R ”Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc., author of Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy, and longtime enterprise software blogger was on hand at this week’s Microsoft Business Applications Analyst Forum, the first such event from Microsoft in several years. He shared many observations on the fly over the course of the event’s two days and recently published an event report. Among the key findings, he wrote, was an updated Microsoft strategy focused around five key areas, at top of which was a “digital feedback loop” approach that frames technology around customers, people, and products, with data and intelligence at the center. It’s an ambitious vision, though one that the company might not yet have fully realized, Wang tells us.
21:20 – What does Microsoft leave analysts with as they look across the broader cloud and enterprise software market space?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing is now on track to reach general availability by April, and principal program manager Kishan Chetan joins MSDW editor Jason Gumpert and Forceworks founder and Microsoft MVP Steve Mordue to talk about the newly revealed plans and the application’s role as “the front end of the sales cycle”.
The product is now in public preview and, as Kishan explains, partners, customers, and prospects will see in the solution much of the latest tech related to the recent “CRM v9” release of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. Topics of this interview include:
Rod O’Connor, CEO and founder of Briware Solutions, has been taking stock of a year living with SaaS business applications, both for his own company and some clients. Rod is an ERP and accounting software veteran based in Ontario and who has been a reseller and user of of Dynamics GP for many years. But last year he tried something different - he migrated his own business from GP to what was then known as Dynamics 365 Financials, now known as Finance and Operations Business Edition, and soon it’s likely to have yet another brand name.
Rod talks to us about what the adoption of SaaS has meant for his company, what it will mean for other SMB VARs who are still entrenched in the on-prem ERP world, and the evolution of Dynamics 365 and its add-on solution market so far.
Chris de Visser, North American GM at Sana Commerce joins the MSDW Podcast to discuss a new report measuring B2B businesses’ attitudes around e-commerce and digital transformation. Among the findings was importance of customer experience in B2B and companies’ attitudes toward investing to achieve digital transformation. The discussion includes findings from Sana’s report and the broader outlook for eCommerce in the Dynamics 365/ERP channel, including trends around integration, different industries, and the challenges of B2B versus B2C commerce.
Pablo Peralta joins us this week to talk about his current endeavor, Comunidad365, and about the business, technology, and community changes over time that have helped him reach this point in his career.
Leon Tribe is a Microsoft MVP who is serious about Dynamics 365 and CRM, but still enjoys having some fun with the industry in which he has made his professional home. So when he isn't busy delivering complex enterprise solutions to customers, he might be found breaking down a new analyst report or simply trying to break the latest technology.
Leon is the author of a long-running CRM blog, and his recent writings provided a great starting point for this conversation on Microsoft, Salesforce, agile projects, Flow, and more.
In this week’s Microsoft and Dynamics Channel news roundup, we’ll look at some compelling Azure news – why are Microsoft and SAP cozying up? We look at VMWare migrations, along with an outsider’s view on what NAV developers are excited about, GDPR regulations, standing up a Dynamics 365 practice in a hurry, the bumpy road to becoming an ISV, and more.
On this episode we talk with Lisa Craig, director of channel marketing at CafeX. The company has become a close partner of Microsoft when it comes to the Dynamics omnichannel customer service story and they are a serious participant in the bot story that Microsoft wants to tell around business apps. Craig also explains how the company has embraced Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner (OCP) strategy, and what that will mean for their own business and Dynamics partners who align with CafeX.
We sit down with Joe Corigliano of the eXtreme365 team to talk about last week’s partner-focused event. While product news was part of the conference, changes around how Microsoft plans to go to market with partners in the future was the prevailing theme. Joe gives some early impressions of the week, including highlights that included the Executive Exchange program and Ron Huddelston’s keynote session that kicked off the event.
As eXtreme365 US 2017 wraps up, we sit down with Microsoft MVP and Dynamics channel veteran Rick McCutcheon to talk about what we learned and where partners will go from here as Dynamic 365 and One Commercial Partner continue to ramp up.
