Cincom recently attended Microsoft Convergence 2015, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia. It was great getting to talk to partners and customers alike, and as always, Microsoft put on a great conference!
Since Satya Nadella has taken over the helm, Microsoft has been reinventing itself. As a strategist, Paul Greenberg says in his insightful Convergence wrap-up on ZDNet, “Microsoft is aligning its business model, its technology stack, its messaging and its overall ecosystem with 21st century business practice, process, consumer and business buying habits, and real life outcomes.” It’s quite a mouthful, but it’s also quite true.
Below are some of the top trends we observed while talking with those who stopped by our booth.
You’d Better Be Mobile
Just about every person we talked to about Cincom’s configure-price-quote and guided selling platform asked the same question at some point in our conversation: “Is it mobile?” (It is.) If a sales manager or sales rep can’t access CRM or the sales tools they need while they’re on the road, it’s likely that you won’t be doing business with them. This not only goes for actually being able to access any application on the go, but it must also be a compelling user experience whether running on a laptop, surface or cell phone.
I can only see mobility becoming a bigger and bigger requirement for companies over the next few years. Outside of work, everyone is used to being able to access the internet or apps right from their smartphone—anytime, anywhere—and that is now true for business applications as well.
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) Is a Thing
Just as being mobile is essential to companies, they also want to always be connected and have things happen behind the scenes without the user prompting a system to do something. For example, I spoke with someone at the booth who owned a fertilizer company. He has a website where he takes orders and has connected machines that a user programs to dispense a certain amount of fertilizer based on each order. His goal was to connect that order entry directly to the machine. This is a perfect example of the IoT (Internet of Things), where his goal is to have the machine take info from the order and automatically dispense this amount without user interaction.
CRM as Part of the Business Platform
This year at Convergence, many companies were looking to improve the way they interact with their customers. The feeling is, if they can be easier to do business with and provide a really compelling customer experience, prospects will come to them to do business rather than going to the competition. As a result, companies are really starting to leverage Microsoft CRM as an essential part of the business platform. This allows companies to know and track everything about their customers and prospects and seamlessly flow this information into their ERP system.
As a matter of fact, the customer experience and customer engagement was a major theme woven throughout the entire conference. Cincom’s Jim Wilson discussed how the integration of traditional systems of record (such as CRM) with systems of engagement (such as mobile selling systems) can engage customers where they are, increase sales effectiveness and deliver better outcomes.
Microsoft Convergence once again provided an excellent platform for the 12,000+ attendees to exchange ideas and learn what’s new in the Microsoft ecosystem.