Microsoft 365: Committed To YOUR Security

Microsoft 365: Committed To YOUR Security

Compliance is in place to protect your customers not burden your business, at least that’s the goal. In reality, compliance standards are always changing, and businesses of all sizes are constantly concerned about maintaining compliance. 

That’s why Microsoft built over 900 controls into its software and employs a full team of people focused on this very task. With compliance infused into the very core of the software, your customers can feel confident their data is safe with your business, and you can breathe easier knowing your security is up-to-date. 

At Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., we are committed to the idea that compliant data security should not be out of reach for any business.

Below are the Top 10 security deployment actions you should be leveraging within Microsoft 365.



(1) Identify Users

Deploy Azure Active Directory and connect to your on-premises directories. Create a single, common identity for each user to provide managed, secure access to all corporate resources.

(2) Manage Authentication & Safeguard Users

Enable Single Sign-On (SSO) in Azure Active Directory to manage authentication across devices, cloud apps, and on-premises apps. Then set up Multi-Factor Authentication to authenticate user sign-ons through a mobile app, phone call, or SMS.

(3) Protect Your Identities

Define security policies to protect individual user identities against account compromise in real time with Azure Active Directory Identity Protection. Manage, control, and monitor privileged access permissions to protect your organization with Azure AD Privileged Identity Management.

(4) Set Conditional Access Policies

Restrict or block user access based on risk, location, device information, apps, and other user behaviors with Conditional Access.

(5) Set Up Mobile Device Management

Deploy Intune to manage and secure company and employee-owned devices (BYOD).

(6) Manage Mobile Apps

Deploy Intune App protection policies on all devices in Intune to control how data is used in mobile apps.

(7) Set Your Cloud App Security Policies

Discover apps in use, assess risk, identify vulnerabilities, and take action with Microsoft Cloud App Security.

(8) Protect Your Documents & Email

Configure Azure Information Protection policies to classify, label, and encrypt documents and email. Then configure Office Advanced Threat Protection to protect your email against all known malicious links and malware.

(9) Protect Your OS

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is built into Windows 10 and provides near-instant detection and blocking of new and emerging threats.

(10) Detect & Investigate Security Incidents

Use Azure Advanced Threat Protection to detect suspicious activity in real time.


We understand the security problems facing your business are far from simple, which is why our multifaceted solution contains tools to address each one. Please drop us a message below and we’ll help you rest easy at night knowing your organization’s data is protected.

The Workplace Evolution

The Workplace Evolution

The workplace is evolving rapidly, and employees have new expectations for work and how it should get done.

Business leaders are embracing these changes and supporting a new culture of work. This means…

  • Collaborating in real time
  • Having always-on access to files and data
  • Flexibility to work from wherever, whenever
  • Staying safe and secure

Business leaders recognize that people are at the core of how each of their companies operate and it’s imperative to empower their employees to innovate and grow in a competitive landscape.

At the same time, companies are faced with the challenge of protecting their people and IP in a more complex threat environment.

Companies are constantly looking for solutions to enable a modern workplace for their employees.


Microsoft 365 brings together the best of Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security into an integrated solution to empower employees. 

Microsoft 365 delivers value for customers across four core areas.

The first two – creativity and teamwork – are about delivering a great end user experience for everyone in an organization, enabling them to be creative, productive, and collaborative.

The second two – simplicity and security – are about how Microsoft delivers those experiences on a platform that provides low TCO, the highest levels of security, and a flexible management infrastructure.


A great example of how one organization leveraged the powers of Microsoft 365 is Qantas Airlines.



Qantas re-energized their entire team by switching to a cloud infrastructure and modernizing their desktops. The cloud gives them access to the data they need quickly while ensuring their team can collaborate and communicate effectively while on the go. And for a team whose workforce is flying across the world on a daily basis, that flexibility is key.

