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.