Connected & Ready

The changing world of cloud CRM, with Chris Cognetta

Episode Summary

For many companies, CRM usage has stayed fairly stagnant over the last 20 years while the world around them has changed dramatically. That means they may be missing out on taking a more modern approach and seizing opportunities to grow. In this episode of Connected & Ready, host Gemma Milne talks with Chris Cognetta, CTIO at CongruentX, about how CRM should fit into your digital transformation and cloud migration strategy, and where you should start, as well as tips for planning a successful migration and key drivers of cloud innovation like edge computing and IoT. Dynamics 365 is helping businesses of all sizes unify their data and create a digital-first culture. With next generation ERP and CRM business applications, employees at every level can reason over data, predict trends, and make proactive, more-informed decisions. Request a live demo of Dynamics 365 today: https://aka.ms/AA8vns5 Thank you for listening to Connected & Ready! Do you have ideas of how we can improve the show? Want to recommend a guest for us to interview? We value your partnership and participation. Please drop us a note at connectedandready@microsoft.com. We would love to hear from you.

Episode Notes

Gemma Milne talks with Chris Cognetta, CongruentX’s Chief Technology Innovation Officer, about how cloud environments can help companies align their technology and operations to improve customer experiences and the importance of focusing on business outcomes, especially how these topics relate to CRM solutions.

 

Topics of discussion

 

About Chris Cognetta:

Chris Cognetta is CTIO of CongruentX. A Microsoft MVP for more than nine years, Chris has helped more than 250 Dynamics 365 Customer Experience and Azure customers move their on-premises solutions to the cloud. As CTIO of CongruentX, Chris and his organization provides customized CRM solutions that align technology and operations to improve customer experience and business outcomes. Chris is also one of a select few Microsoft Dynamics MVPs in the world and frequently speaking at events, webinars, and community user groups. As CTIO, Chris leads product innovation initiatives and helps turn vision into reality for CongruentX, as well as his clients.

Learn more:

https://www.congruentx.com

 

Dynamics 365 Migration Community

Considering the cloud? Accelerate your Dynamics AX or Dynamics CRM journey by connecting with Microsoft migration expertise and resources

Learn more:
https://aka.ms/d365mc

 

Sponsor link

Dynamics 365 delivers next generation ERP and CRM business applications, helping employees at every level reason over data, predict trends, and make proactive, more-informed decisions. Request a live demo of Dynamics 365 today:

https://aka.ms/AA8vns5

 

Contact us

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Episode Transcription

Gemma [00:00:05] Hello and welcome. You're listening to Connected and Ready, an ongoing conversation about innovation, resilience, and our capacity to succeed, brought to you by Microsoft. I'm Gemma Milne. I'm a technology journalist and author, and I'm going to be exploring trends around how companies are adapting to a disrupted world and preparing for tomorrow. We're going to speak to the innovators who are bringing products, operations, and people together in new ways. In today's episode, I'm chatting with Chris Cognetta, CTIO of CongruentX, who delves into the changing world of cloud, from his integral role in business growth to new thinking around migration. Using real world examples, we'll discuss proven ways of aligning technology and operations to improve customer experience and business outcomes, and also explore how business leaders can secure competitive advantage through thoughtful strategic implementation. Before we start, I want to thank all of you listeners out there. If you have a topic or a person you'd love to hear in the show, please send us an email at connectedandready@microsoft.com. We're so thankful for you all. Now on to the episode. 

Gemma [00:01:09] Chris, thank you so much for coming and joining us on the show today. Let's start with some introductions. Tell us a little bit about your background and your current role. 

Chris [00:01:16] Hey, Gemma. My name is Chris Cognetta. I'm the CTIO of CongruentX. I've been one of your Microsoft Dynamics 365 business solution MVP's for about nine years right now. But my current role is helping CongruentX both develop products and lead the company from a technology perspective for our clients. 