By upgrading their IT infrastructure, Qantas now has the ability to collaborate more effectively and their leadership team can decentralize decision making, greatly increasing productivity and bringing them the security they need. Microsoft 365 helps their team care for customers in a way that’s never been done before and that’s good for business!

While your business might not be as distributed Qantas, flexibility for your employees is still important in today’s modern digital world. At Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., we know the ins and outs of creating customized modern desktops. If you’re considering updating your IT infrastructure to a modern desktop solution, contact us today.


Customer Cloud Success Story: Special Olympics

Customer Cloud Success Story: Special Olympics

For 50 years, the Special Olympics has used the power of sports to infuse joy, to incite action, to inspire communities, and to empower people with intellectual disabilities to discover new strengths and focus on what they CAN do.  

This worldwide nonprofit uses the Microsoft Cloud to track data for nearly 5 million athletes in 170 countries. With anywhere, anytime access, countless hours have been saved and reinvested into impacting athletes and changing the world. 


Just think—how can you make a difference and how might technology help you impact the world? Wherever you are in your cloud journey, Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. can help. Contact us to learn more.


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.



Enhanced Productivity with Windows 10

Enhanced Productivity with Windows 10

Since the beginning of the business computing revolution, IT professionals have been staffed with one over-arching mission: to empower their end users.  Each and every employee within an organization – from the CEO to the firstline worker – depends upon IT to protect them from security threats, and provide them with the tools and technology they need to do their best work.

Although the technology we use has changed dramatically since PCs first started appearing in the workplace, the fundamental purpose of IT – to protect and empower the organization – still holds true today, and more so than ever before.

Looking back just over a decade ago, the world was a very different place where technology is concerned.  The Nokia 2600 Classic was the best selling phone of 2007.  The bleeding edge of technology for its time.  Can you imagine still using a phone like this today?  You wouldn’t.  Nor would you expect your users to.

But the reality is, on their desktop devices, many companies are still running old, outdated platforms – or at best, following legacy IT paradigms – like the traditional 3-year update cadence – and asking their employees to work on machines that have missed out on years of advances no less ground-breaking than that of mobile technology.

Today we are in a fundamentally new era of intelligent computing. Due to the pervasiveness of consumer experiences, we are all more connected, more mobile, more tech savvy than we’ve ever been before.  Technology is all around us – from smart thermostats to internet-connected dog collars.

These new consumer expectations are disrupting traditional businesses, causing the lines between life and work to be blurred forever. Employees expect work to fit them, and to be productive no matter where they are. They expect access to colleagues, data, applications and services at any time. Wherever and whenever they might be on the planet.  As customers – and as employees – we are demanding magical, intelligent, digital moments, that are increasingly proactive and fit us in the moment.

According to The Future Workforce Study, people entering the workforce today no longer ask for sufficient technology at their jobs; they expect it – more than 80 percent of millennials say workplace tech would have an influence when deciding to take a job, while 42 percent say they are willing to quit their job if office technologies are not up to their standard.

Productivity is not enough – the addition of collaborative tools and innovative technologies are vital to the workplace of the near future.   IT needs to provide tools and technology that enable collaboration and allow employees work efficiently no matter where or how that work is getting done.tools that employ intelligence, to assist users with daily tasks so that they’re free to focus on the things matter the most.

A 2017 Forrester Workforce Benchmark Survey shows that 59% of information workers would choose Windows 10 for their next PC or laptop.  Why is this?  We believe it’s because Windows 10 brings the richest, smartest desktop experience, on a platform that’s intuitive for them to understand and use.  A platform built with end-user productivity and efficiency in mind.

“We are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences”.

Satya Nadella – Microsoft CEO

Microsoft infuses Windows 10 features and apps with the latest breakthroughs in AI – things like the Microsoft Graph, intelligent search, inking, and accessibility – to bring the latest advances and benefits to your users with each update.  To help them save time, take advantage of modern conveniences, and make their job a little easier.