This week we’re bringing back the Dynamics news. Jason and Dann review a range of recent announcements and commentary pieces. It’s a wide-ranging episode, touching on Summit and Directions EMEA, and looking ahead to eXtreme365. Topics include Dynamics 365 Tenerife and NAV’s future, Dynamics 365 hybrid and on-prem plans, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and more.
After writing two well-received new pieces analyzing Microsoft’s current position relative to its SMB business solutions partner channel and product line, James Crowter, director of Technology Management in the UK and a blogger and MVP, joins us to recap Directions EMEA 2017 and preview Summit Nashville 2017.
While good security and audit practices tend to remain steady, the real world conditions, from regulation to criminal activity to technology enablers, mean that organizations can never feel safe with last year’s policies. In this episode of the podcast, we talk with Andy Snook, Mark Polino, and Alex Meyer of Fastpath, the authors of the newly released Security and Audit Field manuals for Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition. We talk about the effort to release these titles, what they learned in the process, and what companies should be paying attention to these days. GDPR is one of the big topics, but Equifax, Yahoo, and interstate alcohol sales are all up for discussion.
After an eventful week at Directions North America, Steve Mordue of RapidStart CRM joins us to look back at the impact of some key announcements for partners, especially those who sell Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer experience apps. Since this episode was recorded, Microsoft has clarified even more of its Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM application plans, while keeping most elements of the plan essentially on track.
This episode was taped live on location at Directions North America 2017. Todd McDaniel of software firm Dynavistics and the Enterprise Software Podcast joins us to chat about the first two days of the event: the good, the bad, and the somewhat puzzling. We share some first impressions on Microsoft's broad range of updates (keeping in mind there are more to come).
Topics include the future of Dynamics NAV as Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”, AppSource announcement like the introduction of customer reviews and partner services listings, some updated plans for the CRM apps for both SMB and enterprise, and a few reflections on how the North American Dynamics partner channel might interpret this week's event, including SMB ERP partners who sell GP or SL.
Microsoft MVP and Dynamics 365/CRM expert Gus Gonzalez has charted his own path to serving customers. And while the six-time MVP’s knows that some of his choices are a little unconventional, like his willingness to take on fixed-fee projects at the firm he founded, Elev8 Solutions.
But Elev8's work is grounded in years of experience around what works for Dynamics customers and partners on projects. On this MSDW Podcast, we discuss Gus’s experience in the field, his decision to found Elev8, the Microsoft MVP program Gus's own CRM MVP Podcast, and the Dynamics 365 roadmap.
Last week’s Dynamics GP Tech Conference at Microsoft’s Fargo campus was about more than the next new release. Sure, GP 2018 was discussed, but our guests, Microsoft MVPs Belinda Allen of njevity, Mariano Gomez of Mekorma, and Mark Polino of Fastpath, say the event was a well-rounded dive into the technology that should matter to any GP partner or consultant preparing for what’s next in the Microsoft ecosystem. Deep dives into GP tech was part of the event, but so were Power BI, PowerApps, Flow, and other cloud-centric tools.
This week’s guest, Guus Krabbenborg, has worked with Dynamics products and partners for almost twenty years. He has had several roles in that time, including a role at Navision before the Microsoft acquisition. But Guus’s current role as a co-founder of QBS Group puts his team’s venture at the center of Microsoft’s partner channel transformation. MSDW has documented QBS Group’s growth over the last four years, working as a distributor of sorts, with an approach that has been broadly adopted by Microsoft’s partner team.
Guus is also a long time documentarian when it comes to major Microsoft events like Inspire. As with WPC before it, there will soon be a new report coming out about the latest event (there is also a webcast coming up), so this was also a great time to catch up and learn more about his latest observations.
Harald Horgen of The York Group has worked on and around Microsoft channel programs for over a decade. Vendor and reseller priorities have change in that time, and in the last few years Microsoft’s focus has been on driving higher cloud technology consumption.
