Is it a Budget That SMBs Can Feel Good About?

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer completes the delivery of his March 2016 Budget, and the business community take time to digest and understand the implications, James Crowter, Managing Director of Technology Management has a few initial thoughts himself on whether it’s a good or weak budget for firms.

“This budget largely gives the stability to mid-sized businesses that they really need. The cuts in corporation and capital gains tax will enable the quicker reinvestment needed to transform to the digital businesses that will thrive in or out of Europe and even on a global stage.

“UK business needs investment to improve productivity rather than just employing more people. Tax breaks will go some way to improve cashflow but are only one part of the solution. Investing in business processes as well as developing the skill sets of current employees and changing a mindset will prove invaluable in a volatile economy which awaits the outcome of Brexit and all the possible hurdles that will or won’t create.

“The corporation tax reduction is especially important as competing with European companies, especially from Ireland and the Netherlands at the moment puts us at a disadvantage currently.  It does tempt you to start up in those countries rather than export from the UK. The currency fluctuations in recent weeks have made that especially appealing so this redresses that somewhat.

“I’m sure though that our food and beverage customers will not be paying a lot in ‘sugar tax’. Reward always drives behaviour and they will adapt quickly to preserve their market share while avoiding price hikes by revising their recipes to fit around the new legislation when the detail becomes clear.  It’s great that this will benefit our children (and a lot of adults) but I hope George Osborne has not counted on it for his deficit reduction plans.  

“The personal tax free allowances increasing at the basic and start of higher rate are nice as most employees tend to look at what they get to take home. There are an increasing number of senior professionals above £100k that lose their personal allowance completely by £120k that won’t be impressed by this however – that threshold has not changed since Gordon Brown introduced it and is starting to bite with more and more. If he’s not careful we will see some of those most skilled moving abroad because of the effective 66% tax rate on anything extra they earn. Overall though the tax system is too complex and one day he should simplify it but happy with what we got today.   

“Businesses need confidence back in the economic arena. There’s always more that can be done to support businesses through the rough times but one has to be realistic that the Government’s purse can only stretch so far. Innovation and research and development need to score higher up the pecking order if growth is to be achieved. Technology enhancements to improve business processes need to be encouraged or even incentivised so firms invest but hopefully with the tax breaks, there will have a little more cash in the bank to enable them to do this.

“We await the EU Referendum and fingers crossed whatever the outcome, Britain’s prosperity regains momentum.”

Microsoft Surface Book is Now Available: a brilliant hybrid made for Dynamics users on the go

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Yesterday saw the UK availability of the new Microsoft Surface Book – a great new addition to the existing Surface Pro 4 and Surface 3. For business users, the Microsoft range of Surface devices deliver a realistic alternative for the traditional laptops with:

  • Portability  - the power of a laptop in the body of a tablet
  • Productivity  – the simplicity of a tablet designed specifically to work with all your Microsoft applications – Office, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM
  • Versatility – every Surface goes from laptop to tablet in a snap, works anywhere that your day takes you, and connects seamlessly to your other devices. With multiple ports and the very best digital pen experience, Surface will redefine what it means to work effectively in the office, studio or café.

For a more independent view of what the new Surface Book can deliver, here’s a useful review by the Telegraph http: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/02/17/microsoft-surface-book-review-a-brilliant-hybrid-made-for-window/ and to discover which Surface is the one for you, here’s an overview of the different surface options https://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-gb/devices/compare-devices

Contact us today at surface@tecman.co.uk or contact your Account Manager

Drive up performance with a Complete Business Software Solution

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On Tuesday 8th March 2016, we will be hosting a free Dynamics Food event (Microsoft Dynamics NAV tailored specifically for the Food Industry) to help you drive up performance in your business.

Want to join?

Sign up here for our seminar, which will be held at Microsoft HQ in Reading.

We’re Moving!

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We have completed on the next big advance for Technology Management Ltd – we are moving premises to St Mark’s Church in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton.

