Rolls Royce is Flying High with Azure IoT

Rolls Royce is Flying High with Azure IoT

Rolls Royce has over 13,000 engines in operation around the world, and they provide services to maintain those engines at peak performance. Today’s engines have thousands of sensors that can produce terabytes of data on long-haul flights. Making sense of all that data is critical in transporting customers safely and efficiently. That’s why they use a suite of tools from Microsoft to help iron out what all that data means. But adopting the right tools is easier said than done.

Avoiding operating disruptions is crucial to success at Rolls Royce. In fact, a single issue with a plane, and its inevitable effect to an entire airline, can cost up to one million dollars per day! Limiting these disruptions is the biggest reason for their investment in IoT technologies from Azure. Being able to identify problems before they arise has been invaluable for the manufacturer. With early notice, Rolls Royce can reduce inventory costs and maximize availability of parts. Saving airlines millions!

At Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., we know that it can be a challenge, that’s why we want to help you drive the transformation you need. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Build Loyalty and Brand Advocacy Through Effortless Experiences.

Build Loyalty and Brand Advocacy Through Effortless Experiences.

An increasingly connected digital world has changed the way customers engage with brands. In an age of commoditized products and services, companies look to customer experience as a key competitive differentiator. Customer Service organizations are at the epicenter of a company’s ability to deliver a differentiated and a consistent engagement experience.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service supports the omni-channel, which enables consistent experiences across any combination of self and assisted service engagements. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service provides a robust portal for self-service and peer-to-peer community support, with seamless transitions to high-touch agent interactions, and field service when there is a need for onsite help. This solution empowers agents with the resources they need to provide fast and effective service. Implementing this powerful solution empowers people at every level of the organization with insights relevant to their role so that everyone can have a positive and meaningful impact on business outcomes.

Our loyal fans are the driving force behind everything we do. The only way to increase revenue is to increase value, and the only way to increase value is to deliver better experiences.

Scott Loft – VP Ticket Sales, Retention and Database Operations
Oklahoma City Thunder | NBA

Microsoft 365 Dynamics Customer Service
Dashboard: Microsoft 365 Dynamics Customer Service

Key Benefits

  • Earn Loyalty: Increase brand loyalty and advocacy by providing personalized and contextual interactions across the customer journey, through any channel and from any device. Studies show that 91% of consumers are loyal to brands who offer low effort interactions.
  • Empower Agents: Provide your agents with everything they need to deliver a more personalized, effective standard of service – using tools that are at their fingertips, from a single application. Only 4% of service organizations can solve a service inquiry using a single application.
  • Stay Agile: Adjust at the pace of innovation through actionable insights that anticipate the rapidly changing needs of customers and your brand. 77% of consumers around the globe have a more favorable view of brands that offer proactive customer service notifications.

Key Capabilities


Enable end-to-end service engagements across channels on any device. A unified platform ensures context and consistency, delivering personalized service with minimal customer effort.

  • Complete 360-degree view of the customer, including full history of interactions, user preferences, and relevant customer information from third party applications.
  • Complete customer information shared across channels and interactions to ensure consistent experiences, regardless of the number or variety of channels leveraged over the course of a single service request, or throughout the customer lifetime.
  • Real-time insights, SLA timers and entitlements, are presented to the agent so that every interaction is personalized and contextual.
  • Machine learning detects social post sentiment and intent to automatically create and route as cases.
  • Create more personal experiences with chat and co-browse.
  • Drag-and-drop survey designer, theme editor and rich design logic makes it easy to create personalized surveys with multiple delivery mechanisms.
  • CTI framework with several integrations and adapters currently in market.


Empower the increasing majority who prefer to find answers on their own through self-service and community options, including access via third party sites, such as Facebook. A branded, personalized experience leverages an organized, searchable knowledgebase to deliver consistent, up-to-date answers, and a community experience for peer-to-peer support, direct interaction with subject matter experts or ideation.

  • Intuitive navigation with case deflection capabilities, community discussion forums and blog platform.
  • Optional federated search returns results from any combination of relevant knowledge articles, social posts and blogs.
  • Automated community thread escalation to case capabilities.
  • Responsive design optimized for mobile devices.
  • Seamless transitions between self and assisted support.
  • In addition to out-of-the-box configurations, admins can create custom entities with easy to use tools, and a rich set of SDKs enable developers to easily build apps as well.
  • Portals leverage CRM authentication, security, user roles and rights, and either local authentication or federated authentication through a variety of providers.