With Windows 10, your users always have the latest technology, and the latest intelligence.  Windows 10 is an intuitive, easy-to-use operating system, with the built-in tools and features that individuals and teams need to collaborate and produce their best work.  Core capabilities give your users options for how they interact with their devices, stay in sync, and find what they need faster.  Built-in apps, designed to work across PCs, tablets, or mobile phones, help users pick up where they left off and stay in the flow.


Windows 10 productivity features show up in 3 key areas

Work smarter: Features to help people stay in the flow, work faster, and find what they need.  This includes features and apps such as Microsoft Edge, enterprise search in Windows, Cortana, or Windows Timeline, which offers a chronological view of activities and documents, so users can go back in time and jump right back in where they were on documents and activities.

  • Enterprise Search – With enterprise search in Windows, users have one place to find whatever they need – right in the Windows 10 taskbar. Enterprise search finds results from apps on devices or in the Microsoft Store, settings, documents, email messages, company resources, web results, people, Power BI dashboards and reports and more. Enterprise search in Windows also has the ability to surface documents and items across local devices, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint locations.  Searching on keywords or names will quickly return results from titles and document bodies, by author, or by collaborators and individuals who shared the documents.
  • Windows User Experience
    • Windows Timeline – Gives users a new view of activities and documents, so they can find things in chronological context. From one device to the next, Windows Timeline syncs and keeps track of where a user is in an app or document, and lets them jump back in where they left off. Timeline integrates seamlessly with Task View, with current activities highlighted front and center. With Office 365 apps, Timeline detects and includes what a user did on their Android or iOS device.
    • Optimize Screen Space – Windows enables users to keep the documents and apps they need in easy view.  They can open up to four apps on one screen and easily snap documents or apps into place to optimize available screen space with Snap Assist.  And if screens are getting crowded, users can create virtual desktops with just the items they want – great for when they don’t have multiple monitors to work with.
    • Start Fast & Smart – Users can personalize the Start menu by pinning their go-to apps and files for fast access, and organizing app tiles by groups and folders.  They can pin underlying content to the Start menu, to jump into a specific document, and Live Tiles display updated information, like weather and headlines, so users can see information at a glance without opening the app.  And for East Asian markets, the start menu now has simplified grouping of apps in the all apps list.
  • Microsoft Edge
    • Enteprise Security – Microsoft Edge is the most secure browser for enterprise customers because it is the only browser that works with Windows Defender Application Guard.  Users are automatically protected from phishing and malicious software while they’re online.
    • Productive Across Devices – Microsoft Edge, available on iOS and Android, creates a continuous browsing experience for Windows 10 users across their devices. Content and data sync seamlessly in the background, so users can browse across devices without skipping a beat.
    • Superior browser performance Designed for how the web is built today, Microsoft Edge is created for modern web standards —and benchmarks like Jetstream 1.1 show it is the faster browser on Windows 10.  It also delivers better battery life performance, letting users do more on the web and stay productive on the go.
    • Take Control & Unleash Creativity – Work in multiple tabs without all the clutter.  Built-in tools make it simple to organize, find and set aside web pages to help users focus on the content they need.  Use Windows Ink or type directly on webpages, transforming them into a canvas for collaboration and creativity. Users can add their thoughts to a page, then easily share with co-workers, or seamlessly save screenshots to apps such as OneNote.
    • Quickly Move Into Action – With Cortana enabled, users get instant access to key actions, like highlighting an unfamiliar term to get a contextual explanation right on the spot. 


Cultivate collaboration: Seamless integration with tools for working with others.  This includes the great things you can do with Office 365 on Windows, apps like Whiteboard and OneNote, and features like Nearby Sharing that allow users to quickly transmit documents, files, and web pages to nearby PCs via Bluetooth.

We know that collaboration is the way work gets done now.  People on average participate on twice as many teams as they did 5 years ago and the average IW has seen increase time spent collaborating by 50.  The benefits are undeniable – companies that invest in collaboration and teamwork are 5x more likely to be high performing.

