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“Investing in a business application—be it managing one’s customers, tracking inventory, coordinating global resources, or just being able to get real-time visibility to cash flow—has never been so important. Gone are the days when companies invested in business applications, such as CRM and ERP, to simply streamline their supply chain or manage their sales pipeline. And gone are the days when these business applications were selected, implemented, and deployed by the IT organizations alone. Companies, and individuals within them, are relying on these business solutions to provide them a competitive advantage—an advantage that includes not only using the facts and data to generate information, but also to transform it to the knowledge that can be applied to gain a deeper understanding of the environment and provide a reliable business operating system for enabled intuition. This intuition of where to invest, how to plan, and when to execute in a well-planned, analysis-rich, and coordinated manner is what provides a competitive advantage to today’s organizations. The expectations of business transformation that business solutions can provide through product or service innovation, customer delight, and operational efficiency are making it even more critical to “get it right” and “provide the business backbone”. Sales, marketing, operations, and services are joining the finance and IT organizations to enable this collaborative change. We need to ask ourselves what we can do to not only provide this competitive advantage to our customers, but also to provide a solution to our customers, for them to be able to manage their own customers and businesses with better decision making.
When Microsoft decided to invest in a methodology for Microsoft Dynamics solutions, there was one goal in mind—provide our customers with a Microsoft Dynamics purchase, implementation, and an ongoing experience that is unparalleled in the business solutions industry. We determined that we needed a Sure Step way to achieve this customer experience—an experience that is predicated on learning from successful implementations, and equally from the ones that went sideways due to a lack of integrated due diligence and execution approach.
Sure Step provides our partners, our value-added resellers (VARs), our independent software vendors (ISVs), and Microsoft Consulting Services and field teams, with valuable guidance on people, process, and technology aspects that need to come together in a timely, predictable, and disciplined manner to help our prospects and eventual customers “get it right”. Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step is the culmination and ongoing journey to make this vision and experience real. Are we indeed investing in the success of our customers, and through that the success of the Microsoft eco-systems of partners and ISVs, keeping these principles in mind?
I have always believed (and known from first-hand experience!) that getting into college is only the first part of the arduous life-changing experience. Getting through college with the right skills, social temperament, informed career choices, and maybe, having fun through the experience, is often the most critical success factor for sustainable lifestyle. Investing in a business application such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM or one of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP products is not dissimilar. Making that right license purchase of software or signing up for the subscription of one of our online solutions is the key; making sure that the software indeed helps guide our customers to ensure their business success and meet their business goals is more critical. Understanding whether the solution is being analyzed, designed, developed, deployed, and eventually adopted and operated in context of the specific industry, with the right level of individual empowerment, in a relevant yet scalable manner to grow with the company, and eventually feel enamored and positively transformed by the experience, is what ensures success. Are we thinking about the customer investment and relationship we develop as transactional events, or as a strategic relationship we wish to develop and watch our customers graduate successfully from the implementation of the solution to reaping the rewards of their due diligence and implementation?
For our partners, Microsoft Services, and IT organizations of our customers, understanding the fundamental principles of any methodology, applying that framework to one’s business, and driving adoption of a familiar albeit new way of managing customer expectations requires de-mystifying the method behind the perceived madness! It also becomes critical for each of you to understand how you can use the power and persuasion of Sure Step to not only adapt it to the needs of your organization, but also for the specifics of the customer engagement that you are managing, and as a result help provide you a competitive advantage against the other business applications that may provide the capabilities but may not provide the “customer-focused” approach to lifecycle management. Are you willing to invest time and effort in putting more discipline and accountability into the commitment that you are making for your customers’ successes?
Chandru Shankar and Vincent Bellefroid have been loyal thought-leaders, advocates, and evangelists of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step from the day we embarked on this journey of on-time, on-spec, on-budget Microsoft Dynamics engagements. Chandru Shankar has tapped into his extensive experience working in the partner channel implementing business solutions, and through the architecture of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step, the deep insights, best-practice values, and the easy-to-comprehend guidance on why Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step recommends what to be done by whom, when, and how. He delves into the details and helps understand the value proposition of Sure Step not only from a sales or implementation perspective, but also ensuring that our customers are getting the most out of their investment now, and forever. The “brain behind the brawn” makes it an enjoyable journey (yes, for a methodology read!) through self discovery and relevant research that will hit close to home for many of you. Vincent Bellefroid has extensive experience dealing with the accolades and brickbats associated with going fearlessly where only the best and bravest readiness, adoption, and training experts can venture. He demystifies how you can embark on a journey of Sure Step adoption, and eventual excellence, within your organizations, by applying some time-tested techniques including Project and Change Management, real-life sales and deployment scenarios, and a roadmap of your success through structured roadmaps. It is hard for me think of a more qualified team to land the message, value, and approach of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step for our business solutions-focused, business-savvy audiences.
