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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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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 10, 2019

Mariano Gomez is a Microsoft Dynamics GP expert, but he has also been focusing on the Power Platform for some time – not only learning for his own work but creating walkthroughs, demos, and presentations for the community. And he is often able to tie those Power Platform findings back to GP, as he is doing in a new three-part video series on Power Automate and its new (still in preview) UI flows tool.

On this episode, Mariano discusses his findings from working on a range of Power Platform scenarios, how it impacts his day job as director of technology services at Mekorma, and the implications of these new tools on ownership of older ERPs.

Show Notes

  • 2:00 – Ways the GP community can make use of Power Platform
  • 3:30 – What to be caution about with preview products from Microsoft
  • 6:00 – Breaking down Power Automate use cases into practical steps
  • 9:00 – Looking at the business user's perspective on Power Platform
  • 11:00 – How to talk to both developers and business users
  • 13:00 – How could the desktop automation aspect of Power Automate and other RPA solutions change the outlook of GP solution owners for technical modernization?
  • 17:30 – Why it is valuable to show customers more than one way to use Power Platform to achieve similar automation goals.
  • 22:45 – Why GP users might find Power Automate a better option than GP macros for automating repetitive activities.
  • 26:00 – Will Power Platform serve as a preferred area of investment for GP customers over ERP upgrade or migration?
  • 31:00 – How Mekorma is incorporating elements of the Power Platform into their product development and internal operations.
  • 37:30 – What Mariano would like to see improved next in the Power Platform
  • 39:00 – Why Teams is so important to the future of business applications
Dec 5, 2019

On this episode, our resident online marketing expert Marilou Barsam chats with Marleen De Winter, director of marketing at Integrity Data. They are looking at the recently revealed findings of the 2019 MSDW marketing research study, and Marleen explains how some of those results and trends relate to her teams' efforts and observations in the Dynamics ecosystem.

One such finding points to a notable shift in what Dynamics users expect when they land on ISV websites. Comments from users indicate that as part of their online search and buy process, they are looking for specific information on pricing, more demos and trials, and overall , a clearer roadmap to the right sales contact at your company.

Marleen shares with us how their company has addressed  some of these issues. As part of our conversation she discusses how their company undertook a comprehensive home page design with drop-downs and trails pointing to separate product suites, produced demo videos by product specific sales people, added ROI calculators and customer testimonials, and highlighted a strong "Call to Action" to actually bring the user to the appropriate sales contact

Tune in to hear how these changes have improved Integrity Data's online close ratio and get specific tips for your own website.

Dec 2, 2019

Microsoft ISVs that have invested in upgrading  their solutions from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) are working with a mix of cloud customers today – some that have upgraded (or re-implemented) and others that are new to the product.

On this episode of our AX to D365FO Upgrade Journeys series, To-Increase CEO Luciano Cunha discusses how his company, a longtime Microsoft ISV, has made investments over several years and across different departments and business practice areas to meet the needs of the D365FO market. While D365FO seems to be hitting its stride in terms of stability and maturity, ERP competition remains fierce, and buyers are still stuck with consequential decisions throughout the purchase, implementation, and post-deployment phases of D365FO solution ownership.

Show Notes

  • 1:30 - Luciano's history at To-Increase and rising to his latest role as CEO
  • 4:45 – The impact on an AX or D365FO customer of working with multiple ISVs
  • 6:00 – Upgrading an AX ISV solution to D365FO vs re-implementing it
  • 9:15 – How many of an ISV's AX customers have moved to D365FO so far?
  • 10:45 – Should SMB customers consider moving to AX 2012 before D365FO?
  • 14:00 – The enterprise AX customer's perspective on waiting at AX 2012 R3 or not
  • 17:15 – Is the D365FO platform stabilizing for customers?
  • 21:30 – Why some organizations are back to an approach that brings in line of business applications rather than a monolithic system
  • 26:00 – Adapting to the OneVersion release approach and how it has stabilized
  • 33:00 – How ISVs can be proactive on customer service and product management on D365FO
  • 39:00 – How to make ERP interfaces more enjoyable to use.
  • 41:00 – The challenges to partners related to D365FO's growth
  • 48:00 – The outlook on Microsoft's ISV Connect program since its launch, and what the ideal outcome will look like
  • 52:30 – How should customers evaluate ISVs?
Nov 21, 2019

This episode of the MSDW Podcast is sponsored by Nomad eCommerce.