That’s one small step for our team and one giant leap for Technology Management.

Moving only a short distance from our offices on Waterloo Road, upgrading from our current residence in a rectory to a converted church building, offers us more than double the office space and the ability continue to provide the support our growing customer base needs.

Our £1.75 million investment will see the imposing 19th century Church, which has lain empty for over 2 years, undergo a 12 week refurbishment programme to get the property up to scratch, ready for the big move.

James Crowter, our managing director is delighted we have completed on St Mark’s, a major landmark in the city, and said “Whilst we are sorry to leave our offices in Waterloo Road, we’ve just run out of the space we need to be able to respond to customer demand. These are exciting times for Technology Management – our staff numbers have doubled in the last four years and our current plans suggest we will double again over the next four years.”

For the full story and updates on our impending move – see http://bit.ly/1nSRXp0

Black Friday: Lessons Learnt for companies selling B2B

Back in 2014 Black Friday hit the UK, with some well publicised ugly scenes in UK high street stores.

This year, it seems people had learned from the past and were more prepared and we didn’t see the same levels of frenzied queuing and stampeding into the stores.  According to Springboard, a retail data consultancy, shopper numbers were down 6.5 per cent in stores across the country from 8am to midday on Friday.

However, despite a drop in store visitors, reports indicate that overall spending increased with trading up 25% compared with the beginning of the month.  It seems the option to shop online from the comfort of a home or office proved to be more appealing than a potential battle with a queue of frustrated customers.

Data from an internet address lookup service, PCA Predict, backed these stats up showing online activity was up 28 per cent by 2pm on the Friday.  And a press release by the market research organisation GfK reports that internet sales made up 75% of the overall value increase for this last Black Friday.

While Black Friday is not of significance to everyone’s business, the stats confirm what everybody already really knows – that internet sales are increasing in importance.  And whether you are in a niche or mass market, more and more customers are expecting to be able to transact business with you via an e-Commerce route.  Even companies with a traditionally business to business model are finding that their customers are wanting to have the convenience of placing orders with them online.

This might be a daunting prospect for those who have never ventured into the online e-Commerce world, but it can also be an opportunity, both in terms of efficiency and customer growth.  But key to gaining the most from the efficiencies that can be made and taking advantage of electronic orders (whether EDI or e-Commerce) is having integration between your front end (e.g. web) and back end (e.g. ERP) systems.  There is little advantage to be gained in moving from a system where someone manually rekeys an order from a telephone call, to a system where someone has to manually rekeying an order from an email generated from a website.

Technology Management’s e-Commerce platform which sits on top of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and seamlessly takes items and prices (including customer specific pricing) from Dynamics NAV to allow your customers to place orders over the web and passes orders back, directly into your backend system without the need for rekeying or manual intervention.  The addition offers much more than just items, prices and orders and gives what you would expect from a modern e-Commerce site with a fraction of the cost of a traditional commercial CMS system.

An e-Commerce solution integrated with your back end system gives your business a way to take away the problems caused from miss-hearing telephone conversations or miss-transposing an order or the delay caused by someone not being available to pick up a phone; it also gives your customers what they want – a quick, easy way to transact business with you.  Our e-Commerce NAV addition will allow you to and your customers to take advantage of the on-line world with very little
outlay and will grow with your business.

Our customer, World Animal Protection, have been recognised by Microsoft for Outstanding Business Achievements

World Animal Protection was recognised by Microsoft® with the 2015 Small or Medium Business Award as part of the Microsoft Visionary Awards program. The 2015 Visionary Awards, which are presented in 10 categories, recognise and celebrate Microsoft customers that have achieved notable accomplishments using their Microsoft solutions.