But it’s not just about the numbers.  The very nature of how we collaborate has shifted.  Teams now are composed of both internal and external members – inside and outside the firewall.  Team members are increasingly geographically distributed.  And the workforce is increasingly diverse in many ways, including demographics – 5 different generations in the workforce at the same time, each with different expectations.

  • Office 365
    • Cloud Location, Familiar Navigation – With OneDrive Files On-Demand, users can access all their files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on their device. Just by signing in, all files—even online-only files—are instantly available in on their PCs. And new enhanced activity indicators in File Explorer make the OneDrive experience on Windows even better than before.
    • Add power to the point with 3D – Users can leverage 3D content to increase the visual and creative impact of their PowerPoint, Word, and Excel documents, and Outlook messages.  Users can bring 3D objects to life in presentations with transitions like Morph, that create cinematic animations between slides, or animations like turntable, that allow an object to turn continuously on the slide.
    • Ink the way you think Employees can use a compatible digital pen to annotate Office documents in a fluid and natural way, or edit them directly.  Users can convert handwriting to text, strikethrough to delete, circle to select, highlight to emphasize, and make room to write or insert text.  Users can replay the sequence of mark-ups from co-workers, to better understand another’s thought process, and even use a digital pen as a clicker to advance through PowerPoint slides.
    • The best duo for multitasking – Windows multi-tasking features pair perfectly with Office. Users can arrange their screens however they want, to easily open and manage multiple Office apps and documents on one screen, and effortlessly snap up to four documents or apps at a time into view to optimize their digital workspace.
  • Nearby Sharing – With the Nearby Sharing feature in Windows 10, meetings with co-workers just got easier.  Using the Share option in Microsoft Edge, File Explorer, OneNote, and other Windows apps, users can quickly transmit documents, files, and web pages to nearby PCs via Bluetooth.  So spontaneous sharing and collaboration can happen anywhere – not just in spaces equipped with a screen or projector.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard
    • Collaborate effortlessly – Whiteboard’s limitless surface provides space for everyone’s ideas.  Users can bring in teammates—whether they’re across the hall or in a different part of the world—with real-time collaboration across multiple devices.  Users can see where everyone is on the board and the updates they’re making—whether they’re adding images, putting up sticky notes, or creating diagrams.
    • Work naturally – Microsoft Whiteboard lets people create in whatever way feels natural. Pen-first, touch-first technology lets users make fluid gestures with their fingers or draw details with a digital pen. Users can jot down notes, draw precise illustrations, or search for images on the web. Using fingers, users can swipe through sections of the board, turn the virtual ruler to any angle, or even drag and drop images.
    • Capture Intelligently Intelligent ink in Microsoft Whiteboard recognizes freeform drawings and turns them into standard shapes, so it’s easy to create great-looking tables, diagrams, and flowcharts. And unlike traditional whiteboards, the app automatically saves boards, so users can resume discussions later in another place, follow up from their desk after a meeting, or share links to boards so others can build on top of their work.
  • OneNote
    • Start sharing immediately OneNote comes pre-installed in Windows 10, so users can start jotting notes, sharing, and collaborating with peers as soon as they log in for the first time.
    • Stay organized Whether users need to take meeting notes and share them with a group, sketch an idea, capture an image, preserve an email message in context, print a web page or file, or take a photo of a whiteboard, OneNote makes it quick and easy to get everything organized in one place – notebooks, sections, or pages.  And users can search across all typed and handwritten notes to find whatever they need quickly.
    • Think with ink Users can take notes any way they want – typing onto a page, writing or drawing with a digital pen or using a finger on the touchscreen.  Users have access to a variety of drawing tools and effects, and OneNote integrates the latest advancements in shape recognition, including standard shapes and tables, as well as preserving ink color, size, and highlights when converting handwriting into text. OneNote users can even record their ink strokes so they can be replayed later.
    • Access from anywhere OneNote is available on nearly any device, including Android, iOS, web, Chromebook, even wearables – so no matter where users are, they can access their notes.
    • Always up to date – OneNote supports the latest advancements in things like shape recognition, immersive reader, and integration with new Windows capabilities such as Timeline.

