The MSDW Podcast

The (MSDW) podcast explores news, ideas, and events in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM community.
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Apr 16, 2017

This time, a Dynamics download from Summit EMEA 2017 and eXtreme365, plus the fate of AX 2012 R3, NAV "Tenerife", and no kidding, D365 Cannabis.

Among the stories:

  • The Dynamics 365 for Operations roadmap – can you wait until July for the next release?
  • The “Activities” user level in D365, for roles that don’t need the full functionality.
  • What is NAV “Tenerife?” It’s a late 2017 NAV release, closely intertwined with Dynamics 365's Financials app. What can you expect?
  • The end of Dynamics AX 2012 R3 licenses. No it’s not being discontinued, but expect D365 to get the R&D dollars.
  • With CRM, complexity kills: Hear three new user adoption tactics for Dynamics 365 CRM apps.
  • D365 Cannabis, an end-to-end solution for a huge industry that’s gone legit.

And more.

Mar 26, 2017

As the Dynamics community moves through a new series of conferences for Dynamics 365/CRM, 365/AX, 365/NAV, and GP communities, the channel is suddenly awash in roadmap updates and an expected (but still sudden) surprise from Adobe and Microsoft.

Some of the news that MSDynamicsWorld editor Jason Gumpert and assistant editor Dann Maurno cover:

  • Dynamics 365 for Financials gets the "full NAV" treatment with a shared codebase, NAV feature set, and W1 localization.
  • The Common Data Service, a report from the Dynamics 365 technical conference, where CDS, new deployment options, power BI and faster implementations dominated conversations
  • Microsoft and Adobe’s joint customer experience solutions, which burst onto the scene at Adobe Summit 2017, fully developed (but not ready for the channel)
  • The updated Dynamics GP 2018 roadmap, with Workforce 4.0 – and what is “PowerSuite”?
Mar 16, 2017

If AXMentor’s inaugural Evolve event in early March served to “take a temperature” of Dynamics 365’s early health, it appears strong. 

With customers (and partners) still trying to understand the future of their Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM investments, AXMentor planned to answer their questions. 

The company's product manager Deborah Wittich and marketing & sales manager Amir Khoshnayati join us to recap of the event, which focused on and helping companies understand the future of their Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM investments; and charting their transition paths to Dynamics 365. Our guests describe an air of both caution and enthusiasm.  

Among the highlights:  

  • How customers can extend the lifecycle of what they have built out in upgrading to the latest version of Dynamics 365. 
  • Digital transformation – what does it mean to customers in the purchasing cycle? In productivity? Overall business outcomes?  
  • How as Wittich describes customers are beginning to grasp digital transformation with “some actual lightbulbs going off and eyes lighting up.”  
  • Local data: How the on-prem and hybrid model is a sigh of relief to at least some customers, who take it as a sign that “Microsoft is listening.” 
  • How the manufacturing vertical is especially vocal in its need for high-volume, high-availability performance of Dynamics 365 (and Microsoft’s answer to that demand). 
  • How the Dynamics 365 brand is catching on – fueled in part by the familiarity of Office 365.  
  • A surprising interest in Power Apps, and how in an impromptu session AXMentor created a working mobile app in under 10 minutes. 
Mar 13, 2017

It has been an exciting few weeks of news in the Microsoft Dynamics channel, with acquisitions (Arbela absorbing Integral USA), product news (Dynamics 365 for Operations on-premise), and expectations around new CRM SMB announcements to come.

Some of the topics MSDynamicsWorld editor Jason Gumpert and assistant editor Dann Maurno cover:

  • Dynamics 365 for Operations local business data: Call it on-prem if you like. It won’t offer all the benefits of pure-cloud ERP, but partners and customers are ready to embrace it.
  • Cloud outages: Delta’s massive 2016 IT outage should have taught it a lesson, but alas. What can Dynamics users learn from this about disaster recovery?
  • A Q&A with PowerObjects, which “bet the farm” on Dynamics CRM 3.0 and shared its best practices for riding the CRM wave to Dynamics 365.
  • Why the cloud calls for managed services despite its self-service image, a thought piece by Lasse Olsen of Avanade.
  • Integrating Dynamics ERP with Amazon: It isn’t plug-and-play easy, but Western Computer walks us through the technical and tactical challenges.
Mar 6, 2017

Newly awarded Microsoft MVP Steve Mordue has never shied away from the challenging issues that partners face both in their day to day work and in long term business planning. A veteran of the Salesforce ecosystem who transitioned his consulting business to Dynamics CRM several years ago, Mordue now runs RapidStart CRM, an ISV that offers tools that improve user adoption of Dynamics 365.