Gemma [00:01:35] Amazing. So tell us a little bit more about CongruentX or sorry, CongruentX, I think in Britain we say congruent. Tell us a little bit more about CongruentX. What's the company's mission and what pain points does it solve? 

Chris [00:01:47] Yeah. And the funny part about the Congruent is actually in our tile, where it's people and technologies aligned. That's where the name came from. And then the X came from the XRM days when it could be anything today, right? It's no longer accounts and contacts. It's whatever the two NZ types that you want to make it, whether it's, you know, physicians and doctors or lawyers and clients, all of those things come together. But at CongruentX, we help companies get CRM right so they get closer to their customers. We do it by aligning people and technology, helping people get what they need, and we make it easy and enjoyable and a easy to use subscription instead of the big bang project approach. 

Gemma [00:02:27] Incredible. So today we're going to be talking a little bit about, or, we're going to be talking a lot about cloud and the details of cloud and kind of how that intersects with the mission of CongruentX. And but before we do that, let's talk a little about the sort of current state of cloud. We all know the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and specifically with cloud migration, but what other dramatic shifts are you seeing and what's sort of fueling them and the world of cloud today? 

Chris [00:02:52] Definitely, the pandemic accelerated the motion from the customer's expectations. You know, they had a lot of expectation of you being on site from a client perspective and now working from home has become OK. So that makes it a lot different in the world of travel and expenses, as well as the size of companies. At home people can get anything they want by talking their phone car house all in context and at work, though you still have this monolithic one size fits all type of application. So when you look at that from customer expectations, you can really change that, especially with power apps and have a unique customer experience. So those things have changed in how we look at cloud and what its capabilities are by shifting from the monolithic apps to these, I would say department focused or persona focused solutions. 

Gemma [00:03:41] So let's dove into that bit further. I mean, obviously, there's lots have been said about the benefits of cloud from a computing standpoint, and you've kind of touched a little bit, I guess, on the sort of cultural standpoint. But could you share a little bit about why it makes business sense? You know, how does it create competitive advantage or improve customer experience like you were touching on earlier? 

Chris [00:03:59] Yeah. Back in the day, you know, when you start a company, you had a huge investment in servers and infrastructure and resources to build that. You know, it's very common for people to spend fifty sixty thousand dollars on a very small mom and pop shop just to get them up and running. But today in taking a credit card and about 15 minutes of setup, and now here you are,  you're live, you know, you have your dynamics platform setting up there, you can get your exchange set up and you can really have a full blown system that another company, it basically gives you an unfair advantage. The fact that it's sitting in the cloud, the fact that you don't need resources to monitor it and back it up, and that you can focus and improve your CX. And really, that's the goal. It's changing people from talking about technology to people talking about the business problem, and that's what we do at CongruentX. We're focused on the outcome, not on the technology. So the outcome may be 10 percent of sales increase over the next three months. How are we going to do that? Not deploying the app out to a bunch of people and writing all this custom code, that's how it's actually changed. And the low code no code the power apps provides has been a big driving point for us and a competitive advantage. So you don't have to write, have a bunch of code dot net developers out there to deliver this solution. It can be delivered with low code, no code developers, and those are people that are focused on, if you can write up an Excel script, you know, Excel formula or build a PowerPoint, you can pretty much build the power out from your data. And who better than the line workers that know what they need with their data and how they can solve those problems individually is really where the power is improving the CX experience and the company bottom line. 

Gemma [00:05:39] I wonder if you give us a sort of worked example here just to kind of bring to life this real benefit and business impact? 

