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Merging of HR offerings brings capabilities together for customers

It’s time for us to bring all new and future HR capabilities and enhancements within Dynamics 365 Human Resources to all our customers. We currently have two separate sets of human resources capabilities on two different infrastructures within Dynamics 365: Dynamics 365 Human Resources, which is a complete stand-alone application running on an independent infrastructure.…

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It’s time for us to bring all new and future HR capabilities and enhancements within Dynamics 365 Human Resources to all our customers.

We currently have two separate sets of human resources capabilities on two different infrastructures within Dynamics 365:

  • Dynamics 365 Human Resources, which is a complete stand-alone application running on an independent infrastructure. Our customers use this application to increase organizational agility and get workforce insights. All investments over the last three years have been focused on this application.
  • The HR module, which is a legacy set of capabilities that was previously part of our Unified Operations licensing bundle. Our customers received these HR capabilities as part of Dynamics 365 Finance or Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management. We have not been adding capabilities or enhancements to this module. The HR module runs on the same infrastructure as the other applications within our operations portfolio, which was previously named Finance and Operations.

As you can imagine, having two ways to access HR capabilities creates a lot of confusion. It also prevents our customers from experiencing the benefits that each set of capabilities offers.

By merging these capabilities onto the same infrastructure, our customers will see:

  • All the enhancements that we have added over the last three years, including improved leave and absence, benefit management, and reporting.
  • Improved extensibility through the Microsoft Power Platform and the ability to extend business logic to personalize screens and forms.
  • Improved deployment, updates, and maintenance with consistency in terms of Application Life Cycle Management, Lifecycle Services, Geographic availability, and more.
  • More technology innovation within the roadmap, as our engineering team now can utilize shared services, tooling, and reduce platform costs.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources will continue to be licensed and sold as a stand-alone application. With the merge, it will tap into the power of the Dynamics 365 shared infrastructure, the Power Platform, and the Dataverse.

This transition will impact customers that are currently running Dynamics 365 Human Resources and those that are using the HR module.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help with the transition.

When will the Dynamics 365 Human Resources infrastructure merge be completed?

The infrastructure merge will roll out in phases to better support all customers and provide time for transition planning. You will see new capabilities begin to roll out in the 2021 Wave 2 release. For more details, see the Dynamics 365 Human Resources 2021 release wave 2 plan. These phases will align with the version service updates, which start with the One Version service updates that start as a preview in December 2021. The merge will be complete in the 2022 Wave 1 release. (These dates are subject to change, so refer to the release plans for the most up-to-date information.)

When should my organization transition into the new infrastructure?

The transition for each company will depend on your current configuration and readiness to move to the new infrastructure. We recommend working with your business partner to determine the best path forward for your company.

  • Organizations that use the HR module will receive new functionality as part of the regular One Version update process. Features are planned to become generally available beginning in January 2022 (dates are subject to change, so refer to the release plans for the most up-to-date information).
  • Organizations using Dynamics 365 Human Resources will have access to migration tools to complete the infrastructure merge. Please check the release plans regularly to get up-to-date information on when these tools will be available. We will work with our customers to make the transition without an interruption in service. Customers will need to make the transition 12-18 months from when the migration tooling is available.
  • Organizations that use both Dynamics 365 Human Resources and the HR module will also need to use the migration tooling.

Will I lose any features or capabilities that I currently use?

Our objective is to minimize the impact of this transition for our customers, and we will not be removing any features. There will be functional parity between Dynamics 365 Human Resources and the HR module. In cases where the feature exists in both infrastructures, the Dynamics 365 Human Resources experience will be used.

Will the experience change for my users?

New capabilities will be managed through Feature management. This will allow our customers to decide which features they want to utilize. In some cases, we may need to change the experience; however, in those cases, documentation will be provided.

Are there any licensing changes or minimum number of user requirements?

Customers that have purchased Dynamics 365 Human Resources will not require license changes. The additional sandbox stock-keeping unit (SKU) that was specific for Human Resources will no longer be applicable. Instead, customers can choose to buy a Finance and Operations apps Tier 2 sandbox at a lower cost. Existing customers who have purchased a Human Resources sandbox will be migrated to a Finance and Operations apps Tier 2 sandbox at no additional cost. We will continue to require five minimum users for Dynamics 365 Human Resources.

Customers using the HR module will be required to purchase licenses for Dynamics 365 Human Resources starting in February 2025. These customers will get the new functionality as part of their current contract until February 2025 or until the current licensing agreement expires, whichever is earlier. Customers can also choose to move to Dynamics 365 Human Resources licenses earlier if it helps them achieve better cost savings.

What training and resources will be available to help with the migration process?

Full documentation will be provided to describe each step of the migration process in detail. We will also determine if any additional training resources, such as videos and workshops, are needed to help our partners and customers with a smooth transition to the new infrastructure.

Next steps

We recommend that you work with your partner to determine a transition plan that works best for your company. Our objective is to provide customers with the time needed for a smooth transition. You can also email specific questions to the Microsoft Team.