Empower workstyles: Windows is built to address the needs of the modern workforce – supporting different workstyles and individual needs, with things like inking, touch, voice dictation, mobility, accessibility features, and device options for everyone.

  • Work across devices is a compilation of features that are designed to make Windows 10 work better with iOS and Android phones.
    • Windows 10 + Android
      • Continue on PC: With Microsoft Edge on Android, users can move easily from an Android phone to their PC, picking up an activity right where they left off. Microsoft Edge creates a continuous browsing experience for Windows 10 users across their devices – content and data sync seamlessly and safely in the background, so users can seamlessly browse across devices.
      • Sync Office docs across devices: With Office apps on Android, users can move easily from one device to another, without loosing their place in the doc. Users can start a Word document or Excel spreadsheet on their mobile phone, and quickly resume writing on their PC with a full keyboard and screen.
      • Microsoft Launcher: On Android devices, users can download the Microsoft Launcher, to get an easy-to-personalize mobile experience, and single sign on for their favorite Microsoft productivity apps.4 Users can create a customized feed of notifications, people and activities, and personalize their home screen to take action quickly.
      • Intelligent assistance: Cortana helps keep things in order – at work or on the go. Users can add a new event or reminder to their calendar from their PC, and Cortana makes sure it’s on their Android phone, keeping users up-to-date wherever they go. Users can tell Cortana send activities from their phone to their PC, to continue activities with the benefits of a bigger screen.
    • Windows 10 + iOS
      • Continue on PC: With Microsoft Edge on iOS, users can send webpages or articles from their iPhone instantly to their PC, continuing to read or browse with a bigger screen on their PC. Microsoft Edge creates a continuous browsing experience for Windows 10 users across their devices – content and data sync seamlessly and safely in the background, so users can seamlessly browse across devices.
      • Sync Office docs across devices: with Office apps on iOS, users can move easily from one device to another, without loosing their place in the doc. Users can start a Word document or Excel spreadsheet on their mobile phone, and quickly resume writing on their PC with a full keyboard and screen.
      • Intelligent assistance: Cortana helps keep things in order – at work or on the go. Users can add a new event or reminder to their calendar from their PC, and Cortana makes sure it’s on their iPhone, keeping users up-to-date wherever they go.  Users can tell Cortana send activities from their phone to their PC, to continue activities with the benefits of a bigger screen.
    • Accessibility: Windows 10 has a robust set of features for those in need of assistive technology.
      • Ease of Access: Windows Ease of Access settings provides a robust set of accessibility features, making it easy for users to customize their device experience to their needs.  They can quickly discover what they need with a new design that groups features by ability – vision, hearing, and interaction.
      • Vision: Improved performance and unified navigation make Narrator (a screen reader built into Windows) easier to use than before. Narrator provides users a more robust and seamless experience, with capabilities like audio output control, machine-generated intelligent image descriptions, and contextual narration of content parts, such as text boxes within in Word documents.
      • Remove reading distractions: Microsoft Edge can help users focus and take in the words on a website or PDF.  With Reading view, users can remove distractions like ads, or if they prefer listening to reading, Read Aloud will read PDFs or websites out loud.
      • Write freely: Any user can now author and edit documents with voice dictation in Windows.  Dictation will convert speech to text, so users can think freely without a keyboard. And Windows supports text suggestions for hardware, as well as on-screen keyboards, so users can get their ideas intro writing more quickly.
      • Click with your eyes: For those who are not able to use a keyboard, Windows comes with built-in support for eye control.  Users can control the mouse, type using an on-screen keyboard, and communicate with people using text-to-speech, all with their eyes.

