ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Marketing, Wayne Morris.
WAYNE MORRIS: Well, good morning. Welcome to Day Two of Convergence 2015.
I’m delighted and privileged to be here with you today. You know, Convergence is one of the high points in my year because I get to meet so many great customers and partners and see the amazing things that our customers are achieving.
Today I’m going to talk about how technology is radically changing the landscape for small and midsize businesses. We’ve got some great demos lined up that will show you what’s possible when you apply new technology to transform business. And I’m really excited to be joined later by two business leaders who will talk about the journey that they’ve been on in transforming their business.
As you heard from Satya yesterday, we’re committed to empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. And when we say every organization, we truly mean it. This doesn’t just start and end with large enterprise-scale businesses. Microsoft is deeply committed to helping small and midsize businesses worldwide achieve more through the most intelligent cloud by reinventing productivity and by making computing more personal. In fact, you could argue that nowhere is technology more important and having a more profound effect than in small and midsize business space.
Now, make no mistake, so-called small and midsize businesses, roughly those that employ 250 employees or so, are a critical, vital part of our economy. And while you may be small individually, together you’re huge. Look at the numbers: 90 percent of all businesses are SMB. You employ 60 percent of the global workforce, generate half the global GDP, and SMBs are at the heart of innovation and growth and risk-taking and innovation.
We are deeply committed to SMBs. And it’s also personal to me. Before I joined Microsoft, I was the founding CEO of a business intelligence software company. SMBs are a segment of the economy where technologies like cloud and mobility are just having a dramatic impact.
Now we’re in the midst of a once-in-a-generational technology change. Cloud and mobility are completely redefining the technology landscape for SMBs. What was once too complex, too difficult, too expensive is now made possible and accessible to SMBs. With cloud, you have access to enterprise-class services. And it’s not just about infrastructure. It’s about business applications and productivity tools, and business intelligence, all now available through affordable, scalable subscription plans
The same is true for mobility. What used to be nearly impossible, to be able to work from anywhere while remaining connected to your information and your colleagues, employees, your customers, is now a reality. Salespeople, operational staff and business owners can work from anywhere, anytime, and be fully productive. Teams of people can meet and collaborate in real time. It’s significantly changing how we work.
And for SMBs, technologies can make a difference, setting you apart from your competition. Boston Consulting Group identified technology leaders, those small and midsize businesses who are more likely to adopt new technology. These leaders are five times more likely to invest in new technology. And they far outperformed their peers, as you can see. They grow their employee base almost twice as fast as other companies. And they grow their revenues a full 15 percentage points faster. Interestingly, they don’t necessarily spend more on technology as they grow, but they do invest for impact.
So technology can be a major differentiator, but the challenge really is how do you get going? Where do you start? With Microsoft, combined with our partners, we can bring you unique capabilities and solutions that will help make that modern technology a reality for you in your business.
Now when it comes to technology, it’s not just about growth. It’s also about survival. Businesses as we know are almost completely dependent upon all of the people that work there. And without a doubt the best and brightest don’t want to work for a company without technology. We’re also seeing this shift. Today only about 10 percent of SMBs have millennials that are people born between 1982 and 2000 in their senior management roles. But we’re going to see over the next ten years that this is going to shift to where those millennials become dominant in leadership in SMB.
And you can see here in a recent study nearly 80 percent of millennials said they look at innovation within companies when they’re deciding where to work. And they believe that technology makes life easier. After all, these are people that grew up with Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and they expect to have those same kind of capabilities available to them when they come to work. If your technology is old, you’re going to have a hard time attracting and retaining this new wave of talent.
Microsoft empowers small and midsize businesses by making technology a business advantage. We let you choose your own path to that modern business environment with flexible, complete, and adaptable technologies and solutions for your business. For SMBs, Microsoft Office technology’s designed to support your business goals and your ambitions and your growth.
We let you effectively manage finance and operations so you can grow efficiently and adapt to change and streamline your business operations and be able to have those flexible, modern business processes. We help you safeguard your business, and it’s not just about protecting your data and protecting your customers, but it’s also being ready to be able to react to a business change or a disaster or something else that happens.