 

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Facebook: Giving Senior Dogs Loving Homes

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Celebrating many identities within a global community of impact: An Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month conversation

Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective,…

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Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective, Jane, what do you feel is different about this past year?

Jane Hesmondhalgh: We’ve continued on our journey of working to create an inclusive culture at Microsoft. And there is still a gap between our aspired culture and everyone’s lived experiences today. For some, that gap may be small; for others it may be larger. But the fact that at Microsoft we have this value system we’re aspiring to is, I think, very much aligned to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

We’re consistently working toward respect, accountability and high integrity at Microsoft. I would say that our continued work to make progress is not so much different this year, but that we’re focusing even more effort on it.

Unfortunately, this past year we have seen the continued trend of acts of hate toward Asians globally. But the fact that Microsoft is strongly supporting the community in the face of those is super critical for the community. And that much-needed support is not a one-time event where we say something and then we’re on to the next thing. It’s the ongoing recognition that acts against violence, injustice and inequities across the world are unacceptable.

SPS: That’s right. We’ve also been focused on community education in the wake of this alarming rise in acts of hate and violence — how the community can leverage safety practices, and how can we work with the local government communities to increase safety.

JH: Our Inclusion Council has also been really engaged in these discussions. Other examples of sustained commitment to the community include the events we’ve done to engage with external experts in ongoing learning such as Microsoft Include, and of course the support of our Asians at Microsoft Employee Resources Group (ERG). I have heard from the community specifically that one of the most powerful things they’ve attended this year are our community calls, where people have had the opportunity to talk through how they’re feeling with others who may have experienced similar things.

SPS: Based on what we heard from our community, we’ve also been increasingly focused on how we strengthen and support the advancement of the ERG and its members at the company. I am really proud of how we’ve been working with outside experts on leadership development across the company, all the way from entry-level employees to the most senior in the company. This is the kind of year-round investment that is directly benefiting the community.

JH: I’m so passionate about this piece — the leadership education for Asians and Pacific Islanders. When I started as the sponsor for the Asians ERG, that was the No. 1 feedback, that the community wanted unique and tailored leadership education.

As we know, there are 4.7 billion people in this broad community across the world. Asians and Pacific Islanders make up 60% of the world population. That really strikes me. Because within that, there are so many different perspectives. So, a question for you is, how do we ensure that different types of conversations and perspectives from the entire community are brought in?

SPS: As you said — 60% of the global population! And we are trying to represent diversity within the community at that scale. It’s actually one of our strategic pillars in our ERG — including all community members. I think we’re doing a really good job with that. The leadership team has ensured that we include many voices, and as a result of that diversity of thought, we’ve seen new steps and actions being taken. For example, we had an Asians ERG art exhibition. We had a day of remembrance where people could talk about their practices, cultures, ancestors. We had a stand-up comedy event. And we’ve focused specifically on women inventors. Those are just a few examples.

So, focusing on the many dimensions of identity within our global community ensures that we can all share our experiences and learn from each other.

JH: This leads me to reflect on the word “community” and what does that mean? With a global team located all over the world, how do we bring everybody together in a sense of community? At Microsoft the community is a combination of people, cultures and beliefs. So, I think that community piece is our connection to the history across the Asia Pacific region. Within this vast land mass, we can appreciate and understand the differences and uniqueness of the people in the sub-communities and societies. We talked earlier about Microsoft’s culture and values. I think one thing that helps us is that Asian values around integrity and respect are very similar to the company’s. And then of course we go beyond respect to actually celebrating our cultures. Each of our ERG chapters and groups, each culture, is a contribution that is valuable to the world.

And these values are actually critical for the work ahead, right? This year, next year and beyond, we want to tackle the biggest problems that divide us as a society. And we’ve got that microcosm of society within our Asian and Pacific Islander community. We can play a huge role in landing the mindset of interconnectivity and learning both within and outside the company. Each person must be committed to driving positive change, be more intentionally inclusive in the workplace and build our empathy. With this, we can build momentum to meet the challenges of the world.

SPS: Well said Jane. As you’re speaking, I’m thinking about my own personal journey as well. Part of my life I lived on a farm in a small village. I experienced a community there where everybody looked like me, spoke like me with a very similar kind of language. When I lived in various cities, that was the first time I’d experienced people looking like me but speaking different dialects.

And then when I started working on a multinational level, I encountered people who had such a range of cultural differences from me. What I’ve learned is whether it is living in a village, in a small community or at the global level, human values remain the same. I’ve realized more recently that as things become more complex, more turbulent, and we do not know what future will hold, the constant is the values that we all stand for. And that is true across the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and all across Microsoft and our nine ERGs and many dimensions of identities.

JH: You know, I never thought about it in this way but because you shared a little bit about your own background, I’ll share something about when we moved from the U.S. back to the U.K. In his new school, my son felt left out, and suddenly struggled with questions around “I am British, but do they think I am American or Chinese?” He didn’t feel that sense of belonging, and all these new questions of identity came up which he held to himself. Things did get better, but it reminds me that it’s all of our responsibility to help each other understand that while people are different, everybody has something to offer. People need to feel like they’re valued and that they can contribute without being judged.