Empower your agents with a single, unified experience on their desktop or mobile device. Agents can access every source of information they need across diverse environments to provide a more personalized, effective standard of service.

  • A dynamic interface optimized to drive the next best action contextually serves up tools, guidance and data to agents throughout the interaction, including information or assets from third party applications.
  • Topic analysis and machine learning scenarios surface relevant knowledge articles and related cases to help agents solve cases faster and improve first time resolution rates.
  • Boost productivity with business processes and workflow, integrated knowledge, SLAs, agent scripting, entitlements and recommendations.
  • Speed resolution and avoid escalations by using collaboration tools to connect agents with peers and subject matter experts across internal and external teams.
  • Provide context sensitive guidance to help new users navigate the application and perform tasks specific to their role.
  • Reward optimal behaviors with gamification to improve performance and increase productivity.
  • Take service directly to the customer any time it cannot be managed through other channels; a single platform for customer and field service spans case management through to work order completion.
Insights: Microsoft 365 Dynamics Customer Service
Insights: Microsoft 365 Dynamics Customer Service


Unified knowledge provides a single source of truth across channels and LOBs. Knowledgebase administrators can capture and create content from multiple sources, and an approval workflow ensures accuracy and mitigates risk.

  • Quick Create functionality lets SMEs and agents create content on the fly, which is then routed into the approval workflow.
  • Build your knowledgebase with community sourced knowledge enrichment scenarios.
  • Use rich media, such as images and videos, to increase first time resolution rates.
  • Articles can be scheduled for periodic review or expiration to ensure content is always current.
  • Improve search and discoverability by associating knowledge articles with products, customer entitlements and other customer or account data.
  • Knowledge articles are optimized for mobile devices, and end users can provide feedback by rating content.
  • Knowledge analytics drives article efficiency and identifies potential areas for adjustments and augmentation.


Relevant data empowers every role in the organization to have a positive impact on business outcomes. Insights are displayed through interactive dashboards with powerful data visualization capabilities. Our solution empowers organizations with the information they need to provide proactive care, and to predict and preempt the need for service.

  • Role-tailored dashboards present real-time and historical data through a visual user interface.
  • Drill into data via interactive charts, and include data from third party applications for deeper business insights, analysis and exploration.
  • Use natural language capabilities to instantly render new reports and visualizations.
  • Use service intelligence to identify cross-sell/up-sell opportunities, explore what-if scenarios, improve service metrics and performance and identify best practices.
  • Report on custom KPIs and metrics tuned specifically to your business.

Ready to get going?

Contact Oakwood Systems Group today and discover how you can connect with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service.

We get it. Change is scary!

We get it. Change is scary!

We get it. Change is scary. If you’ve been running the same operating system for many years, a large-scale overhaul is understandably intimidating.

However, with service ending for SQL and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, now is the time to make the switch to Azure and experience the latest in innovation and security.

If you are still running either of these, don’t panic! Microsoft has put options in place to give you the time you need, and we at Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., are here to assist you with a smooth transition.

Almost any business using technology is producing enormous amounts of data. Unfortunately, much of this data comes in a wide range of formats and most businesses don’t have the tools or know-how to fully utilize it.  

This is exactly what SitePro observed in the oil and gas industry, where large amounts of data were being generated but not used to their fullest extent. Using Azure, SitePro was able to compile this data and channel it all through a single, user-friendly application available to their customers. 

Suddenly, oil and gas companies could see in real time what was going on at their various fields and know exactly when servicing was needed on their equipment, saving them valuable time and resources. 

What could your data be waiting to tell you? Find out with Azure. Call or write us today.

Actionable Business Intelligence Is Not A Million Dollar Project

Actionable Business Intelligence Is Not A Million Dollar Project

Ever heard the phrase “we have a lot of wood to chop?”  Well, we just realized that Business Intelligence is number one on the CIO “must have” list for the fourth year in a row.

What's Going On?

It's starting to seem sort of like a “goal weight,” isn't it?  It's something you put on the board as a target, but never develop a plan that will get you there – or don't stick with the plan you've developed.  You look at it as a great big hairy audacious goal rather than a series of smaller goals that will move you along the right path.  It's daunting, costly and going to take too long.

