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The MSDynamicsWorld.com (MSDW) podcast explores news, ideas, and events in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM community.
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Oct 3, 2019

This episode of the MSDW Podcast is sponsored by ClickLearn.

On this episode, Rick McCutcheon, a Microsoft MVP and expert in CRM process, strategy, and user adoption sits down with Clicklearn CEO Joachim Schiermacher and CMO Jakob Hojer Bjorning. They discuss ClickLearn's latest product updates, their presence at these upcoming conferences, and how their product vision aligns with Microsoft's business apps in terms of user adoption, training, testing, and documentation.

Oct 2, 2019

This episode is sponsored by ClickLearn.

It's an important week for Microsoft's Dynamics 365 and Power Platform teams as 2019 release wave 2 begins to roll out to customers. To learn more about what this means for D365 Business Central, we are joined by Microsoft group program manager Chad Sogge and Microsoft MVP and chief operating office of Dynamics Southwest AJ Ansari.

Chad explains the five key areas in which his team has delivered updates to Business Central and dives into some of the issues that partners and customers will be watching for as these updates roll out.

Improving the upgrade and migration tools is top of mind. Even more urgent is the status of extensions, specifically their development and support related to compatibility with wave 2. It's potentially a big change for existing BC customers, and the timing is critical.

Also up for discussion in this episode are topics including customer support, multiple production instances, submitting new ideas for the product team, and more.

Show Notes

  • 4:00 – 5 key areas of focus for the 2019 wave 2 release for Business Central
  • 13:30 – Momentum around discussing NAV to BC upgrades, and what is still needed
  • 16:45 – Are customers demanding that ERP vendors like Microsoft carry more of the burden of making upgrades easy and relatively low cost?
  • 20:00 – Why the Dynamics 365 leadership team is aiming for more openness in the roadmap.
  • 24:30 – Working in sandbox instances with production data.
  • 27:00 – How will the latest updates to AL impact extensions?
  • 34:30 – The shift to modules and componentization in wave 2
  • 39:00 – Opening support tickets via the admin center, is customer access coming?
  • 46:00 – Creating multiple production instances in a tenant
  • 49:00 – How the community is influencing to new releases of BC
  • 51:00 – Status of integration with Common Data Service, Flow, and PowerApps
  • 54:00 – Is the dev platform now at an "AL 3.0" stage? And why the BC team might want to consider stronger branding on the changes.
  • 56:00 – What's next in terms of diving into wave 2
Sep 27, 2019

In a perfect world, CRM-related IT investments would always be made in the context of an organization's well-defined vision for serving customers, satisfying their needs and expectations, and doing it in a way that helps achieve business goals. But getting to that level of understanding can be a lot of work. Thankfully, CRM industry analyst Paul Greenberg is out with a new book that re-frames the issue of customer engagement in a way that makes sense of both the leadership challenges and the rationale for technology investment.

In The Commonwealth of Self-Interest: Business Success Through Customer Engagement, Paul explores the demands of 21st century customers and how companies must evolve to meet their expectations. As in the rest of his writing, like his earlier and seminal book CRM at the Speed of Light,  The Commonwealth of Self-Interest presents a mix of academic sources, case studies, anecdotes, wisdom built through years in the industry, and the careful construction a framework to guide readers away from the risks that come with rushed and poorly planned technology investments and toward the kind of changes that redefine business priorities to meet customers (and their sometimes outsized expectations) where they are today.

Along with the launch of the book, Paul is also working his way through his 2019 CRM Watchlist article series for ZDNet. Microsoft did not make the top tier (that went to Salesforce and Adobe), but the company is on the list once again this year.

On this episode we discuss the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform vision, key themes in the new book, and whether some of the latest trends in the CRM space have staying power.

