Microsoft News

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9
Jun

Boost your customer experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365  

Three ways Microsoft Dynamics 365 can enhance customer experience   

Customer experience is how customers perceive their interaction with a company. A good customer experience means positive, memorable interactions. While all businesses aim for a good customer experience, tailoring specific adverts and interactions can mean the difference between customers choosing your company and choosing a competitor.  

Here are Monpellier’s tips on how Dynamics 365 can boost your customer journey at every point.  

 

Understanding Customers  

Understanding your customer is the first step to providing excellent service. Many customers will interact with your advertisements, social media posts and email newsletter. By tracking and storing their data such as demographics, interests, and parts of the website they have visited, you can deliver a personalised customer experience.  

For example, if the data reveals they are interested in a certain topic, then you can tailor your newsletter or content to cover it. Doing this makes the customer feel understood and cared for resulting in a higher chance of a conversion.  

Microsoft dynamics 365 gathers data from multiple sources allowing businesses to create individual profiles for all customers. Gain insights into their interest, and past interactions, and tailor your marketing methods to specific people.  

 

Market At the Right Time  

There are many reasons why an audience may leave after adding a product to a basket. Finding out the reasons is part of optimising the customer journey but retargeting the audience can push them to buy.  

For example, if a customer viewed a product but decided to buy, as a marketer, you may send them a follow-up advert. Another way to retarget is to send an automated email with a special discount (if they are signed up to receive marketing materials).  

You can create and automate email campaigns on Dynamics 365. It features a low code/no-code platform so anyone can design and automate emails such as welcome emails, retargeting emails, and newsletters. Add dynamic text such as the recipient’s name to personalise the email. Create different segments to market to the most relevant audience in your email list. 

 

Effective Communication  

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the bonus of Virtual Agents. Virtual Agents uses chatbots to handle easy-to-answer questions to help speed up response times and free up your support staff for more complicated enquires. Dynamics 365 provides context with past contacts and current issues for the live agent. Live agents can make use of the transcript for instant reference and seamlessly connect with colleagues for further support without leaving the call. 

Customer experience is essential for business success and reputation. With the extensive features of Microsoft Dynamics 365, your business can better understand your customers throughout the customer cycle stages, guiding them at each point.  

If you want more information about Microsoft Dynamics 365, click HERE to find out more. 

Considering switching to Dynamics 365? Don’t hesitate to contact our experienced consultants HERE. 

31
May

Cloud-based solutions – How to protect your data

Security is one of the main reasons businesses are hesitant to move to a cloud-based solution. In 2021 IT Governance reviewed which sectors had the most data breaches and the two biggest culprits were Healthcare/ Health Sciences and the Public sector. But no sector was safe! So, as we continue to store more and more data in the cloud what steps can be taken to maximise security?  

Here are our top 3 features to look for when choosing your cloud solution. 

 

Encryption 

Encryption is one of the oldest yet most effective ways to increase security. Encryption scrambles the transmitted data in a way that only authorised devices can understand the information. The set of rules to scramble the message is called a key and given to those authorised devices to understand the encrypted message.  

Encryption is effective because even though a cybercriminal can “listen” to the messages transmitted between devices, they cannot understand the message itself. 

 

Access levels and permissions 

Security threats do not just come from outside your business, employees can also be a threat. Although there is a lower chance of employees accidentally accessing sensitive data such as customer details and other employees’ details, prevention is better than a cure.  

You can reduce the risk of employees accessing sensitive data by having dedicated security roles within your business.  

 

Multifactor authentication 

Multifactor Authentication is a more secure way of confirming your identity rather than simply using a username and password. There are three common kinds of factor: 

  • Something you know – Like a password, or a memorized PIN.  
  • Something you have – Like a smartphone, or a secure USB key.  
  • Something you are – Like a fingerprint, or facial recognition. 

 

Next Steps 

All the cloud solutions Monpellier offer come with an array of security measures as standard. To discuss the cloud-based solutions we offer or understand the security measures mentioned further please don’t hesitate to book a free consultation with one of our solution experts HERE 

21
Apr

How does Microsoft Power Platform utilise Identity and Access Management?

Features of Microsoft Power platform’s Identity and Access Management System 

Microsoft Power Platform integrates IAM (identity and access management) for employees to work productively. It is essential that they have access to the files and tools required to do their job, but it is also possible for an employee to have too much access, which can lead to major security issues. IAM is the process of managing and authenticating user identities and what they can access.  

In this article, we will discuss the basics of IAM, and how the Microsoft Power Platform utilises this.  

 

What is Identity and Access Management? 

Identity and Access Management contains processes, policies, tools to define and manage roles and access rights of both users and devices. 

The users may include customers, employees and contractors while the devices may include computers, mobile phones, servers, IoT devices, etc. The IT systems include SaaS applications, on-premises applications and file storage.  

The goal of IAM is to ensure that users’ identities are authenticated, and they can access the right tools necessary to work effectively. 

 

How does Identity and Access Management work within Power Platform? 

IAM solutions typically manage three tasks: identification, authentication, and authorisation. 

Identification 

The user will be identified by entering their login credentials which are stored within Azure AD then Microsoft will check security groups and permissions to identify who is trying to login. 