None of that has to be true.  Start with small steps.  Find a partner who knows how to lead you down a path with opportunities for short-term wins on the way to the ultimate goal.  Aim for the first ten pounds of BI, then the next ten pounds (just to extend my analogy a bit further!).  Before you know it, you'll be at your BI goal weight.

Business Intelligence Conclusion

With BI in the number one position again, there's a clear message here.  Folks just aren't getting it done.  Break the cycle.  A great goal would be to have BI move to the number two position next year, don't you think?

Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong. 

Driving the Business with Business Intelligence

Driving the Business with Business Intelligence

Let's talk about business intelligence.  The Oakwood Team is pretty jazzed about the conceptual metaphor: “Driving Your Business with BI”.  The spot-on clarity of the comparison—and how important it relates to the business culture and competitive marketplace we now operate is astonishing. It’s critical to understand the depth of this seemingly obvious observation.

Driving Success | Business Intelligence

  • The business marketplace is the gasoline.
  • Your business and the related business transactions are your business engine.
  • Your BI system and data architecture is the automobile frame.
  • You and the key personnel running your business are (of course) the driver.
  • Your dashboard is—well—your dashboard, providing the most critical key operational data.
  • Your goals and indicators are your windshields, and your long-term strategic plan is your GPS.

The Bottom Line

Your bottom line is the destination (victory circle—or Pike’s Peak—or wherever you’re going).  So, it boils down to whether you want a Chevy Chase vacation or a Lance Armstrong finish.

While “driving the business with BI”, your car and the act of transporting yourself within it is analogous to steering your business using BI as your physical and strategic co-pilot. In business, I’ll opt for the Dr. Spock-like copilot awake at the wheel!

Those who travel with a particular destination in mind have a transport method, map, accurate information and other critical travel tools since you’ll not go far smoothly or too fast without them. Our driving business metaphor again rings very true considering BI delivers fundamental operational, tactical and strategic actionable information to the right people at the right time in the right format (closer to like Southwest, not TWA).

I’m reminded there’s a whole lot to this metaphor.

Paradise By The Dashboard Light

By now even your baby sister (or babysitter) knows about BI dashboards. The dashboard and BI portal is your business windshield. It is the clear vantage point for the daily navigation for the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of your business. It literally aligns those you expose to it and held accountable to it. This is similar to how all people in the car end up at the same location the car does —no matter who in the car might have wanted to go elsewhere.

Shallow Society

Our society—like it or not—is largely a dashboard-first consumer. That doesn’t mean the information is shallow. As a society, we demand that complex information is delivered timely and precisely.  At the right time, in the right format and right now. Business operations critically require the same, each day of the business journey.

Dashboard-first doesn’t imply shallow thinking either, but actually the opposite. Information required for deep and wide business analytics should be increasingly detailed and drillable down to the last detail.  First, it must be presented for a quick analysis at a high level for overall understanding.  That gives us the strategic big picture. Welcome BI, for giving us the information to navigate through and around the pot-holes, broken bridges, and closed roads.

Bottom Line Business Intelligence

From experience, I believe the medium is the message when it comes to ‘stewardship and steering’ of your business with BI. Folks at all levels of your organization need to know they make a difference. What better way than a BI value-chain scorecard built exactly to how their efforts contribute to the operational, tactical and strategic goals?

Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

Avoid the High-Wire Act During BI Implementation

Avoid the High-Wire Act During BI Implementation

In many clients we see the fine art of BI implementation is a challenge similar to a high-wire act, avoiding a fiscal cliff or landing a person on the moon. The adage that “things worth doing are never easy” holds true, especially with BI. Doing nothing may be the absolute wrong thing to do also. Truth is that all companies must adapt to a changing competitive landscape.

BI Implementation Needs

  • Understanding and gaining consensus on the strategy, project deliverables and business planned results
  • Terminology translation between business & technology project team members
  • Poorly written or unwritten project charters, requirements or undone user stories, and misinterpreted data schemas or designs
  • Hurdles integrating the  BI technology infrastructure effort and a surprising amount of tweaks or add-on work along the way
  • Data mart or warehouse refactoring for BI usability and ‘actionable results’ at the end of an internal project
  • Resourcing the project from a limited talent pool, while flexibly providing the right resource mix to meet goals timely on budget, as planned
  • Coordination and sequencing of aligning all key infrastructure, development, talent and project execution

Key Focus Areas

How to avoid implementation issues? Coordination to avoid the high-wire act alone is an extremely focused management effort. The balance in executing BI implementations is in fact not all art but is mostly a science based on proven fundamentals that yield results as consistently as the natural laws of physics—or in this case the natural laws of BI implementation success/failure.