Mobility is very important. We’re all mobile today. So we provide the ability for you to access your data, your information anywhere, anytime. And most importantly, we give you that ability to connect with, engage with your customers, by understanding and learning more and capturing more information about your customers as they go through their journey across all the touch points. And whether it’s the way that you market in a more personal, one-to-one manner, or whether it’s in the way that we can empower your salespeople with social insights so that they can understand what’s happening in your customers, in the marketplace, with your competitors, so they can have richer dialogue, or if it’s in the way that we allow you to do customer care across many different channels, so you can support your customers when, where and how they want help.
So let’s see the technology in action. We want to show you an example of a complete business solution and what’s possible using technologies from Microsoft.
Please help me welcome Jesper Raebild to the stage. (Applause.)
JESPER RAEBILD: Good morning, Wayne. Good morning everybody. What I’m about to show is what we call a business solution from Microsoft, Office 365 working together with Microsoft Dynamics NAV on my desktop and mobile. So like many other people, I guess, I start my day in Outlook and this is my Outlook powered by Office 365.
I can see that I have an e-mail here up top that came in last night from Bonnie and she’s asking me to provide her with information about customers that have an outstanding with us, customers with a balance. Now, I can go into my site in Office 365 and navigate to the team site where I share information together with my leadership team. So if I click on my LT team site you’ll be able to see that we can actually share information coming directly in from Microsoft Dynamics NAV, as well as information from SharePoint.
So I get my finance performance up here and my trial balance, my trial balance is there. I can also get the finance reports that I use the most, so I have access to, you can say, the core set of reports that we use to run our business.
WAYNE MORRIS: So you don’t have to be an NAV user at this point to be able to get to that?
JESPER RAEBILD: Exactly. All my teams, all my employees know how to use SharePoint, they use it for collaboration every day, and we can provide them with the kind of information they need from Microsoft Dynamics NAV without going in there.
WAYNE MORRIS: Excellent.
JESPER RAEBILD: Now the information that Bonnie was requesting was for customers. So as I am a power user of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, let me just go into NAV here. And you’ll see that I don’t need to log in again. I’m taken directly into Microsoft Dynamics NAV, because we all use Azure Active Directory to handle the authentication.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay.
JESPER RAEBILD: So this is my role center. This is what is important for me. I can see sales, purchases, and finance performance and these little traffic lights show me how we’re doing right now.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay. I can see that we have some redness. You’d better get on it.
JESPER RAEBILD: I’d better get on it, don’t I? Now the request from Bonnie was about our customers. So I can go in and take a look at our customer list. I can filter them based on which of our customers that has a balance. And these are now our customers that have a balance with us.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay.
JESPER RAEBILD: Now this might not be the easiest way to share information with Bonnie. So I can go ahead and simply say open in Excel.
WAYNE MORRIS: I notice on there you even have a little map that’s showing you where those customers are. So if need be you could drive there and collect.
JESPER RAEBILD: Well, let’s take a look at who actually owes us money and see if we need to go and visit them.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay.
JESPER RAEBILD: And by the way, the maps came, of course, from Bing Maps. Now, these are the customers that we came up with in the search with the filter we did before and we can go ahead and share that with Bonnie. And I simply click here and this is where it’s amazing. I get to share with people. I’m not sure what the alternative is, but we’ll go ahead.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay, let’s share with people.
JESPER RAEBILD: Let’s share with people. And in this case it was Bonnie. And you can see her name is coming up there already. And we’ll go ahead and share this report with her. And as you have seen we have been using Outlook, we’ve been using SharePoint, we’ve been using NAV, and now Excel, all with the same user experience throughout.
WAYNE MORRIS: Excellent.
JESPER RAEBILD: Now let me go back into my e-mails again, because I think there was another e-mail there. You can see that I have been CCed on the report that I shared with Bonnie. But, I’ve also gotten an e-mail from Alex right here and Alex tells me about the great news that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is now available on tablets.
WAYNE MORRIS: Well, that makes it easy for people who are mobile.
