps to GDPR readiness

So, what to do now? Proactivity is the way to ensure that businesses can acheive the target of making sure that  sure that they start 2018 GDPR.  Start with a Discovery, what personal data do you hold, where is it kept? Move to Protect it, and Review and Plan to Control the data in the future, finally Report by documenting your actions and your plan to make sure that compliance is easy to maintain in the future.

What plans do you have to acheive compliance by 2018?  Let us know either in the comments section below or by emailing us at hello@cloud2020.co.uk


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


 

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What we did on our holidays

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Cloud Solutions for Business, Dynamics 365 Business Edition, Dynamics 365 CRM, Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

It's all fun and games here

It’s all fun and games here

 

Well, we didn’t enter the knobbly knees competition at our local Pontins but we did take a break from marketing activity to focus on our own systems and to migrate our financial systems across to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition Financials.  As most business owners know this can be a fraught process at the best of times – information about your business’s financial situation is vital and you need to know it is correct for your own peace of mind and the VAT man’s too!  Once the data had been migrated we found the system to be richly featured and, once the initial steep learning curve was completed, comparatively straight forward to engage with on a day to day basis.  It is provides truly valuable financial information that can be easily accessed and enables us to manage our accounts from anywhere and on anything including mobile phones and tablets.  The integration with Dynamics 365 CRM and Outlook is really very good, we love billing and account management as we are out and about.

Plus-ca change though as in the mean-time, there has been news from Microsoft that there are changes coming regarding this edition and its planned launch in the UK. There is still flux in the messages coming from Microsoft  but we will be bringing further information after we have been to Directions in Madrid in October

What financial systems are you using?  Is migration to a new system a job you are putting off?  Are you planning to go to Directions too?

Let us know – hello@cloud2020.co.uk  or comment below


 

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

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MS Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Ed – 1st EU implementation!

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

Cloud2020 & Perfect Dynamics are proud to be the first Partners in Europe to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Edition into Datalytics Technology.

Datalytics Technology are a fast-growing company that aims to be a leader in the application of truly advanced data science and analytics to solve a range of problems in healthcare, energy and beyond. Datalytics Technology are the first company in Europe to use the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

Implemented by Perfect Dynamics alongside Cloud2020, both leading Microsoft Partners in the UK, Dynamics 365 will improve Datalytics Technology’s sales, invoicing and reporting processes from a single platform.

Datalytics Technology have chosen Dynamics 365 because of its simplicity and intuitive user interface, as well as the power of the supporting applications within Office 365.

Chris Johnstone at Datalytics Technology said “Having already successfully implemented Microsoft Office 365 it made complete sense for us to adopt Dynamics 365 as our finance and CRM solution to continue driving our growth, allowing us to more deeply integrate structured processes across the company and to work towards our goals even more effectively.

Dynamics 365 can digitally transform businesses by connecting data in a single platform and creating personalised experiences, automating processes and predicting future trends.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Edition gives businesses financial and inventory management, alongside the marketing, sales, and customer services workloads within Business Edition.

Ian Bourne, CEO at Cloud2020 said “As soon as we became aware that Microsoft was planning to release Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Edition we knew it was a game-changer for the UK SMB market. Naturally we are extremely proud to have been involved in partnership with Perfect Dynamics and Microsoft to deliver the first Dynamics 365 Business Edition solution in the UK to Datalytics and to have our instincts proven correct.  Our well-established and longstanding partnership with Microsoft allows us to harness the full stack of technologies to deliver business change using Microsoft Dynamics 365; and coupled with the experience of finance and ERP solutions brought to the partnership by Perfect Dynamics means we can help many other SMBs take advantage of this end-to-end solution.”

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition will soon be available in the UK, to find out more about Microsoft Dynamics 365, please contact Wendy Clifford – wendy.clifford@cloud2020.co.uk – 01453 796182

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The Archaeology of Technology

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

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?

Grab a coffee and take 20 minutes to catch up on our reasons to be cheerful, information about the benefits of partnering with us and why our CEO Ian Bourne thinks you should be buying a last minute ticket to Washington and meeting him for coffee at Inspire 2017.  Register here

We’d love feedback on this blog post, send us your stories about the Archaeology of Technology to hello@cloud2020.co.uk or tweet us at @Cloud2020

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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

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