Customer information in the driver’s seat: Thoughts from Microsoft’s Future Decoded

At Future Decoded last week, I was pleased to speak on a panel with other individuals who have spent considerable time in the ERP space, like myself, and as such have been witness to the shifts this industry has seen.

Future Decoded 1

Previously, consultants like myself used to just implement systems. Moving forward to the current day, we see that businesses like TGI Friday’s are not just undertaking a systems implementation, but going on transformation journeys that require not just one but multiple technologies alongside creative and informed thinking in an ever-evolving industry.

Specifically, changing customer behaviours and demands have created the need for greater insight and segmentation and this has informed the way that we look at the role of business technology.

With the launch of Dynamics 365 which was made generally available on the same day, the event was a good opportunity to reflect on these changes, leading me to consider three fundamental shifts that have brought us to where we are now:

3 Key Behavioural Shifts


Businesses demand true insight from their data.

Data on its own is useless, raw, unorganised facts. (Ok – that was a bit harsh, but I think you get the point).

However, when it’s processed, structured and presented in an understandable context to make it useful, that’s when it becomes information.

What is happening is that there is a new norm to have a unified view of information across business applications. Today’s clients want real-time agility, rather than static reporting.

Information will move from what is often seen as a by-product of tech transformation to being the primary objective.

Clients are renting rather than buying

In the debate of OPEX vs CAPEX, the former is ruling. In other words, the question has now become – why haven’t you gone to the cloud already?

There is no longer any need to own data centres and an army of developers. With a move to the cloud, businesses can rapidly deploy disruptive technologies at a lower and predictable entry cost.

The cloud makes standing up new services, extending the capabilities to meet short periods of high demand or experimenting with services you may want to deliver – such as a retail chain gearing up for Christmas, a restaurant chain who needs to adapt to the weather conditions, or an online trader who is about to have a major sale – all possible without the need for long-term commitment.

I suspect that in five-years’ time, those who don’t already will consider the concept of buying operational hardware pure craziness!

Businesses strive to better understand their customers.

The buyer has shifted from exclusively being IT directors to include other executives such as CIOs, CDOs, CMOs and CFOs. This is best captured in the idea that software has become a business-focused buying decision.

Our customers are interested in understanding their customer’s behaviour better with a fundamental desire to change the way they engage with their customers.


So – I think it’s safe to say that our business has seen a few fundamental shifts, all underpinned by a desire for greater agility and a better understanding of the customer.


This is tech-enabled transformation and it has fundamentally changed the motivations of business solution buyers.


The move to Dynamics 365 is making this easier. The common data model allows seamless interaction between operations, sales, marketing and more – positioning businesses to respond to environmental shifts with greater agility than ever before.

This year, we worked with TGI Friday’s to transform their business with Dynamics 365 for Operations. For more information, watch the video below and get in touch with the team at