Assuring a quality solution throughout your project life-cycle
Assuring Project Quality…
Project Managers will frequently grapple with the subject of project quality. Should it be factored at the start, middle or end of a project life-cycle? Who is responsible for project quality? There are a number of methodologies for ensuring project quality, which is the best? In the following article, we take a look at the ways to ensure quality can be met and how we achieve it at SeeLogic.
A holistic approach
At SeeLogic we take a holistic approach to delivering projects. This means taking the ‘best’ aspects of both Agile and Waterfall. Our experience reveals that Agile works well to assure parallel stages but there will be a stage in every project where release candidates are based on agreed functionality. Taking this approach ensures that the solution is enriched through effective defined sprints, show and tell sessions and final functionality. The solution is industrialised using this approach.
Using Microsoft’s Sure Step Methodology an approach known as the Quality Management Manifesto is progressed to achieve a solution delivered process.
The latter assures customer expectation management is mapped by initially listing conditions of satisfaction together with an attitude of continuous improvement for the project. The aim is to achieve a ‘consistency of purpose’ to achieve continuous and permanent product and service improvement.
In the Sure Step methodology, project quality control and assurance are manifested through each cross-phase of the agreed implementation plan.
Microsoft Sure Step Methodology Diagram from Microsoft
Examples of where quality control and management are accentuated and specifically applied:
- The Programme Management cross-phase uses specific activities and templates focused on Quality control.
- The Quality and Testing cross phase focuses on due diligence to ensure the solution is customised as per agreed standards and requirements
- Under the Optimisation umbrella a proactive approach /oversight from a technical and governance aspect is taken, including actions that can be performed during production to ensure that the solution will continue to operate effectively.
- Performance management is key to ensure that the solution is tested from a load perspective.
- Service readiness testing is key to ensure that infrastructure, anticipated expansion or review of roles and responsibilities is considered in advance of any solution release.
CoS elements are identified at the outset of an engagement and noted with a published and agreed with client Project Charter. The assigned project manager is responsible for working with the customer to ensure that activities agreed will be executed rather than leaving them (the project charter items) to be lost and not be a prominent driver for the project.
A key component of project quality control during the implementation is Tollgate Reviews. Our experience has found that for a typical waterfall project, Tollgate reviews are called out at the end of each Phase (or agreed with client gate). With waterfall type projects, Tollgate reviews assess project health and reviewing key milestone.
For Agile projects, we ensured that Tollgate reviews take place at the end of every agreed Sprint, effectively, conducting a retrospective.
Tollgate reviews are key to ensure CoS are being met.
Key Quality and Testing Cross-Phase
SeeLogic prioritise testing as key to the success of a project as it assists in reducing ambiguity in the final configuration, development and test stages. These standards are gathered and documented in our test plan. The latter communicates general procedures when conducting software testing and validation. The plan may also encompass projected business processes and workflow changes anticipated in the customer organisation.
The Test Plan also provides a general overview of monitoring and testing activities that will be performed during the course of the implementation. Test plan essential elements include: rigour, recommended number of tests, test throughput (estimated time/resources needed from both the client and SeeLogic to perform tests), orientation for test team members (guidance on acceptable levels of performance and how to ‘mark’/grade a rest result and agreed levels of Priority 1 and 2 failures. A resolution and regression test process is also documented.
Sub-process testing is also conducted. For example, checking if a specific function is intuitive and as per agreed design.
Whilst the latter focuses on a sub-set of a customer’s workflow, the Process Test is a complete set of related features and functions that make up a defined business process.
Data Acceptance Testing (DAT).
DAT verifies for example, data migrated from an existing system to the new system forms the correct data subset and cleansing has taken place. In addition, validation of all data needed for transactions, enquiry and reporting will be available.
Other essential tests include: Integration testing and Performance testing. Finally, User Acceptance Testing focuses on complete end-to-end testing to ensure that the system that SeeLogic delivers meets the business requirement and test criteria initially established/agreed. UAT is typically performed in a Testing or Staging environment. The UAT leverages scripts that are prepopulated with test steps and expected results. The actual results of testing are documented for future reference and customer approval.
If you would like find out more about how SeeLogic can help you ensure your CRM project is a success, please contact us.
