The Edit Blog

Microsoft Catalyst: An IDEA to help your business transformation

ARTICLE BY Daniel Fossaceco
READ TIME: 4 mins
20th October 2020

The pressure to execute effective digital transformation has never been greater. And for larger organisations especially, you need a structured process to really generate new value from the changes you make rather than just doing the same old things with newer technology.

In a world where results must come quickly, you need an approach that gives you a robust plan with a clear outline of delivering value to your business. That’s what Microsoft Catalyst provides.

A consultative approach has always been at the core of Edit’s proposition. We have the experience to be engaged early in a project and ask the right questions to unmask customer insights, transform CRM programmes or drive our clients’ customer acquisition.

As a Microsoft Gold partner, becoming a Catalyst practitioner was a logical step that takes our methodology to the next level.

What is Catalyst?

Human beings are problem solvers by nature. What we all tend to struggle with is looking outside our own frame of reference. That’s where the Catalyst framework and Kin + Carta Edit comes in.

Via an envisioning and planning program that uses Microsoft Dynamics 365, the Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft Azure, Catalyst takes you through the process from formulating a big digital transformation idea to assessing the business value and making it happen.

It follows what’s known as the IDEA framework, which is made up of four steps:

  • Inspire – Find the transformation strategy that’s right for you. Define and prioritise your strategy using development activities, then foster ideation and drive decision making with an envisioning workshop.
  • Design – Build a compelling case for change by discussing business and technological impact. You’ll quantify the return on investment, revenue growth, cost savings and employee efficiencies.
  • Empower – Help others across your organisation see the value in your business transformation by creating visual assets and immersive experiences. These promote buy-in and get alignment on commitments.
  • Achieve – Bring in the resources you need to execute your strategy and carry out your business transformation across departments. Then measure its success.

Within this framework, Kin + Carta Edit bring our unique blend of deep customer data and marketing domain knowledge mixed with expert Microsoft Dynamics and Azure skills.  This means we ask the right questions at the right time to future-proof your organisation and ensure we all hit the critical aspects that could otherwise be missed.

What are the biggest benefits of Catalyst?

In a word, transparency. It gives every stakeholder a 360° view of the steps needed for digital business transformation. This view covers the business viability, technical feasibility and the desirability of change.  The return is 9 times higher from initiatives that consider the desirability of a solution versus viability and feasibility alone.

The other great benefit is cohesion. While it has prescriptive phases laid out, the Catalyst process encourages collaboration – it’s a process that’s both creative and strategic.

By sharing a view of the principle challenges your business faces and working together, we’ll spot the most critical issues to tackle to put you on the right path. By isolating the most straightforward tasks that deliver the highest value, we can get to work on a solution that all your stakeholders can buy into.

And while data-rich areas of your operation, such as your marketing or customer insight functions, will benefit more from Catalyst than others, it can work for any business. Catalyst works regardless of industry, culture, language, or time zone.

What it takes to get Catalyst accredited

To ensure standards are upheld, Catalyst accreditation is a rigorous process.

It’s an intensive course taught by Microsoft’s leading experts, with insight and experience that only a global organisation the size of Microsoft can provide. In one workshop, I found myself on a call with partners from throughout the world – there were about seven different time zones on this call. Together, despite language barriers and differing industries, we used Catalyst to crystallise solutions for the imaginary client that Microsoft put in place.

Once you’ve completed these training sessions and self-paced learning, you have to take an exam and get at least 80% to pass. With questions covering every single element of Catalyst, it’s no easy feat. Yet, it’s more than just passing an exam – everyone who becomes accredited leaves inspired to use this consulting approach to improve businesses.

But even after the exam, learning and development continues. As an accredited Catalyst partner, we get access to the Catalyst partner network. That keeps us up to date with new developments, ideas and practical applications that means, by working with Kin + Carta Edit, you benefit from the global experience of other Catalyst practitioners as well.

Is Catalyst right for my business challenge?

Does all this sound interesting but you’re unsure whether Catalyst is right for you or you’re put off by the potential cost? Well, there’s good news on both counts.

If you’d like to understand if the Catalyst approach is right for your business, we can make a precise evaluation using specially designed questions that provide a quick, straightforward answer.

There are funding packages available from Microsoft to remove the cost barrier if Catalyst is the right solution to support your business transformation. That means we can build a digital transformation roadmap specific to your business, without any cost incurred on your behalf.

If your organisation needs to embark on the next phase of its digital journey, we’re sure Catalyst can help. Contact Edit to see how together we can solve your business’s challenges.