Show Notes

  • 4:00 – What does commonwealth of self-interest (COSI) really mean?
  • 14:00 – On how to balance the need to invest in technology with mapping a company's vision to improve customer engagement and experiences
  • 21:30 – Why is Adobe so good at managing experience and what can Microsoft learn from them?
  • 23:45 – Are there any big successes based on the Microsoft + Adobe partnership?
  • 26:00 – What has changed in the world that makes Paul frame the CRM world in terms of COSI?
  • 33:00 – Why companies over-promise or reach for "delight" when they shouldn't.
  • 39:00 – The writing process: why talking about customer wraps together the personal and the big, public stories
  • 44:00 – Paul's view on Microsoft's choices around CRM and more broadly.
  • 49:00 – Why E-Commerce is so important?
  • 52:00 – Why LinkedIn needs to open its APIs back up
  • 57:30 – Why to be cautious about companies claiming to offer a Customer Data Platform (CDP)
  • 1:02:30 – How to make sense of the overlapping relationships between Microsoft, ServiceNow, and Adobe
  • 1:07:30 – Why invite Salesforce to be a part of the Open Data Initiative (ODI), and what the project represents.
Sep 20, 2019

In this news roundup episode, our editorial desk offers an accelerated review of recent news and expert insights published on MSDW. Among the topics covered are:

Sep 18, 2019

A podcast series about the journey from Microsoft Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) wouldn't be complete without examining the role that ISVs play. After all, the role of add-on solutions presents one of the key decision points in planning an upgrade or migration path from AX, whether it is an older version or the most recent build of AX 2012 R3.

On this episode of the AX to D365FO Journeys podcast series, we have our a conversation with an ISV executives who has been carefully watching and operating in the realm of the D365FO upgrade and migration space. Glenn McPeak, CEO of Data Masons is an ERP and supply chain veteran who understands the impact of an ERP update.

Microsoft's rollout of D365FO as a public cloud service (primarily) presents its own unique challenges for customers and the ISVs who serve them. Glenn talks about some of the ways that Data Masons, their partners, and their customers have been adapting to Microsoft's cloud-first approach, from both the technical and channel perspectives.

Show Notes

  • 5:00 – Why so much thinking is going into the D365FO journey and why ISVs are relevant
  • 9:45 – Why the external ISV model is gaining popularity, as opposed to embedded.
  • 13:30 – What role does Data Masons play alongside the D365FO partner on an engagement?
  • 15:00 – What is the state of the integration framework today?
  • 18:00 – Can customers and their partners manage safely around Microsoft's update policies?
  • 20:00 – What are the tools that ISVs should be using to make the transition?
  • 22:45 – What it means to be a part of a customer's go live in the context of Microsoft's FastTrack
  • 25:45 – Is there a role for EDI in upgrades beyond the final state solution?
  • 30:00 – Why are some companies choosing or feeling forced to wait on AX 2012 R3 or an earlier version? And why others feel the move to D365FO is the right choice.
  • 35:30 – Is the D365FO a total departure from previous versions of AX?
  • 38:30 – What will the new co-sell and co-market programs mean for ISVs?
  • 41:30 – What is the mix of D365FO implementations between new customers and upgrade/migrations, and how is it changing?
Sep 12, 2019

What does it mean to be an ISV in the Microsoft business applications channel these days? With so many aspects of that particular type of partner relationship in flux today, there is no single answer. Yet another sign that things are not what they used to be: the most recent Inc. 5000 list, which featured only five or so partners from the Microsoft Dynamics channel down from nearly twenty in 2017.

While magazine "best of" lists are a generally terrible way to measure anything, at least this one has a bit of quantitative data to use as a starting point for a discussion. So on this MSDW podcast episode, we speak with Mike Dickerson, CEO of ClickDimensions, one of the Dynamics-focused ISVs on this year's list. They reported over 100% growth over the last three years.

As Mike tells us, there is no single reason for the drop on the Inc list. But with the massive changes underway in this space, both with the products and the partner strategy, there is plenty to consider in terms of what is changing, why, and how ISVs can position themselves for the future.