Windows 10 isn’t just the platform of choice for end users.  It’s also the platform trusted by IT.  It’s designed to give YOU the tools to do more – to keep the company secure, simplify the deployment and update process, and to harness the power of the cloud to reduce the complexity of managing today’s IT device environment.

We here at Oakwood Systems Group hope you’ll take advantage of what Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 can offer you, to empower the new culture of work in your organization today.

Contact us today and we’ll help you get started!

Customer Cloud Success Story: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)

Customer Cloud Success Story: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)

If you’ve ever had a beer, more than likely it was an AB InBev product. This global company brews and markets one-third of the beer products sold around the world and stores massive amounts of data in order to do so. 

With siloed datacenters, AB InBev lacked integrated systems, cohesion between markets and regions, and the agility to get to market quickly. Like businesses of every size, they needed a robust cloud solution in their digital transformation journey.  

Watch this quick video to see why AB InBev chose Microsoft Azure and let Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. show you how you can also break down data silos, increase operational insights, and cut down on IT costs with a modern data platform.


Transforming The Customer Experience

Transforming The Customer Experience

In a world of instant gratification, customers expect more from the businesses they patron. That’s why you need a CRM solution that’s more than just a CRM platform. You need an all-in-one business management solution to streamline and connect business processes with customer experience. It’s the way of the future for a demanding generation of customers. Deliver the level of service and experience they deserve with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

This all-in-one Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business management solution will help connect your financials, sales, service, and operations to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and make better decisions.


Manage Your Financials

  • Make informed decisions: Connect data across accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory, and customer interactions to get an end-to-end view of your business. Chart financial performance in real time with built-in Power BI dashboards.
  • Accelerate financial close and reporting: Streamline accounts receivables and payables, and automatically reconcile accounts to close and report on financials quickly and accurately, while maintaining compliance.
  • Improve forecast accuracy: Refine financial forecasts by modeling and analyzing data across multiple dimensions. Customize reports using seamless Microsoft Excel integration.

Automate and Secure Your Supply Chain

  • Optimize inventory levels: Use built-in intelligence to predict when and what to replenish. Purchase only what you need with dynamically updated inventory levels.
  • Avoid lost sales and reduce shortages: Maintain the right amount of inventory by automatically calculating stock levels, lead times, and reorder points. Suggest substitutes when requested items are out of stock.
  • Maximize Profitability: Get recommendations on when to pay vendors to use vendor discounts or avoid overdue penalties. Prevent unnecessary or fraudulent purchases through approval workflows.

Sell Smarter and Improve Customer Service

  • Deliver value at every touch point: Prioritize sales leads based on revenue potential. Keep track of all customer interactions and get guidance on best upsell, cross-sell, and renewal opportunities throughout your sales cycle.
  • Boost sales productivity: Accelerate the quote to cash process. Act quickly on sales-related inquiries, manage service requests, and process payments—all from within Outlook.
  • Deliver exceptional service: Gain a comprehensive overview of your service tasks, workloads, and employee skills to effectively assign resources and accelerate case resolution.

Keep Projects on Time and on Budget

  • Stay on budget: Create, manage, and track customer projects using timesheets along with advanced job costing and reporting capabilities. Develop, modify, and control budgets to ensure project profitability.
  • Plan with precision: Manage resource levels by planning capacity and sales. Track invoicing for customers against planned costs on orders and quotes.
  • Analyze project performance: Make effective decisions with real-time insight on project status, profitability, and resource-usage metrics.

Optimize Your Operations

  • Manage forecasting to fulfillment: Use sales forecasts and expected stock-outs to automatically generate production plans and create purchase orders.
  • Run your warehousing efficiently: Get a holistic view of inventory for efficient order fulfillment. Track every item transaction and movement by setting up bins based on warehouse layout and storage unit dimensions.
  • Reach optimal output levels: Calculate and optimize manufacturing capacity and resources to improve production schedules and meet customer demands.