Chris [00:05:45] Sure. A good one would be a company who did some work for U.S. lumber. Their problem was because of the pandemic, a lot of the logistics of their shipping was delayed, so their goal is shipping out different pieces of lumber, you know, and so all kinds of moldings and you know, they basically sell. If you walk down to Home Depot aisle of the wood, you know, they probably own 50, 60 percent of that. But the problem was, is that they did not know when things were going to be delayed and the sales team would go on site, the support team would go on site and they would be bombarded with questions and from a tech perspective, they didn't want to open up a laptop, sit there, get it, connect sometimes they're in rural areas, so they would use a telephone and call back to their sales team and tie another resource up to try to ask, hey, where is this item? So we already knew where the information is. It already existed in the back office, so we built them a custom power app called Win the Yard, and this power app brings that 360 degree view of that customer and client right in front of that person. So before they even go on site, they can know the statuses of where all their stuff is, things that have been delayed, the last conversations they've had. What are the top things that they ordered? And they can get an instant refresh before even going on site. And it's real time. So if something new or something is broken like, for instance, a piece of wood may be broken or somebody cut a piece off, they only need a little piece. They need to return that so they can use the camera right in the power app and create a RMA on the fly. In the past, they'd have to take that piece of wood back, do a whole bunch of paperwork, sometimes even fax it back to corporate so you can see how much has changed. So now these people are empowered, they have the information at their fingertips. Their clients are very happy that they're able to answer and provide up to date status, as well as resolve challenges for them on the fly. Their inside sales team is no longer bothered by those calls coming in, so they're able to focus on their job. So we're getting scale in all of those areas now, and that's a huge step forward and really shows to how these cloud based technologies are really changing. 

Gemma [00:07:51] Obviously, I've asked you for an example that kind of showcases the dream or a really successful deployment of clouds, and some companies might then assume that, you know, moving to cloud is going to have instant business impacts. And I think particularly the way that cloud is spoken about and written about marketed as the sort of, you know, all singing, all dancing solution. But what's wrong with that assumption, you know, can you help reframe expectations for anyone that sort of sits in this camp? 

Chris [00:08:13] I think when you look at the cloud and the smart, contextual experiences that you can have that have come up from the pandemic, those things are really the examples that are showing what's wrong. In the past, people would fight to go to the cloud. I mean, there were still some companies that are fighting today on the expectation of why would I move to the cloud, my business, all these things, those conversations have ended. A big example I can give you here is we used to have to have a conversation with the CSO about moving to the cloud as chief security officer. And with Office 365, most of the clients are already on Office 365, so dynamics and power platform and all the exchange capabilities are now built into that. So when I go to the Office 365 tenant, they're already connected. The security conversations already happened, so you get a lot of smiles on the business side saying, Hey, we were already connected. We don't have to fight this battle about going to the cloud. We're already there. So it really does reframe an expectation for the people who are struggling with having that conversation with their CSOs when they're already there and they don't know it. 

Ad [00:09:19] Dynamics 365 is helping businesses of all sizes unify their data and create a digital-first culture. With next generation ERP and CRM business applications, employees at every level can reason over data, predict trends, and make proactive, more-informed decisions. Request a live demo of Dynamics 365 today by following the link in the episode description.

Gemma [00:09:49] Let's move to CRM because obviously this is what you guys are most focused on. Where does CRM sort of fit into this mix? How does it help build a foundation for success? And again, for companies who might feel perhaps overwhelmed by implementation or even just the thoughts of, you know, trying to make these big changes, what would be a good starting point? 

Chris [00:10:08] The big thing is it's bringing IT and businesses together, and it's really allowing to try to accomplish by a role and attack the areas where you have digital friction first. So the areas of problems, you're focusing on those particular areas instead of this big brain project approach and by making it functional, easy and enjoyable, the net positive is the scale. So CRM has become the power platform and the tools around the power platform, whether it's power BI or power automate or power apps, whether it's exchange, whether it's custom features inside of Azure. There's nothing we can't do to help solve that problem. And because they all can talk together and don't have to worry about authentication, and the data is now available to show on these different forms, that 360 degree view that we're able to provide is key, and CRM really is where this stuff came from. If you were to go back to dynamics three or four and look at what CRM was, and then all of a sudden in 2011 2013, it changed to XRM and they started getting away from it's a customer relationship system, now it's an X could be anything right now is touching on that earlier is the fact that now with power platform and data verse, you're starting with a system without any entities at all. You don't have to have accounts, contacts, opportunities or traditional sales, and you can build your entire system on top of this, where you get your GUI, you get your security, you get your database, you get your analytics. So companies are even switching their development patterns to build on top of the power platform, which is even more powerful. 