Show Notes

  • 3:00 – What has allowed ISVs to grow historically in the Dynamics space?
  • 6:00 – What might have caused the dropoff in high growth ISVs in this space, as measured by the Inc. 5000?
  • 11:15 – Is it a problem for Microsoft if fewer ISVs in their channel are growing?
  • 13:30 – What does growth mean to ISVs vs VARs?
  • 18:30 – How much influence does Microsoft have as a partner vs as a competitor?
  • 22:30 – The multi-faceted art of planning for change in the Microsoft channel
  • 27:15 – Can newcomers to the Microsoft business applications channel find real growth opportunities today?
  • 30:00 – How businesses can make the most of their marketing automation investments.
Aug 29, 2019

Sometimes the biggest challenge facing ISVs and VARs is simply keeping tabs of all the moving parts in a complicated marketing initiative. It’s easy for deadlines to slip or for tasks to go untended. In this quick episode of the Marketer’s Corner, Heather Robinson of Fastpath, a security and compliance ISV working in the Microsoft channel and others, describes a marketing tool that has enabled her to monitor key aspects of performance by members of a Dynamics marketing team, and thereby bring accountability to each team member.

The tool is particularly effective for keeping tabs on lead-generation campaigns, which are Robinson’s primary responsibility. For details, listen in on the interview as she explains how she has expanded Fastpath’s marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

There’s lots more in this interview, the seventh in a series of Marketer’s Corner podcasts designed to provide ideas and guidance for improving marketing productivity and effectiveness, as well as to provide an accessible platform for ISVs and partners to share their marketing experiences and tips with the Dynamics community at large.

Aug 26, 2019

The reporting architecture of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) is moving toward data lakes, and it's not a simple change for customers to understand. Today's guest, Kirk Donahoe, solution architect and consulting manager at MCA Connect, has been studying the changes to the entity store and the BYOD model and wrote about it recently. The use of ADLS Gen2 will change the overall architecture of D365FO in the Azure cloud, but it will also impact third party data warehouse solutions like his firm's. Partners like MCA Connect need to understand what to do next, but just as importantly, so do D365FO customers.

Kirk spends a good deal of his time advising clients on the impact of Microsoft's changes. He and other D365FO experts are also paying close attention to Microsoft's guidance on the topic as it rolls out, sometimes with bigger announcements but often in small pieces.

On this episode, Kirk reviews some of the highlights of his recent article, discusses how various updates will impact both D365FO and AX users, and explains how other Azure data services factor into a Microsoft cloud ERP customer's experience.

Show Notes

  • 2:30 – What's the impact of ADLS Gen2 on D365FO customers and Microsoft customers more generally?
  • 3:30 – More about Kirk's role at MCA Connect
  • 4:30 – What is the present state of data management and reporting in AX and D365FO?
  • 6:30 – Microsoft's move away from multidimensional data services and toward tabular.
  • 9:45 – What are entity store limitations today, and what will change with ADLS?
  • 12:00 – Why ADLS Gen2 does not change the need for data warehouses and a real reporting strategy.
  • 13:00 – Common examples of unstructured data in a data lake
  • 14:15 – How are AX and D365FO customer responding to the data lakes plan so far? And how will customer migrate to it?
  • 17:00 – How Power BI plays into the change, and how costs of Power BI and ADLS Gen2 compare to today's architectures
  • 20:00 – When will D365FO customers be switched to the data lake from the current entity store?
  • 21:20 – What does this mean for AX users planning an upgrade?
  • 24:30 – Open Data Initiative, data lakes, CDS for analytics, and other Azure data services to track
  • 26:45 – What should customers understand first to manage their project investments?
  • 29:00 – What else could Microsoft be doing to improve customer value?
Aug 23, 2019

In this brief podcast episode, Mary Miller of ImageTag discusses how she has deployed the work execution platform Smartsheet to manage nearly all aspects of her team's projects, calendar, budget, and more. She credits it with revolutionizing the marketing management function while boosting departmental productivity.

There’s lots more in this interview, the sixth in a series of Marketer’s Corner podcasts. The series is designed to provide ideas and guidance for improving marketing productivity and effectiveness, as well as to provide an accessible platform for ISVs and partners to share their marketing experiences and tips with the Dynamics community at large.

Aug 21, 2019

Microsoft MVP Erik Hougaard published his first book this week, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Field Guide, and he joins the MSDW Podcast to talk about the book, the state of Business Central, and his experiences with self-publishing.