Protect Your Data and Support GDPR Compliance

  • Respect your customers’ privacy: Use built-in privacy-by-design and privacy-by-default methodologies to help your business comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Grant and restrict access to personal data on multiple levels and enable audit trails to ensure security and accountability.
  • Handle, store and transmit data securely: Move and store personal data freely across your systems while protecting it from unauthorized access with Microsoft datacenters’ automatic encryption.

Run Your Business Anywhere

  • Choose cloud, on-premise or hybrid deployment: Business Central runs where you need it, in the cloud or on-premises, with the same user experience no matter how you deploy.
  • Take your business on the go: The mobile version of Business Central supports both cloud and on-premise users with a consistent, modern experience across Windows, Android, or IOS devices.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Dashboard
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Dashboard

Customer Success Story: 24 Hour Fitness

Just about everybody wants to get fit, but there are as many paths to fitness as there are people embarking on the journey. 24 Hour Fitness stands out in a crowded wellness industry not just for its innovative approach to fitness but for its personalized approach to member services. The company is applying data analytics to member marketing by connecting Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Adobe Experience Cloud hosted on Microsoft Azure to personalize marketing messages to millions of members at its 400-plus US health clubs. By connecting marketing and sales data, 24 Hour Fitness is reaching people in exciting new ways, bringing in record numbers of members, and helping more people reach their fitness goals.

It’s a tall task for any health and wellness business to keep people on track with their fitness goals. In many cases, life intervenes and fitness can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. 24 Hour Fitness uses tech to set themselves apart from the competition by making their customers’ experience personal and engaging so they keep coming back.

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Adobe Experience Cloud, we’re able to meet customers wherever they are—with the activities that they’re interested in to achieve their personal fitness goals.

Jenn Galantini: Director of Acquisition Marketing | 24 Hour Fitness

Email Oakwood Systems Group today to find out more on how we can help you integrate Dynamics and other Microsoft solutions to get a leg up on the competition and ensure your customers are getting the personalized experience they deserve.

Modernize in The Cloud with Azure SQL Database

Modernize in The Cloud with Azure SQL Database

Getting ahead means getting to the cloud

Studies show that companies that embrace the cloud grow 19.6% faster than those who do not and more than 80% of organizations now adopt cloud-first strategies as part of an overall digital transformation.

As a first step on the digital transformation journey, IT must optimize its operations to effectively manage growth in the cloud.

To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, IT organizations must continuously optimize how they maintain and use the data that fuels their operations.  Modernizing to the cloud as part of a digital transformation can deliver:

  1. Operational efficiencies
  2. Business enablement to drive continued growth

IT optimization introduces some new priorities to consider:

  1. Eliminating time spent managing “long tail” of applications
  2. Freeing up limited IT resources
  3. Migrating business critical apps to the cloud

Azure SQL Database

Azure SQL Database is your fully-managed relational database-as-a service. It’s the best and most economical cloud destination for your SQL Server data and running on the Microsoft SQL Server engine means it’s high-performing, reliable, and secure.

Azure SQL Database Cloud

Additional Benefits of Azure SQL Database:

  1. Save time and resources by seamlessly migrating SQL Server data to the cloud via a managed instance with a full SQL Server programming surface area that removes the need to re-architect the apps.
  2. Realize up to 212% ROI over 3 years by migrating your SQL Server workloads to SQL Database Managed Instance (according to recent Forrester Total Economic Impact study). Upon migrating to Azure, organizations can see savings of up to 80% versus license-included pricing. Azure SQL Database is the most cost-effective cloud for SQL Server with AWS being approximately 5x more expensive.
  3. SQL Database breakthrough productivity and performance meets the demands of today’s apps. Each database is isolated and portable, each with its own service tier and guaranteed performance level. Users can expect a variety of performance levels for individualized needs, enabling the pooling of databases to maximize resources and investment. With its Dynamic scalability your SQL database can transparently respond to rapidly changing resource requirements, and you pay only for the resources you need when you need them.
  4. Intelligent protection and industry-leading security and privacy capabilities allow you to control access to your databases with multi-factor authentication and you can monitor your databases for potential threats and vulnerabilities using Advanced Threat Protection.
  5. SQL Database also has built-in intelligence that helps customers dramatically reduce the costs of running and managing databases and maximizes both the performance and security of their application.