Ramin Marghi of Catapult ERP wrote recently about the challenges of on-premises ERP today, and why Dynamics 365 Business Central in the public cloud addresses those challenges – if not directly, then through a change of approach that will help set organizations on a new course for the future.

On this episode of the podcast, Ramin discusses some of the issues that define today's SMB ERP climate in the Microsoft channel. You can't discuss this topic without examining the history of Dynamics NAV and what the product's evolution has done to move organizations forward (or not) over the years. Broadening the outlook even further is the accelerating pace at which Microsoft has prioritized ERP-adjacent technology like the Power Platform tools. Those advances may be even more interesting to an owner of a legacy ERP, Ramin believes, as those peripheral capabilities could offer a more realistic way to bring improvements to an organization's processes and data than an ERP upgrade.

Show Notes

  • 1:00 – Making the professional transition from accounting to ERP delivery
  • 2:30 – Why is now the time to shift focus to Business Central in the cloud
  • 5:30 – What risks does a company face when they have been "living with" an on-prem ERP for too long?
  • 7:30 – How do clients react to the cloud-first argument today?
  • 8:45 – How to explain the tension between cloud skeptics and cloud progressives
  • 10:30 – Is it a partner's role to build excitement about Business Central to an on-prem ERP client?
  • 15:00 – Companies who could choose either a lower mid-market solution like BC or an upper-mid to enterprise solution like D365 Finance and Operations
  • 17:00 – The long-term promise of the Common Data Model as it relates to ERP
  • 20:00 – NAV vs BC parity, and why it's not always the right argument
  • 21:30 – What else in the Microsoft cloud is worth paying attention to?
  • 24:00 – Why NAV customers are paying attention to Power Platform, even if they're not ready to upgrade.
  • 25:00 – What else can an organization do to invest for the future other than upgrading their ERP?
  • 31:00 – When should you develop an extension for Business Central vs a Power Platform-based solution?
  • 34:30 – Why great Power Platform demos and working solutions are gold for partners on the front lines of the channel.
  • 36:00 – Mix of new and upgrading Business Central customers
Nov 18, 2019

Priefert Manufacturing is a Microsoft Dynamics AX customer that operates in a rural location in the US that still loses internet connectivity to the outside world from time to time. The company maintains its own data center and IT expertise, ensuring that its critical systems are never lost due to failures beyond its control, like when all three of its ISPs fail at the same time.

Darren Goebel, VP of Technology at Priefert, joins our upgrade podcast series to share his experience looking into the company's path forward from Dynamics AX 2009 to something new. While Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations would seem to be the obvious choice, Goebel explained that, after lengthy discussions with Microsoft, his team is nearing the conclusion that the company will likely migrate to another vendor.

He speaks frankly about his observations, research, and skepticism about moving to the public cloud. He recounts conversations with Microsoft representative and he explains why he most likely does not see Microsoft's ERP priorities as the best match for his organization's future plans.

Show Notes

  • 2:30 – Priefert's history with Microsoft Dynamics, and how the company's evolution has impacted its ERP usage.
  • 7:00 – challenges of transitioning the business model to process manufacturing
  • 15:30 – Assessing capabilities and cost of moving to D365FO – why stay on maintenance for an out of support product, and what the cost comparison looks like
  • 19:30 – How their license transition to D365FO might look.
  • 20:30 – Using AX on forklifts, kiosks, and other devices, and what it means for a cloud vs hybrid vs on-prem architecture for a business in a rural location that loses its internet connection.
  • 23:15 – Conversation with Microsoft reps about assessing total cost of ownership
  • 26:30 – What Priefert was told about hybrid D365FO, and why they can't afford manufacturing to lose connectivity for an hour.
  • 36:30 – Considering alternatives like private cloud or other ERP vendors
  • 39:30 – Recounting support calls to Microsoft – two in the last ten years.
  • 44:00 – How other vendors compare to D365FO for Priefert's needs
  • 45:45 – Is D365FO an ERP product or a development platform? And what is reasonable for customers to expect from Microsoft in weighing cloud vs on-prem?
  • 51:30 – How another ERP vendor's on-prem to cloud mix compares to Microsoft's
  • 53:30 – What does the next year hold for Priefert's ERP plans?
Nov 15, 2019
Nov 11, 2019

