DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: THE MEASURE ACT AUTOMATE MODEL
There is no denying the impact technology has had on our world at the ever faster rates, with all that has changed over the last ten years one must wonder what the next ten years might look like.
I noted last year Microsoft announced their “Digital Transformation Platform” with a strong emphasis in promoting the future of a business will be its ability to “Measure, Act and Automate”.
- Are you able to receive real time business alerts to your phone on work related incidents?
- What about reports accessible via your tablet on how many customers, the average age, male/female ratio and spend per customer category have been inside in your retail shop in just the last hour?
- How about ability to see every aspect of your business at a holistic level in graphs and pictures you understand?
- Review and analyse data not in figures and spreadsheets but in graphs and dashboard reports so you can easily pick up what is happening in your business at one glance.
Power BI with all your business data connected to the Common Data Model means you can set up in minutes powerful dashboard reports for your business to keep you alert on all important matters and identify patterns in the business, this means no longer need to pay for developers or time in customising off the shelf software to just understand what is going on in your business,department,team and personal workflow.
Ever thought if only I knew coding I would make a great app? Or why am I stuck at the desk doing administration when I could be having client meetings?
PowerApps is then the tool for you, this tool allows you to build business apps without knowledge of coding (in similar manner Excel enables you to build powerful reports without coding). PowerApps challenges the idea of requiring an office desk, it claims your phone and tablet is just as powerful as the computer so why can’t administration tasks be done “on the go” via phone or tablet.
PowerApps is designed to work with the Common Data Model thus in conjunction with the Common Data Model you truly can operate your business from your phone.
You might be thinking now, well in theory that all sounds nice...spending most of my time doing chargeable work, looking at pretty graphs and only pressing a few buttons on my phone and presto! magic! no more business administration! However if you assess all the business administration tasks you do they generally fall into one of two categories:
- You are doing it because you need to transfer information from one app/system to another so a different division, team member can read their reports/do work or
- It's a routine, mechanical decision process but there is no app (or too expensive) to do it so you are responsible for being this “integrator”.
The good news is Microsoft Flow in conjunction with the Common Data Model solves both those problems. Just like you use Excel to help automate calculations for you without any knowledge of coding, Microsoft Flow allows you to:
- Build connections between workflows via setting up work steps to occur in your business apps based on a defined trigger event (e.g. trigger: when receive a new email from my boss action: send me a SMS to my mobile)
- Connection from apps (including local files and local servers) to a Common Data Model
This means you are no longer required to be a manual integrator i.e. while you are out of the office you can trigger automated workflows from your phone thus you can complete your administration/office jobs now “on the go”.
The Common Data Model
The CDM is a tool which via using Microsoft Flow you can collect all information about the business and collate it into one database. Since Microsoft Flow checks for new data every minute this means under the CDM data architecture you can access data on every aspect of your business and it ensures all data is refreshed in real time thus no double handling or miscommunication.
Microsoft Flow enables you to connect to local files and servers (via local gateways) as well as cloud apps (via API) thus providing ultimate flexibility for businesses.
It is clear technology is disrupting the way we do business and we are also aware, us, human beings do not like sudden change and business owners are very fearful of taking such actions.
However, I see many business owners are being caught between a “Rock and A Hard Place” when it comes to business technology adoption. Many acknowledge the changing landscape of business but weigh this against the risk of breaking an already working (albeit traditional) business process.
The Digital Transformation Platform gives business owners and advisors ability to help transition the business to the “digital era” without the risk of jeopardising current business processes.
By adopting a Common Data Model each business is leveraging the power of technology but in a way that minimises risk and disruption for employees, customers and stakeholders.
As a Chartered Accountant, I am looking forward to a new era of advising my small and medium sized business clientele on offering a suite of workflow automation, customisable apps and dashboard reports to help strengthen their competitive position.
Mind Maps Of Current Workflow vs Common Data Model