SQL Database Managed Instance

Recently generally available, Managed Instance is the best cloud destination for SQL Server workloads, combining the best of SQL Server with the benefits of a fully-managed, intelligent database services.  Migrating to Managed Instance means virtually no code changes and no worries about end of support events. SQL Database Managed Instance offers its users:

  1. Simplified instance-scoped programming model that is like an on-premises SQL Server instance.
  2. Managed Instance databases share allocated resources, with Managed Instance also representing the management grouping for these databases.
  3. High compatibility, with the programming model of an on-premises SQL Server and out-of-box support for a large majority of SQL Server features and services.
  4. An expansion of the existing SQL Database service, it’s designed to enable database migration to a fully-managed database service, without re-designing the application.
  5. Experience the best of SQL Server combined with the operational and financial benefits of a fully managed and intelligent, cloud relational database service. 

SQL Database Managed Instance provides complete workload isolation of your workloads through native VNET support. During service provisioning (on Azure Portal or through REST API), you can choose the virtual network (VNET) and the subnet to achieve full networking isolation for your Managed Instances. Once created, instances in the VNET can be reached using Azure networking mechanisms (VPN and Express Route gateways).

There are two levels of isolation provided. These are:

  1. Cluster (tenant ring) level: Managed Instances for a tenant are fully isolated from other tenants. No connectivity or resource sharing is possible between different tenants.
  2. Networking level: Joining instances to a subnet in a VNET and restricting access to private IP addresses provides full isolation from public Internet.
Azure SQL Database Cloud

Accelerate the journey with Azure Database
Migration Service

Optimizing your IT infrastructure helps maximize the time and resources dedicated to your business transformation. Microsoft is committed to accelerating your initiatives with the new Azure Database Migration Service (DMS): a fully managed, first-party Azure service. With the help of DMS, you’ll experience seamless, frictionless, minimal down-time migrations from heterogeneous database sources to Azure Database.

Are you ready to make the move? Oakwood Systems Group is here to help. Contact us today and we’ll walk you through the next steps in the digital transformation journey!


Resistance Is Futile

Agile development methodologies are well into the Gartner “Scope of Enlightenment” stage, yet are still misunderstood by stakeholders and teams that don’t yet realize the tremendous value that it can bring to an organization.  Historically, there have been distrusting and adversarial relationships between business teams and technology teams. However, these melt away when they collaboratively set goals, both identify and track tasks, and report on progress.  The transparency of standups and burndown charts creates an understanding and empathy that changes the entire team dynamic.  User Stories focus business partners on the ‘what’ they actually need, while allowing technology organizations to focus on the ‘how’.  This is the key difference between Use Cases and User Stories in creating opportunities for the two groups to focus on what they do best, and energize development teams to demonstrate creativity and innovative capabilities.

Extending Agile principles to the business team, as end-to-end capabilities, are quickly deployed, and reduce requirements and customized needs in a system.  When a user sees what the implemented tools can natively provide, they quickly buy in to the solution and become committed instead of involved.  Untold Access databases have been put to rest once users realize the new platform frequently provides tracking and status capabilities naturally.

It is important we continue to educate and drive the Agile transformation within organizations, not as a status reporting tool , but as what it is, a transcendent methodology that will reinvigorate the relationship between IT and Business partners, Accelerate IT’s ability to delivery, Build stronger relationships between teams, and enable technology teams to think and deliver innovation.

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.