SPS: It is so true. Thank you for sharing that. Are there any misperceptions about the Asian and Pacific Islander community that you would like to address?

JH: I’ve heard people say things like, gosh Asians are good at math and science, and they have an easier entry to STEM fields and occupations. I don’t know that I would ever categorize it as easier or not easier. There are many Asians who are not good at math and science, right? It’s a generalization, and there are a lot of these.

Another misconception is that because the Asian population is large, there are a lot of Asian leaders. But actually, the statistics have shown that we’re the least likely of all racial groups to become managers and executives. We need more role models and pathways to that senior level, which is where those development efforts we spoke about earlier come in. And of course, some other misconceptions came up during the pandemic around Chinese people.

So again, what combats these types of misconceptions and harmful stereotypes is learning and building our understanding and empathy for one another.

SPS: I absolutely agree. We will continue this work with the Microsoft communities and our leadership. I look forward to the impact we will make in the coming year. Thank you so much, Jane, for the chance to have this conversation. I look forward to our celebrations and recognition this month!

JH: Thank you, Srinivas! Happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Tags: diversity, inclusion

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3 ways to turn your field service operation into a revenue-generating machine

For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service…

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For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service teams were merely thought of as necessary cost centers. But like other parts of the organization, even the cost centers must learn to innovate and discover additional revenuegenerating opportunities.

Field service is the process of organizing and managing work tasks that need to be completed at a particular location, usually a customer site. The field service process often includes many variables and can be quite complex. It encompasses dispatching, scheduling, skills matching, and route optimization, to name a few. Many people have been in a situation where they’re expected to wait all day for a technician because they’ve been given a broad arrival window time between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. Well, that’s field service—albeit, a rather inefficient model.

As the field service domain evolves, companies are learning their inefficiencies in the field can quickly cost them revenue as customer satisfaction is negatively impacted and the lifetime value of their customers decreases. And while companies across all industries are realizing the extended costs of inefficient field service operations, those that are innovative have begun to understand how to also leverage field service to generate more revenue. Cost reductions by becoming more efficient can be great, but reducing costs while increasing revenue is pure gold.

Here are three ways to drive revenue through your field service operations and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service can help create efficiencies.

1. Lead generation

This may sound odd primarily because lead generation has always been a staple of marketing and sales operations. But who else gets to know your customers better than your field technicians? Here’s a quick personal story:

After a recent move, I called several internet service providers. For starters, I selected the provider that could deliver service in the least amount of time. Upon arrival, the technician asked about other services, particularly mobile phone service. Since I had a different mobile phone carrier, he said they have specials and asked if I would be interested in hearing them. Shortly after confirming my interest and completing my internet installation, a field salesperson knocked on my door and converted me over to their mobile plan. A lead generated and a sale transacted—all originating from the field technician’s simple question.

Field technicians are skilled workers that often have a series of tasks needed to complete the service. By simply including a question or by noting a specific item on their task list, a Microsoft Power Automate flow can be triggered to automatically create a lead and route it to the sales team. This creates a qualified lead for the sales team and a cross-sell revenue opportunity for the company.

2. Expanding business units: Field Service-as-a-Service

To truly turn your field service operations into a revenue generator, the current operation must become efficient. Efficiency requires innovation; that is, innovation of processes, system platforms, and people. When it comes to field service operations, it’s safe to say not all organizations innovate at the same pace and some prefer not to innovate at all. This is where your innovation and efficiencies can become a revenue-generating asset.  

For example, a large healthcare facilities provider began as a facilities management operation. They provided facilities management services to the vast and growing network of healthcare providers. Continuing to innovate and drive efficiencies with Dynamics 365 Field Service, the healthcare facilities provider quickly recognized the value they could bring to other healthcare provider networks and began offering their services to other hospitals. By leveraging their efficiencies, they were able to provide great value to more than 160 hospitals which allows their customers to create better patient experiences. The healthcare facilities provider is a great example of how field service efficiencies were used to create a revenue-generating business unit.

3. Connected Field Service: leverage data

Connected Field Service leverages IoT data collected from device sensors and integrates with Dynamics 365 Field Service to create a new revenue-generating service model. Connected Field Service allows organizations to graduate from the traditional break-fix service model to a proactive and predictive service model. This shift creates opportunities for organizations to market and sell new service offerings that yield greater revenue and increase margin.

A connected field service example is a Pacific Northwest mechanical contractor company. The organization specializes in developing energy-efficient buildings. However, by capturing the data from IoT sensors, their connected field service solution enables them to offer post-construction optimization services. IoT sensors capture a building’s energy levels and proactively dispatches a service technician prior to failure—thus, ensuring operational efficiency within their customers’ facilities. Building on their efficiencies, they can conserve and reduce travel costs by performing remote inspections and service with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. Such efficiency creates opportunities to sell more advanced support offerings thereby increasing revenue and profitability.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Field Service

The good news is that becoming more efficient in field service operations can be extremely valuable to your organization. The better news is that through innovation, field service operations can even be transformed into a revenue-generating machine.

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