Erik has been working with NAV and Business Central for a long time. He's perhaps best known for his work as a developer and architect and his related blogging and speaking. The Field Guide is a departure from some of the topics he usually discusses. It is written for new Business Central users and administrators, whether they have experience with Dynamics NAV or not. It is not intended as a cover to cover read, he says, but rather as a real field guide – something meant to be picked up as needed to learn more about specific topics, from standard features to integration options to reporting and customization.

We discuss a few important chapters, Erik's experience writing and publishing the book, and plans for updating it as Business Central is updated by Microsoft every six months going forward.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 – Why write a book, and why make it a field guide?
  • 7:45 – What is it like to write about Business Central for the newcomer?
  • 10:00 – Thoughts on the real uses of the "Intelligent Cloud" tools for linking on-prem to cloud BC
  • 13:20 – User productivity in the Business Central interface
  • 19:00 – What topics around BC could use a deeper dive?
  • 21:30 – The strength of standard BC integration via APIs
  • 22:45 – How to keep a Business Central book current.
  • 24:50 – Thoughts on self-publishing
  • 26:10 – What else you need to know about the book.
Aug 9, 2019

In today's news roundup episode we break down recent Microsoft announcements, and highlight recent expert content on budgeting, automation, reporting, and ERP integration, and more.

Topics include:

Aug 7, 2019

Microsoft's industry accelerators for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform don't simply appear. Rather, they are the result of extensive collaboration with partners willing to share their years of experience and intellectual property to help develop standardized data models and feature sets. In the financial services sector, VeriPark has contributed to that effort, contributing to the development of the recently launched Banking Accelerator.

Our guest on this episode, Wim Geukens, managing director of VeriPark Europe, explains that committing some of the company's most valuable IP to an open source initiative like an industry accelerator wasn't an easy decision. And while they may be losing some advantages, there are advantages to helping Microsoft shape its industry model, too, he says. The company also continues to move ahead with efforts to offer more high value capabilities for financial services firms, in areas like language processing and facial recognition.

We also discuss Wim's recent articles for MSDW on approaching the requirements of omnichannel customer engagement in the banking and insurance sectors. One reason the articles work so well is that, unlike generic statements on the importance of improving customer experience, they take on real and addressable challenges like integrating legacy solutions and prioritizing the availability of customer information at key moments.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 – Approaching omni-channel customer experience needs for specific industries
  • 4:30 – The insurance industry's unique requirements
  • 5:50 – Are insurers eager to re-invent themselves through innovation and a modern architecture?
  • 10:15 – VeriPark's evolution as an industry-focused vendor
  • 13:45 – What does an industry-focused approach mean when designing and marketing a solution?
  • 18:00 – Does leading edge technology have a place in financial industries?
  • 19:00 – Why work with Microsoft on the banking accelerator initiative.
  • 23:00 – The broader industry effort around the Microsoft Business Applications platform
  • 26:00 – What's next for VeriPark's investment with Microsoft? Blending what's possible and what's realistic.
Aug 2, 2019

How do Microsoft Dynamics users really go about researching and making buying decisions about ISV solutions?

It turns out the reality is often much different from partner's assumptions about the buying process. As just one example, it may be tempting for Dynamics marketers to assume that product videos and podcasts are fringe marketing vehicles for third-party solutions, when in fact they are rapidly becoming mainstream, argues Adam Berezin, MSDynamicsWorld’s CEO in the latest Marketer’s Corner podcast.

In this episode of the MSDW Marketer's Corner podcast series, Berezin draws on the results of our latest Dynamics ecosystem survey of decision makers and influencers, drawn from among MSDW’s 70,000-plus active site-members, for a number of surprising observations about what Dynamics users are really seeking in their product research and buying decisions.

Jul 26, 2019

In this latest MSDW Marketer’s Corner podcast, Stephanie Burke, vice president of marketing at Sana Commerce, provides guidance about developing rich content that will engage Dynamics users researching new products.

