Make Internal Changes While It’s Quiet
Making the Most of an Otherwise Terrible Situation
Author: Alex Walters | Software Consultant | Formus Professional Software | June 2020
I have no doubt that anybody reading this will have been affected by the COVID-19 Global Pandemic in some way – personally, I am now working from home full time, my partner is an NHS worker in her main profession but has a second job from which she has been furloughed and my sister’s new business venture has been forced to close 2 months after opening.
At Formus Professional Software, our team have been discussing the impacts of COVID-19 for all of our customers as well as the business and the team personally. Thankfully, Formus Pro is set up to be as cost-efficient as possible with the minimum environmental impact that we can – as a result of this ethos, the switch for us to 100% home working was a simple one – we went home on the Friday locking the office up as usual, and the only change on the Monday morning was to log onto our phone system portal and divert the phone lines.
We are acutely aware that while we have been fortunate enough to be able to do this, not all businesses out there or even all of our customers have had such an easy time of it. To that end you may have seen our announcement in March 2020 that in support of Microsoft removing licensing barriers to enable businesses around the world to adopt a Remote Workforce, we are offering additional help to assist you in applying this – if you missed this please contact us directly or follow this link for more information.
Whilst the vast majority of our customers have been able to transition ok, inevitably some are in industries that this won’t be practical for – as a result, some of our ongoing customer projects are on hold – that left a few members of our team with some time to commit to other projects. Some of this has been used towards our Remote Working Support offer I mentioned above, some of it has been to work on writing articles such as this but we also realised it’s the perfect opportunity to make some changes to our internal systems – these things accumulate over time and like most businesses, they tend to get pushed to the back as we focus on looking after our customers.
We have now planned in a series of upgrades to our internal system both the support system and our internal marketing system and website, begun developing new programming practices and started developing new products to bring to market – somewhere in amongst this, it occurred to us we won’t be the only business in this position. This is actually the perfect time for us to achieve these goals for a number of reasons:
- Having access to the Decision Makers and Project Sponsors is a little more achievable.
- We have more internal resource for collaborating without pulling resource from customer projects.
- We can get testing scheduled in and carried out by end users.
- Downtime where needed is easier to schedule in.
- Having everybody working remotely, we can be more flexible with deployment times.
Now I understand that everything I have said above is great if you are in the software industry or have an internal IT/Support/Development team or a Partner that can assist you. Unfortunately, for a lot of businesses furloughing staff was the only option in these difficult times but training is still an option and could offer time for internal improvements. With this in mind, I wanted to draw on some more general examples of how this idea might be able to apply to your business/industry.
- Does your business hold stock or sell stock (centralised or distributed) whether it’s spare parts, mobile phones, paint, or anything in between? If things get quiet the dreaded annual stock take could be a productive consideration.
- Does your business have a website? These days the shelf life of a website is getting shorter – it could be time for a review and an overhaul. Whether you already use Dynamics 365 or not, a Portal for Dynamics 365 is a great mechanism to introduce a new layer of interaction between your business and your customers and also links this into their Dynamics 365 information.
- Does your business offer product support? If so, have you capitalised the channels available to you by using social media for support? Could your customers tweet you when they have an issue or a question? Omnichannel for Microsoft Dynamic 365 Customer Service allows you to unite all of these channels into case management within your Dynamics 365 Customer Service app.
- Does your business or profession require any mandatory training? Re-qualifications or certifications are things that normally take time away from your job and can be a pain to get scheduled in.
- Customer Relationship Management is the cornerstone of any business – there are many varieties of CRM system available, whether you already use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, or you have another product, this is an extremely powerful solution. It offers process automation, improved visibility and coordination between your sales and marketing teams. Advanced AI and reporting functions to give you the information you need to make informed decisions. Now could be the perfect time to explore what this can do for you – how it can streamline your business, and if you already use it, how it could be better streamlined for you.
- Do you operate in the Field Service industry? One of the best efficiencies here is if you can achieve a first time fix on as many jobs as possible. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service can give technicians access to in-context help via online guides or knowledgebases. Offline service tracking and support, drag and drop resource management via an interactive scheduling board and effectively manage customer assets. This gives your team the best possible chance to deliver the customer service you are looking for – whether you already have this, Dynamics 365 for other purposes, or neither, the next release of this is set to bring some fantastic overhauls, improvements and features – we will be reviewing this very soon.
- Does your business have a preferred charity, maybe offer support or fundraising during this time?
If you are looking to migrate or improve your current CRM or Field Service systems, please get in touch and talk to us about the benefits Microsoft Dynamics 365 could provide to your business.