Authentication 

Microsoft Power Platform uses multi factor authentication handled within Azure AD to ensure you are the correct user. 

Azure AD multi-factor works by requiring two or more authentication methods. This includes something the user knows such as a password, along with a trusted device such as personal phone, or biometrics such as fingerprint or face scan. The users can choose different methods on how they can authenticate themselves. 

Authorisation 

Finally, Microsoft Power Platform will manage the authorisation of a user’s access. In the admin centre, administrators can create different groups so employees can have the right access for development work. Administrators can view and manage all resources created within the environment and manage different users.  

When solutions from Power Apps, Power BI. Power Automate and virtual agents are published, different security groups can be set for the end-user, which is similar to the development stage. The management of the company may have total control over the solution whereas employees can only view certain data. 

 

How Monpellier can help your business 

Microsoft Power Platform has a comprehensive Identity and Access Management solution for employees to work productively and abide by data laws. Monpellier can create a cloud-based solution for your business that has a complete and customisable IAM.

To find out more about the Microsoft Power Platform, click here 

Or contact one of our consultants here to see how we can help your business.  

14
Apr

Optimise your logistics with Microsoft Power Apps

3 logistical areas Power Apps can help with 

Working in logistics? Microsoft Power Apps gives you the power to design solutions that can optimise your processes from customer experience to delivery processes. Customers or employees can access Power Apps via mobile, tablets or desktop for remote access and to prevent data silos from forming. 

 

Monpellier explores three areas Power Apps can be applied. 

 

Create a Power Apps portal for customers 

You can create portals using Power Apps for customers to connect with your business. They can set up an account with a delivery method, address, and payment options for a faster and seamless experience.  

When processing the delivery requests, Power Apps can automatically generate tracking numbers, shipping labels, invoice documents and other necessary documents to save time. 

Customers can check the progress of delivery within the portal through geolocation of the delivery vehicle and the number of drop-offs before arriving at the destination.  

 

Create Power Apps for delivery drivers 

Monpellier can create specific apps for different areas of your business. Everyone (with the correct permission) can access the data and see changes for faster and more effective communication. 

Delivery drivers can utilise Power Apps features when scanning the barcode for pick-up or drop-off. Power Apps automatically recognises the barcode and updates the status of delivery on the database. 

Power Apps can use a combination of geolocation tracking and AI to predict actual times when the delivery driver picks up the goods or drops them off.  

 

Create Power Apps to manage parcel storage and security 

Goods can be easily tracked using parcel numbers allowing for full traceability from the customer to the warehouse. Automatically assign a location code of the warehouse based on customer details and delivery service to the parcel number for better organisation. 

Create individual employee accounts to monitor the actions such as transactions, location changes etc. This will improve accountability and allows employers to identify new training opportunities. 

You can set up permissions to protect sensitive information such as customer and employee details. Management can specify who can access certain data and the ability to change the data.  

 

If you want more information about Microsoft Power Apps and other products we provide, please follow the link here 

Click here to get in touch with our consultants today and see how Power Apps can transform your business. 

5
Apr

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – construction

4 Construction phases Microsoft Business Central can manage 

The UK construction industry has been hit with new building legislations, increasing inflation and material transport issues in 2022. However, managing these changes smoothly can help minimise project disruptions.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can be your all-in-one construction ERP solution to ensure prompt and informed decisions. 

In this blog, Monpellier will cover 4 areas MSD365BC can help your construction business. 

1. Planning

Set key performance indicators and budgets during the planning and designing phase of a project so you can keep track of progress and cash flows within Business Central. 

Vital documents such as building layouts, risk assessments, examinations reports, and much more can be stored in Business Central. Set permissions for increased privacy so clear and consistent information can be accessed by relevant people remotely. 

2. Scheduling 

Microsoft Business Central integrates with third-party apps to add visual elements to scheduling and provide additional time management tools. Set up different jobs needed throughout the project with descriptions, start dates and end dates, the project owner as well as equipment and materials needed.  

Team members can access Business Central and mark when a task is finished which will notify the rest of the team. They can also request time off which can be approved by the project manager remotely.  

3. Logistics 

Business Central handles purchasing and delivery of both building materials and equipment. Assign serial and lot numbers to materials, then log the time of arrival to the site and amount. Register details of fixed assets and log movements to and from storage allowing complete management of logistics. 

Combine this with the schedule set during the planning stage to make sure the correct materials and equipment arrive on time. Set alerts if late arrivals occur, or incorrect equipment and materials arrive on site. 

4. Reporting 

Automate document generation by setting template designs based on your company’s brand guidelines. Then use data from schedules, logistics reports, or finances to fill out and complete various documents. Choose your output format and share it automatically by email or a link to your cloud storage system to save time and effort. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central could be the solution you have been looking for to unify your processes and data.  

Find out more information about Business Central here 

Interested in finding the right solution but unsure of what software is right for you? View our contact information, here and speak to one of our specialist consultants today. 

28
Mar

Transform your manufacturing processes with Power BI

Top 5 ways to improve efficiency and management with Microsoft Power BI 

Manufacturers are facing increasing costs so many organisations are looking to Industry 4.0 and other ways to increase productivity and help mitigate rising costs. Data management tools such as Power BI can help accelerate productivity by giving your business access to insightful data, giving you the means to make impactful decisions.  

