Friday, June 14, 2024

How to fully automate your business with Microsoft as a platform

The need for business automation has never been greater. In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, companies of all sizes need to find ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and save time. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey, 67% of companies are pursuing automation in their business process, and it’s growing day by day.

In reality, many companies implement multiple, non-integrated tools to manage different parts of their businesses, which makes smooth business management challenging and too IT-dependent.

Therefore, more and more businesses nowadays are getting to the realization of choosing a unified technology platform that ideally would fit 80% of their business process, such as marketing campaigns, lead generation, sales process management, sales-to-operations transition, customer support, and more.

The benefit of business automation is there for large corporations and SMBs alike!! A study conducted by Zapier shows that 88% of SMBs who implemented automation in their business process can compete with large enterprises. The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and the following work-from-home scenario has also accelerated business process automation as it is required to leverage and monitor business operations remotely.

Therefore, it’s essential to have a platform that works on all devices and relies on Business Intelligence (BI) and real-time reporting tools to monitor and manage all business operations. Microsoft Suite is one of those platforms that offers easy-to-use tools and technologies to automate and streamline your business processes.

Why do businesses use Microsoft platform to automate business?

The Microsoft platform is chosen by businesses for a variety of reasons that contribute to its overall success in business automation. Here are some.

  • Choosing a platform with a big name and firm reputation lowers the risks associated with it rather than picking a new tech player.
  • Wide familiarity with Microsoft products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc and their ease-of-use and accessibility across multiple devices.
  • High level of resource and talent investment in consistent development of Microsoft tools, including based on the customer feedback. It’s hard to compete with MS’s set of advanced features and solutions.
  • Microsoft offers a comprehensive platform required to run a business end-to-end.
  • Microsoft has created a large community of Partners around the world who have the expertise to implement and customize its tools.

Key tools businesses can use in the MS suite

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to business productivity tools. However, Microsoft provides a wide range of tools from the most familiar ones like SharePoint to the more sophisticated ones like Power BI. Therefore, no matter whether it’s SMBs or corporates, every business can choose the right product suite that fits their business needs.

Microsoft Office 365

MS Office 365 offers a variety of workspace and productivity tools that help businesses get their work done more efficiently. Some of the key tools that businesses can use in the MS 365 suite include Outlook, Teams, OneNote, and the Online Office suite of products. These tools improve communication and collaboration, as well as their overall productivity.

Let’s Take Teams, for example

Microsoft Teams is a powerful communication tool that keeps businesses connected with stakeholders, employees, and customers.

Many don’t know, however,  that Teams can be extended even further with the help of the Microsoft Power Platform! For example, you can use bots to automate communication tasks, or embed VA (virtual assistants) into Teams to replace HR professionals who are usually bombarded with questions about vacations and leave reporting.

Toyota is one company that has taken advantage of Microsoft Teams to create a safe work environment during the pandemic. By deploying Team Phone to around 40,000 employees in less than one month, Toyota was able to reopen its manufacturing facilities without affecting the pandemic.

Standard Business Applications

Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Finance, and Operations are all critical aspects of running a successful business. In order to streamline these processes businesses need a connected platform that can be customized for their individual needs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a CRM and ERP tools suite that helps businesses to achieve these goals.

For example, Bradshaw Taylor, an outdoor, country, and lifestyle company, implemented Dynamics 365 for their business. The platform helped them to improve their customer service and market their brands much quicker. The company was able to quickly place orders, invoices, and send customer notifications across all brands.

Another example is Campari Group, an Italian beverage company, who is using Dynamics 365 CRM platform to predict customer behaviors and responses and develop tailored solutions. The company has seen a significant improvement in their sales performance and customer service since implementing the platform.

Custom Business Applications

If your business is very unique, you may want to leverage theMicrosoft Power Platform, a low/ no-code solution to write custom apps that are connected to your data and the Microsoft apps infrastructure. This extended functionality helps simplify your app development process and make it easier for your developers to focus on more important tasks.

For example, the University of Oxford has developed a number of custom-built apps using Power Apps to handle their variety of administration processes easily, including course fees, ID cards, staff travel insurance, and more.

Advanced Code-First Custom Applications

If you need to further extend and customize the functionality beyond what Power Apps offers, Azure comes into play. This is usually the case when you need to write a custom app that leverages a very advanced cloud solution and requires resourceful programming.

Azure offers a variety of benefits that can be leveraged by custom applications, including:

– Scalability: Azure can scale up or down as needed to support the application, meaning that you only pay for the resources you use.

– Reliability: Azure is a reliable platform that can keep your custom application running even in the event of failures or unexpected traffic spikes.

– Security: Azure offers a variety of security features to help keep your custom application and data safe.

– Compliance: Azure can help you meet compliance requirements for your custom application.

CWallet, a Qatar-based fintech startup, migrated their technology stack to Microsoft Azure which enables them to make their payments quickly and safely. This integrated cloud platform also facilitated CWallet to successfully meet their customers’ security and compliance needs.

Another example, BMW’s Open Manufacturing Platform, built on the Microsoft Azure platform, facilitates them to easily control and manage over 3,000 machines and robots. This IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform also helped them to simply coordinate the autonomous transport systems.

Analytics

Microsoft’s Power BI platform is a leader in Business Intelligence (BI). It helps organizations to monitor their businesses from every angle by unifying data sources from both inside and outside of Microsoft tools. It helps visualize data and turn it into insights that can be used to make data-driven business decisions.

For example,  Air Astana is an international airline based in Kazakhstan that flies to over 60 destinations. The airline has been using Microsoft Power BI for processing heavy reports instead of using their ERP system. Power BI has helped Air Astana free up resources and focus more on strategic work.

Conclusion

Going back to productivity, all the four Microsoft Apps categories – Office,  Standard Business Applications, Low Code Custom Business Applications, Code-First Custom Applications, and Analytics/BI – can be integrated between themselves to manage the whole business on just one software platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 unified cross-functional business platform is already a reality making thousands of businesses around the world productive and cost-effective and helping them to leave their competitors behind.

If you want to gain your competitive edge via technological advancement, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the platform to look at.

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