SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Microsoft Power BI Visualizes Dynamics 365 Business Processes

By: Pedro Hernandez | May 18, 2017

A Power BI content pack allows Dynamics 365 customers to gain new insights into their business processes.

Power BIMicrosoft wants to help demystify the business processes of its Dynamics 365 customers.

Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-based business intelligence (BI) and data visualization platform, is typically used to create interactive visualizations that unearth insights using a wide variety of business data. Now, joint Power BI and Dynamics 365 users have tool that can help them get a better grasp of what makes their businesses tick.

The software giant announced the release of a new Power BI Process Analyzer Content Pack for customers using Dynamics 365 (version 8.2 and up), a cloud-enabled business application platform that integrates Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software along with a bevy of intelligent applications. The pack is available in the AppSource marketplace from Microsoft.

The Power BI content pack, authored by Microsoft staffers Christian Abeln, a senior program manager, and Karl Maybach, a senior content developer at the software maker, links directly to the Dynamics 365 database and generates interactive charts and other visualizations that represent business process flows. According to the company, users can then track and explore several of their organizations' performance indicators.

A step-by-step guide on setting up the content pack and creating custom business process reports is available in this blog post.

Also this week, Microsoft released a preview of Power BI Report Server, which enables customers of the new Power BI Premium licensing option to store and manage reports on-premises. "With this first release, you connect directly to an Analysis Services data model, which in turn can connect to a variety of other data sources, including SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, and more," stated Riccardo Muti, a group program manager at Microsoft Power BI in a separate post. "We aim to extend direct connectivity to the other Power BI Desktop data sources, targeting later this year."

Power BI Report Server will be generally available alongside Power BI Premium later this quarter, added Muti.

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Now Sales Is Buying Bright Shiny Objects, Too

 

 

Maas Companies ImagePublished on May 18, 2017

Jill Rowley

I’ve seen this movie before, over in MarTech. I spent a decade at Eloqua building the marketing automation space from 2002-2012. Scott Brinker coined the term Chief Marketing Technologist in 2010 and has documented the “category” growth from ~ 150 applications to over 5,000 in 2017. Anything that could be automated was automated - at least at some companies - often without much thought as to the strategic plan underlying these sparkly new toys.

Marketing Technology Landscape 1

 

 

Now, the same thing is happening in SalesTech. Here’s one glimpse at this expanding universe from Nancy Nardin at Smart Selling Tools:

Smart Technology landscape 1

And here’s a more analytical look at the landscape, minus all the players:

 

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5 Virtual Phone Service Features Your Small Business Needs

business meeting

 

Alicia Sandino

Entrepreneurs and small businesses are getting on board with a virtual phone service. Its mobile-friendly capabilities and business-focused features are just a few of the alluring aspects of this business communication service. Not too long ago, if you were an entrepreneur you had to rely on your personal cell phone plan and phone number to stay in touch with prospects and clients, keeping you from establishing a professional image. As a result, you most likely had to shell out a pretty penny to get on a business phone service plan with major providers just to seem like a credible business.

Today, a virtual phone service can give you the professional image you need with some of the best VoIP features available. The best part? You can see significant savings if you’re switching from a major phone service provider.

Call Continuity

As a new business, you want to maintain a reputation of reliability. If you’re looking for maximum uptime, call continuity is your go-to feature. It’s easy to set up and keeps your calls coming in so your small business can reliably service customers.

Voicemail to Email

As a small business, you want to make sure you interact with every client that comes your way. Voicemail to email keeps your messages handy and ready to view from your email so you don’t miss out on new revenue opportunities; doesn’t that sound like something every business owner would want? Don’t let this seemingly simple feature fool you- there are several ways to make this feature really work for you.

Automated Attendant

Are you still thinking about hiring a receptionist for that professional feel? Look no further than an automated attendant. With this indispensable virtual phone service feature, you can professionally greet callers, direct them to the right person, and inform them of new products or upcoming promotions.

Customized Prompt Menus

Prompt menus work hand in hand with your auto attendant to give callers a chance to make their experience better. Customize your menu to your own services to help callers get the assistance they need.

Call Logging

Keep track of your calls and conversations for more accurate follow ups and add a personal touch to your interactions. Although this is a tool that call centers typically enjoy, call logging can give entrepreneurs and their teams the data they need to increase customer satisfaction and ultimately, customer retention.

Is a Virtual Phone System Right for Your Business?

A virtual phone system isn’t for everyone but if using your personal cell phone number to take care of business is getting in the way of establishing yourself as a professional and credible business person, then maybe it’s time to explore how a virtual phone system can help grow your business. FastPBX offers a Nomad Plan which includes the services mentioned above along with 24/7 U.S. based support and no contracts. Run your business on a mobile device without sacrificing quality or your budget!

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4 Signs to Immediately Identify Someone With True Emotional Intelligence

Imagine the immense possibilities of working with a team that possesses these traits.

 

By Marcel Schwantes  Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core

 

brain ei 01 2017 209901

CREDIT: Getty Images
 
In a recent report, top human resources officers from global companies were asked what they see as the 10 job skills required by the year 2020 for workers to thrive.