Gemma [00:11:45] Let's talk a little bit then about how CRM and clouds play together relative to hybrids. It would be great to get another example here from you about what sort of hidden opportunities they might unlock in that pairing. 

Chris [00:11:56] When we talk about hybrid, a lot of people will talk about cloud versus on prem and how to make those two things work together. The beauty of it is, is that there's capabilities built into the Microsoft Cloud like Active Directory Sync that allow you to keep your security connected to your on prem systems. So the same user IDs, the same log ons will work from cloud as well as on prem. From an opportunities perspective, what would they unlock? I think it's more of what they don't lock. It's the fact that you're still able to get access to information, still use it with the cloud technologies and be able to expose it in the cloud. It also provides you a road map to get to the cloud so you can move one system at a time. So a lot of times a customer will go to Office 365 first, then they'll add dynamics, then they'll start using power platform, then their ERP system comes. And then the next thing you know it's their data warehouse and their analytics. All of those things are shifting in different points, but you don't have to do them all at once. And the ability to have that hybrid model supports that goal through the Azure's tech stack and the power platform. 

Gemma [00:13:02] Let's talk about this from the customer perspective here. I mean, we're talking about CRM and, you know, despite the potential of CRM both in this discussion now, but also, you know, it's being discussed so much, many analysts still say that only 50 percent of customers are happy with their CRM. I wonder if you could give us a little bit context about from the customer experience why that is? 

Chris [00:13:23] Absolutely. And actually, you'll actually see that tagline on our website. We know that 50 percent of implementations fail. And why? The main reason why is because the way people consume information has changed. Just the way that the industry delivers tech like CRM is 20 years old. People don't understand that. They're still trying to look at it from a relationship and account and contact a relationship, and that's failed in the sales environment salespeople don't want to have to ask. A good example of how you can change that mindset is using the technologies that are inside the power platform. So when we built that power app I was describing earlier one of the problems was looking up their customers, typing in the information. Now you look at this and you say this is trivial, right? But the phone knows where I'm at. The phone has a GPS capability. It can easily search my customer list and give me the list of customers that are in two blocks. If you go to Google today or Bing today and you type in restaurants near me, don't you get back that response? You do, right? So that's the whole point. CRMs never grow up. It never took those advantages of the technologies that we have today that can do that. So what we do at CongruentX is we take those technologies and apply them to the same problems and those problems now the person typing in they don't have to type in all of a sudden when they're on site, the system knows it's there. The records are already pulled up. It's a different way of using that tech stack. To accomplish that and really get adoption out of the system. 

Gemma [00:14:54] What's the impact, though, on the, I guess, the user or the customer of these systems. You know, you talk there a little bit about, I guess, their expectations not being managed well. If they can go and use Google and see this result was like, why can't I get this with this system? Is it just frustration or does it go beyond that in terms of their experience of work? 

