Keeping pace with changing dynamics
Levtech is a leading Microsoft partner and offers Microsoft Dynamics 365 apps. Deployment of business applications such as ERP, CRM and analytics is the company’s forte since it commenced operations nearly a decade ago. Anilesh Kumar, CEO, Levtech Consulting discusses the shifts in the applications landscape and the company’s domains of focus
Discuss the shifts in the application space that are enabling Businesses better in terms of decision making?
Historically systems were deployed to automate processes and create systems of record, so that you have history of what happened. You would have the audit of every transaction in addition to streamlining operations and driving efficiency. To a great extent, most companies, whether large or smaller, have today some systems deployed, disparate or standardized to automate many functions. Now, the major thrust is to enable insights from the data that the systems generate in live mode, to visualize certain outcomes from the data and use that intelligence to enable decision making in a predictive manner. Earlier, decision making was deferred to end of a month or quarter or a year etc and then the future course of action was finalized. But now decision making is more comprehensive because they can made on any given day in light of what has happened, predicting likely outcomes that could happen and for which the Business needs to be ready with multiple options. This is happening in a every function and every business. There is greater relevance for larger companies but even smaller companies need to look at the relevance of these insights that are gleaned.
Elaborate on your focus in the Applications space in partnership with Microsoft?
We have been in business operations for the past ten years and our focus has been on business applications, automating different functions of a Business such as Finance, retail operations, manufacturing on the shop floor etc. In the application space, we are firmly aligned with Microsoft on the Business application front and work with the Microsoft Dynamics suite of products. In 2016, we were admitted to the prestigious Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics, a recognition which is based on sales achievement and implementation delivery, ranking Levtech Consulting among the top Microsoft global partners.
In the past 18 months or so, Microsoft Dynamics has moved away from an on premises based solution to a cloud enabled one. They have removed the perception of ERP and CRM as silos. The acronyms that the industry has created for convenience do not matter to a business for it only recognizes processes. Microsoft seems to have removed that separation within a single business process that probably starts with an enquiry from a customer, is converted into a lead, which then becomes a sale, with invoicing and goods delivered and received etc, all part of one process chain. Microsoft has done a great job of building a single platform for taking care of all these business processes.
We have built up industry flavors on top of these applications. We shortlisted some verticals of potential and built vertical functionalities on top of the dynamics software suite. This has been a journey of the past two three years and the efforts address the need for these technologies in the verticals of focus. For instance, we built a customer engagement platform on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for retailers.
Discuss the rising role of AI in Applications?
The application space has also undergone a shift in the past couple of years. They have started embedding AI. So an ERP or a CRM today will have AI enabled to help automated recommendations in customer purchases for instance. Microsoft has built AI and analytics into these platforms and they are truly enabled by the cloud. Microsoft through Azure has native cloud capabilities and capabilities to deliver AI in a very scalable manner.
Microsoft has infused AI at various touch points of the application landscape so customers do not have invest in separate infrastructure, additional people resources, face no need to manage it closely as they are managed at the datacenter level, with even the upgrades being managed and provisioned easily through cloud. There is a greater value proposition to the customer through a common platform that is AI enabled.
Discuss your products for retail?
As mentioned before, we offer customer engagement platform on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for retailers called Engage 365. In retail, customer engagement is today a much more prioritized strategy that seeks to offer personalized promotions, communications etc, something which wasn't there a two to three years ago. We saw this coming before its time, built a platform for retail on top of Dynamics and recently this year, we have spun off a business focused around CRM, mobility, analytics etc for retail, which is Yegertek. This was a product incubated inside Levtech and it has been spun off. This is build on real domain expertise. The aspiration for the business is to go global as there is potential for it.
Within verticals, we cannot have half conversations anymore; there is a need to have deep conversations and deliver real value. The retail industry is a very competitive space in the brick and mortar as well as e-commerce fronts where AI adds further advantage. Withe Yegerteck, we have a strong proposition for the retail and hospitality space where customer engagement and experience is critical.
Which are the other products you offer?
For other vertical solutions, we offer solutions under Levtech. We have an end to end real estate solution Property 365 on top of Dymanics. While there are some international players in the domain, Microsoft didn't have a frontrunner solution provider in the segment. We saw our opportunity to build solutions for real estate on top of technologies from a leading technology vendor. We have built an end to end platform and has AI built into it. For instance, we have had real estate companies enquiring if the solution can suggest lease rates when a customer enquiry comes up. Real Estate companies have Facility Management divisions and they now prefer to handle customer interactions through a portal rather than the traditional channels such as phone calls for instance. Customers get an enhanced experience in such interactions of raising a complaint, adding possible picture of the complaint issue such as a leaking tap for instance and then getting to have the right person come over and fix the issue. Even service has an AI element with ability for instance to predict failures and plans to offset such failures. The real estate landscape has become quite competitive and people who take the initiative to leverage new technologies in customer service will realize the dividends in dues course.
We also offer Enterprise Asset Management solution on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365. We serve manufacturing and contracting industries very closely on the ERP front. While there are best of breed players on the enterprise asset management front line Maximo and Infor, we wanted to build the capabilities of asset management into a Microsoft Dynamics platform so that we offer enhanced value to customers who have asset intensive businesses to take care of. EAM 365 is our third product.
We also have a local payroll solution Payroll 365 based on Microsoft’s HR suite called Talent 365. Talent 365 leverages the capabilities of Linked-in, including identification of candidates after the recruitment ad is published. Meetings are arranged by invites that go through office 365 and they are held over Skype. After the meetings, each candidate’s ratings are entered into the talent suite so that the decision can be take. The whole process is concluded on the same platform. Under Payroll 365, we have a chatbot that takes care of payroll queries from the employee, removing the need for the HR Manager to answer routine queries such as leave balance etc and he can attend to other critical issues.