For example, she describes steps Sana has taken to create a credible blog that has helped bring sales prospects in. She explains how Sana uses case studies to bring prospects along in the sales cycle, along with the kinds of company and personnel information the company includes on its site.

Jul 18, 2019

Inspire 2019 is coming to and end this week following a full three day schedule plus additional regional meetings and sessions. On this episode of the podcast, we get the Dynamics SMB partner perspective from QBS Group's CEO, Michael Hartmann, and VP of Business Development Nelson Tavares da Silva. They share some of the key guidance they received from Microsoft around Dynamics 365 Business Central, updates on programs including AppSource and partner benefits, and themes that they will use at their own firm and with their partners.

QBS Group will also be hosting their own webcast with more event updates on July 22.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - How Microsoft approached the issue of trust, specifically around the issue of Internal Use Rights.
  • 3:00 – Investments that will benefit Microsoft's partners in FY 2020: Channel incentives and field resources
  • 5:30 – Microsoft's commitment to AppSource and to co-sell, and how partners should understand the different forces at work in the channel.
  • 8:30 – Are there indications that Business Central ISV activity is accelerating?
  • 11:00 – What the "sliver approach" will mean for NAV ISVs who need to get to AppSource for Business Central.
  • 13:15 – Discounts being lowered for Dynamics Price List products, and incentives to make CSP the path forward.
  • 15:00 – What's the overall Dynamics SMB partner sentiment at Inspire?
  • 18:30 – What themes from Inspire will impact strategic planning by partners those aligned with QBS Group?
  • 20:30 – The Inspire 2019 event experience, plus other exciting and impressive technology
Jul 11, 2019

Inspire 2019 is just days away, and the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) will be there as always, advocating for Microsoft partners and celebrating its 25th anniversary. On this episode we speak with Jeffrey Goldstein, president of IAMCP Americas and the managing director at Microsoft partner Queue Associates. He'll be at Inspire and he walks us through the themes that both his firm and IAMCP members will focus on, both internally and with Microsoft executives.

Some of the most pressing matters should be no surprise, like how to navigate the changes to gold and silver certifications, the loss of internal use rights (IURs), and the evolving use of AppSource. But Goldstein is also helping lead

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 – Inspire 2019 event outlook, including IAMCP's 25th anniversary celebration, board of directors meetings, and Microsoft executive roundtables
  • 8:50 – What partners can expect to hear from Microsoft at executive roundtables that's different from the event's formal keynotes.
  • 12:00 – What are the most pressing channel issues partners are looking at today?
  • 14:45 – IAMCP's role in encouraging winning partner-to-partner initiatives
  • 16:00 – What can we infer about Microsoft's view of SMB partners today?
  • 18:15 – How many partners will Microsoft realistically manage?
  • 20:00 – How Queue Associates has adapted to changes in competencies recently.
  • 23:00 – How IAMCP is approaching the impact of the removal of Internal Use Rights (IURs), including its statement on the matter.
  • 30:30 – Do partners yet understand the impact of AppSource?

Links:

Jul 9, 2019

Mary Miller's marketing and partner engagement team at KwikTag fulfill's many roles for the company. When it comes to supporting their reselling partners, the team have deployed a marketing toolkit that provides a blend of resources from product information to demos, case studies, and industry research. They even develop landing pages and microsites that their partners can use in the context of customer interactions.

In this episode, Mary and podcast host Marilou Barsam discuss:

  • What a marketing toolkit looks like at KwikTag
  • How partners are expected to utilize the toolkits
  • Strategies for selecting and developing the right toolkit materials
  • The value of co-branding materials with partners
  • How to mutually manage leads between an ISV and partners
Jul 7, 2019

Linda's new book, Get Acquired for Millions, reflects her own experiences in 3 sales, plus new research from across the industry.

The sale of a technology services provider (TSP) business brings into focus matters of all sorts -- financial, strategic, operational, psychological, and even personal. The prospect of an acquisition also raises a lot of challenges and anxieties – the worth of a business today, how can that value be improved, how buyers are approaching opportunities, and where sellers are finding the best deals.

