This is US and us and us

Sarah D. Morgan
Sarah D. Morgan

Sarah has 25 years of experience working in the information technology field as an analyst and sales representative and is now performing Sales & Marketing for sa.global – a Microsoft Partner dedicated to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Community.

“I am continually amazed that the key to true success is people. I have dedicated my career to helping people find solutions – solutions that enhance their lives as well as their pocketbooks and resumes. In doing this, I hear the stories behind the hard work and about the lengths people go to for success of a product or a service. It is my goal to champion these people and share their stories.”

Sarah has worked with a variety of companies – enterprise to start up, has been a business owner herself, both in the US and Istanbul, Turkey, and has been honored as a Microsoft Inner Circle Winner. She is a former member of the Dynamics AX RFID Steering Committee and the Society of Technical Communications and has written for the Irving Daily News and the Dallas Voice.

Follow-the-sun Microsoft Dynamics 365 GSCs with Lizann Gohring

Follow-the-sun Microsoft Dynamics 365 GSCs with Lizann Gohring

Lizann Gohring, Chief Strategy Officer at sa.global explains why she is passionate about the role that our Global Service Centers (GSCs) play in our Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementations.

Interview by: Sarah D. Morgan

Imagine this scenario: You are an implementation consultant and the project has just begun. It is at a manageable stage. So, you feel comfortable to squeeze in a dinner with your family. Your phone rings – then pop text alerts – then come messenger alerts. The executive sponsor of your client is in panic. You are the one with the responsibility, but you can’t give the answer this person needs because you are limited to the constraints of your delivery capabilities. It does not have to be this way – well, it doesn’t if you follow the sun.

Today, I sit down with Lizann Gohring, Chief Strategy Officer at sa.global who is passionate about the role that our Global Service Centers (GSCs) play in our Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementations. As a former Corporate VP of Finance, she knows how important it is to run 24x7x365, she knows sa.global meets that challenge head on, and she knows it gives her more time to enjoy an evening relaxing with a glass of wine – after all, she is from Northern California! Let’s hear her story.

Lizann

Lizann Gohring

Q: Lizann, how did you get into Dynamics?

A: I used to work in a public accounting firm as a CPA and have been in the Dynamics channel for 20 years. During my time in public accounting, I participated in a Solomon implementation. I realized I enjoyed technology and digital transformation so much that I made the professional move to focus on system implementations with a vertical focus on professional services. I have spent time at Tectura and DXC before joining sa.global in 2019. I feel I have a good understanding of the Dynamics market and am so pleased to be working with such a people-first company.

Q: How did you come to know of sa.global?

A: sa.global has always had a good reputation in the channel and I knew several of the stakeholders. I was looking for a multinational company that wanted to evolve to and become the premier Dynamics global partner.

Q: From a global standpoint you speak highly of our Global Service Centers (GSCs). Why is that?

A: I was not aware of the breadth and depth of the GSCs – which are located in a follow-the-sun pattern, so they are available 24x7x365: India, Serbia, and Colombia. Many people do not realize that sa.global has been in business around the globe for 30 years. These service centers have been working directly with Microsoft for many years and we are an authorized development center. The depth of experience and how mature the service centers are when it comes to infrastructure is impressive. Many partners offer “offshore” services, but they operate on a more ad hoc basis. It is hard to get remote teams to work just right. We had the advantage that India and Serbia have been around long enough to become a mature organization with consistency of the skill sets, methodology, and business processes.

Q: What is the difference between how the C-suite selects a GSC and an IT Manager? What are the different considerations that the CFO has to make around risk?

A: A client needs to assess an organization’s ability to deliver effectively with a blended team. It is a balance of risk, skill sets, and cost considerations. We focus on assembling a “right-sized” team with the appropriate blend of skill sets and location.

Q: What is a successful model for blended team implementations through the GSC model?

A: sa.global is committed to incorporating our GSCs into all our service estimates that provide the best team for the engagement. I hesitate to talk about cost considerations as rates are only one factor. I think it is more important to focus on our ability to better scale a team that can meet the expectations of our clients.

Q: Do we have a truly dedicated resource team for each client in our GSC?

A: Yes, on implementations for Managed Services, we expect that to be 100% through GSC. Our clients get the same high quality of service they would expect because they have a resource mix that will scale better without just an onshore team.

Q: That all sounds great – but Lizann, doesn’t every partner operate that way?

A: No – in my past 20 years I have seen a lot of partners struggle, including at companies I have worked for, with how to best to optimize a blended resource model – trying to understand how to work together, dealing with skill sets that are not matching up, and the common problem of communication challenges. The sa.global teams have worked to manage those challenges. With the blended model, you can leverage the follow-the-sun time zones better. 24x7x365 works best when you have consistent business models in all major geographies.

Q: How did we overcome those challenges to get to this point?

A: We committed to each other to make it work, and we did not give up. A huge asset has been the tenure of our GSC team. For example, our average tenure is 10 years. This lets teams perfect teamwork. When you have high churn, it is difficult to get the wheels to interlock properly.

Q: So why is this a new story?

A: Because we are restarting the Americas operations, we get to plan our resourcing model. We have proactively committed ourselves to a blended model for our clients. This means that our recruiting model will focus on acquiring key talent locally but working with our GSCs to scale to meet local demand in a blended business model.

Q: Have we seen any new trends around the globe?

A: Covid came and everyone has learned to work remote. A lot of hesitant businesses have learned that consultants, and even their own team members, can work remotely successfully. But like anything else, it is a balance and hence our focus to build blended teams.

When you work remotely, you realize how valuable the GSCs are because they save your life. GSCs have a blend of talented resources in other countries; so, you can leverage the infrastructure. I can scale faster globally versus limiting my recruiting efforts to a single country. Leveraging the blended model – one that you can depend on – is the key to success for every implementation.

Q: What type of work are we doing in our GSCs?

A: In the GSCs, we support:
  • New implementations
  • Configurations
  • Development
  • Customizations
  • Integrations
  • One Version updates
  • Power App development
  • Managed Services
  • Data Migration

Q: How do we take clients from implementation to Managed Services seamlessly?

A: As part of the transition from implementation to Managed Services, we have a robust governance model to manage the transition and ensure a smooth knowledge transfer. For businesses who come to sa.global post-implementation, we have an onboarding model to get our team up-to-speed smoothly.

Q: What is the best feature of our GSCs?

A: We are the only partner that has it all in-house. Some will smirk at that claim – but I challenge them to look behind the façade.

Q: What is the best wine in Northern California?

A: That is the hardest question of the entire interview. It is like picking your favorite child…maybe that is why I only have one? We will have to answer this question on another day.

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