Author: Jeremy Jalie, Business Development Director
At their recent Ignite Conference (Microsoft’s annual conference for IT professionals) in March, Microsoft’s Chief Executive, Satya Nadella, presented a keynote focused on how cloud computing would develop over the next decade. In his gentle but authoritative style, he presented five very sensible ways that cloud computing would change during the 2020s, and also some very sensible (if not a little conceptual) ways to frame the key drivers and benefits.
Throughout 2021, Silverbear is proactively asking its clients on legacy, on-premises versions of our software to upgrade to Silverbear 365, our latest, full-cloud system. Like Satya, we think there are several very sensible reasons why they should do this, and I thought it would be very sensible to outline these in plain terms.
(A colleague of mine who reviewed this blog suggested it would be very sensible to point out I say “very sensible” a lot. Very sensible advice, so please bear with me… but she’s very sensible compared to me anyway.)
Firstly, there are some very sensible reasons why persuading clients to upgrade is good for Silverbear. Last year, we had a number of significant successes in this enterprise, not least upgrading two of our largest clients, the Royal College of Nursing and the Natural History Museum. These were both successful projects and enabled us to develop and embed an effective upgrade approach that will make the process smoother and easier for others to follow. (For more insight into these projects, please visit the Case Studies section of our new website - sorry, I couldn't resist at least one plug!) Secondly, Microsoft ended mainstream support for Dynamic 2016 (the last on-premises version of the platform) in January 2021, which means we will now focus our development efforts exclusively on our cloud version. Finally, another important request we’re hearing from organisations in the membership sector is the ability to “take control of their destiny” in terms of platform management and development - something Silverbear 365 can offer in unparalleled ways due to the flexibility of the underlying platforms we use namely, Microsoft Dataverse, Power Platform, and Azure.
There are also some very sensible reasons for membership organisations currently using on-premises or legacy CRM systems (earlier versions of Silverbear, and many others) to upgrade now. These include significant returns on investment from moving to Dynamics 365 (Forrester have an excellent Total Economic Impact Study about this), increased data security and compliance in the trusted Microsoft cloud, and the ability to negate future upgrades through Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy (best exemplified by the way your Office apps like Word and Excel just update with new features automatically). It’s no coincidence that expenditure on cloud systems has grown by over 90% in the last five years, or that most CIOs are planning to increase investment this year. Furthermore, with the inevitable society-wide adjustments to working practices that will follow the Covid pandemic, there is also a very sensible strategic opportunity to prioritise cloud computing to support flexible, home, and hybrid working arrangements.
So, very sensible reasons abound.
However, one of the reasons I love what I do is that I passionately believe there are also many creative, engaging, dynamic, and exciting reasons to upgrade to Silverbear 365, and I don’t want to write a blog post that is ‘very sensible’ but no fun. So here are my top 3 alternative reasons to upgrade this year:
Number #1: many of the tools, and especially the Power Platform, is fun. You don’t have to wander very far from Microsoft’s corporate website to uncover a world of creative and innovative Power App developers who are helping businesses to improve performance by making data easier to capture and utilise in enormously innovative ways. I often point to this video because I'm a big fan of the author, but definitely check out how to build a full UFO sighting management solution in 45 minutes... how cool is that!
Number #2: innovation in the cloud is fast and furious. The speed at which new features and tools are being made available in Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform continues at a blistering pace... there are hundreds of new features in the first wave release of 2021 alone. Also, these innovations are at your fingertips in the cloud. It is very frustrating to see new and better ways of working in the platform you’re using every day but not be able to access them because you’re stuck on an old, hosted version – and I know this because I’m told it three or four times a week! - so upgrading is definitely the best way to avoid this.
Number #3: having a newly upgraded system should be fun for all your team. There’s a fantastic new interface, thousands of new features and tweaks that make day-to-day use a little easier and more convenient, and the opportunity to learn a host of new tricks and join in the innovative buzz around Dynamics 365 and the platform. (Go on, treat yourself!)
So, there are lots of good reasons to upgrade, not just very sensible ones.