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A Year in the life of Qi – Microsoft and Sage Business Partner in the UK specialising in ERP

We post regular articles throughout the year with topical messaging and news from our industry which we ensure is actively shared with our customers.

Here are the ‘edited highlights’ for 2020 for those that missed our articles and posts.

January

The start of 2020 and we have no idea what kind of year 2020 turns out to be!

As more customers opted to move from Sage 50 Accounts subscription we explore how to archive necessary data for compliance.

February

Microsoft recommends you use third party back-ups for Office 365 data.

Customers increasingly wish to provision additional security for their Office 365 data as businesses rely increasingly on SharePoint and have concerns over malicious attacks and plain old human error.

March

Whilst the month opened with concerns around businesses who had not yet implemented two factor authentication to protect their Office 365 data, the focus soon became how we were all going to work as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the UK.

Part of that focus was to share the news about the free trial of Teams announced by Microsoft and further messaging to encourage businesses to maximise their use of Office 365 apps like Teams and SharePoint to support remote working.

Our hardware & networks team work tirelessly to get the very best levels of remote access up and running for Qi customers.  Demand went through the roof for laptops as working from home became the new normal. (Unfortunately – so did the prices!)

Qi’s base, Buchan house was mothballed as we all worked from home in accordance with government guidelines.

April

Qi welcomes a new recruit to its support team to meet the growth in its the customer base.

Qi completes its first migration from Sage 50 Accounts and Manufacturing to Dynamics 365 Business central for a Lincolnshire manufacturer, using only remote services.  This news is shared to reassure business owners that they can if relevant, use any free time arising from the full lockdown to review the systems they were using and how they are using them.

As it becomes clear that the lockdown is not going to be 4 weeks in duration, Qi offers some advice to customers running server based accounting and MRP solutions and who are experiencing frustration accessing their data.

A growing number of support customers opt to make Qi its Office 365 CSP, understanding that without any increase in Office 365 licensing costs they have simplified billing and a better access route to technical support.

The ERP Microsoft division of K3 goes into administration and Qi welcomes new customers to its support fold on Dynamics 365 Business central and older versions of NAV.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Wave 1 2020 is released in line with the Microsoft’s R&D commitment to Dynamics suite of products.

May

Qi shares some industry thinking about digital transformation and explores some price comparisons for Sage 50 applications .vs. Dynamics 365 Business Central. We also start to explore what the long term strategy of hybrid working (onsite & remote) will look like and how to support this and answer some commonly asked topical questions.

Numerous SharePoint libraries are configured for customers as part of the fixed price offered to configure Office 365 mailboxes, SharePoint, and Teams.

A further migration from Sage 50 to Dynamics 365 Business Central goes live for an e-retailer.

June

The focus is again on digital transformation as the industry reviews how Covid-19 has triggered a ‘before and after’ moment.  Qi also explores the very real concerns for business owners facing with a shrinking order book.

A precision engineering company in Scotland goes live on Dynamics 365 Business Central with Qi Ltd.

Setting up new PC’s and laptops remotely becomes the norm as equipment is delivered direct to customer site for subsequent remote configuration.

July

Brexit still looms.  Qi reviews what potential impact that might have for Sage 50c Accounts users

Buchan house re-opens in line with government guidelines.

August

Microsoft Teams releases ‘Shifts’ to replace traditional clocking in and out supporting enhanced workplace hygiene.  Microsoft also releases ‘Walkie Talkie’ into Teams, secure instant broadcasting for the workplace.

Qi also explores grant funding, increasingly being accessed by UK SME’s for digital transformation purposes.

Qi launches its SFDC app for Dynamics 365 Business Central available as Job Track or Stock Track as part of a D365BC project with Qi.

Sage announces the official withdrawal of Sage 50 Manufacturing and Qi contacts its customers to start discussing the onward journey, backed up with the reassurance that we will continue to support Sage Manufacturing as long as customers do not upgrade Sage 50c Accounts past version 27.

Cim50 is the Sage UK like for like, emdorsed replacement for which Qi is already a business partner.

September

This month we share the Microsoft strategy to make perpetual licensing and on-premises installations – a thing of the past.

A further migration from Sage 50 and Manufacturing to Dynamics 365 Business Central goes live for an optical lens manufacturer.

Successful migrations from Sage 50 Manufacturing to Cim50 begin.

October

A supermarket logistics company goes live on Dynamics 365 Business Central after migrating from Sage 50 Accounts.

Qi offers a lifeline to users of Sage 50 Manufacturing who are not ready to migrate to Cim50 the recommended replacement for Sage 50 Manufacturing and who still need support.   A business partner for Cim50 for over two years, Qi renews its accreditation.  We remain committed to assisting Sage 50 Manufacturing users to time their inevitable move to something else to suit their circumstances.

Dynamic 365  Business Central Wave 2 is released, the second major feature release of the year.

November

Back into a more limited lockdown, Qi continues to deliver services on a business as usual basis, reminding its QiCover customers to book their QiCover review meeting.

At this point the Brexit ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ question mark remains.  Qi advises customers on older versions of Sage 50 accounts to hang fire on making the  final move to Sage subscription until Brexit matters are clearer and we all know whether versions 24 & 25 will comply with any new legislation whilst advising them of the withdrawal of limited services from older versions of Sage 50 Accounts.

Qi completes a further successful implementation of Cim50 for a mobile conveyor manufacturer in Northern Ireland, again, using only remote services.

Qi ensures its QiCover customers are kept informed of planned changes to Sage 50c software for March 2021.

December

Traditionally one of the quieter months, but as we know – 2020 is anything other than traditional!  We are fortunate enough to be as busy as ever with several Dynamics 365 Business projects simultaneously being delivered.

Industries include:  a dental group, specialist battery distributor, traffic management technology manufacturer, communications transmissions manufacturer and a water check valves manufacturer.

At least two of these projects will include web shop integration and most will be using shop floor data collection for stock and job tracking, using the Qi app.

At the time of publishing, two further Sage 50 Accounts to Dynamics 365 Business Central projects have been confirmed. Both new customers are manufacturers and Dynamics 365 Business Central will be the solution that automates their operational requirements for the first time!  One business director commented – and I quote:  ‘We are excited to get installed’.  And we are excited to work with them!

At the same time, we are migrating Sage 50 Manufacturing customers to Cim50 and working with Sage 50c users who are going to use Cim50 to automate manufacturing processes for the first time.

The current lead time for a new project start is end of January 2021.  The typical timeline for Dynamics 365 Business Central projects is 4 weeks from project planning meeting to Go Live.

Secret Santa has been drawn although sadly – our much beloved ‘Qi Christmas Do’ (meal and beers) won’t be a feature this year!

Christmas and New Year opening times are available here.

 

Thought for the Year.

There is not a day that goes by that we don’t count our blessings as a business and as individuals.

We are thankful.

And we are hopeful.