Chris [00:15:10] The frustration gets into the fact that they don't want to use the platform anymore. So you get the people that don't want to put the sales information in there because they're not getting anything out of it. What is it doing for me other than it - and the big battle is, is it Big Brother? Is it always watching what I'm doing or is it information that I can use? Can it help me? Can it help me make 30 percent more on my sales? And when you first look at it, you'll say, Well, if I don't put the appointments in and I don't do the follow up, I don't need a system to do that. I could do it myself. That's the conversation. But if the system's doing that automatically for that and it's reaching out for them and then saying, Hey, you haven't talked to this customer in six months or there's no order from this customer in the last three weeks, if it adds those value props to that salesperson, then it helps them with their adoption and it helps them start to consume that system because now it becomes a tool when it's not available, they're upset, right? They want to have it. And that is the way of changing that 20-year-old tech to use the new technologies to solve the business problem, which is people want to use the way that they do every single day. And we talk about apps. Another great one is power apps, right? We talk about, you have a cell phone today, you open up your cell phone today, what do you have? You got 25 different apps or so, maybe a hundred depending on if you're a gamer, you don't have a monolithic app called App A that you go in and in each piece is inside that app. You have an app that's unique to your experience. So that's what power apps allows you to do. And instead of it being about a thing that you're doing, it's more around what's that business problem? You can give those custom apps in an environment that's all controlled and maintained. It's all within your Office 365 tenant. It all works with your security, works with your data. And now you've got the ability to really focus on what that particular group needs. You know, back in the day we go build a system and you want to know why a screen has 300 fields on it, it's because you're talking to 10 departments that use the same account record. But now I can actually put this other power app, whether it's a model app or a canvas app out there that gives them a unique look and feel for them and only shows the fields that they need to see that help them get the answer. So you get much faster response time. You get much faster adoption of the system. And people really like the fact that they're not looking around trying to find stuff. They know it's there, but it's been hidden six pages down because the accounting department needs to see it first. It's the same pattern over and over and over again. And when we go into these customers and see why they have failed, it's not a technology issue. I don't ever go in and they say, Oh, CRM is not running or my data is not coming back. It's always, I can't get what I need to see. Why can't I get it? I know it's there. Why do I have to drill down 50 different ways to see it? Why is my screen have to have accounting information when I'm not even in accounting? So making those changes for them really starts to get that buy-in started and the speed that we're able to do it. That's another thing about the cloud platform where you make that change. It's instantaneous. I can see it out there right away. You know, I'm not writing code. I'm not having a group of developers have to go through a thousand test cases to move things. I can easily and fast make those changes in an appropriate way. I'm not saying to get rid of change control. I'm not saying that, but I'm saying that the process is much more rapid to make that happen. 

 

Gemma [00:18:40] You mentioned earlier this idea of, you know, CRM hasn't grown up and your own CEO of CongruentX Chuck Ingram, he said the way software is being implemented hasn't changed in 20 years, I guess. So it's a similar sentiment. But can you tell us a little bit about, what did he really mean by that and what is needed to break the cycle? You know, with whom does that start? 

Chris [00:18:59] And it really is the whole big project methodology, right? You start off with this big project with a thousand features for users to consume in this one size fits all experience. It doesn't work. People don't want to do CRM. Sales people want to get a prospect, they want to get ready for calls, they want to make calls, they want to create and deliver proposals and do forecasts. That's it. They're not into the whole other aspects of the platform. So when you try to do this big bang project that goes off and covers every aspect of the business, by time you get through your requirements, it's probably changed. And then secondly, the big bang project to try to get everything complete, it's not agile enough to work through it. So what our subscription in the way we do it is we start off with an onboarding capability where we touch the top 10 let's say. Let's find your top 10 issues, work through those issues, make the biggest impact that we can, and then we're not going to stop because you're going to have additional sprints that will come as the system's live. But we'll start to solve different problems in different areas as well. So you're constantly getting change, you're constantly moving the bar and you're constantly improving upon adoption. Not where today's older systems, these 50 percent failed systems, they would maybe implement a solution every two years. So whatever didn't get done in the first year unless it was a bug, you had to wait two more years. That will cripple a company in today's market. And again, that's back to that competitive advantage right? Who can adopt faster and take advantage of these trends is going to be the leader, and that's what the cloud and these technologies allow us to do.

Gemma [00:20:37] Building on this question, I wonder if we could get a little bit more about what you think then companies should do in order to help prioritize, right? What would you suggest in terms of, I guess, going, OK, we want to change things, but how do we get there? What's the first thing they write down on the bit of paper? How do they do that sort of strategy meeting? 