This episode of the MSDW Podcast is sponsored by Sana Commerce.

Alex Meyer of FastPath is closing out 2019 on a high note. He released a new edition of his book Microsoft Dynamics 365 Security and Audit Field Manual along with co-authors Andy Snook and Mark Polino. And was recently named a Microsoft MVP for the first time.

We talk with Alex about the new edition of the book and how his own views around Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) are evolving as the product undergoes changes to licensing and adds more Power Platform touch points. The book has a technical side and an audit side, he says. It explores both how to set up security in a conceptual way, then how to implement it. And, he explains that while core concepts remain mostly unchanged amid product updates, fast moving updates around areas like the Power Platform do deserve a closer examination.

Show Notes

  • 1:00 – Product updates that warranted a new look at security
  • 2:00 – What the One Version approach means for managing security
  • 5:00 – Guiding principles of security in D365FO
  • 7:15 – Why use task recordings for least privilege security
  • 9:00 – How to approach field level security
  • 10:30 – Implications of the change from a single "Finance and Operations" license to "Finance" and "Supply Chain Management" licenses.
  • 12:00 – GDPR today.
  • 16:00 – Managing security around solutions that incorporate the Power Platform tools
  • 18:30 – The security considerations for data outside of the transactional database
Oct 21, 2019

Kuldeep Gupta is a Project Delivery Head at CloudFronts Technologies, with a specialization in project service and program management. As part of his responsibility for project delivery excellence, Kuldeep not only oversees projects that deliver Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation to clients, but he oversees its usage internally at CloudFronts.

On this episode of the MSDW Podcast we dive into some of the fundamentals of the PSA product, including the improvements over the three versions, progress toward the next generation that builds off Microsoft Project Online, and the needs of customers asking for PSA-based solutions. We also talk about some of Kuldeep's writing for MSDW and the future of the product.

Show Notes

  • 2:30 – Background on Kuldeep's role and areas of focus.
  • 5:00 – How and why D365 PSA evolved as a standalone product
  • 6:15 – How CloudFronts are using PSA, and the value the system delivers to them
  • 7:30 – The importance of time and expense entry management
  • 9:00 – The evolution of PSA through version 3
  • 12:00 – Common integration points
  • 14:00 – Integrating PSA in the context of ERP
  • 15:00 – Comparing PSA to the project service features in D365 Finance and Operations
  • 16:30 – The future of PSA – Microsoft will reformulate using Project tools
  • 20:00 – What else Kuldeep is talking to customers about in delivering PSA solutions
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.
May 3, 2019

In the era of on-premises ERP, private hosting partners offered a relatively straight forward value proposition. For many small to mid-sized businesses, especially those without a robust IT department or data center of their own, hosting had (and still has) measurable value. But that story changes when the future of an on-prem ERP is mostly in the public cloud, as we see with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

While the story has changed, it is not over for Microsoft partners who traditionally focused on hosting and private cloud services. For one, most AX customers have not yet upgraded to D365FO, nor do they have immediate plans to do so.

Second, as we have seen in previous episodes of this series, an ERP running in the public cloud and managed by Microsoft is not a simple arrangement. Partners and customers alike need new skills on various Azure services and tools to be able to properly manage both their IT infrastructure and its costs.

Add to that the fact that a D365FO solution on Azure will become just one node in a multi-cloud topography for most organizations, and the role of a cloud services partner starts to come back into focus.