JESPER RAEBILD: It does, indeed. You talked about from desktop to mobile. So let’s try to make that shift by going onto my Android device.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay. You can tell Microsoft has changed. We’re actually allowed to touch Android devices now.
JESPER RAEBILD: I wouldn’t have thought that last year, but that’s the longer story. So again with Office 365 I have my Outlook. Office 365 became available for Android in late January. And the reviews are in on the Outlook application already and that is one of the best e-mail applications on the Android platform. I have my e-mail from Alex and he showed me that I can get Microsoft Dynamics NAV running in three easy steps. Download the app, configure the connection and then sign in.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay, sounds good.
JESPER RAEBILD: And I can choose the app platform that I need and in this case it’s Google Play. So I click in on this link, I’m taken directly into the store where I can install Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Of course that comes at no additional cost to run this applet client. So at this point I’ve already installed NAV. I can click open and you’ll see Microsoft Dynamics NAV opens.
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay.
JESPER RAEBILD: Now, I’m going to talk a little bit about the fact that if we need to get this onto tablets for all the people in the organization or people who bring their own devices, then it’s got to be easy to configure. And if I go into my e-mail that I got before from Alex you can see that I’m also — I also am giving a link to configure the connection to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. So I simply click on the link and I’m taken back into NAV and now I’m configured to point against the Microsoft Dynamics NAV that we are running.
WAYNE MORRIS: Excellent. I think I could handle that.
JESPER RAEBILD: I think you might have a chance at that, too, Wayne. Let me just sign in here and hit go. And I’m now logging into my tablet experience. And what you’ll see is that what I’m seeing on the tablet is exactly the same that I had on my desktop before, except that it’s designed for touch first. So I am connecting to my NAV and we’ll get my role center from before up. It’s right here. It does have a little bit of a different look and feel, but you see the same numbers that enables me to focus on my task.
And what we have done is we have enabled people to focus on content, as well. So if I tilt my device you can see that I remove all my navigation and simply focus on the content. And if I take it back into landscape mode I get my navigation back again. Now, we could take a quick look at some of the invoices that we saw before, posted sales invoices in this case. I saw in my little Excel report that it was an insurance company called Haddock that was having the biggest outstanding. Let’s just spell that correctly.
And I can easily search and find the information that I need. And I can go ahead and say print, if I now go to them in order to get our money back I can go to them, bring my tablet, and I can open up the invoices, we can take a look at them together, and I can use Office, in this case Word, to show them the document together with them and we can take a quick discussion about our outstanding.
But, I’m just showing you Word, as well, because with Microsoft Dynamics NAV we can actually go in and create the report layout in Word, another way to increase productivity in our organization, because everybody is familiar with that. One out of seven people in the whole world are using Office. So that’s 1.2 billion worldwide. That’s an impressive number.
WAYNE MORRIS: All right.
JESPER RAEBILD: And with that we have shown you Microsoft Dynamics NAV together with Office 365 from desktop to mobile, from server to cloud, as you said before.
WAYNE MORRIS: All right, excellent. Well, thanks very much, Jesper. I appreciate it.
So to recap, I mean this is great. You just saw financial management tools working very seamlessly and transparently together with productivity tools through the cloud and onto tablets. You also saw that familiar user interface that your people will love to use, not have to be forced to use. And that’s important, as well, when we think about user adoption.
So let’s move now into looking at what’s possible with a business solution from Microsoft. And we’re going to talk about how one customer has taken this solution to transform their business. Let’s play a short video, and then we’ll have a conversation.
Well, Mary, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I just have to do this. Ladies and gentlemen, please help give a great Irish welcome to Mary Catherine Donahoe.
MARY DONAHOE: Thank you. Yes, that is a very Irish name.
WAYNE MORRIS: You should never have told me your middle name.
MARY DONAHOE: I probably shouldn’t have.
WAYNE MORRIS: So welcome and thank you for joining us.
MARY DONAHOE: Thank you for having me.
WAYNE MORRIS: You know, Geary’s has such a long, rich history, 85 years as I understand. Tell us, how have you gone about using technology to modernize Geary’s while still remaining true to the brand value?