Chris [00:20:55] So one of the first things we do is we help establish that roadmap, and a lot of it is tied back to business outcomes. What are we trying to achieve? We're not talking about disk space and servers here. We're talking about what is the problem in the field. What is the problem in the desk? What is the problem with our clients? How do we get more market share? These are business problems, business outcomes. That's what we're looking at. Then that may lead to several different projects underneath that to solve that problem. And we will balance those out based on what is the business need. So obviously, everybody wants everything right and you try to get through that big bang approach and say, that's not going to work. Well, there is give and take between what's most important to the business. A lot of it comes around being able to know everything about their clients. And that seems to be a goal across most companies. Do you ever call a company, and then you call them back another day and they don't even know you called? What if I told you that still happens today? What if I told you it's more than 50 percent? I bet you mean you could go on a phone call and just call a couple of companies, sign up for something and then call back, and they wouldn't even know we were there, right? Because they're disconnected and the power of the platform, the power of the cloud being inside that cloud, having all your data in that data verse, and for any team, whether it's your marketing team, whether it's your IT team, whether it's your support team, your sales team, they will know that that record has been updated and touched. If it's done correctly, it'll be right in front of them. They will never miss when that person calls. And those are the things that you learn after many years of being consulted in the field of how do you solve these problems for those customers? And a lot of times it could just be shuffling around what they're seeing. They've collected it, but it's not in a place that they can consume it. So by helping them consume it, by using those power apps and driving towards those outcomes, we're able to make immediate change, immediate change in both adoption behavior as well as the business growth. So where you were strangled before because you couldn't get scale because you had six people supporting one customer? Now you have one person supporting 20 customers. So it's a much different scale. And as soon as people start to see that, they start to get excited. And then that's where the sprints come in, because more and more things start coming. Oh, we got this problem over here, and then you start to create this atmosphere of where people are communicating. Here are the problems that I'm having because they're seeing that you're really genuinely interested in solving that problem. It's not a Band-Aid. It's not I'm going to promise you all these features and then you don't get anything. They see real change. Again goes to that adoption cycle of how it changes the users wanting to use that system. It's an amazing change. 

Gemma [00:23:40] What about organizationally in terms of for companies who are doing this migration or planning to migrate? How do they best plan for success in terms of, you know, just making sure everybody's on board and the, you know, you get that excitement that you talk about. I think you said, you mentioned early on, you know, leadership needing to be involved. Tell us a little bit about it from a sort of organizational standpoint. 

Chris [00:24:01] Sure. I think the most important thing to understand from companies planning or migrating is that they objectively measure their ability and their team's ability to consume change, and that starts from the top down. We use something called change quotient to measure how much change an organization has or is going through currently and what their appetite is for a new system. We look at that and having that buy in from the top down is what allows us to determine how much change we can implement successfully because you can be there talking about change. But if you don't have buy-in and I want to give an example of buy in, because people lose the understanding of buy in. Buy in is not you yelling at the sales team, telling the sales team they better use the system or else. Buy in is when you have the sales meeting. Prior to that sales meeting, you went in and looked at the top opportunities for your business and found the top three the most valuable to you and you've asked specifically to that salesperson: how can I help you close this deal? That's the difference, because now just by you using this system as the sales manager and understanding that that's a big deal that you want to help support your salesperson do that, now you change behavior, and that's what we mean by buying in. And people know, I mean, we've seen it where people have a CRM system to go around the table, everybody's got a bunch of paper. This is what I did this week. You should not be spending your time asking questions on what your team did this week, you should already know. You should know who didn't do things this week. You should know who's not keeping up to your bar. And here's another thing that's really cool is changing now is the fact that because of these adoption systems, we've decided to build these adoption monitors. So now when I have this really successful salesperson, I am able to mirror by their adoption trail what they do. Oh, they call a customer every three days. They create a proposal within twenty four hours of talking to the customer. They send a follow up email. That legacy knowledge that salesperson who, hey, I ain't got time to help you. I'm busy selling. You're able to grab it by the steps that they're doing in this system and then turn that into a training program for others that aren't as successful. It's a huge advantage. So everybody can raise their hand and say they've got that two or three salespeople that are just superstars, rock stars. Well, don't you want to build that high performance team for the rest of your group? How would you do that? Well, taking them out of the field and writing down documentation is probably not the best way. But by using these tools and the adoption logs to see what's going on, then you can actually build a training program off of that material. And that's another way that we help foster adoption. 