Tyler Doerner, VP of sales at WatServ, a hosting and cloud services provider and Microsoft partner, joins series co-host Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics and MSDW editor Jason GUmpert to explore how both private cloud and Azure services are impacting Dynamics customers. We discuss how private, hybrid, and public cloud services are changing the partner channel, what Dynamics AX customers are doing today to plan for F&O, hybrid cloud scenarios are most important today.

Show Notes:

  • 00:35 – Background on WatServ and Tyler's history
  • 1:30 – Why hosting and private cloud infrastructure ought to be part of the D365FO upgrade discussion
  • 5:15 – A brief history of AX hosting in the Dynamics channel
  • 6:30 – The shift in hosting from private cloud to Azure IaaS
  • 8:15 – Why some AX customers remain hesitant on a D365FO upgrade today.
  • 10:00 – IT's role of the future (briefly)
  • 13:00 – The challenge of finding talent with cloud expertise
  • 16:45 – Why does D365FO on-prem cost the same as SaaS?
  • 20:00 – How much of the value in D365FO is the cloud infrastructure and promised level of support and how much is in features that are cloud-only?
  • 25:00 – How have cloud and hosting conversations changed in the Azure era?
  • 27:15 – Why developing a multi-year, multi-step plan from on-prem to the cloud is a realistic ERP strategy today, and why organizations are still lacking the skills to do it.
  • 30:00 – Why WatServ chose to add Google Cloud (rather than AWS) alongside Azure
  • 31:30 – How well are organizations dealing with their multi-cloud topologies?
  • 34:45 – What are cloud service partners' relationships with Microsoft today, and why those changes mirror other ISV areas on which Microsoft has encroached.
  • 37:00 – Is Microsoft ready for AX customers to move to D365FO?
May 1, 2019

On this episode we talk with Microsoft's Aleksandar Totovic about what he willl be presenting at  Directions North America 2019 next week in Las Vegas. Aleksandar described these sessions on his blog recently, and he explains here some of the factors that went into his decision to take on topics that are forward thinking and probably a little outside of the conventional NAV and Business Central partner's plans. The common theme of the sessions – figuring out how to incorporate other fast-moving Microsoft business applications with Business Central – underscores one of the big opportunities and challenges that partners face: deciding where to invest precious time and resources in the Microsoft channel.

Show Notes:

  • 1:20 – A little more about Aleksandar
  • 2:30 – A brief Directions Asia recap
  • 4:40 – Why look at using D365 for Talent with Business Central?
  • 8:00 – Why partners should be encouraged to promote and propose holistic Microsoft solutions, not just Business Central.
  • 9:30 – Why the CDM/CDS is relevant to Talent workloads, other HR solutions, and the future of Business Central.
  • 11:50 – Scenarios in which a combined Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Business Central customer could benefit from doing traditional ERP tasks in a model-driven PowerApp.
  • 17:15 – Sessions that Aleksandar is looking forward to at the event.
Apr 26, 2019

In a recent article, the co-host of today's podcast, Peter Joeckel, shared his perspective that the Dynamics AX user base falls into one of three categories as it relates to their Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade prospects:

  • Small to mid-market and simple;
  • Large and complex but well funded;
  • Mid-market and complex but financially constrained

That last cohort, the constrained mid-market customer with complex customizations, is staffed with tense IT managers harboring the legitimate fear that the financial losses tie to an upgrade-gone-wrong could do real harm to the business overall.

In this episode of our Dynamics AX to D365FO Upgrade Journeys podcast series, we meet Irene, an IT director at a manufacturer running a not-so-successful AX 2012 system (she preferred to leave her company out of the discussion). Their AX implementation began in 2012 RTM and "it was not an easy implementation," she says. They faced many of the hurdles you hope not to find when executing an ERP project: the lack of a change mindset, a conservative (and seemingly un-engaged) executive team, and some technical deployment problems. Since their less-than-satisfying go—live, they have been working to steadily bring back features and functions that should have been there from the start.