Monpellier has gathered together our top 5 reasons Power BI can transform your manufacturing process.  

1. Inventory Management 

Inventory management is at the heart of every manufacturing business. With the use of inventory codes and material locations, Power BI gives your manufacturing business insight into a multitude of data including quantities, stock arrival times, storage availability and information on stock that hasn’t moved in prolonged periods of time.  

2. AI  

Power BI ‘s AI predictive modelling helps with project timings and efficient production line management. Input past service records of all machines into the database and Power BI can use AI to predict the next scheduled maintenance, saving time and money. 

3. Project Management  

Monitor when tasks are completed to keep track of progression through various stages of production and get notified about unexpected delays. Use past project times, the materials used, machines used, staff involved alongside AI modelling to predict project times. 

4. Cash Flow Visualisation 

Connect sales and cost data to create various charts to understand where costs arise and potential areas that could be reviewed to reduce costs.  

5. Equipment Monitoring  

Machine maintenance and downtime can be costly. With IoT sensors and Microsoft Power BI manufacturers can analyse the live feeds and update the correct people with possible issues and ultimately give more accurate utilisation results.  

For more information about Power BI, click here or contact us for a free consultation with one of our experts.

21
Mar

How Microsoft 365 has changed the modern office

Innovation, Integration and Collaboration 

The creation of Microsoft’s productivity suite has completely transformed the modern office. Through Microsoft 365 cloud technology you can edit in real-time, access your work remotely and have the reassurance of Microsoft’s centralised security. 

 

What is included in a Microsoft 365 Licence? 

 

Top 5 features of Microsoft 365  

1. Real-time editing 

Cloud storage services such as OneDrive saves files online allowing remote access to files along with real-time editing with peers without the need of saving multiple copies or emailing back and forth. 

Hot tip – Set permissions so documents can be securely shared with those with the right access.  

2. Online Meetings 

Microsoft Teams allows team members to meet, call and collaborate remotely. 

Hot tip – Team members can create their teams, or chat with individuals with the ability to share and edit files from the local computer or OneDrive. 

3. Mobile access 

Mobile technology enables collaboration on the move. All files and apps are accessible as well as the capability to respond to different conversations and join meetings. 

Hot tip – Schedule meetings within Outlook and add useful files for participants straight from SharePoint or OneDrive whilst on the move.  

4. Intranet  

SharePoint is a cloud-based service to create, store and share content online. Creating a company intranet that connects employees with different pages allows everyone to stay up to date with company news, job training, industry news and much more. 

Hot tip – SharePoint has comprehensive search abilities that allow employees to find important information at the touch of a button.  

5. Security  

Microsoft 365 has unparalleled security giving the ability to meet key international, regional, and industry-specific standards and terms, with more than 1,000 security and privacy controls.  

Hot tip – Create password policies that require users to reset their passwords after a specified number of days.  

 

Future Development 

  • Microsoft Loop = Coming later this summer Microsoft Loop is designed to supercharge your project management. Find out more.   
  • Microsoft Mesh (for Teams) = A version of Mesh is already available but 2022 sees the release of the Teams integration update. Microsoft Mesh uses virtual reality for meetings enabling people to connect, work on 2d/3d content and feel connected with actual eye contact and facial expressions via holographic technology. To stay on top of Microsoft news, tips and Microsoft newsletter signup HERE to not miss out 
12
Nov

Does your intranet solution feel outdated?

Enter a new age of integration with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint

2020 has been more than challenging for most businesses, and as a second national lockdown gets underway we certainly have more obstacles to overcome. According to Finder.com 60% of UK workers are now working from home, meaning that businesses have had to rapidly change their systems and processes to accommodate this new normal. 

A common theme that has arisen is the need for fluid integration. Companies are leaning towards intuitive solutions that can cope with flexibility and work seamlessly with existing solutions. For this reason, SharePoint and Teams (working in unison) have provided companies with an affordable, powerful intranet replacement. 

But can the pair really replace your historic intranet? We’ve collected some of our commonly asked questions to help you decide. 

 

Should I use Microsoft Teams or SharePoint?

The answer here is simple, if you are using Teams you are already using SharePoint you just may not realise it. Microsoft Teams is built into Office 365. Each Team you create is classed as a ‘Group’. Groups can have collaboration tools including shared calendars, documents and mailboxes. When a Group is created, a SharePoint team site is automatically created. This use of SharePoint is limiting, SharePoint is an incredibly powerful tool which can be developed into much more. 

A good way to understand the division between Teams and SharePoint is that Teams facilitates cooperation on a personal level and SharePoint facilitates cooperation on an organisational level.

 

Will SharePoint be able to match the functionality of my current intranet?

With over 100 million users worldwide SharePoint is certainly one of the most popular intranets and although popularity doesn’t always translate to the right option for your organisation it does highlight how universally loved the solution is. One of the benefits of SharePoint is that it gives your business a huge variety of options. Yes, you can use SharePoint out of the box, but it can be developed, and with Microsoft Power Automate (formally Microsoft Flow) automated workflows can effortlessly boost productivity within your organisation.