Our guest is Linda Rose, a veteran of the tech services space and the Microsoft channel in particular. She has sold three businesses over her career, most recently her cloud services business about two years ago. After taking some time off for a few adventures, she's back to work with a new book for other business owners. It's called Get Acquired for Millions: A roadmap for technology service providers to maximize company value.

We talk about her own experiences as an entrepreneur, her research for the book, and some of the findings and recommendations for other TSPs.

Show Notes:

  • 1:50 – How Linda's new book came to be after selling her last business.
  • 6:00 – Takeaways from her latest deal, other business experiences, and translating those into the resources of the book.
  • 10:00 – Is transforming your business to become more attractive to buyers always healthy move even if you're not interested to sell?
  • 12:30 – Performance factors that prospective buyers will be looking at.
  • 14:30 – Psychological stresses that play into a deal's success.
  • 19:30 – The role of an M&A broker or coach
  • 25:00 – The importance of a letter of intent (LOI)
  • 28:15 – Where do Dynamics-focused partners fit into the broader TSP deal outlook?
  • 33:00 – What are private equity firms focused on in the Microsoft channel, and how are they framing the value of acquisitions?
  • 36:30 – Why are so many MSPs looking to sell?
  • 38:40 – Women in tech – what has changed, and how Linda's own experiences inform her views.

 

Jun 28, 2019

Mary Miller and her team at KwikTag by enChoice are responsible for marketing and the channel relationship. That covers a lot of ground, from events, content, supporting collateral, and anything the sales team might need to help promote and sell the company's products and services. In the Microsoft Dynamics space, they go to market with their channel partners, and that relationship is critical to their execution strategy. 

Marketing expert Marilou Barsam hosts the episode and talks with Mary about KwikTag's most pressing needs and the tactics they have used to boost results including a rethink of their webcast strategy, which now caters to users and partners in unique ways. 

Jun 28, 2019

There is so much more to productive content than simply creating articles, blogs, videos and white papers. The content needs to maximize key product features. It needs to reflect the prospect’s buying stage and demographics. It needs to be effectively staged. And more.

Heather Robinson, director of marketing for Fastpath, has years of experience getting results from content marketing in the enterprise software space and understands how and why to engage and nurture prospects with appropriate messages and touch points.

In this Marketer’s Corner interview, she explains:

  • The keys to breaking the content presentation process into stages;
  • How to develop content marketing plans in conjunction with the sales team;
  • Ways to deliver more educated content-created prospects to sales reps;
  • How to determine the best followup content for new contacts;
  • Maximizing the use of data to forge followup strategies for the sales team.
Jun 18, 2019

When it comes to ERP, smaller businesses with complex operations face a major challenge in finding a solution that can optimize their business while not hampering it with eye-watering deployment costs. As podcast series co-host Peter Joeckel recently wrote, SMBs who invested in Microsoft Dynamics AX over the last decade are now likely to find themselves stuck in the middle of an ERP world that might feel like it has forgotten them.

Both of today's guests, Chris George of Smith Pump Co. and TJ Phelps of ALT Fabrication, support their companies' AX systems and know them inside and out after years of service. That means they not only know how the solutions have helped build the businesses, but they know in what ways they are now being held back by various factors including licensing, customization, and general limitations that more modern systems would be able to accommodate.

Thanks to both Chris and TJ for their candid assessments and for sharing their findings as they plan for the future.

Show Notes:

  • 1:45 – Introducing our guests, their companies, and their AX solutions
  • 6:00 – Why smaller manufacturers have selected Dynamics AX over the years rather than an SMB package like GP.
  • 11:00 – Similarities between our guests companies: engineer-to-order manufacturing, distribution, field service, maintenance, repair, and more.
  • 14:00 – What planning have they done so far to move off their AX solutions? And what was the result?
  • 16:00 – Thoughts on the latest Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations software and how the business might change by adopting it.
  • 21:00 – Why the next investment in ERP will be different, and where automation will be critical.
  • 26:00 – Why paper and manual processes have persisted for so long.
  • 30:00 – Are the executive teams sold on the need for these updates?
  • 33:00 – Why automation and reporting go together.
  • 34:00 – ERP projects are exhausting. But there's another way to think about it in a manufacturing environment.
  • 36:00 – Where Microsoft is pushing customers to look for automation and app development.
  • 38:00 – Does the world need a tell-all documentary about building demos for conference keynotes?
May 20, 2019