MARY DONAHOE: Absolutely. So we did open our doors in 1930, and since that time we have done an exceptional job of delivering customer service the old-fashioned way, which was on paper. And the CRM solution allows us to do that in a digital format, so that we can streamline things, so that we can deliver uniform service to our clients as a company rather than just individual by individual.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s excellent. When we were talking, we were talking about how do you go about justifying this, and we talked about most companies look at these hard numbers. They’re looking for revenue growth or ROI. But you took a different path.
MARY DONAHOE: We did. So we didn’t go after this from pure ROI numbers, at least not overtly. What we did is we decided that if we could deliver this to our sales people in a way that they would embrace it, we could free up their time, and then they could refocus their efforts on what really mattered, which is delivering service to our clients. And we see a growth in ROI just by doing that.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s brilliant. And I think one of the things that we’ve also touched on, user adoption is just so important to ensure success of these transformations. How has that been with your users?
MARY DONAHOE: So yes, user adoption, for anyone who has ever tried to do it, is just a nightmare. And we were surprised at moment one our sales associates embraced this. When we went to them and said, we want to do what you’re doing in a new way and make it better for you, they really embraced it, and from moment one were on board, and we barely got this iteration out and they’re already asking us to take it to another place.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s brilliant. And if you were to kind of summarize a day in the life of one of your associates, and how it’s changed and what’s that meant, not just for them but for the customer, what’s that experience?
MARY DONAHOE: We have a lot of automated workflows. So a lot of things that we used to have to do manually through e-mails and phone calls and actually leaving the floor and walking around we now have automated, and it’s really given them a profound ability to reconnect with the client, grow their sales, be looking for opportunities to change our assortments. It really has made a powerful difference for them.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s brilliant and from the customer perspective, as they walk in, what do they experience now that they wouldn’t have?
MARY DONAHOE: So what they’re going to get is, for instance, if a salesperson happens to be on vacation or get a day off, we’re great since we let them do this from time to time.
WAYNE MORRIS: Not very often.
MARY DONAHOE: We are able to continue to deliver that seamless customer service because everything about them is maintained in CRM, everything that they’ve bought, everything that we’ve discussed with them, everything that we’re currently working on is in the record. And so any other person can open the record and see everything that’s happening, and it’s as if the salesperson is standing right there with them.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s just great. I mean that really helps engender the relationship. And I think you mentioned this already, not just from the customer to the individual, but from the customer back to the company and the store.
MARY DONAHOE: Absolutely. So that we are as a company holding the hand of every client every day.
WAYNE MORRIS: Great. Well, you know, we’re here with some of our friends and peers, and you’ve taken this journey. If you were to provide some advice or here are some things to think about as maybe some of the companies here are going to take this journey, what would that be?
MARY DONAHOE: So I think the two big things are make sure that you have the right partner when you bring this project on board, make sure that you ask all the questions in advance. And really go to the end user, decide who is going to be using this product, and decide what they need, and ask that question. And if you deliver back something that is meaningful to them, they will want to use it and they will want to grow it. And it will be a good thing.
WAYNE MORRIS: Yes, I think that’s part of it, making it very personal for the people who want to use it.
MARY DONAHOE: Absolutely. We found that the whole front-end/back-end situation, what you really have is a different set of users looking to engage with the data in a different way.
WAYNE MORRIS: Yes. And I think that was one of the important things for you is connecting that front to the back office.
MARY DONAHOE: Absolutely. We do have a very robust connection between our Microsoft Dynamics CP and our CRM. So it’s very important.
WAYNE MORRIS: Excellent. Well, Mary, thank you so very much for being with us and for sharing your story with everyone here. I appreciate it.
MARY DONAHOE: Thank you. Have a great day.
WAYNE MORRIS: Thank you. (Applause.)
You know, I’m always so impressed by what our customers are achieving with technology. And I think one of the key things that Mary’s talked about is the ability to connect their CRM with their ERP in order to get that full view of the customer and ensure that they’re delivering that customer service.
So what we’re going to do now is take a look at the power of what we can offer in a combined solution, especially when you add in one of our most exciting and most recent product offerings, which is PowerBI.com.