About the author:
Dr Savi is a crucial member of SeeLogic Projects’ team and has a extensive knowledge of project principles and delivery. Key highlights from his career to date include development of his own management and business methodologies. He has consulted on projects from large global enterprises including MBNA, Exxon, TSB and NatWest. He was Head of Consultancy at Unisys leading a 120 strong team. In recent years, he has successfully completed projects for: Deutche Bank, 3, Vodafone, Sky TV, O2, NHS, Dept of Health, BCS & Investors in People.
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Re-imagine productivity with Dynamics 365 for Financials
Re-imagine productivity – an exclusive e-book from Microsoft on how your small business could be transformed through Dynamics 365 for Financials. The complete small to medium business (SMB) solution combining financial processing with CRM.
Dynamics 365 for Financials is a revolutionary CRM from Microsoft that will transform the way your small business operates. It is part of the Dynamics 365 family and provides a stand alone platform that will handle all aspects of running your business. When the time comes to expand, Dynamics 365 for Financials seamlessly integrates with other Dynamics 365 products to provide extra functionality as your business grows.
Is Dynamics 365 for Financials right for you?
If you agree with two on more statements below then Dynamics 365 for Financials could right for you:
- Are you outgrowing your basic accounting software?
- Is it time to replace outdated systems?
- Do you have multiple systems that require a duplication of effort when updating records?
- Are you aware of inefficiencies or productivity constraints you know could be automated or improved?
- Do you have to apply ‘workarounds’ to complete data or make it usable in reports?
- Do you struggle with audit trails?
- Do your time constraints mean you have a reactive approach to new technology?
- Are you looking for a hassle free transition from the current situation?
- Are you looking for a complete, high functioning system that is priced sensitively for a small business?
- Looking for easy integration with existing systems if you prefer to start off with multiple systems for now?
- You are a small to medium business with between 5 – 99 members of staff?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials will enable you to deploy one solution to manage all your financials, sales, services and operations with the ability to connect applications like payroll, banking apps, CRM, e-commerce and customer APIs.
What’s more, this system integrates with popular Microsoft tools such as Office 365 meaning you will be able to set up customers, create quotes, process orders and submit invoices all from your Outlook inbox. There is so much potential and scope, it is best to experience the product first-hand.
Want to find out more?
To find out more about Dynamics 365 for Financials visit here or alternatively arrange a demo or free trial by contacting us. You can also download an e-book from Microsoft about how Dynamics 365 for Financials can re-imagine productivity within your business by following the instructions below…
Download the e-book: “Re-imagine Productivity with Dynamics 365 for Financials”
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IBM and Salesforce announce new partnership
Video of IBM & Salesforce agreement from Salesforce YouTube channel posted 21st March 2017
IBM and Salesforce announce new partnership!
IBM and Salesforce recently announced a new partnership that will be a landmark agreement. It will bring huge benefits to customers with smarter data insights that scale. The partnership sees the two technology leaders bring together their AI solutions. With Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson working together, customers will be able to get smarter, faster decisions across sales, service, marketing, commerce, and more.
You can find out more by watching the video below or visiting here. The technology leaders claim that together, Watson and Einstein will ingest, reason over and derive recommendations to accelerate decision making and drive greater customer success.
Comments on the partnership
Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM, commented: “Within a few years, every major decision—personal or business—will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies.” He continues “This year we expect Watson will touch one billion people—through everything from oncology and retail to tax preparation and cars. Now, with today’s announcement, the power of Watson will serve the millions of Salesforce and Einstein customers and developers to provide an unprecedented understanding of customers.”
Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce, commented: “The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful.” he continues: “I’m thrilled to form an alliance with IBM—no company’s core values are as close to Salesforce’s as IBM’s. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Initial features of the partnership
Initial features of the partnership will include:
- Predictive Insights through integration of Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson
- IBM Weather Insights for Salesforce
- IBM Application Integration Suite for Salesforce
- Bluewolf Dedicated Consulting Services and Expertise for Cognitive Solutions
If you are considering a new CRM or Marketing Automation platform and are interested in having a demo of Salesforce or IBM Marketing Cloud, please contact us.
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Infor and Marketo team up to transform customer experience
Marketo and Infor Partner to Transform Customer Experience for Global Enterprises
This Infor Marketo partnership article is taken from a press release by Infor on 8th March 2017
Marketo, Inc., a leading provider of marketing software and solutions, and Infor, a leading provider of beautiful business applications specialized by industry and built for the cloud, today announced their global strategic partnership to deliver engagement solutions that enable enterprises to build lasting relationships and drive revenue in the Engagement Economy.