Project Charter Planning Process

  • Get initial support from key stakeholders and users, then keep it. It is conceptually as simple as allowing users to be truly involved throughout the entire strategy, design and project implementation. Most projects fail here somewhere along the line, but it is absolutely essential for success. The high-wire act here is as easy as tight roping Niagara Falls on a blustery day.
  • Successful BI implementations do not rob Peter to pay Paul. A favorite quote is, “Whenever you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be sure that Paul’s outrage will be less than Peter’s”. This is done by ensuring that everyone on the team has the responsibility and accountability to make things work, daily, through each entire project, throughout the entire strategic implementation.
    Your goal is to never allow project elitism—better known as the “us against them blame game”, leading to unfavorable results.
  • Tailor the BI information delivery for each targeted BI consumer group. This may include power users, technical report writers, executives or other user groups, including customers. Businesses move too quickly and change too often for the expectation that static reporting or one delivery mechanism will satisfy BI decision needs. For actionable BI, you must have a fool-proof plan to deliver usable information via practical accessible means to each key user group. This can take many forms, including a variety of mobile & self-service BI possibilities.

BI Implementation Conclusion

If you don't have it within your own team, consider partnering with a firm that has BI experience and repeatable processes to balance success inputs of a BI implementation. This is not a blog level conversation, but a serious strategic BI lifecycle and project planning exercise. Develop a strategy to implement BI for actionable business decisions, then implement using experience. Gravity kills only if you fall, so avoid the fall and provide yourself the full opportunity for success.

Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

Bridj | Big Data That Improves Mass Transit and Bus Routes

Bridj | Big Data That Improves Mass Transit and Bus Routes

What's going on with Big Data?  Bridj is the world's first smart transit system which adjusts its routes according to data from a myriad of sources, including Google Earth, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, the census and municipal records.  A passenger only needs to download the real-time smartphone app to check daily routes and receive alerts with arrival times.

According to the Bridj website, the service saves passengers about an hour each day compared to a similar route other public transit systems would take. The Bridj buses also offer complimentary WiFi and plush, luxury seats to its passengers.

Bridj | Big Data: How It Works

Bridj uses big data to predict how a city moves, then deploy dynamic transportation networks to match popular origin and destination pairings with direct service.

Bridj uses machine learning algorithms to get smarter as more users enter the system, allowing for a living, breathing, and thinking transportation system. Bridj's website claims:

Bridj is the first in the world to actively and dynamically collect city movement data, then dynamically deploy a transit network. By doing so, we have the ability to create infrastructure effectively and quickly throughout the world.

The system is poised to become so smart that it will eventually take more and more people closer to their destinations. Bridj will then swap out the 54-seat motor coaches for more efficient, smaller vehicles on its expanded routes, the brainchild behind Bridj, Matthew George said.

Over the course of the next five years, Bridj says it will begin to explore and utilize advanced technology like driverless shuttles to fundamentally alter the way cities move and travel.

Someday, George said, those vans could use big data and automated vehicle technology – becoming driverless vehicles that avoid collisions, get better fuel economy and speed up traffic flow.

Business Value

Providing more value to customers is essential to the health and well-being of every business. Bridj has effectively found a way to analyze its existing data and deliver faster, smarter ways to travel throughout Boston.

However, many organizations face challenges relating to data accessibility.

Most businesses have valuable data stored in various systems and databases but don't have access to or have a way to condense that data into a single dashboard. Without this, many business decision-makers are assessing only a small part of the 'big picture'.

In fact, in a recent Wall Street Journal survey, just 16 of 400 businesses in the survey said they are getting demonstrable value from their big data. Additionally, out of the 64 percent of organizations that have invested in or plan to invest in big data tech, only 8 percent have started using it.

