Adapt, Innovate and Continue
What should you do when the world around you is changing? Adapt here and there, keep what is good and continue. Which is exactly what we have been doing the past year. We have worked from home like never before, our office was almost empty the last six months, we put in an unprecedented number of hours and changed our web presence from www.hbsoftware.nl to www.hbsoftware365.com. So much more than just a different website URL. We work differently, our software is different and our websites have been restyled… but our people have remained the same, fortunately with some good reinforcements though.
Prospects for 2021
We look forward to 2021, if only because we will hopefully then have the vaccine to beat corona, so we can meet each other in person again!
Furthermore, we would like to show you our new software versions and implement an upgrade. As stated before, we will definitely host another webinar soon. In short, we will be in touch!
HB Real Estate
HB Real Estate is available as a separate extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. This has been a huge leap forward for us. We no longer have to modify Microsoft code and can focus on our own functionality. That same functionality is also provided to users, but the technology behind it is much more transparent, thus making it easier to implement upgrades and run our software in Microsoft’s cloud. More information can be found on www.hbvastgoed365.com.
HB SmartTrade is also cloud-ready, as a set of extensions that allow us to even better provide you with the software you need for optimal operational management. Now upgrades can be implemented much more easily. More information can be found on www.hbsmarttrade365.com.
HB Construction Supply
HB Construction Supply has also been given a new look, you will not recognise it when looking underneath its bonnet. Would you really like to know how your sand and gravel company could work better? Check out www.hbbouwtoelevering365.com.
Meanwhile, 1,019 clients are now featured on our logo board:
The Exsion saga continues, also during corona. We have enhanced the cloud version of Exsion in terms of speed and downloading of data of subsidiaries. The roadmap for 2021 includes an in-depth examination of further extension and improvement of functionality.
Our students respond enthusiastically to our online training courses, and yet we have noticed that there is less interest for online training, compared to its physical counterpart in a real classroom. As soon as applicable corona measures will allow, we will therefore resume hosting our familiar class courses.
We are very proud that the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA)) have opted for Exsion Corporate. After an extensive selection process, we were chosen because of the flexibility, functionality and usability of our software that rarely requires additional IT support. We host these two institutions ourselves, based on Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (Formerly Known as NAV)
In recent years, Microsoft has made significant investments in getting its applications cloud-ready. Users can access all functionality through their web browser. The familiar Windows application and its related environment are no longer available. In the meantime, the web functionality bests the Windows version, although it initially takes some time to get used to the interface. Furthermore, the software development process is entirely different now, for example, the development language and thinking in terms of individual apps, just like you experience them on your smartphone, is now possible in Business Central. Everything is focused on ensuring that our clients do not have to worry about cyber security, backups and updates, while simultaneously providing them with the flexibility and integration of our product portfolio.
These topics were discussed further in our spring webinar this year. We will surely host another webinar soon, in which we will introduce you to our extensive range of products.
HB BLOG | Remco van de Meeberg
Directions EMEA 2020 – Virtual Edition
How does as virtual edition of a conference work and what can you expect? Yes, you have heard it right, Directions EMEA (Directions 4 Partners), an annual fixture in the world of Dynamics 365, has gone virtual, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Directions EMEA and Directions ASIA are events the entire world of Dynamics 365 looks forward to each year. Directions EMEA is an event normally held at the beginning of October in a city in Europe, shortly after Microsoft’s Wave 2 release of the Dynamics 365 platform.
- 2019 - Vienna
- 2018 - The Hague
- 2017 - Madrid
- 2016 - Prague
This year, Praque would have been the centre stage again. Unfortunately, a worldwide pandemic threw a wrench in the works, which has happened with so many events in 2020.
Directions EMEA, as well as the postponed Directions ASIA, were held ‘round about the house’ in 2020, i.e. from bedrooms or and/or home offices, but primarily in the cloud.
How does it work, an online edition of an event held for partners, by partners, that is brimmed with networking opportunities? How is that done online? That was the question on everyone’s mind and at least 2,500 other participants: How will I get in touch with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the world through an online conference platform? Normally, you meet each other at conference stands, or in-between sessions at a coffee machine, as well as the traditional party that closes the penultimate day. For many an annual reunion, where you run into many acquaintances and can catch up on the ever-changing world of Dynamics 365.
Was the online edition of the conference less useful? No. Were the session topics less useful? No. Were there less information takeaways than usual? No. Was there something for everyone? Yes. So, in fact, it was a normal conference, as usual? No, it was an entirely different experience.
My first impression was very positive. With the virtual conference platform, the organisation has managed to create the same atmosphere the physical variant exudes. Of course you are seated behind your desktop or laptop at home, i.e. in your study, bedroom, living room or kitchen, but to me signing up for sessions, ‘entering’ rooms or halls and visiting conference stands felt similar to the physical variant. Chatrooms were set up for networking, as well as Q&A sessions allowing you to freely take up on topics presented.
So what is it, what you miss? The answer to this question came to me later, after Directions EMEA. You miss the same things that you also miss in daily life and working from home, as in:
Shaking hands, the chatter in rooms or halls before sessions begin, a tap on your shoulder when meeting an acquaintance at a coffee machine, and the physical search for the right room. In fact, quite ordinary things that have nothing to do with subject matter… or maybe one substantive thing: The live demo that normally almost never goes smoothly. It’s funny, but as far as I can remember, not a single demo went wrong in all the sessions I attended. It surely is weird, that you can miss something that you normally ‘lay into’.
Maybe this was due to the fact that most sessions were recorded in advance, except for the live Q&A sessions afterwards. Maybe then you might notice a different atmosphere, but not due to subject matter.
Does a virtual conference have benefits? Absolutely. For example, there is no limit to the number of session participants. All of a sudden, the ‘tiniest’ room can accommodate over 500 people. If the topic turns out to be less interesting, you can easily join another session. I have attended quite a few sessions only ‘halfway’ through.
Does a virtual conference have drawbacks? Absolutely. When working from home, the blending of work and private life is lurking. If you attend a virtual conference from behind your desktop or laptop, you can still see the pile of work. If you do not take measures, those e-mails will continue to come in. A physical conference feels much more like taking a ‘short break’.
So, is a virtual conference a good alternative? Absolutely. Again, I think the organisation has done a great job.
Can a virtual conference compare to a physical one? Never. I hope to meet everyone in person again in Milan in 2021.