So please join me in welcoming Errol Schoenfish and Laura Robinson to the stage to demonstrate just that. (Cheers, applause.)
LAURA ROBINSON: Thanks, Wayne. Good morning, everybody. My name is Laura Robinson. And for today’s demo, I’m going to play the role of an owner of a small business called Blue Yonder Solar Panels.
And with me, I’ve got Errol. And he’s going to play a member of my finance group. So we’re going to take a look at a real business problem from the front-end systems that we’re using to the back-end systems and back again. And we’re going to show Office 365, Microsoft Social Engagement, Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP, Yammer, and PowerBI.com. So let’s get started.
So as an owner of a solar panel company, I’ve got to stay on top of my business both from the inside and the outside. Solar energy is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources in the industry. And so there’s a lot of buzz going on on Twitter, on blog posts, and in the news. And a lot of the seasonality that we experience is actually not driven by the weather, but more by incentives and customer demand.
So if I go into my inbox, I’ve got a trend alert that’s feeding from Microsoft Social Engagement that shows me that we’ve actually had a spike in our tweets around solar energy that’s up 253 percent more than our weekly average. So let’s go into Social Engagement and see what’s going on.
So if I go into Microsoft Social Engagement, I can see a number of different things. I can see my sentiment, I can see how people are feeling about different topics that I’m tracking. I can see location of where those posts are coming from around the world. And I can see how we’re trending on a timeline basis, as well as the conversation.
So let’s go into my search topic for Blue Yonder Solar. And I can see that we’ve got quite a positive sentiment going on. And if I drill into the U.S., which is where most of my customer base is, I can see that if I zoom in here on my Bing map embedded in Social Engagement, a lot of those posts are coming from the northeast corner of the United States.
And so this is actually real, live data. So I can go in and look at those posts and get just kind of a pulse of what’s going on. And so this could be some news that’s hit, this could be an offer that’s gone out through one of our retailers. But I can basically get a spot check. And I can even respond live time through social engagement.
But I’m not going to do that right now. What I’m going to do instead is actually go to my internal view of my company dashboard because if there is an increase in interest in my customer demand, I’m going to need to match that with the opportunities that we have in our pipeline with our retailers, as well as the inventory that we have in stock.
So let’s switch gears and go to my company dashboard.
Now, PowerBI.com is a really powerful engine. And it gives people like me who I might not be a PowerPoint and PowerPivot wizard, the ability to ask a question into the dashboard and pin my results to the dashboard.
And so here I’ve got a number of different KPIs from new cases I’m tracking with my customers, my satisfaction rating, how much revenue have we closed in the last 12 months?
But what’s really interesting to me is my sales forecast as compared to my inventory. And, in fact, I can see that my inventory is going down over the next 90 days. So if there is an increase in demand, I’m going to need to match this.
So I’m going to go into my dashboard. And I’m actually going to search for all of those open opportunities that are expected to close in the next 90 days with my retailers and understand what kind of products I have lined up for them to close and where do we need to supplement with additional inventory.
So let’s choose this top opportunity with Fabrikam. And I’m going to go into CRM and get a view of this.
So Dynamics CRM as a business owner lets me understand how my sales team is tracking my opportunity. And I can see on the top bar I’ve got my process. And this tells me where we are in our process. So I can see that this opportunity is, in fact, going to probably close on time.
I can also see in the yellow bar that I do have an alert driven from GP that I’ve got a shortage of inventory based on the products I have lined up.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to reach out to my finance team. And I’m going to say, “Hey, can somebody please take a look at this, we need some help.” I’m going to use Yammer embedded within CRM because Yammer allows me to reach out to a number of different people as a group method. And the person who is closest engaged can respond in real time.
So I’m going to ask them for some help here. And I’m actually going to tag Errol so he receives it on his end. Now, he may or may not be working, but he’s going to get that notification. And he’s going to be able to drill into CRM into this record to see the context of what’s happening from this Yammer post.
ERROL SCHOENFISH: Great, my turn?
LAURA ROBINSON: Your turn, Errol, you’re up.
