Microsoft says its new rollouts will feature tools that, among other things, pull info automatically from the Net, allow real-time collaboration and enable simplified sharing — all vital for keeping up with the speed of doing business today. MEK ZHIN reports.
MICROSOFT’S upcoming Office 2016 and Dynamics will see plenty of emphasis placed on empowering individuals and organisations to do more.
“The world is constantly changing and whoever can’t keep up will eventually be out of business,” says Christian Pederson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics Worldwide.
“Today, only 11% of the Fortune 500 companies from the 1950s are still around. The lifespan of those companies were set at 75 years back then; the same lifespan expectation now is only 15 years,” he stresses, adding that companies have got to be able to change rapidly and have the system to support this.
Pederson says Microsoft is in the business of empowering customers to achieve the rate of change in accordance to the marketplace.
According to him, the driving factors behind this is the shift in focus from building customers to brand ambassadors, from static hierarchies to dynamic ones, from information scarcity to accessible insights and siloed productivity to collective value-creation, to name some.
“When one talks about the speed of business today, it is about making faster decisions from the individual up, which in turn allows companies to transform quickly and thus change the way they do business. It also means growing at their desired pace in whichever targeted area they choose,” Pederson states.
Microsoft Asia senior communications director Andrew Pickup says the company’s three long-term goals will leverage on the two trends that will revolutionise the information technology business — namely, mobility and cloud.
“We aim at creating more personal computing, which is creating an experience that goes beyond the paradigm of the keyboard and mouse, reinventing productivity and business processes to make organisations more efficient and effective, and lastly to build an intelligent cloud that is supported on any platform and be truly global,” he explains.
The company’s Asia Pacific applications and services general manager Byron Rader reveals that some 85% of Fortune 500 companies have already invested in Office 365, which is their answer to reinventing productivity.
The new Office suite sees new applications and updated core applications including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note, with new nifty features such as real-time co-authoring, simplified sharing, modern meetings capabilities, Smart Lookup which pulls relevant information direct from the Net and the Tell Me feature which suggests actions based on analysis of the user’s app use.
“We want to address the five key workplace trends we are seeing. Our own survey of 5,000 employees in the Asia Pacific region also resulted in similar findings,” Rader points out.
The trends include two-thirds of employees not being given the tools they need to work remotely, while half of the surveyed employees revealed they brought their own devices to work.
Some 71% of them spend 20% of their time outside the office and roughly the same number of people needed to be contacted outside of the office to be able to do their job.
Microsoft also found many customers asking for tools for easy and real-time collaboration.
“There has been an explosion of data in the last couple of years. This could multiply by 10 times in the next five years, so people need to find ways to manage this and extract what they need out of it. Office 365 will help them do this,” Rader promises.
He adds that security on Office 2016 has been improved with regard to data loss protection and authentication through a different device in the case of remote access, to name a few.
The integration of Microsoft’s Office and Dynamics team are reportedly showing results, says Microsoft Asia Pacific Dynamics general manager Haresh Khoobchandani.
“The average user is more empowered than ever and has access to much knowledge. When you think about that, you realise that organisations that don’t focus on consumer experience based on the multiple touch points they have will not succeed,” he warns, adding that this is a defining point for a lot of organisations.
He reveals that a staggering 96% of unhappy customers do not complain, though many go to social media to vent. And when nobody monitors this, it could lead to future liability.
“Many of these customers, 91% in fact, simply never return. We found that 70% of the buying experience comes from how a customer feels they are being treated. Therefore it is important for any business to engage their customer and deliver a personal experience. Using technology is the only way to scale this experience to a mass market,” he says.
Where a typical customer relationship management (CRM) application would be a standalone program taking up time to load, Microsoft Dynamics has enabled its core program Outlook to deliver that experience.
Knowledge in Outlook is an example of a useful feature that is part of CRM capabilities, which is able to search relevant possible answers based on the subject in the title and pull previous answers sent, enabling quick action with a few clicks.
“This isn’t about whether a sentiment is positive or negative, but about what you do about it,” Haresh clarifies.
He also says that Microsoft is poised to deliver CRM via Office 365 to every customer around the globe, thanks to eight data centres across 130-odd countries and 40 different languages.
“This can be applied to any industry, and the key areas we want to make an impact on are productivity, intelligence, mobility and unified service,” he says.