“The explosion of digital technologies and touchpoints has made it challenging for enterprises to deliver the experiences that customers demand today,” said Steve Lucas, chief executive officer, Marketo. “Marketers are looking for solutions that enable a seamless and meaningful experience across devices and channels. Our partnership with Infor, a global leader in customer experience, provides market-leading engagement technologies that enable brands to create personalized and authentic experiences at scale for their customers. The partnership also broadens distribution of engagement technologies to meet the increasing global market need.”
This strategic partnership brings together two market leaders who are delivering innovative customer engagement solutions unmatched by the legacy marketing stack vendors. More specifically, the strategic partnership will:
- Create more value for the market by integrating Marketo’s Engagement Platform with Infor’s Customer Experience Suite to provide marketers with a more complete view of their customers so they can create personalized and authentic experiences that engage them across channels and devices
- Broaden the reach of Infor and Marketo engagement solutions across their combined customer base
- Drive greater sales and marketing alignment by providing account teams with a deep, holistic view into their customers’ journeys, and enabling them to deliver the best experience to every customer at scale
- Leverage an experienced sales engine focused on CMO relationships
“Engaging with target buyers today means doing so on their terms. Gone are the days of ‘spray and pray’ marketing. The Infor + Marketo solution aligns with our overall digital transformation strategy providing customers speed to transform while adding value to relationships at the right time, through the right channels – better than anything else available,” said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor.
Infor’s market leading Customer Experience (CX) platform with key customer interaction points across departments, combined with Marketo’s Engagement Platform will change the role of the CXO and redefine the delivery of customer advocacy and engagement across the enterprise.
“Enterprises are desperate to simplify and coordinate all of their customer engagement technologies,” said Gerry Murray, research director, Sales and Marketing, IDC. “Managing customer experience requires a holistic approach across all customer-facing departments and systems such as marketing, e-commerce, sales, finance, and service and support. Innovative partnerships, like the one between Marketo and Infor, will change the game in the enterprise by enabling seamless, scalable engagement solutions that drive business impact.”
SeeLogic is excited about the partnership and has already helped a global enterprise see the benefits of using Infor and Marketo combined. We look forward to future developments.
This press release was first published by Infor on 13th March 2017, click here to read the original.
Marketo provides the leading engagement marketing software and solutions designed to help marketers develop long-term relationships with their customers – from acquisition to advocacy. Marketo is built for marketers, by marketers and is setting the innovation agenda for marketing technology. Marketo puts Marketing First. Headquartered in San Mateo, CA, with offices around the world, Marketo serves as a strategic partner to large enterprise and fast-growing small companies across a wide variety of industries. To learn more about Marketo’s Engagement Marketing Platform click here
Infor builds business software for specific industries in the cloud. With 15,000 employees and over 90,000 customers in more than 170 countries, Infor software is designed for progress. To learn more about Infor iCRM click here
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Sage CRM discount offers for March
Sage CRM discount offers for March 2017
Spring has arrived and so to, the latest discount offer for Sage CRM Perpetual and Subscription licences.
Sage offer customers ultimate choice and flexibility to get the most from their Sage Business Management Solution. From Sales, Marketing and Service modules to fully integrated CRM, Sage help extend the power of Sage Business Management Solution across business, providing end-to-end visibility and data which enable informed business decisions based on accurate information at all times.
The good news is that all this functionality is now available at a discounted rate. Furthermore, there are discounts available for both new and existing customers so everyone can benefit.
March Sage CRM Discount Examples
For existing customers wishing to add to their existing Standalone Sage CRM system, new licences will be available at the following rate:
- 1 – 5 users: 5%
- 6 – 10 users:10%
- 11- 15 users: 15%
- 16+ users: 20%
New customers looking for a Sage CRM Subscription can get an extended 15 months for the price of 12.
There are other offers available all of which are only available until 31st March. To find out more or receive a free quotation, please contact us.
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Microsoft cloud deployment scenarios have the flexibility for every business need
In a recent blog by Sri Srinivasan, (General Manager, Dynamics 365, Operations in the Cloud and Enterprise Group), detailed the amazing expansion of cloud based services in mid-sized organisations. The full article can be found here, the following article is a precis of the original.
The expansion of the cloud
In the twelve months since the availability of Microsoft’s cloud ERP service (Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations) there has been a big increase in the adoption of cloud based applications by mid-sized and large organisations. Microsoft enterprise customers are increasingly choosing Microsoft cloud solutions. In fact, 4 out of 5 now select Dynamics 365.