Now they face the prospect of an upgrade of some sort. Irene explains how she evaluated the two primary choices: upgrading to D365FO in the cloud or upgrading to AX 2012 R3. It's not a scenario (or an outcome) that will earn itself a flashy video at the next Microsoft conference, but it's one that might seem more believable for a certain set of AX customers weighing their options today.

Show Notes

  • 3:15 – Introducing our AX customer guest and her company's current state
  • 6:15 – Past history: why the company is moving cautiously ahead after its original AX 2012 implementation
  • 9:45 – What their upgrade analysis looked like and why others will have to move from AX 2012 to D365FO first.
  • 12:30 – How the company made their decision on the next steps considering factors like customizations, reporting, and user experience.
  • 15:00 – Can a move from AX to D365FO really be called an upgrade?
  • 20:30 – AX was implemented to "make corporate happy" originally. Is anyone happy now, and who's not?
  • 22:45 – Why our guest is optimistic about the long term future at her company with D365FO – with some reservations like affordability. Would love to know Microsoft's strategy to keep adding value.
  • 26:00 – What it means to be in the midrange of ERP buyers when looking to the cloud.
  • 30:00 – How much are service providers quoting for an AX 2012 to AX 2012 R3 upgrade/re-implementation? And how would it have compared to the cost of a move to D365FO?
  • 35:00 – What a recent group of AX users had to say about planning for a move to D365FO?
  • 37:45 – Concerns over partner pressure to move to D365FO, and what is probably driving it.
  • 41:00 – The company's long term plans for the next five years.
  • 42:00 – Predicting Microsoft's plans for long term support of AX 2012 versions.
Apr 26, 2019

The podcast is back with a look at some of the most important articles and features from the last month. It's an episode that is heavy on Dynamics 365 Business Central news as Microsoft ramps up the April 2019 release and communicates its plans to partners, both in Asia last month and in North America in May. We also review some new insights from subject matter experts in partner channel strategy, manufacturing, banking, non-profits, Customer Engagement, Finance & Operations, and more.

Show Notes:

Mar 12, 2019

With Extreme365 Europe just weeks away, we catch up with Microsoft MVP Mark Smith, a.k.a nz365guy, for a preview of his plans for the event and a few predictions of top areas of discussion around the business of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 – How Mark will be participating at Extreme365.
  • 5:15 – How will Executive Exchange attendees be looking at quickly approaching changes in areas like automation and practical AI advances?
  • 13:15 – Power Platform in contrast to Microsoft's first party D365 apps
  • 18:15 – Fitting the needs of partners serving small and midsized organizations
  • 21:30 – What Microsoft MVPs are really like
  • 25:30 – On becoming a Microsoft professional without a traditional educational path.
  • 27:15 – Mark's session on how ISVs can build on the Power Platform
  • 29:30 – The challenge of running a systems integrator to pivot to an ISV approach.
Mar 7, 2019

On this episode we catch up with a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations upgrade project in process. We talk to project managers from both the partner and customer side to learn how each of them has navigated a challenging project with a very rigid deadline that is just two months away. From daily standup calls to project tools to executive sponsors, our guests, Arun (the customer project manager) and Ebrahim (the partner project manager) talk about their progress so far, technical hurdles of ERP on Azure, and how they have dealt with change management.

Show Notes:

  • 3:30 – Project basics – where it's at now and some current issues being dealt with.
  • 6:00 – Why the go-live date is so rigid on this project, and what how that has shaped the critical path and project management considerations.
  • 8:00 – Why this project has multiple critical paths (and why this project really looks more like two simultaneous projects)
  • 11:30: The Azure infrastructure skills gap when moving to F&O and the challenges of stabilizing on Azure as the services iterate rapidly
  • 15:00 – What differentiates an AX upgrade project from a D365FO upgrade project
  • 18:00 – Is it possible to accurately account for contingencies when working with a D365FO environment in Azure?
  • 22:00 – What kind of project methodology is the team using?
  • 27:00 – How fast are change orders being approved?
  • 28:30 – More details on the project team and user base size
  • 31:00 – How the project team is using Microsoft Project
  • 36:15 – Halfway through the project, how is the upgrade team's spirit holding up?
  • 40:30 – How to keep daily standup calls tidy
  • 42:30 – Final thoughts: Azure challenges are not to be underestimated
Feb 18, 2019