Furthermore, due to SharePoint’s adoption growth over the past 12 months, you can be assured that continuous work will be done by both Microsoft and third parties to develop and support the application.

 

Can SharePoint and Teams help improve communication?

Communication is certainly more seamless with SharePoint and Teams. The applications working together can engage users across the whole organisation, make it easier to collaborate on projects and documents, store information and run meetings. 

SharePoint contains a company-wide calendar to help organise events, key dates and holidays as well as team news channels that your employees can opt-in to follow. These few things are but the tip of the iceberg in relation to functionality. No solution can promise improved communication but it is clear that SharePoint and Teams make the process easier than it has been before. 

 

Free Consultation 

Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information regarding Microsoft Teams or SharePoint give our team a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

8
Oct

Dynamics NAV (Navision) versus Dynamics 365 Business Central

The evolution of the all-in-one ERP

Just like your business, software evolves over time. It adapts to our ever-changing needs and advances processes by delivering more ground-breaking functionality. In 2018 Microsoft released Dynamics 365 Business Central to the enterprise resource planning market to replace what was Dynamics NAV (formally known as Navision). But how does Dynamics 365 Business Central compare? 

Dynamics 365 Business Central carries all the same features as its older relative (Dynamics NAV) but has the added benefits of a true cloud solution. Benefits such as access to your information from anywhere in the world, real-time updates and easy integration. The transition from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central is so much more than a face-lift, Microsoft has successfully created a cost-effective all-in-one-solution that can seamlessly grow with your business. 

Here are some of the main reasons our customers have made the switch to Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

1. Familiarity

If you have previously used Dynamics NAV or currently use any of Microsoft’s other products (Office, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc) there is a sense of fellowship you feel when using Dynamics 365 Business Central. Your actions become instinctive, which makes product training a smooth and timely process. 

 

2. Freedom

Thanks to cloud technology, Dynamics 365 Business Central can be accessed from anywhere and any device with an internet connection. This monumental change lets you and your team access data and reports on the go and ensures you always have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips. 

 

3. Cost

Take away hardware, infrastructure, onsite maintenance, manual upgrades and storage and you are now looking at a solution that is more cost-effective for your business. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, you pay a monthly subscription for storage, hosting, and continuous access to your data. 

 

4. Security 

Dynamics 365 Business Central can be hosted on Microsoft Azure which is one of the most trusted global cloud providers in the world. Azure boasts over 70 compliance offerings and has first-class embedded security and privacy. 

 

5. Future-proof

With Business Central you have one platform that allows you to access all the modules and tools you need. From your Outlook to PowerBI, all your company data is connected and readily available and comparable. Furthermore, with Microsoft’s new AL coding the limit to extensions and integration has been removed. This core change means that D365 Business Central users now have flexibility never experienced before in the world of ERPs. Your solution can be individually customised to suit your exacting needs and processes, saving you valuable time and expenditure. 

 

D365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. For further information regarding the Dynamics 365 Business Central and the licences available please give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free consultation and demo.

23
Jul

Microsoft Teams Announce Upcoming Functionality

Our favourite new features from the July update

Since March, businesses across the world have adapted and moulded their way of working to meet new challenges. Many of us have become a custom to remote working and Microsoft Teams has become a permanent fixture in our working lives, and with over 75 million daily users it’s no wonder Microsoft has dedicated time and resources to constantly improving functionality. 

The latest change was announced this month (July) and brings with it a whole host of exciting changes that will be introduced over the coming months. Monpellier has pulled together our top 5 features to look out for. 

 

 1. Together Mode 

The sight of our colleagues segmented into multiple boxes on our screen may have become the new normal but Microsoft has created ‘Together Mode’ to bring a more human experience to video conferencing. Together Mode uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place video feeds into the same shared background. The new feature can even make participants look towards the active speaker dynamically by mapping features. Once released Together Mode will initially be able to host up to 49 people at one time and will include a couple of possible backgrounds including a lecture theatre and coffee shop. 

 

2. Dynamic Stage 

The Dynamic layout will optimise and adapt the sizing of different video feeds to maximise screen space and create the most engaging set up for those on a video call. Furthermore, to avoid those difficult moments when people find themselves talking over each other Microsoft Teams have introduced the ‘raise hand’ feature which will create a yellow box around the person wanting to speak next. You can also now choose the chat bubbles feature to make chat appear over the video so you don’t have to keep the chat panel open. 

 

3. Whiteboard

Whiteboard in Teams will soon be updated with exciting extras including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities. This will make using Whiteboard in meetings much easier for those who don’t have access to a touchscreen or Surface Hub to participate. For more information regarding Whiteboard check out our Supercharge your Meetings blog – https://www.monpellier.co.uk/supercharge-your-meetings/

 

4. Transcript 

Although transcription is already available within Microsoft Teams the new live caption update will be able to identify who is talking and attribute the speaker’s name. This feature makes note-keeping incredibly easy and gives you a concrete record that you are able to review after each meeting to double-check that you are happy with what has been recorded. 

