ColumbusLive 2018: Your digitalisation game changer

21 June, 2018
ColumbusLive 2018: Your digitalisation game changer

The ColumbusLive 2018 conference provided an engaging programme that focused on the rapidly changing digital landscape. Columbus customers were given the chance to learn what’s coming next, where the opportunities will be and how disruption is key to staying on top of their digital game.


Leading industry experts provided value-creating insights into digital transformation and provided customers with everything they needed to know to avoid being a digital bench-warmer. ColumbusLive provides an important opportunity for us to be able to showcase our partnership and to share the Columbus story with our attendees.

Here are the five highlights from ColumbusLive 2018:

Customer appreciation evening

Here at Columbus our aim is to keep our customers for life. As part of the ColumbusLive 2018 conference we awarded our dedicated customers who have excelled within their industry and implemented best practices transforming their business processes. Here’s the full list of our award winners:



Manufacturing Excellence 2018

Greg Rowe

Food and Beverage Excellence 2018

Nature’s Way Foods

Retail Excellence 2018


Committed to Customer Value 2018

Capital Document Solutions

Committed to Workplace Transformation 2018


Most Creative Use of Digital Tech 2018


Commitment to Change 2018



 A big congratulations from all of the Columbus Team!


Microsoft experts James Akrigg and Anders Spatzek take to the stage

We were joined by James Akrigg, Head of Technology for Partners at Microsoft and Anders Spatzek, Global Business Development, Sales, Alliances and Channels Leader at Microsoft, presenting to our attendees the benefits of Microsoft solutions and how they can be utilised to improve business processes.

Data is the new oil

James stated that ‘data is the new oil’. Oil has traditionally been the most valuable physical asset; however, it is argued this commodity may have a new replacement, data. With the growth of the digital world, the top 5 giants of the tech world, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft know more about daily interactions with gadgets than anybody else, collecting vast amounts of data from millions of users every day.

Data visualisation is the best and most accurate way to communicate a story and put out facts in a way that interests us. The quality of life has drastically improved due to the availability of data. Data has become the most valuable resource on the planet, and businesses need and want to learn how to capture, utilise and understand this data to their advantage. The next wave of growth will be driven by data.  

Data and intelligence are key

Anders discussed digital transformation and the key market drivers and impact that is driving change amongst our businesses. Engaging customers, empowering employees, optimising operations and transforming products were at the top of Anders’ market drivers. Billions of devices, massive amounts of data, abundant broadband and cloud computing enable digital transformation across all aspects of business.

Anders stated that Microsoft enabled digital transformation in three stages; intelligent hyperscale cloud and edge computing, powering distinct yet fully integrated solution areas and helping customers drive tangible outcomes across their business. ‘The Secret Sauce’ to digital transformation comes from the digital feedback loops, people, products and customers all feeding in to provide data and intelligence to our businesses. Without this data and intelligence, businesses would struggle to keep up with a digitally transforming world, and risk falling behind their competitors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 incorporates and integrates several other solutions including, sales, marketing, talent, operations and finance, creating a smooth flow of data incorporated amongst several business processes.

The attendees at Columbus were left inspired and thinking about their businesses futures after being presented to by Microsoft employees, it really makes you think, what will the world be like in another 10 years? A very scary thought.

Specialised breakout sessions

At ColumbusLive we offered our attendees ‘breakout sessions’ which were designed to be more specific to key areas that a business may struggle with as part of their digital transformation.

Servitising your customer experience

Breakout session one focused on ‘Servitising the customer experience’, with customer experience growing in demand, it is considerably important that businesses look at their processes and their relationships with their customers.  James Nightingale, a consultant at Columbus, provided an overview of CRM and how it can be integrated into Dynamics 365 to provide a thorough management system between the business and its customers.

Business Central

Breakout session two focused on ‘Business Central’, which is the next generation of Dynamics NAV, serving 140,000 customers and millions of users worldwide.

Mark Thompson, Client Services Director at Columbus and Chris Nichols, a consultant at Columbus, provided in depth knowledge as to how this solution provides businesses with the automation and power they need to run their businesses in the present and the capabilities that are required in order to grow and expand. The end-to-end solution gives users a fresh, modern experience that is designed to optimise business processes and maximise their productivity.

Data analytics and BI

Breakout session three, looked at ‘Data analytics and BI’, providing attendees with an overview of a roadmap for advanced analytics that a business will face. Key data capabilities were also assessed including the descriptive stage right through to the prescriptive stage of a digital transformation journey.

Martin Clothier, Technical Director at Columbus, shared his in-depth expertise and knowledge of IoT and how with the incorporation of data analytics, a business can be completely digitally transformed. Martin explained how we need to learn how to use the data we are collection, how can be utilise it to our advantage, what does it mean and where can we go from here with this data.

The more we know about data, the more confident businesses can be with predicting their future. At Columbus, our job is to help customers become digitally ready and together we can do that!

Natures Way Food shared their digital transformation story

Stewart from Natures Way Food shared with us their successful digitalisation journey and where they currently are. Stewart stated that they had faced several challenges before their digital transformation journey had begun including employees, budget and lack of knowledge before changing their businesses processes.

However, with the help of Columbus expertise and knowledge, Natures Way Foods could incorporate a system that enabled their processes to flow and enable them to focus attention on other key parts of their business. Stewart shared his story with many of our other customers, all of which were inspired and keen to learn more about how he overcame key obstacles within the transformation journey.

Columbus were there on hand to help Natures Way Food, providing 24/7 support when required and onsite consultations to ensure that their transformation was as smooth and as successful as possible. A great example of a company who have positively changed their business processes through digital transformation!

St George’s Park

ColumbusLive 2018 was hosted at St George’s Park and what better way to kick-start the World Cup by having a tour of St George’s Park, the English Football Association’s national football centre, where all 24 of the England national footballs teams can train at the same time.


Well-deserved win for England!

With the ColumbusLive 2018 event commencing on England’s first match we all watched and anticipated eagerly for the outcome of the game against Tunisia. Harry Kane kicked off England’s world cup games with a final score of 2-1! Fun and drinks were had by all as we celebrated England’s win throughout the night!


The Tour

The tour gave our customers a unique chance to go behind the scenes at the FA’s national football centre. Our customers were able to see the elite outdoor pitches including the Wembley replica pitch, as well as the Sir Alf Ramset indoor 3G pitch. The tour also included a visit to the Football Centre including the multi-sport indoor hall that is used for Futsal and a pitch for the partially-sighted, elite changing room, autograph wall, and areas of the hotel where the teams stay.


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