One of those critical skills for success that made the top 10 list? Wait for it ... emotional intelligence.

According to emotional intelligence (E.I.) experts, E.I. has become an important predictor of job success, surpassing technical ability. In 2011, a CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals revealed that 71 percent valued emotional intelligence in an employee over a high IQ.

What to Look for in People With High Emotional Intelligence
If you're looking to work in a high-performing tribe of people with E.I, or build your own E.I. superpower culture, you need to know some of the key behaviors that show up in its five tenets of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

1. Look for people who show up with their true selves.
Transparency is a hot commodity in the relationship economy. Sometimes the tendency is for employees and bosses to hide, withdraw, stonewall, or put on the mask of false charisma or dictatorship to avoid tough situations or conflict. And that mask hides who we truly are as we order people around or forcefully command attention. In teams that thrive, you'll find people showing up with raw authenticity. It's leading in conversations and interactions with your mind and your heart, during good times and bad. You show up with:

  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Emotional honesty
  • A great attitude
  • An openness to feedback
  • A self-awareness of not only your feelings, but of those of others in your sphere of influence


2. Look for resilient people who display flexibility.
Priorities shift in almost every company and every job. Surround yourself with people who are flexible during change and will jump on every opportunity to help during a transition. They have the flexibility to deal with uncertain and unpredictable situations--a hallmark of true E.I. You also want to be around people with resilient minds. They deal in the factual (what's really true) and the here and now, and leave the ghosts of their past in the past. The most resilient people recover from bad situations by saying no to anyone who interferes with their goals and schedules, and especially their values and beliefs. Resilient people don't allow themselves to feel guilty about things that have nothing to do with them. They know they are not responsible for the actions and drama of others, and they never beat themselves up for something someone else did.

3. Look for people who manage their emotions better than most.
This falls under self-management (or self-regulation) in emotional intelligence and is a personal competence found in most high-performing teams. The question behind self-management is simple but rare: Can I manage my emotions and behavior to a positive outcome? Internationally known psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman says this about people with manage their emotions well:

Reasonable people--the ones who maintain control over their emotions--are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high. Top performers flock to these organizations and are not apt to leave them.

 

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Thoma Bravo Acquires Continuum, A Leading Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) Company

Firm’s Mid-Market Discover Fund Wraps Up Active Week of Deal Making  


BOSTON, MA and SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 14, 2017 – Thoma Bravo LLC, a leading private equity investment firm, today announced that it has acquired Continuum, a premier global IT management platform for Managed IT Service thoma bravoProviders (MSPs), from Summit Partners. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.  

Continuum, headquartered in Boston, is an international firm that provides MSPs with the platform, services and processes needed to simplify IT management and deliver high quality Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), backup and disaster recovery and security offerings to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Its vertically integrated service delivery model combines a SaaS-based technology suite with a best-in-class Network Operations Center (NOC) and Help Desk, and allows MSPs to remotely administer, backup and secure their clients’ IT environments from a single screen and to scale quickly and cost-effectively. Continuum employs more than 1,400 professionals worldwide and monitors more than 1 million endpoints for its 5,800 partners, including MSPs servicing more than 60,000 SMB customers.

“Continuum sets the industry standard with its turn-key approach in the Remote Monitoring and Management market for MSPs,” said A.J. Rohde, a Partner at Thoma Bravo. “We know this market well, and have followed the company for a long time.  What Michael George and his team have delivered on in terms of an innovative product suite and full software and services model has been very impressive, and we can’t wait to work with them to accelerate the world-class offering they deliver to MSPs, both organically and through add-on acquisitions.”

“The company has a smart and proven business model which solves a well-understood skills gap in the MSP market,” added AJ Jangalapalli, a Vice President at Thoma Bravo.  “With its strong growth and high customer retention, Continuum is a great fit with the Thoma Bravo portfolio.”

“Thoma Bravo is the perfect financial and strategic partner for us at this important stage of our company’s growth,” said Michael George, CEO at Continuum. “This investment will enable us to continue to capitalize on our core value propositions and increase critical investments in product development as well as sales and marketing tools for our MSP partners to help accelerate their growth. We are incredibly grateful for the partnership and support we have received from Summit Partners, and are confident that Thoma Bravo’s operational expertise, knowledge of the space and strategic support will be invaluable to us as we focus ambitiously on our company’s future.”

The acquisition of Continuum was made through Thoma Bravo’s Discover Fund, which debuted in early 2016, and comes on the heels of its acquisition of Riskonnect, an integrated risk management provider, announced last week. The Discover Fund enables Thoma Bravo to expand its investment reach by focusing on growth-oriented technology companies in the lower middle market. Previous Discover Fund investments include Bomgar, a cybersecurity provider; Elemica, a supply chain operating network; Infogix, an analytics company; and T2 Systems, a parking management software firm.

Kirkland & Ellis is serving as counsel for Thoma Bravo. Goldman Sachs and the Carlyle Group provided the debt financing for this transaction. Lazard acted as financial advisor and Goodwin as legal counsel to Continuum.

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