 

 5. Slash Commands

Slash commands aren’t a brand new feature but they certainly help you navigate Microsoft Teams as efficiently as possible. You can use a slash command to set your status to “online” or “away”. Alternatively, you can make sure you’re not missing out on anything important with /WhatsNew. 

Some of the best slash commands include:

/Files – Shows the most recent files shared with you on Teams.

/GoTo – Lets you jump straight to a channel

/Call – Initiates a call with someone else on Teams

/Help – Delivers assistance via T-bot

/Saved – Takes you to your saved messages

 

For more information regarding Microsoft Teams and other applications within Microsoft 365 give our team a call on 0191 500 8150 and make the most of your subscription.

 

16
Apr

Connect and Grow with D356 Business Central

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Specifically designed for small to medium-sized businesses, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one management solution with a very desirable price point (from £52.80 per user/ month). Similar to Microsoft’s previous offering, Nav, D365 Business Central is an easy to use cloud (or on-premise) solution that draws all your systems together.

 

Essentials Licence: What’s included?

Financial Management  – D365 Business Central includes all the basic features you have come to expect from an ERP system including; general ledger functionality, audit trails, bank management, budgets, deferrals, bank reconciliation, fixed assets and currencies.

Business Central can also help manage inventory costs and operational and departmental budgets. The look and feel is similar to that of Office 365 and you can dive deep into your data by integrating applications such as Power BI.

Customer Relational Management – Although it doesn’t contain the complete D365 CRM, Business Central does contain core CRM features that can help your business organise sales efforts. The functionality to record, manage and segment contacts based on a number of criteria is seamless and works with the full Office 365 suite.

NB – if you are looking for a complete CRM solution with all the bells and whistles, Business Central can be easily integrated with Dynamics 365 for Sales.

 

Supply Chain Management – D365 Business Central really shines when it comes to organising operations. Supply Chain Management gives you the capability to manage orders, oversee inventory, process orders, manage transaction and receivables. Furthermore, no matter where inventory is located, levels can be tracked even if it’s in transit!

Human Resources – From managing detailed employee records to tracking/ group codes and logging absences D365 Business Central’s HR functionality has changed dramatically since the days of NAV. The application now gives a more holistic approach to HR and even allows you to manage employee expenses, which can be reimbursed easily using the same method used to pay a vendor.

Project Management – Business Central has all of your core project management features covered, including; scheduling resources, managing budgets, task monitoring, resource planning and availability. All of the functionality including time sheets can be accessed remotely meaning that your workforce can keep up-to-date on the move.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has two licencing options, the first of which (Essentials) includes everything we have covered in this article while Premium includes all the above as well as Service Order Management and Manufacturing.

 

D365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. For further information regarding the D365 Business Central and the licences available please give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s March Issue.  

30
Mar

5 top tips to keep employee engagement high

 How to keep your team together while working remotely

Managing remote employees can be difficult, but with the addition of a global pandemic, this task has become a lot harder. Although many organisations have been geared up for remote working for a while, many businesses have been thrown into the transition leaving teams disjointed in these uncertain times.

 

Understandably having the right IT solution is essential to remote-working but having those tools is just the beginning. A large proportion of the population is now in lock-down within their homes with their family’s meaning that distractions are abnormally high. If you also consider that many have heightened emotions due to health and economic concerns, as an employer it’s now more important than ever to take a moment to be mindful and factor these aspects into expected productivity levels.

 

To help employers through this difficult time we have pulled together our top 5 tips for keeping engagement high amongst home-workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

  1. Online meetings – Keep weekly meetings going and keep teams together by using video conferencing tools (such as Microsoft Teams). Studies have shown that seeing each other (even virtually) has a positive effect on our mental health, helping us to feel connected whilst we work apart. Even a 10 minute morning check-in is enough to add a touch of normality to proceedings and will encourage team members to get ready for the day and mentally switch to ‘work’ mode.
  2. Collaborate – Ensure your team has access to everything they need by using a shared cloud application such as Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint gives you the ability to create team sites for each of your ongoing projects allowing remote team members to share files, data, news and resources.
  3. Kitchen moments – The kitchen is the social hub of any office where employees catch -up and grow closer and share their lives. As we all work remotely this vital part of the day is missing. Be sure to encourage ‘light’ chat using tools such as Microsoft Teams, you could even introduce lunchtime quizzes or other fun activities to keep spirits high and team members connected.
  4. Reflection – A positive aspect of this current situation is that we have time to reflect on existing processes, systems and business procedures. Encourage your team to take time to think big picture and envisage an ‘ideal’ solution to areas that need improvement.
  5. Office budget – To boost productivity your team needs the right tools and supplies. From sending out office stationery packs to investing in cloud applications or even splashing out on new monitors there are plenty of ways you can help improve home-working for your team.

 

While we navigate through these testing times technology can help with engagement, collaboration, productivity and most importantly keeping us connected.

 

If you would like more information on remote working or solutions that could help your business during this time please get in contact with our experts on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email at [email protected].

 

5
Mar

Integrated Solution for Manufacturers

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

One of the most talked about trends for the next decade is digital integration. As accessibility to digital manufacturing tools, such as cloud storage, artificial intelligence and IoT sensors grows the concept of a ‘smart factory’ is becoming a reality. Manufacturers of all types can  benefit from digitally integrating their operations. 