Business-ready organizations are looking to unleash the power of their Microsoft Dynamics investments as they look to drive better decisions, based on operationally efficient business solutions. These organizations have managed their businesses to date. Can they now measure and improve? Do they have the solutions, people, and processes adopted, deployed, and executed in a manner that helps them drive the shift towards integrated end-to-end business management? This book will provide the understanding and approach you need to measure your success through the success of your customers and their business solutions.”
Aditya Mohan – Director, Product Management, Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step
“One of the most important avenues to a partner’s business success—both short and long term—is their ability to manage customer expectations and deliver high quality solutions on time, on budget, and on spec. Sure Step encompasses a number of tools and guidance that enable partners to do just that—helping them drive profitable projects along with customer satisfaction and loyalty at the same time.
Partners with a proven methodology have a distinct competitive advantage, by offering customers peace-of-mind. We have been observing an increasing number of prospects asking for Sure Step-capable partners, so we absolutely recommend that existing as well as prospective Microsoft Dynamics partners adopt Sure Step. As an added benefit, partners will, instead of spending valuable resources developing and maintaining their own methodology, take full advantage of Microsoft’s ongoing investments to make Sure Step even more comprehensive and robust. Partners who want to add their own flavor to Sure Step have the opportunity to do exactly that, by treating Sure Step as a methodology platform and developing “the last mile” themselves, much like ISVs build differentiating solutions on top of our ERP and CRM applications.
No matter how a partner plans to leverage Sure Step, this book should help not only explain what Sure Step is about, but also how to get it implemented and adopted within the partner’s organization.”
Anders Spatzek – Director, Microsoft Dynamics Services & Partner Readiness
“Global organizations are typically geographically dispersed, and possess cross-functional teams with varying skill sets in different regions. Business solutions delivery for such organizations requires the ability to manage requirements and schedules, dictated by multiple forces. Also, influencers and power brokers can easily create scope creep and other issues to derail these important initiatives. A consistent methodology and taxonomy is an absolute must for dealing with the pulls and demands across these organizations, to ensure that the project stays on course.
Global delivery typically necessitates the involvement of multiple delivery teams, from the customer, to Microsoft, to partner organizations. Regardless of who owns the delivery of these engagements, it is of paramount importance that all the delivery resources are performing to the “same sheet of music”. This is also where it is essential to have a common and consistent framework of delivery.
For our practice, Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step is the tool to ensure success not only for our global practice, but more importantly for our customers and partners. We require that our consulting organization is adept with the methodology, advocating certification on the methodology, and also selecting partners who can work well within these parameters. This book will be an additional asset to help our delivery resources understand the core principles behind the methodology.”
Kundan Prakash – Director Business Solutions, Microsoft Services Global Delivery
“Providing Microsoft’s entrepreneurial partners and customers with industry best practices is vital for ensuring successful business growth. Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step is one of those tools that save time on implementations with the added benefit of bringing together the communication between a sales team and a consulting practice! Stocked with a multitude of templates aligned to a phased implementation process, you can find the right tools to use at each stage of a customer engagement.
In delivering the best knowledge to a global group of partners, Microsoft seeks out top business partners to provide insight and create new content that aligns to Microsoft product releases and industry direction. The result is a tool that brings over 800 pages of project management based guidance along with more than 700 templates, samples, and links to Microsoft resources.
As Sure Step can fit to any size of project, product line, a number of industry solutions, as well as both pre- and post-implementation activities, a new Dynamics team will benefit from guidance that will get them started down the right path to adopting Sure Step and applying it to their customer’s lifecycles. This book is sure to find its way to the front of many consultants’ bookshelves as the go-to reference for optimizing their use of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step.”
Lori Thalmann Pytlik – Sure Step R&D Manager
“Successful ERP and CRM implementations are dependent as much on the product itself, as they are on the people and processes used to implement them. Accordingly, ERP and CRM sales processes are successful when, besides proving ease-of-use and showing relevant product feature sets, they help build confidence in the minds of the customers that a well-defined path exists to get their vision and objectives materialized. Simply put, Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step is the tool that provides the confidence in the pre-sales cycle and assurance during the delivery, which makes a difference.
For our Microsoft Dynamics practice in Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS), we require all our consultants and project managers to be fully proficient and certified in Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology. This helps us in maintaining the high rate of customer satisfaction that we have in this business, as well as providing for an agile and responsive workforce that speaks the same language regardless of the project they are on, or at what point in the lifecycle of a project they were introduced.
This book does a great job in not only detailing out what Sure Step is, but how to best use it in various pre-sales and delivery situations to provide the confidence, consistency, and predictability in execution, so that it becomes one of the core differentiators.”
Muhammad Alam – Dynamics US CTO, Microsoft Consulting Services
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