Sri believes there is now a paradigm shift with respect to business applications. That organisations now prefer “shorter implementations, fewer customisations, repeatable industry or domain solutions and continuous updates. Most noticeable is the shift from systems of record systems of intelligence.”
Microsoft understands that businesses require uninterrupted execution of their mission critical business processes. Dynamics 365 for Operations plans to enable organisations to run their business processes from application servers at the edges. This means transactions are supported by local application services and business data is stored locally. The facility running at each edge is called “My Workplace”. This provides a central node in the cloud that gives a single view of the business across distributed.
Sri explains that the Microsoft cloud connection ensures data aggregation, financial reporting and intelligence. The cloud instance also provides local installation with data fail over in the Microsoft cloud, automated deployment and continuous updates. By Summer 2017, Microsoft will support a single “My Workplace”.
Local business data storage for the those that need it
Sri acknowledges that not all companies are are ready to store their company’s mission critical data in the cloud. This could due to industry or country regulations, data centre investments or enterprise standards. For these customers Microsoft will be launching a new deployment option that does not require their data to be stored in the cloud. The deployment option “local business data” will support running your business processes on-premise, supporting local transactions and storage of local data, without replication to the Microsoft Cloud.
Selecting the right deployment option
Microsoft want organisations to be able to select the deployment scenario that is flexible. One that caters for today’s situation with the option to change later, with choices ranging from full cloud, to cloud and edge, to local business data.
Table showing side-by-side comparisons of planned scenarios. Image taken from Microsoft 365 Tech blog
The scenarios “cloud and edge” and “local business data” are planned for release in summer 2017.
Microsoft will disclose more details about the deployment scenarios at the Technical Conference. The proposed dates are 12th – 15th March at WSSC, Seattle Washington though could be subject to change The registration page is available here.
You can find the full article from Sri Srinivasan on the Dynamics 365 tech blog here
To book a demo of Dynamics 365 with SeeLogic, please contact us
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Infor CRM Solution Strategy Workshop
Infor CRM Solution Strategy Workshop – A global conference for Infor Partners
7th – 8th February 2017. Atlanta, GA, USA.
SeeLogic recently attended the Infor CRM Solution Strategy Workshop in Atlanta to hear about Infor’s latest roadmap, their strategy and forthcoming products. It was a great opportunity to catch up with the Infor team, fellow partners and share best practice.
The conference provided an excellent opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest CX suite developments and for us to provide feedback to Infor on behalf of our customers. A number of Q&A sessions were fielded by Infor SVP Global Channel Business Unit, Jeff Abbott, demonstrating Infor’s commitment to getting things right.
Infor’s product portfolio now stands at over 100 solutions. Much time was spent discussing the Infor Customer Experience (CX) Suite, to which Infor CRM belongs. Focusing on the customer journey, it contains eight distinct modules providing alignment and operational efficiencies across all business departments. These include; Configure Price Quote (CPQ), Marketing Resource Management (MRM), Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), Omni-channel Campaign Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Rhythm (website content management and engagement engine), Interaction Advisor and Sales Intelligence for CRM. The vision for the platform is to reshape customer experience with a single cloud platform for both B2B and B2C businesses.
Finally, there was a great moment for us when the SeeLogic website was mentioned and commended for the information it contains about Infor CRM. So, if you want to stay informed about Infor CRM then do keep visiting us for more information, follow us @SeeLogicCRM or sign-up to our newsletter.
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Infor CRM is a CRM watchlist winner
Infor CRM Watchlist winner
Congratulations to the Infor team as Infor CRM was named a winner of 2016 CRM Watchlist and is placed in 2017 CRM Watchlist, soon to be released by ZDNet.
Writing in a press release on 31st January 2017, Infor outline the details of the award. They state that the CRM Watchlist is the annual who’s-who of CRM vendors according to mega-analyst Paul Greenberg. More than 135 companies submitted for consideration among the 25 winners, and once again Infor made the list, which is published by ZDNet.
Greenberg has designed the Watchlist to find companies that have not only had a significant impact in the market over the past year but also are built to continue that impact in the following approximately three years.
Impact is measured in many ways, according to Greenberg. It can be measured by inclusion on a vendor selection list, being a company that competitors set their compass by, being the subject of brand buzz, and more. All of this is considered, along with other areas where a company excels, such as excellent products and services, culture, and solid management with clear vision and strategy.