Integration has been on Microsoft’s radar for a long time and they now have a vast, robust selection of solutions that all work together in perfect harmony. One such solution, which is priced for the SME market, is Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

This all-in-one solution includes modules for; Financials, Purchasing, Inventory, Operations, Warehousing and Projects. 

Let’s take a look at some of our favourite tools and functionality within Dynamics 365 Business Central…

 

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) 

To avoid ending up in that all too familiar situation of having too much of one item and not enough of another the MRP functionality within Dynamics 365 Business Central focuses on making tracking bills of materials (BOMs) flawless. It automatically generates order suggestions based on demand and sales, giving you accurate order suggestions at a glance. 

 

Scheduling

Our manufacturing clients often find the scheduling process the most stressful part of their business. Incorrect data or the slightest supply error and your whole schedule could suffer. Dynamics 365 Business Central slims down and simplifies the scheduling process with automatic production orders and purchase orders, action messages linked to balancing of supply and the option to set-up some items with individual reordering policies.

 

Capacity Measurement

Many businesses have the goal to grow in 2020 but with growth comes increased capacity. Dynamics 365 Business Central tracking capacity alongside materials and projects to ensure you never overbook or oversell – or lets you know you need to add to your facility, materials and team.

 

Inventory Items

Keeping track of raw materials, component parts and sub-assemblies can be exhausting. Dynamics 365 Business Central can quickly track these items and ensure you have what you need at all times. Keeping on top of your inventory like this can dramatically increase productivity and reduce time wastage during the production cycle. 

 

Machine Centers

Machine centers are designed to help you manage the capacity of a single machine or resource. Within Dynamics 365 Business Central, Machine Centers lets you plan and manage capacity on multiple levels and had the capability to allow users to store more default information about manufacturing processes, such as setup time or default scrap percentage.

 

Dynamics 365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. We lead with your business objective and take the time and care needed to plan, customise, implement, train and support the solution that will achieve your goals. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s February Issue.  

31
Jan

Microsoft Business Central – more than just Excel

Myth Busting D365 Business Central

Many accountants have relied solely or partially on Microsoft Excel to assist in their role for decades, leading many firms to ask when the next legacy solution will arrive. 

 

Enter Microsoft Dynamics. 

Over the past couple of years, Microsoft has shifted their focus to collaboration and have invested in new ways of working through Office 365. D365 Business Central is part of a wider product line of enterprise applications that all work together including applications focusing on sales, marketing, service, operations and CRM. D365 Business Central is the successor product for Microsoft NAV.

As D365 Business Central is still a relatively new offering in terms of ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions Monpellier are here to clear up a few common misconceptions and equip you with the information you need to make an informed decision for your business. 

 

Microsoft Myth Busting

Myth 1: ‘ERP solutions from Microsoft are far too expensive!’ 

A D365 Business Central licence is £52.80/user/month. A company with a financial director, controller, and management accountant would pay a little over £150/month for its ERP software. 

Myth 2: ‘I will have to do a lot of work outside of D365 Business Central’

There’s a huge amount of connectivity with reporting tools like Power BI, which can be built directly into your ledgers. You can easily create bespoke reporting dashboards and have all of your valuable information at your fingertips. 

Myth 3: ‘Extensive training to learn the new software will be needed’ 

D365 Business Central is a cloud ERP solution, meaning that delivery and installation is seamless giving users the ability to get up and going quickly. Furthermore, all applications are designed to work together and integrate with Office 365 creating a familiar layout for users. 

Myth 4: ‘It won’t communicate with my emails’

If you get an email in Office 365 and use Business Central, there’s a direct interface that will recognise any email address affiliated with a customer or supplier. From there you can raise a sales quote or purchase order or invoice without having to leave your Outlook email inbox

Myth 5: ‘It’s just another accountancy package’ 

Like your Office 365 subscription, D365 Business Central runs on the Microsoft Common Data Service meaning that all your information is securely stored in the same place. This cloud-based storage option gives you the ability to supercharge your data by working seamlessly with Power Apps and Power Automate (previously known as Microsoft Flow). 

 

D365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Grounded in technical expertise, the team is made up of professional financial accounting advisors and technology experts, who work together to advise, install and support the best business software on the market Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation. 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s January Issue, 2020.  

12
Jan

Supercharge your supply chain

Business Intelligence Software

Food and drink companies are rapidly embracing new technology in order to optimise their processes and supply chain operations, and Microsoft is leading the pack in terms of supply chain reporting with applications such as Power BI. 

Power BI is fully compatible with Microsoft’s other applications such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Business Central as well as being able to integrate with other supply chain systems you may have in place. The application is designed to create intelligent visualisations based on your business data to better support your decision-making processes. These engaging reports can easily be shared with one or more employees to create a business intelligence environment that can empower whole workforces. After all, knowledge is power! 

 

Resolve your supply issues with Power BI: 

Delivery information 

Food and drink manufacturers often have multiple delivery vehicles but information such as delivery times, mileage, damage reports and down-time if often not recorded or lost entirely due to paper forms that are filled away. Power BI takes all this information crunches it and creates valuable reports that can improve delivery performance and overall operational efficiency. 