Horgen believes the newest approach, via One Commercial Partner and related platforms like Partner Center, will bring more discipline to Microsoft’s channel efforts, but not without some risks. ISVs looking to establish a channel of their own within the Microsoft ecosystem must be disciplined, practical, and strategic, says Horgen. Not all business owners will adapt to meet the challenges of this new phase of channel challenges.
On this episode, we speak with Afshin Alikhani, chairman of Retail Realm, a software distribution and development company specializing in the retail sector with a focus on distributing Microsoft’s Dynamics RMS, AX for Retail, and 365 for Retail, as well as their own related retail solutions.
Afshin founded Retail Realm in the 1990s and has expanded its reach around the world. He has seen the business landscape shift over that time, and he believes the Microsoft channel is at a major transition point. Veteran firms are re-considering their strategy and there are big challenges for new entrants. And amid these changes, the retail industry continues to be one of the fastest evolving for new technology for businesses of all sizes.
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Our guest this week is Andrew King, CEO of WebSan Solutions, a Microsoft partner with offices in both Toronto and Indiana that provides Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions. Andrew last joined us a year ago, so this was a good opportunity catch up, following Microsoft Inspire 2017. Like everyone else at the partner channel event, Andrew was paying close attention to Microsoft’s guidance, as well as the program and product news that impacts the Dynamics channel.
Inspire 2017 was a week of “shock and awe,” says Steve Mordue of RapidStart CRM, who spoke to us on the final day of Microsoft’s conference.
It was a good week. Mordue believes that the One Commercial Partner model allows Microsoft CVP Ron Huddleston to pull the trigger on his sales vision. And it will be a boon for Dynamics partners – if they are willing to evolve. Microsoft’s vision has no place for the “general purpose” partner who just wants to implement. Aggressive partners will be all over AppSource, and make themselves known on the Partner Center.
Customers are evolving as well, and are no longer willing to let the head of IT make ERP and CRM purchase decisions. Decision makers are looking for rich capabilities, in apps versus suites, and want to find them on AppSource.
In this episode of the podcast, Mordue and MSDynamicsWorld Editor Jason Gumpert discuss:
This episode comes to you from Inspire 2017 in Washington DC. We caught up with Linda Rose, who recently sold her business, RoseASP, to private equity firm ESW Capital. It wasn’t her first business sale, but she says it was different from previous deals, and it sparked a different type of response from other business owners in the Microsoft channel.
Linda tells us about the questions she is fielding from Microsoft partners about selling a business, the economics of today’s channel opportunity, and the efforts of Microsoft and others in the channel to support the importance of women in executive leadership roles at technology companies.
For more on Linda’s approach to business valuations, the question she says she is asked about most, you can check out here blog post on the topic.
Is Microsoft doing all it can to make Dynamics 365 the crown jewel of its enterprise business? Not like it used to, says industry analyst Joshua Greenbaum of Enterprise Applications Consulting. In a recent article he called out the company for what he sees as a reduced investment in marketing the product line to analysts and prospective customers. Less access for analysts to product executives and the product community has been “a damn shame,” he wrote, describing Dynamics as stuck in a “cone of silence” that is “ keeping Dynamics out of a deal flow that by rights it should be deep in the mix of.”
For their part, Microsoft officials have already stated they don't agree with Greenbaum’s assessment and cite new events like the "Business Forward" customer and prospect event series, which is expanding globally and aims to present the big picture on Microsoft's commitment to Dynamics.
But Greenbaum's perspective on the matter, as he explains in this episode of the podcast, accounts for the unique role analysts serve as advisers to software buyers who are thinking not just about features and functions, but about committing to the future performance of a software vendor and its larger technology ecosystem.
In this episode of the podcast, topics include:
In this episode of the podcast we welcome Chris Cognetta to discuss last week’s public reveal of the next generation of Dynamics 365 customer engagement apps. You can see our day 1, day 2, and day 3 recaps.
Chris is a Dynamics veteran who attended the executive briefing and documented almost all Microsoft's announcements. He's a Microsoft MVP and a Dynamics 365 evangelist, and he's also the director for the center of excellence and the client field services engineering team at Tribridge.