ERROL SCHOENFISH: All right. All right. So, again, I’m going to be playing somebody in sort of the finance and operations area. And in this case, kind of specifically looking at purchasing.
And we know that you all wear many hats. And I’ll be wearing many hats in this demo also, and working with Microsoft Dynamics GP as my ERP solution and also Office 365 and PowerBI.com.
So when you look at my home page in Microsoft Dynamics GP, I can surface Yammer inside of Microsoft Dynamics GP also. And the first thing that I see is Laura asking about a shortage situation.
And I can easily find out some more information with the charts that are on my home page of Microsoft Dynamics GP where I see items that have the order points higher than the on hand, which leads me to believe that there’s a quantity shortage potential that’s going to happen in the near future.
Now, what would be nice for me is some information on where that forecast is going so that I can communicate with my suppliers to make sure that I have the right quantities on hand for what’s happening in the sales area.
And I do that easily through SmartLists and sending that information to Excel. Anybody ever heard of Excel? (Laughter.) Okay, that was a joke, and you can laugh. We all know that you love Excel.
But what you probably didn’t know is the ability to do some very comprehensive forecasting directly from Excel. And so what this allows me to do is take my historical information and actually predict what’s going to happen in the future. And that way, I can share this information with my supplier and be able to act on it very quickly.
So you see in this chart here, I have a predicted quantity level that’s sharply rising, which matches exactly what Laura was seeing earlier in the social aspect.
And we can easily share that with my supplier through an instant message and see if we can act on this very quickly.
I’m going to message my supplier and say, “Please take a look at this. And can we move up our blanket order to cover?” Now, you operations/purchasing people know what I’m talking about. And this way, I have this direct access to my supplier using Skype for Business and we can communicate with them on what’s going on and they can look at the information that I’ve just shared with them through Excel.
So what I’ve done here is solve the problem. Apparently she was having a coffee or something at that particular time. So since they can cover that blanket purchase order, all I need to do now is actually go back to Microsoft Dynamics GP and send off the blanket purchase order to my supplier so that they can fulfill that. And that’s done in quick, easy steps of just finding that order and sending an e-mail.
Now, I solved the immediate problem of quantity shortages, but I actually want to provide some information back to the sales and marketing team. And so I do that, again, with PowerBI.com.
It looks very similar to what Laura had, but in my case, I have information that’s specific to me as a purchasing person. So I have a lot of inventory information and dashboards that make sense for me.
But there’s a feature in Power BI that I really love. And it’s called “bump and shake.” I know. I know. You’re all wondering what this is. It’s a great feature that allows you to take two data sets and combine them very easily.
So in this case, I have opportunities coming from my CRM solution and I have historical sales coming from my ERP solution.
Now, normally, it would probably take you 30, 35 minutes in PowerPivot and Pivot Tables to combine that. But with the power of Power BI, I simply bump them together and it automatically combines the data. Did you see that bump? And shake. And now they’re back apart. Isn’t that cool? Bump and shake. (Applause.) I think we can do a dance to that, Laura.
LAURA ROBINSON: I kind of just did.
ERROL SCHOENFISH: In your own mind you did? All right. (Laughter.) Let’s continue on with that, though.
What the bump and shake does for me is in combining the data, I can actually see the outliers. In this case, I have one of those retailers that we work with. And their opportunities are very high compared to their historical sales. And so that’s information that the sales team would want to know. This is a potential new kind of hero customer for us, a retailer.
But it makes me wonder if we actually close all of the opportunities for this retailer of ours, potentially, is there a credit limit problem that’s looming down the road that we want to solve ahead of time?
And I can see that easily by changing my chart, taking some information off, and then throwing my credit limit on that line.
So here’s that retailer. Again, high amount of opportunities coming from CRM. And if we close all those, there’s going to be a credit limit problem. So that’s something else that the sales and marketing team want to know.
Well, guess what? I can share this information very readily with the sales and marketing group right here sharing in Microsoft Office 365 and the power of PowerBI.com.
LAURA ROBINSON: Thanks, Errol. You solved my problem, you found potentially a new problem, and you’ve solved it already.
ERROL SCHOENFISH: All right.