Warehouse management 

Manually tracking items available in the warehouse is not only time consuming but also open to all kinds of error. Microsoft Power BI provides a consolidated view of data collected from the warehouse, from multiple sources, and displays it in the form of interactive dashboards. 

Remote working 

Do you have multiple sites or employees that work in the field? The Power BI application can run remotely through a variety of internet-enabled platforms and devices. Desktop reports can be adjusted to fit into reduced screen sizes making them both user-friendly and succinct. 

Connectivity

Sometimes it can feel like there is a device for everything, one to record stock, one to monitor machinery health, one to manage customer data, one for financials, it really can be an endless list. Power BI taps into the Microsoft Azure Cloud and other third-party data sources to bring all your data into one place. This gives your business the freedom to create new compelling datasets with a 360-degree view of your supply chain. 

In conclusion, a business intelligence solution such as Power BI can unlock critical insights into your supply chain operations, therefore minimising the time associated with manual data analysis. Our Power BI customers see real change across their entire business as the added understanding the application brings leads to the more effective management of their operations and the ability to pinpoint and act on disruptions before they become issues. 

 

Power BI and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation and to start your business intelligence project today. 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s December Issue, 2019.  

5
Dec

How strong is your foundation?

IT infrastructure

A strong IT infrastructure is essential in supporting your business’s overall goals. You need to trust that no matter what is thrown your way that you have a strong foundation to keep your operations running smoothly. 

But what falls under the term IT infrastructure? IT infrastructure consists of all elements that support the management and usability of data and is usually split into four categories, software, hardware, network  and servers.

Since 2001 Monpellier have worked with SMEs in Cumbria and across the North East to help advise, implement and support elements of IT infrastructure. When it comes to building a strong foundation Microsoft Dynamics 365 has you more than covered. Dynamics 365 is a budget-friendly Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that can adapt and grow with your business. Perfect for businesses that don’t want to fork out large amounts for their own hardware and onsite server, Dynamics 365 is neatly and securely hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. 

Dynamics 365 is a unified suite, making it a valuable base to your IT infrastructure. Unlike other full-suite software solutions, Dynamics 365 is modular so you only pay for what you need. This gives businesses options to scale up (or down) as their organisation changes. 

 

Applications from Dynamics 365:

Finance – Monitor performance in real-time, predict future outcomes, and make data-driven decisions to drive growth.

Operations – Use predictive insights and intelligence across planning, production, stock, warehouse, and transportation. 

Marketing – Increase customer demand for your products and services and improve marketing results. 

Sales – Go beyond sales force automation to better understand customer needs, engage more effectively, and win more deals.

Field Service – Optimise your field operations with built-in intelligence, remote monitoring, and tools that enable your technicians to deliver quality work

Customer Service – Differentiate your brand, Built-in intelligence delivers faster, more personalised service and adds value to every interaction.

 

These six applications are just a snapshot of what Dynamics 365 has to offer with other applications such as HR, Talent and Retail also available. 

From a user’s point of view, Dynamics 365 keeps all your systems unified and can ultimately reduce training and on-boarding, meaning a much shorter ‘learning curve’ for you and your team. Integration between systems becomes seamless and the size and complexity of your infrastructure stays firmly in your control. 

 

Dynamics 365 by Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation. 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s November Issue, 2019.  

24
Nov

Supercharge your meetings

Microsoft Whiteboard App

Originally designed for the Microsoft Surface Pro the Whiteboard app became widely available earlier this year for web and within Microsoft Teams. You can now easily collaborate with people using Microsoft Whiteboard regardless of what device they’re using or if they have an app installed. 

But what is the Microsoft Whiteboard App? Whiteboard is an interactive canvas jam-packed with intuitive features to help you visually communicate with others. It’s a fantastic tool for meetings and has the added ability to include remote team members, as it now works seamlessly with Microsoft Teams.  

 

Our favourite features:

Save automatically – Your whiteboards are stored safely in the cloud until you’re ready to use them again. Gone are the days of taking pictures of whiteboards and flip charts following meetings, with the Whiteboard it’s all there ready without you even having to click save.

 

Share seamlessly Microsoft has created several pre-designed templates for Whiteboard to help you mimic workplace scenarios such as brainstorms, project planning, sprint planning etc. More templates are being added each month so keep your eyes peeled for your new favourite. 

 

Limit-free creation – Restrictions can block creativity. Whiteboard can transform your work into editable images, charts, flows, sticky notes and shapes on an interface designed for mouse, pen, touch or keyboard. 

 

For more information on the Whiteboard and other applications within Office 365 give our team a call and make the most of your Office 365 subscription. 

1
Nov

Is your team communicating effectively?

What is Microsoft SharePoint and how can it help me?

When it comes to communication within the workplace, technology continues to reshape the way we collaborate. But with an app for almost everything these days some businesses are suffering from communication fatigue. Make no mistake, technology is an amazing addition to any workplace but only when it’s the right solution.

With a market flooded with communication and collaboration tools, many businesses are resorting to sticking with outdated methods and processes.  

Microsoft SharePoint has over 100 million users worldwide and is used by a whopping 78% of the Fortune 500. 