When Dynamics AX customers first examined Microsoft's cloud-first vision for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, many of the questions revolved around how users could remain on-premises into the foreseeable future. As the years have passed and Microsoft has pressed its case for SaaS ERP, the hardline on-prem segment has diminished, partly due to a clear view of what on-prem D365FO really looks like and partly due to a ceaseless campaign by Microsoft (and other ERP vendors) to promote cloud as the default option for new projects. Microsoft's progress on addressing key regulatory, security, and technical concerns of the public cloud seems to be helping, too.

Stickiest of all the on-prem debates, however, has been the hybrid question: how can an organization run both public cloud ERP and support sites that can't afford to stop operating if they lose connection to the outside world. Microsoft promised an architectural answer to this challenge, but their progress remains uncertain. In the meantime, D365FO partners continue to work with clients to develop real-world solutions.

On this episode of the series, we talk with Ken Edwards, a practice lead at Centric Consulting, on how he advises clients on the challenge of hybrid. Ken has worked on multiple generations of ERP and CRM from both the customer and partner side and explains that, in his view, the progress Microsoft is making with D365FO will not only change the conversation about hybrid, but about ERP investment more generally.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 – Introducing Ken Edwards
  • 3:00 – Where does Ken think Microsoft really at with hybrid scenario support? Anywhere?
  • 5:30 – How quickly are buyers' attitudes toward on-prem vs SaaS changing?
  • 8:00 – What kind of organization is starting to look hard at SaaS today?
  • 14:00 – Can teams realistically lower risk and cost on a cloud upgrade, and should they expect their partner can guide them?
  • 17:30 – Would you rather have a thousand three-user clients or three one thousand user clients for cloud ERP?
  • 22:15 – How is Microsoft reaching F&O customers directly with support tools?
  • 25:30 – What to listen for next from Microsoft with product roadmap, deployment capabilities?
  • 27:15 – The noticeable shift of accounting and ERP software from a business project to an IT project
  • 36:00 – Does Microsoft have an update this spring on its hybrid plans laid out in 2017 and early 2018?
Feb 12, 2019

CRM has been an accepted enterprise software market segment for decades at this point, but debate still rages about where to seek the next great opportunities for growth and innovation. Analyst Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research, sees consolidation around broad centralized platforms as one of the next big trends of CRM-related technology and economic impact. He recently wrote about his outlook for the CRM market in next decade for MSDW and we wanted to continue the discussion around topics like consolidation, platforms, industry-specific solutions, and the technology that could have the biggest direct impact.

In addition to advisory services in the enterprise software space, Denis has written three books, including, "Solve for the Customer," and "You Can't Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It." Most recently Pombriant published, "The Age of Sustainability," about the economic and technical solutions to global warming.

Show notes:

  • 4:15 - SaaS and Cloud interrelationship – what drives what?
  • 7:45 – Why will platform drive the CRM ecosystem in the coming years?
  • 11:15 – What industries are ready for a new generation of CRM applications via platform opportunity?
  • 15:00 – Making micro-vertical scenarios a reality
  • 19:00 – Will any ISVs dedicated to the Microsoft business apps platform establish themselves as major vendors?
  • 25:00 – The evolving role of channel partners
  • 27:30 – The opportunity for software vendors to compete on pricing and licensing
  • 30:00 – What else Denis has planned for 2019
Feb 8, 2019

Our Microsoft Dynamics AX to 365 upgrade journeys podcast series continues (catch up on parts one and two) with a very different perspective: the observations of a Dynamics AX 2012 customer still in the planning stages of their next upgrade.

Kenny Mullican is CIO of Paragon Films, a plastics manufacturer based in Oklahoma and a Dynamics AX 2012 R2 customer. Paragon Films is the perhaps a perfect AX 2012 manufacturing customer. They use most AX modules, work across multiple sites, and, thanks to Kenny's team, have managed a stable, standards-based, lightly customized (relatively speaking) ERP solution for several years.