Jason Rushforth, GM & VP, Infor Customer Experience solutions explained that “We are honored to be named once again a winner on the annual CRM Watchlist. Achieving winner status on this list, as well as others like it, validates our continuing commitment and success in providing leading technology and tools to help our customers excel at customer experience, and drive disruptive change.”
SeeLogic is delighted to partner with leading CRM providers and it is great to see the Infor CRM solution go from strength to strength. If you are looking to implement an new CRM and want expert impartial advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.
To find out more about Infor CRM from SeeLogic, please click here
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SeeLogic visits BETT 2017 show
On Friday 27th January I visited the BETT 2017 show at the ExCel centre in London. The BETT show is a large four day event with the mission to build a better future by transforming education. It was a vast conference with a bewildering number of forums, discussions and stands. It was my first visit and I was astounded by the scale. I was also totally inspired by the technology and mission to put awe into learning. As SeeLogic is both a re-seller of leading IT provision and occasional developer of own solutions, it was important to see how software can be used to the fullest and keep an eye on latest innovation. With such a big conference it was tough to see everything, here are some of my key highlights below:
- Eric Sheniger’s hugely engaging talk on “Inspiring Students: How technology can put awe back into learning”.
- The STEAM village where pupils and older visitors alike could program Raspberry Pis, code machines or build robots.
- Microsoft is a major partner of BETT and they had a number of great stands: The maker area in the STEAM village, the class room with informative talks and the Partner Campus.
- Google for Education has a mission of bringing a range of services to educators. They had a busy classroom all day.
- Heston Blumenthal’s advice in his talk that everyone is creative they just need to break free from the fear of failure.
- The sheer scale of EdTech products and solutions available.
I left BETT 2017 feeling energised, inspired and excited, if a little way-laden with all the hand outs I was carrying. I highly recommend it to others.
Some rather blurry photos taken at #BETT2017 on Friday 27th January.
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AI for small business moves a step closer with Sage
Sage responds to small business appetite for cloud and AI, moving business builders closer to world of invisible accounting
A new blog from Sage today announces that it will be building on invisible accounting plans with a series of new launches. Sage research suggest that around half of small businesses say they are ready to run their companies using Bots and AI, according to a new global study.
Today Sage, announced a range of business statistics and future plans. These include:
- Global Innovation – announcing new availability of 5 accounting cloud solutions across 7 global markets for business of all sizes.
- 20,000 Sage AI users can’t be wrong – tens of thousands of ‘new to Sage’ customers adopt accounting chat bot Pegg in 6 months since launch.
- Over 100 new and fully integrated ISV’s – on the Sage Marketplace – building on Sage’s heritage of strong partnerships, including global relationships with Salesforce, Microsoft, Apple and Slack.
- Invisible accounting by 2020 – leading the business builders of tomorrow towards an ‘invisible accounting’ environment so they can focus on building their business.
Jacqueline de Rojas, Managing Director: UK & Ireland – Northern Europe, commented: “Our new Sage solutions are built to support the mobile and automated way in which our customers want to run their businesses. They are designed to empower business builders to automate back-office functions, operate with mobility in mind and live in a world where there is virtually no finance admin. Busy business owners want ‘invisible accounting’.”
The new products launched in the UK & Ireland include:
- Sage 50c – This new version is complemented by real-time insight, and is designed to give Sage 50 customers complete control over their accounts. Plus with the added benefit of Microsoft Office 365 integration.
- Sage People – Sage People is a new fast and flexible cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) solution for mid-sized businesses and enterprises. Now available in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
The AI revolution…
Over 1 million new customers have followed Sage to the cloud, resulting in a 46% increase in subscription relationships. Today, Sage announced that the first accounting chat bot Pegg now has over 20,000 users in 110 countries, and outlined how it was responding to this move to mobile, live, cloud accounting that integrates with AI technology.
Following market research conducted by Sage, which showed that 64% of small business owners would welcome “invisible accounting”, Sage announced its commitment to providing business builders and entrepreneurs with just that by 2020.
Sage CTO, Klaus Michael Vogelberg said “Because entrepreneurs don’t go into business to manage taxes and admin, our vision is to create a business environment for entrepreneurs where these tasks are invisible by 2020, freeing up business builders to follow their dreams.”
To read the full article from Sage, please click here