Gemma [00:26:45] Let's switch gears a little and talk a bit about security and privacy, because this is a really important theme. All of it is sort of top of mind for our audience and in our show. With so much data being pushed to the cloud, can you share, you know, best practices for cybersecurity or any other considerations that should be made, you know, considering security and privacy being such an important topic? 

Chris [00:27:06] First of all, when you look at the internet, you have to realize that it's a virtual limitless set of resources regarding security. Two primary things to keep in mind: one is the hackers know and understand the best practices, so they use that against you. And number two is the vast majority of the security breaches have been because of human error and behavior patterns. So if you look at that and you make security much easier, and what I mean by that is that, you have individual roles that have been designed for all the way down to a low level security versus saying this group of people are on this security that way, you know what changes and what impacts happen if you have so many security roles, you've spread yourself across the product and now you have that consideration of a gap. The other thing is by going the cloud and this is another part of the whole sales speech to CSOs, is the fact that you cannot build the security systems that Microsoft has in place. The dollars invested in that security, both monitoring, proactive, reactive industry trends, all of these things are constantly being monitored 24/7 365. You're not going to be able to build that type of environment in your own data center and be successful at it without risk. Sure, people have done it. I've seen people do it for a while and they limit things like, you know, well, only these certain IP addresses can come into our infrastructure. That's why that's a common thing. But to truly be a cloud based company where that your services are tradeable back and forth through web services, you can't walk that stuff down. So you got to have intelligence, whether it's A.I., whether it's the monitors and all the different endpoints in the edges to take care of this. That is what you're buying when you move to these cloud based solutions. So how can you make it easier or protect yourself, I say, is a better way. How can you protect yourself? And obviously moving to the cloud and using these technologies is second to none as far as protecting yourself. But if you have to stay on prem, obviously the security tools, the network monitoring, the infragistics, all of those things and someone who just focuses on security needs to be there. 

Gemma [00:29:24] Final question for you today, Chris. Just quickly, let's look forward a little bit. I mean, cloud innovation is constant, always new things coming up. For example, maybe you could tell us a little bit about where edge computing factors into the future of cloud or any other trends on the horizon and that you think are worth pointing out. 