Data and Analytics

Business Insight solutions have become a critical component of today's agile business environment. Oakwood delivers solutions that enable businesses to turn massive amounts of unstructured data into actionable insight. The approach involves three things: 1) discovering and combining data 2) gaining insights from data 3) sharing data and insights across the organization.

Oakwood implemented a BI tool suite for the #1 industry leader in workman's compensation insurance so they could focus on analytics and predictive modeling – just like Bridj does with its smart transit alternative:

Discover where Big Data fits into business intelligence strategy and learn how to turn unstructured data into informed decision making that will reveal new insights about your business performance.

Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

5 Signs Your Business Dashboard is Broken

5 Signs Your Business Dashboard is Broken

Your business dashboard is more than just a point-of-access into your management information system – or at least, it should be. Its purpose extends beyond acting as a graphical representation of your current business structure. By putting information like output and input data, key performance indicators and more at your fingertips, has the potential to be the very foundation of every actionable decision you make.

What Is A Broken Business Dashboard?

A broken business dashboard could be a major symptom of a much larger and more pressing issue: broken business processes, or worse, a broken business model.

If you're not getting the types of results you are after, your business dashboard may be to blame. Here are the five key signs to watch for along with information about what you need to be doing to fix it.

Tracking Marketing Initiatives and ROI

It's very likely that you have clear tactics for growth that you're trying to execute as we speak.

These are all valuable ways to help your business continue to grow. But if your business dashboard doesn't give you the ability to track initiatives and see which efforts are paying off, you have no way to see what is working (and more importantly, what is not).

A proper functioning business dashboard MUST be able to show you not just the ROI for each tactic, but how they work together to form a cohesive whole.

You're Having Difficulties Determining Your Online Opportunities

From a business perspective, if you have to boil the Internet down to a single word, it would undoubtedly be “opportunity.” There's a huge volume of traffic coming into your website at any given time. Similar to your CRM, your business dashboard should empower you with the ability to connect with these prospects in a meaningful way. It should show you a few things.  Where customers are leaving you or what is making them disengage.  This information gives you the ability to do something about it.

Business Trends

Does your business dashboard allow you to identify both positive and negative trends?  Does it enable stakeholders to determine tools and quick fix solutions?  If not, your dashboard is broken.

Your Goals Don't Exist, and Communication is an Uphill Battle

If the goals that your business dashboard is showing are outdated or non-existent, they are not goals.  Instead, you are analyzing old information.  This is putting operations farther away from meaningful objectives.

Organizational strategies are no longer systematic anymore.  As a result, this is a problem especially when they're needed to make sure everyone is on the same page.  And of course, you are moving forward with momentum.

It is normal for one department to have different goals from another, but at the same time, your dashboard should be a communications tool to help everyone see how they fit into the larger collective or overall company mission.

You're Running Reports, Like a Treadmill – How Do You Interpret Them?

Your business dashboard and other business intelligence tools may be great for running reports, but if you can not move beyond the data to get at the story underneath, what good are they? If your business dashboard is broken, it is very likely that you do not have the ability to take data and use it to create the types of actionable moves you need to make next. Your data should be informing your strategy or process – it should not BECOME your strategy or process.

Too Much Information, Too Little Time

Finally, one of the major signals that your business dashboard is broken is that you have so much information that you don't know what to do with any of it. You're being bombarded from all angles by digital noise and have no real way to focus on the most important thing of all: key metrics.

Attention needs to focus on the real takeaways, not the distractions caused by a broken dashboard.

If you try to cram your business dashboard with too much data, you accomplish exactly the opposite of “dashboarding” you make that data irrelevant to the point where it does more harm than good.

Fixing a Broken Business Dashboard

A business dashboard that functions properly allows your team to achieve better business outcomes. You can fix all of the issues mentioned above by setting up clear and measurable goals, by focusing on quality, informed data and by identifying partner organizations that can help you build not just a dashboard, but the RIGHT dashboard.

The advantage to updating dashboards is both your shortcomings and opportunities become immediately visible. Data should highlight on a micro and macro level where you stand, and summary should be easy. If one of those things isn't true, you've got a problem.

Business Dashboard Conclusion

When it comes to something as important as a dashboard remember this.  Your internal team might not be able to give you what you need. What's needed is perhaps another set of eyes.

Learn more.  Construct the type of data tool to carry your organization into the next few years and beyond.  Don't delay – contact Oakwood to get started!

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.