World Animal Protection are a valued charity who work both in the UK and throughout the globe to campaign against, and prevent cruelty, to animals. Their important work is dependent on the international coordination of their funding, people, vets, governments and educational assets. To continue to provide effective support, treatment and work within local communities, World Animal Protection turned to Microsoft. The complete solution of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Dynamics CRM and Office 365 has enabled the charity to work in the most cost effective way.

A single worldwide installation of Dynamics NAV enables World Animal Protection to streamline reporting and compare performance across their operations. Dynamics CRM is used across their 14 international offices to manage all press communications, corporate sponsorships and engagements as well as monitor social media discussions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their blogs. Solutions such as Skype for Business, SharePoint and OneDrive, delivered as part of Office 365, enable staff to work collaboratively, globally.

We are thrilled World Animal Protection have received this award, which was presented to them on the opening day at this year’s Convergence conference; it’s a testament to the great work they do 365 days of the year.

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World Animal Protection are set to demonstrate their real-world transformations with Dynamics…

On 30th November to 2nd December in sunny Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft are hosting an event to demonstrate to the business shapers and leaders of today the tools needed to help organisations succeed in the marketplace of the future.

Able to experience how organisations like yours are putting technology and services to work in order to achieve growth, solve problems, and create new business opportunities, Convergence promises to be a conference to remember… and our valued customer World Animal Protection will be front and center.

Every day, in every country, millions of animals are suffering. With projects around the globe, World Animal Protection helps end the needless suffering of animals, influences decision makers to put animals on the global agenda, helps the world see how important animals are, and inspires people to change animals’ lives for the better. The Microsoft Dynamics solution, including Dynamics NAV, Dynamics CRM and Office 365, helps World Animal Protection achieve their mission by enabling collaboration, increasing efficiency and eliminating bureaucracy. This allows the team at World Animal protection to spend more time in the field to drive real impact and help protect the world’s animals…

See a sneaky preview of the story at http://bit.ly/1WTSmlu

Microsoft Most Valued Professional at the Helm of Wolverhampton Firm

Our MD James Crowter has achieved Microsoft Most Valued Professional status for the UK and we couldn't be more proud!

MVPs (Most Valued Professionals) reside in more than 90 countries, represent over 30 different languages and cover nearly 90 Microsoft technologies so James’s award for his work in the field is a significant achievement.  Individuals receiving the MVP award do not work for Microsoft nor do they represent the company or any other company with whom they work.  Microsoft MVP's are independent people that are chosen based upon their accomplishments within technical communities. 

Years of dedication and knowledge sharing in the technical community have led James to this appointment… and long may it continue!

To see the full story visit http://bit.ly/20weFC9 

Technology Management customer, Bounce Europe, are spreading the word about Dynamics NAV 2016

Kicking off on Tuesday 10th November at the London ExCel arena, Microsoft’s Business Day at Future Decoded Expo is set out to be bigger, bolder and better than ever before.

There will be presentations from Partners and Microsoft Product Groups and even customer stories – you will be able to hear directly from peers and their business transformations…

Including one of our customers, Bounce Europe!

Bounce Europe have grown 60% in the last year and expect that trend to continue.  Bounce have won contracts to supply both Tesco and Boots, who are the UK’s largest grocery and pharmacy chains respectively and this will more than double the retail outlets their products are currently available in.

Bounce Europe have been on board with Dynamics NAV for many years. They have been a part of the Microsoft Dynamics TAP Program with us at Technology Management and were one of the first companies to upgrade to NAV 2015 last year and this year were first in line for the NAV 2016 update!

Bounce Europe’s COO Gary Smith will be talking about their experience with Dynamics NAV 2016, Dynamics CRM and Office 365 and how the changing technology supports them in their growth…

For a little taster watch… http://bit.ly/1PCSdDG

Achieve Peak Performance with a Complete Business Software Solution

In October, we will be hosting a free Microsoft Dynamics NAV event to help you "Achieve Peak Performance" in your business.

Want to join?

Sign up here for our seminar being held on Wednesday 21st October at http://bit.ly/1VrKC9o

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