Now Kenny and his team are in the process of evaluating where to take their ERP solution in the future. An upgrade to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations would seem to be the logical path, but there are questions. Chief among them:

  • Is Microsoft ready with the tools and
  • How much will this effort cost? Or to put it another way, is it still an upgrade if it costs more than the original ERP deployment four years ago?
  • For a company that doesn't see value in a shift from capital expenses to greater operating expenses, is an on-premises deployment the only viable option?

Kenny walks through his team's approach to AX 2012, what he has learned so far about his D365FO upgrade options, and the questions that still remain. We are also joined once again by ERP and AX veteran Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics to share his perspective on both manufacturing and AX upgrades.

Show Notes:

  • 3:00 – Paragon Films' AX deployment and ERP history
  • 6:30 – Why Paragon Films still sees room for improving and expanding their use of AX
  • 9:00 – Looking down the road to a D365FO upgrade: "It has to happen at some point"
  • 14:00 – Could Microsoft push back end of support for AX 2012?
  • 16:00 – Can partners transfer understanding from past AX to D365FO upgrade experiences to the next upgrade project?
  • 19:30 – The type of project estimates that AX customers are getting for D365FO upgrades
  • 24:30 – Adjusting from an AX level of access to a more restricted cloud solution
  • 27:00 – Why the operational expense of monthly per user fee of a cloud model doesn't appeal to all AX customers
  • 29:00 – Other concerns that a manufacturer has about going to the cloud
Jan 31, 2019

You might imagine that the choice between a new cloud or on-premises ERP solution would be carefully reasoned, with sober analysis and PowerPoint presentations leading to a final decision, the reality can feel more like a hostage standoff when real users start weighing their options.

In episode 2 of our series exploring Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade and migration projects, ERP and AX veteran Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics joins us to share his experience helping companies evaluate their options. As Peter explains, a D365FO upgrade evaluation is full of surprises, from the nature of the internal debate to the technical considerations.

For more on this episode, read Peter's related article.

Jan 25, 2019

On this episode we catch up with Nicholas Hayduk, founder of Engineered Code to learn more about what's coming next with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Portal based on the still-new April 2019 release notes. There are some exciting updates, like the removal dependencies on first party Dynamics app objects, and intriguing hints at the future like a new way to display of external data.

Nick is a Portal and Adxstudio veteran and he recently wrote about the April 2019 release wave on his blog.

Jan 24, 2019

What are Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrades really like? As fascinating as you might expect, and then some.

In episode 1 of a new series exploring current upgrade and migration projects, ERP and AX veteran Peter Joeckel of Turn On Dynamics joins us to make the case for why these projects are turning out to be so different from the many ERP upgrades and migrations he has seen in the last twenty years.

We also use this brief episode to lay out plans for subsequent podcasts in the series on topics like project management, organizational planning, and the technical readiness elements that have become critical to D365FO success.

Jan 7, 2019

On this episode we talk with John Silvani, President & CEO of Gravity Software. John wrote an article for MSDW in 2018 describing his experience running a SaaS ERP business built originally on Dynamics CRM Online and now on the Common Data Service and the Power platform. We talk about the evolution of Gravity's partnership with Microsoft, his thoughts on the evolution of CDS and the Power platform, and advice for other businesses looking to use Microsoft's business solutions ecosystem as their platform of choice.

Show Notes:

  • 1:20 – John's background in the Microsoft channel
  • 3:15 – Formalizing xRM and the decision to build on it.
  • 4:30 – Why doing xRM with all custom entities
  • 7:00 – How ISVs are adapting to licensing and product changes for PowerApps and CDS-based solutions
  • 12:00 – Managing the ISV relationship with Microsoft as an ERP vendor: cooperating vs competing
  • 17:00 – Expanding an ISV offering and ecosystem with platform tools like Flow
  • 20:45 – Gravity's channel building efforts. And advice to other prospective Microsoft partners.
  • 24:40 – What to watch from Microsoft in 2019
  • 26:00 – Trends from partners and buyers to watch for in 2019