LAURA ROBINSON: Thank you so much. And thanks, everybody, for joining us through this journey.
ERROL SCHOENFISH: Thank you. (Applause.)
WAYNE MORRIS: Thank you, Errol and Laura. Remember that PowerBI.com is available now. And if you have data, even if it’s just in an Excel spreadsheet, you can get started right now and start to create some really compelling dashboards that can help you get those insights and make some compelling decisions. Check it out, let us know what you think. Just go to PowerBI.com and get started. The Power BI team talk about “ten seconds to wow.” So put them to the test.
You know, I want to bring on one more great example of a customer that’s transforming their business with technology because this is where it really becomes totally real and transparent. So let’s play a short video and then we’ll have another conversation.
(Video: Kelly Roofing.)
WAYNE MORRIS: (Applause.) Please, everybody, welcome Ken Kelly from Kelly Roofing. (Applause.) Now, I do know that it is St. Paddy’s Day, I mentioned it earlier, but I noticed you even have a shamrock on your logo. That’s a little bit excessive just for today. (Laughter.)
KEN KELLY: It’s every day for us.
WAYNE MORRIS: You know, I bet when people hear “roofing company” they don’t really think about cutting-edge technology. So what motivated you to make that transformation?
KEN KELLY: Sure. Not traditionally do you think a roofer is going to be so techy, if you will. But we realized, as many small businesses start to grow, they get a great foundation, a base. And they reach a certain point where they know they can take this and make it bigger.
And we kept hitting a wall. It seemed like the process we were trying to deliver fell short. Customers started to complain whenever we started growing past a certain point. And I knew we needed software to help us keep everything under control, to ensure that the processes that we had are delivered to every customer, and so they receive the level of service that they expect from us.
WAYNE MORRIS: Now, that’s very important. So talking about the customer, then, how has that modernization of technology affected the experience that you can now deliver to the customer?
KEN KELLY: So it’s pretty neat. Being a very small company in a small territory, we get comments almost on a weekly basis that they perceive us as a national organization. They just really don’t realize, because there’s so much professionalism behind what we do, they don’t realize that we’re just a small, family, local, hometown business.
WAYNE MORRIS: And I know that you were telling me that not only have you been able to grow, but it’s also had an impact on being able to contain cost as well.
KEN KELLY: That’s true. We have now in the last three years doubled our revenue. And we haven’t needed to add anyone on the office staff to help administrator the level of projects that we have now.
WAYNE MORRIS: And that’s so totally important. And what about for you personally? How has it changed your kind of world?
KEN KELLY: So as the president of a business, ultimately, the responsibility falls all on me to make sure that we deliver to our customers. And having a robust software that has alerts and keeps everyone in line throughout our process really helps me manage the business and frees up time.
WAYNE MORRIS: You know, time is very important. And I know that you’re a busy guy because I know not only are you running this particular company, but you’ve got a lot of external interests as well.
KEN KELLY: Sure. So I’m an avid pilot. And I actually fly for Life Flight, Mercy Flight, and Angel Flight. We provide transportation for those in medical need who can’t afford to get where they’re going.
And then, also, I’m on the board of a project called Hope Contained, a very exciting venture, where we’re taking recycled shipping containers and converting them to homes for developing nations. And how I got into that was I designed the roof system for that unit.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s a brilliant thing. And I also know a personal story here. You were telling you met your fiancé on one of these life flights. That’s quite a pickup line, but it’s also quite a ways to go to meet someone.
KEN KELLY: Well, she’s very impressive as well. She works in the realm of transplant. And I actually flew a patient to her transplant center. So me in my pilot jacket, her in her lab coat, I guess we just hit it off. (Laughter.)
WAYNE MORRIS: Okay. Everybody loves a person in uniform.
You know, like so many small and medium businesses, coming back to the business angle, you seem to have gone all in on the cloud. Why did you do that?
KEN KELLY: So we’re a very mobile company. As you can imagine, we’re always out in the field working on homes and businesses. And we just couldn’t be tied to the office.
So mobile was very important to us. We use it on all device — phones, tablets, computers, we have laptops in all of our trucks. And everybody carries a device, even our crews. And it helps us to keep that moving.
