In 2022 Microsoft launched a new campaign theme, “Do More With Less“, in response to global economic challenges. These are the same four words that have been
uttered screamed in this order by corporate leaders to their management, and management to their employees, since the beginning of time.
Non-instructive catchphrases like Apple’s “Think Differently” are not particularly valuable. In a message to partners and employees in 2022, Microsoft’s CEO extended with, “You are the change agents who make doing more with less possible – less time, less cost, and less complexity, but with more innovation, more agility, and more resilience. Doing more with less doesn’t mean working harder or longer.” He has also said, “In the midst of historic constraints, people and organizations turned to digital technology in 2022 to do more with less.“.
So far as “how”, he suggests: Migrating to the cloud, Using AI to amplify applications, Focusing on customer needs and outcomes, and Building resilience and agility.
Seems like this concept is similar to a Matryoshka doll, as I guess we now need to know how to do the “how”.
Less is Not Easy
Layoffs are one clear way to meet the “less” criteria as it hits the duo of “less cost and less complexity”. Budget Reductions clearly accomplish the “less cost” parameter. “Less time” seems harder to accomplish, mainly if you activate the first two tactics. But layoffs could motivate the survivors to “work harder or longer” to reduce time. But he specifically said, “Doing more with less doesn’t mean working harder or longer.” Hmm.
Moving it into my domain of business applications, it seems a little ironic coming from a company that leads with applications that seem to battle with the “less” parameters. Dynamics 365 applications are at the upper end of the cost spectrum, take a lot of time to deploy and learn, and are about as complex as it gets!
More is Not Easy
From my life experience, for almost anything, the best you can get is any two of these: cheap, quick, or good. We spend our lives determining which two are the most relevant to anything we do, offer, or buy. If that’s true, then to “do more”, which I would say is “good”, we can pair it with either “cheap” or “quick”, but not both. Unless… a parameter is flawed… like an inflated price or an artificial drag on speed.
An inflated price came come about in many ways. Scarcity is probably the most obvious; for example, the obscene price-to-cost ratio of NFTs. Desire is also pretty common; for example, paying twice as much for faster internet. Poor cost control being offset by a higher selling price is another one. And, of course, a savvy salesperson’s job is getting you to pay the most possible. But let’s say none of these factors are in play, and the price is fair for the “thing”. The biggest question then is, do you need that particular thing to accomplish your goal?
The goal of a Mercedes is not transportation; it is status. It accomplishes this goal by being expensive. It is expensive because of its features like comfort, design, performance, etc. “Transportation” can be accomplished at a range of costs much lower than a Mercedes.
“Status” is not a feature of business applications as they are invisible. So the goals for a business application should be practical, pragmatic, and focused on “fit”. From a list of your current and predicted business challenges to “do more”, what contender applications can best accomplish this? Now let’s overlay less time, cost, and complexity to make a selection.
Less is More
One way to “Do more with Less” is to not pay for premium features irrelevant to your list. Another well-known catchphrase is “Only Pay For What You Need”. So how can you do that? Maybe with the Power Platform genie that Microsoft let out of the bottle.
In their zeal to take control of the low-code revolution that a few other startups were fueling, Microsoft threw a huge elbow when it decoupled Dynamics 365 from its platform and made the platform, now known as Dataverse, available for as little as $5/user. This was all accomplished in an incredibly short time, particularly by Microsoft standards.
Shortly after, it became clear that the Power Platform on Dataverse could cannibalize particular Dynamics 365 opportunities. But with the “Genie out of the bottle,” the only option was to bolster Dynamics 365’s position with more features. Features that could not be easily replicated directly on the Power Platform. But Dynamics 365 is built on the Dataverse! So the primary deterrent is the cost of replication of something that Microsoft was able to throw more money and people at than anyone else could. But what are these features anyway?
Well, they’re pretty damn cool! It reminds me of a really cool feature on a car I rented recently; when clicking the turn signal, the display showed a video that appeared to be taken from about 6 feet behind and 6 feet to the side of the car… amazing! It was definitely “more”, but not “less” because the only car available to rent for my three-hour drive that day was the most expensive one. And I would have definitely skipped that very cool feature for a less expensive car.
Ok, I am aware that this was a little of a ramble, but at least it was clearly not written by ChatGTP! If you want to pursue this “Do More with Less” concept, I suggest you look at RapidStart CRM, also built on Dataverse and the Power Platform. And like the ostrich says, “Only pay for what you need“.