Chris [00:29:41] I mean, edge computing and IOT, I think that is really where you're going to start to see a lot of change and also A.I. When you look at the edge experience for the user and a lot of people think, is he talking about edge network routing devices? No, we're talking about bringing that app out to the edge and that's that power app. It's running out there specifically for that user that may be working in the warehouse and making their day easier. That's bringing new technology out to the edge versus them having to go 16 screens down to find it. That's one example. Another, you know, the Internet of Things is a wonderful thing, and we haven't really tapped into its potential of what it can do in a business, whether that's monitoring from a manufacturing perspective and being able to see the cycles as they go through, whether it is monitoring from a oil pipeline or an, I think, an elevator company knowing their maintenance schedules. Those are all cool white papers. And, you know, Microsoft has a ton of them on how IOT is changing that. But I think when you start to look at that and combining that with A.I. and when I say A.I., A.I. is something that's growing, but people don't understand how much it takes to actually make an A.I. model, and the skill set needed to deliver that. And by Microsoft including some of these A.I. models and power apps, it's allowing other customers and clients to take advantage of them, some things like text recognition. So back in the day, we all talked about OCR and my scanner can scan this document in and pick the fields and do all that. Well, I can do that on power app today with low code, no code, I can use a tech scanner and do that. Another cool one is Pepsi. GJ Pepsi is a is a Microsoft partner using the Microsoft power platform, and their problem was that they changed the business in the fact that they used to sell soda to the stores and the stores would pay the money for the soda and then it would sit on the shelf. And then as they needed more, they call up and they would place an order. Well, now what happens is that the store is nothing but an extension of Pepsi now. So that shelf area there that the soda's on, Pepsi is responsible for putting those bottles there. They're responsible for counting that inventory and keeping it clean. The stocker of the store is not touching any of that. They get paid when a bottle leaves is how it's flipped. So if you think about those drivers that are coming out and they have to go and count all the sodas on the shelf and do inventory to know what they're going to need, they use the power app with A.I. for object detection. They went in, grabbed pictures of two liter bottles, six pack sodas. You can think about all the different sodas and automatically counted for them. Pretty cool stuff. So I think those models coming more into the mainstream because of the ease of use and the fact that they're going to be in the platform, will allow us to do things that we haven't thought about in the past. Another great one is the ability to take text and then from that text, determine whether or not it's a positive or negative sentiment. Why would this be important? Well, if you're in a customer support area where you're responding back to clients, if there's any negative worries that are used in those emails, either way in or out, wouldn't you like to know? If it's a smiley face client or a happy client? You'd want to know, and this allows you to actually use that A.I. to see the quality of that relationship with that client, not only through their words to you, but your words to them. And that's powerful to be able to use those things. Things that we just do normally. Have a great day at the end of the, you know, they may say oh, thank you. You know, I had a good day. You know, you can see that in the text, but being able to take advantage of it to say - this customer's happy because they, you know, they're responsive or, you know, hey, you guys are so stupid, you never got my order in blah blah blah. You can see that that would be a negative email and negative sentiment. Maybe that segment is automatically routed to a helpdesk manager that's overseeing those cases and helps them get right to that customer instantly. Twitter's another big one, right, where people are out in social media tweeting out these items - Hey Delta, my flight was screwed up. You guys left me stranded here. You see it. Well, Delta has a system with A.I. that's actually monitoring those tweets for sentiment. And then they automatically will create a case and go tie it to that customer. So just think about the possibilities that the world were moving to and what I love, you know, I teach a class called power apps in the real world, and we talk about all these things, right? How these pieces are actually here today. And these are all low code, no code where I'm not talking about a team of 50 developers deploying and building. These are things that you're able to buy out of the shelf from the power platform and add in to build these type of solutions today, things that Amazon has spent billions of dollars doing, like the barcode search right across their products. You could do it today, and that's where Chuck's point of the 20 year old technology, we're still doing things like we did 20 years ago. Why not bring these pieces out to break that cycle? And that's really the power of why empowering CongruentX and our customers.

Gemma [00:35:01] What a lovely note to end on Chris, thank you so much for coming and giving us that broad overview, you brought so much detail and lots of really great examples and next steps. Hopefully, everybody listening to this episode will take something. I can't imagine they won't have many things, but at least take something that they can do right now or think about right now that perhaps changes or enhances the way they think about cloud and CRM and help them move forward more effectively. So, Chris, thank you so much for coming in joining us on the show. 

Chris [00:35:29] Thank you, Gemma. It's a pleasure to be here and look forward to working with you in the future. 

Gemma [00:35:35] That's it for this week. Thank you so much for tuning in. You can find out more about Chris's work and indeed, some of the broader themes we discussed today in the show notes. If you enjoyed the episodes, please do take a few moments to rate and review the podcast. It really helps other people discover the show. And don't forget to hit subscribe. And tune in next time to continue our conversation about innovation, resilience and our capacity to succeed. 

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