I’ll give you an example, this is kind of fun. So if our estimator was to go out and give an estimate at a home, if they won the job right on the spot, they just simply convert the opportunity to one, and the office automatically gets triggered notifications to start preparing that project for production. They’re not rolling out of the driveway before the customer is getting a call saying, “Hey, by the way, your schedule date is X.” And they are so impressed with that level of communication because we use the cloud.
All of the files, photos, anything that we needed for that job in order to accomplish it correctly has already been uploaded to the cloud, the office has it, and they’re immediately logging it in, ready for production.
WAYNE MORRIS: I think that is really important. I think all of us have had that experience where we bring someone in to do some home repair, renovations, whatever. And then as they’re leaving, we’re kind of wondering, you know, is it going to happen? Will it happen on time, et cetera? So that must give your customers so much confidence.
KEN KELLY: It certainly does. And what’s neat is you can set clear expectations up front through the automated communications whether it is e-mail, text message, or even old school. People just like a phone call. But the system reminds us, hey, this is a customer who prefers phone calls. You need to make this phone call at this time, and they are always comfortable throughout the entire process.
WAYNE MORRIS: That’s brilliant. So again, you know, while you’re here, we’ll put you on the spot. What advice would you give to other businesses that are thinking about this kind of transformation, particularly in the area of that customer experience?
KEN KELLY: Sure. So we learn best from our mistakes. So here are a few that I hope that others don’t have to make like I did. Number one is you don’t really know your business, at least you think you do, but the way you want your business to run and the way your employees are actually doing it are usually two different things.
So what we did is we gave all of our employees a stack of Post-it Notes. Real old school. And we said, “Write down everything you do throughout the day.” And we took those Post-it Notes and we lined them up, what we called the “customer journey.”
We took out anything that we felt wasn’t adding value to either the customer or the organization. And then we also tagged anything that could be automated and done through the system automatically.
And, I’ll tell you, it was really cool to, one, get buy-in from our employees, but then also to be able to streamline our entire process and save a lot of time and ensure that we’re delivering that same level of satisfaction to our customers.
Another thing I would suggest is when you find a partner, understand that your partner is going to bring to the table world-class business principles. However, you, yourself, are unique because your business is successful because you’re different.
Although you are going to bring these world-class principles into your organization, don’t get fit into a can. Keep that uniqueness. Make sure you stay different, because that’s ultimately what made you successful.
WAYNE MORRIS: And that really is your competitive advantage, I think.
KEN KELLY: Agreed.
WAYNE MORRIS: So thank you so much, Ken. I really appreciate you being here, great story, compelling success, and a great partnership.
KEN KELLY: Thank you. Appreciate it, Wayne.
WAYNE MORRIS: Thank you. (Applause.)
You know, it’s just great to see a company like Kelly Roofing taking on that kind of challenge of modernizing their business and, obviously, succeeding and succeeding very well.
Before I was talking to Ken, I just love one of the things that he said, which was a bit of a challenge to us all. He said, “If a roofing company can do this, any company can.” So, please, take up the challenge.
You know, we’ve seen some great examples here this morning of small and midsize companies that have modernized their technologies, transformed their business, and transitioned them to be highly productive businesses.
Over the course of yesterday, today, and throughout this conference, you’ll hear more about our commitment, about bringing the most compelling, modern technologies to small and midsize businesses and organizations of all sizes to make computing even more personal, to reinvent productivity and business processes, and deliver that through the most intelligent cloud.
We talked about the breadth of solutions that we’ve had. And you have the opportunity to see those in the experience center. From devices to platforms to business applications, productivity, business intelligence, all coming together to provide you with the solutions you need to transform your business.
So the question I’m going to leave you with here is: What’s your next step? What are you going to do to modernize your business? And you have a great opportunity here at Convergence.
I’d encourage you to take advantage of that, to talk with your peers and network, to go onto the show floor and see some of the examples being demonstrated. We have other customers that are actually on the exhibition center. Talk to the partners, extract everything you can from the sessions, and then go and make it happen in your business. Transform your business to a modern, highly productive organization.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)