 

What is Microsoft SharePoint  

Developed by Microsoft, SharePoint launched in 2001 and is a web-based document management and collaboration tool. SharePoint works with Office 365 to create a server type environment designed for sharing. 

If you choose to implement SharePoint into your business it is typically deployed onto your company’s network as a selection of intranet sites. Each site is designed specifically for each department with its own security, functionality and data. 

 

Reasons to use SharePoint 

Improve efficiency The most common way businesses use SharePoint is as an intranet portal. SharePoint gives its users a powerful, fully-searchable centralised location from which to run operations. By dividing your SharePoint into separate team sites you can organise information and documents by department, ensuring data is but a click away. Unlike other intranet systems, SharePoint follows the same Office 365 style you are acclimatised to but adds additional intuitive features such as; highlighting upcoming deadlines and team scheduling data. 

 

Cultivate positive collaborationSharePoint is a content management system (CMS) and is used to store and share information. Its’ features include version management, business workflows and social aspects, which can all be accessed remotely. You can use SharePoint to accelerate productivity by transforming everything from a simple task to complex operational workflows.

 

Increase business intelligence Your business collects so much valuable information, wouldn’t it be amazing to view all this data at a single glance and in one location? Through SharePoint’s integration capabilities, users can connect the platform with just about any existing information output from different applications. SharePoint is your one-stop-shop for custom-made business intelligence reporting. 

 

Microsoft SharePoint by Monpellier

Monpellier (based in Cumbria and the North East) are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions, delivering first-class support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to intranet and CRM solutions. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s October’s 2019 issue. 

25
Oct

Dynamics 365 Wave 2 Release

Our top 5 features

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an application suite of ERP and CRM modules. This October saw the greatly anticipated Dynamics 365 Wave 2 release. The update gave users 400 new features and capabilities across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. This is one of Microsoft’s largest release waves to date and we wanted to highlight our favourite aspects that produce proactive insight and drive intelligent action. 

 

Top 5 Updates

  1. Security – Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is now available and provides a powerful solution that reduces fraud costs. To learn more about how Microsoft has used this technology to reduce fraud-related costs by millions of pounds in just two years visit – LINK
  2. User Interface Business Central has seen the biggest change when it comes to user interface. New features including additional bookmarking capabilities, autofit columns, department overview functionality and the ability to work on multiple Business Central tabs at once are now fully available.    
  3. AI ApplicationsWave 2 sees the addition of two more AI applications, Product Insights and Connected Store. Product Insights transforms product development, marketing, sales and support by acting on real-time insight relating to customer usage while Connected Store uses data from cloud-connected sensors. 
  4. Scan a Note The new update allows you to take your meeting notes (as usual) with a pen and paper, you can then scan these notes straight into Dynamics 365. The sophisticated application then reads your handwriting turning it into an editable note that is stored against the potential customer. This allows you to keep all valuable information in one place insuring your sales team never misses an opportunity. 
  5. Virtual Agent Good customer service can take a lot of physical time but with the wave 2 release, your customer service team has a helping hand. Intelligent AI-powered robots have been designed with the ability to chat with customers, thereby improving speed and overall service. 

Microsoft recorded their entire virtual launch event which you can watch by clicking the LINK

Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Monpellier 

If you’re interested in what Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 can do for your business, Monpellier can help. We are offering free, personalised onsite consultations designed to showcase the areas that would work for your individual business. Call our experts today on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email [email protected] 

2
Oct

Are you making the most of OneDrive?

Tips to boost your OneDrive experience

 

What is Microsoft OneDrive?

OneDrive is Microsoft’s storage service facility for hosting files in the cloud. Although you can sign up for OneDrive for free, you gain more as an Office 365 customer. OneDrive has been designed to provide a simple solution to store and share various types of documents and files.

 

How to make the most of OneDrive 

 

Expiry Links 

If you need to share a file with confidential data for a fixed period of time you can create a shareable link that is constrained by a set expiry date and time that you’ve pre-set. 

 

Password Protected 

Want to share very sensitive data? Microsoft has added password functionality so that the data you share has another layer of security. 

 

Scan & Go 

By using the OneDrive app you can scan, save and share documents that you can snap straight from your camera phone. It also lets you save these images as PDFs or directly into other applications such as OneNote. 

 

Offline Mode 

OneDrive gives you the option to make folders offline so that you can work on the go without an internet connection and back-up to the cloud once you’re back in the office. 

 

Version Control 

Whilst it’s important to make sure you are always working on the most up-to-date version of any document it’s also beneficial to refer back to older versions. OneDrive lets you look back at previous versions of each document to make sure no vital information is lost. 

 

Outlook 

We are all guilty of clogging up our inboxes with emails that on their own are useless but they have an attachment we want to keep. OneDrive lets you save these attachments straight to your chosen folder on OneDrive so that your Inbox stays clean and you don’t misplace important documents. 

 

Microsoft Office 365 Apps & Monpellier

Are you interested in what Microsoft’s Office 365 Apps can do for your business? OneDrive is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the capabilities provided by the Office 365 suite. If you are interested in finding out more and how they can integrate into your business give us a call today to arrange your free onsite consultation.