In this episode we talk with two Dynamics channel veterans who are also relative newcomers to the long-running Directions North America conference and its traditional audience of Dynamics NAV partners. Jonathan Stypula and David Gersten of Dynamic Consulting focused on a broader range of products and clients than just Business Central, but they also see the importance of this product in the future of Microsoft's business apps segment and the channel.

We explore their impressions of Microsoft's messaging, parallels to the Finance and Operations world, whether partner M&A will pick up, and what entrepreneurial VARs will do next.

Show Notes

  • 4:15 – First impressions of Directions NA from a newcomer
  • 6:30 – Did partners leave the event with marching orders for Business Central?
  • 7:30 – What does it take to get GP partners interested in Business Central?
  • 9:30 – Is Business Central a product with two business models?
  • 13:15 – The challenge of trying to operate in both the 5 seat and the 500 seat ERP markets
  • 18:45 – Are partners going to adapt to be more like Microsoft's ideal for SMB?
  • 21:00 – Does it make sense for a GP partner to acquire a NAV partner?
  • 24:30 – Consolidation in the Dynamics partner space.
  • 30:00 – What is your NAV reseller business really worth?
  • 32:15 – What Microsoft and AX partners learned from the transition to D365FO in the cloud, and how they can avoid the same mistakes with Business Central
  • 34:15 – Why are so few NAV partners talking about competing ERPs?
  • 37:15 – Bringing the GP partner network back into the fold at Microsoft.
  • 45:30 – What companies are better suited for Finance & Operations than Business Central? Does seat count matter much?
  • 49:45 – Are GP partner attitudes changing?
May 14, 2019

Our journey through the AX to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade experience continues with a primer on Microsoft's Fast Track program for D365FO implementations.

Fast Track is a component of every D365FO cloud deployment, whether customers know it or not. It involves multiple stages and activities throughout (and after) an implementation project. The goal, our guests explain, is to improve the likelihood of a successful go-live by ensuring the system is properly designed, built, and ready to operate in a production environment.

Two principal solution architects from Microsoft, Sigita Cepaitiene and Gokul Ramesh, join us to discuss key details of the program, including its origins, how it works today, and ways it might evolve in the future. They also offer insight into what Microsoft is learning, from module usage to project management to One Version, as the company helps customers transition to SaaS ERP.

Show Notes

  • 3:10 – Introduction to our guests
  • 4:55 – How to think about Fast Track in the context of Office 365 and Dynamics
  • 8:45 – What kinds of customers are benefiting from the program, and how?
  • 15:15 – How the program combines technical and consultative elements.
  • 16:45 – How has partner acceptance of the program been?
  • 19:00 – How does a Fast Track project get kicked off?
  • 20:00 – The metrics and telemetry data that the Fast Track team monitors leading up to go-live
  • 23:55 – Can customers and their partners get more of this information during the analysis phase rather than the implementation?
  • 29:30 – What has Microsoft learned from the telemetry data?
  • 32:45 – What are the biggest challenges the Fast Track team is seeing in upgrading AX customers, and can Microsoft help guide customers more?
  • 38:15 – Why Fast Track is focused on SaaS and not on-premises.
  • 40:30 – How do AX customers that aren't ready to upgrade yet get themselves in the best shape today to take on an upgrade in the future?
  • 42:45 – How does One Version impact the Fast Track approach?
  • 45:45 – Can Fast Track push back on customers that are not ready to go live?
  • 48:00 – Do partners align well enough with the specialized skills of the Fast Track team's approach?
  • 50:15 – How does Microsoft look at the remaining AX user base and their timeline for upgrading to D365FO?
  • 53:10 – Areas of investment for the future, including code upgrade/update estimates.
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