As we move deeper into 2017, Dynamics 365 professionals are awaiting the next phase of the suite’s position in the CRM market, namely with its planned SMB, or “Business Edition,” sales and marketing apps. Once a skeptic, Mordue says he has been won over by Microsoft’s efforts on the buildout of these apps so far. But questions remain, among them:

  • How will partners and customers handle around the dozens of CRM-related SKUs related to Dynamics 365 apps and plan?
  • What newly interested Microsoft partners, especially those selling Office 365 and Azure, will do to adopt D365
  • Where Microsoft is able to get an edge against Salesforce today in terms of features or hype
  • Does AppSource still has a lot of runway to build momentum with ISVs?
  • Can Dynamics 365 Business Edition sales and marketing compete with SMB sales and marketing cloud solutions?
  • How should partners transition from previous generation services to next generation? (Hint: vertical focus)
Feb 26, 2017

With Dynamics 365 for Operations, “shiny new things” come fast and furiously. It’s up to implementation partners to make sure they’re stand-up ready for customers, says Eamon O’Toole, Senior Manager of CRM Solutions with BDO Canada,

O’Toole is a 15-years CRM-industry veteran, who is enthused by some of the apps around Dynamics 365. When he began his CRM career, there were much broader release windows in which features were static for years at a time. Now, new features evolve in the middle of an implementation.

Some of the topics Eamon discusses with MSDynamicsWorld editor Jason Gumpert:

  • Why larger companies are no longer cloud laggards – nor are the risk-averse healthcare and public sectors.
  • Field service options: Between the FieldOne acquisition and Dynamics 365’s scheduling engine, which suits break/fix situations like HVAC, and which suits other industries?
  • Internet-of-Things (IoT) readiness: When this is a job for CRM, and when it is not.
  • Workforce management and allocation: Has Microsoft finally embraced Human Capital Management in a stand-up application?
  • The changing partner opportunity: With shorter and less-complex engagements, partners add value in governance and vetting as much as in implementation.
  • Why partners can expect 2017 to be a year of continual excitement, and 2018 one of stabilization.
Feb 17, 2017

Today we chat with Bob McAdam, program manager for GPUG and organizer of this year’s GPUG Amplify event. Amplify is in its second year and it is one of the few user-facing events of the spring. With Convergence now long gone, we discuss topics including:

  • The Dynamics GP user experience,
  • The full GP event lineup for 2017,
  • The new competitive landscape for GP partners, many of whom now sell a competing solution,
  • How Microsoft is adapting its stance on business solutions amid so much other change at the company.
Feb 14, 2017

Nothing signals an interesting week more than a police presence. Join us for a recap of compelling Microsoft Dynamics stories. Among the topics we cover this time:

Feb 6, 2017

Chuck Ingram knows CRM like few do. He has worked with it before it was even called CRM in the late ‘90s, and worked at Microsoft for eight years in CRM, and is now the Dynamics practice director for Tribridge.

He observes "It certainly feels like perpetual on-premises will be an exception rather than the rule,” now that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 on-premises will move ahead to become "Dynamics 365 (On-Premises)".

Ingram walks us through Tribridge’s experience and observations of the Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365, be it on-prem, in the public cloud or somewhere in between.

Among his observations:

  • How the transition will help CRM users weather the digital disruption.
  • Why digital disruption means that “streamlining operations” is no longer a strategy – not when competing with the Amazons of the world.
  • When the “Netflix approach” to CRM makes sense; get up and running, and explore the features later. (If you’re a subscriber, you have time.)
  • How large customers with big IT departments are used to subscriptions and like it that way..
  • How eight in 10 customers are perfectly comfortable with the cloud; but security or certification requirements still mandate (or at least encourage) on-prem CRM.
Jan 23, 2017

A momentous couple of weeks in the Microsoft Dynamics channel, both within Microsoft and in the channel, as partners roll up their sleeves and put the 2016 tornado of solutions to work.

MSDynamicsWorld Editor Jason Gumpert and Assistant Editor Dann Maurno recap the news, including:

  • Microsoft’s Ron Huddleston taking the reins of the "One Commercial Partner" business, an umbrella for the ISV team, Enterprise Partner team and WPG team.
  • Microsoft StaffHub, the company’s new workforce management app for Office 365; what are the possibilities for Dynamics 365?
  • Microsoft GM Paul White on why survivors among SMB partners will embrace the market shift to cloud apps.
  • New GPUG Board Chair Rick Zich on why the future has a place for both Dynamics 365 and Dynamics GP.
  • Just how long will NAV partners be able to delay before embracing the quickly evolving Dynamics 365 for Financials? Technology Managements James Crowter weighs in.
Jan 14, 2017

"I am going to laugh when my kids complain that Dynamics 365 marketing dominates the home page and marketplace on their Xbox."

So says Jeff Frye, a veteran Microsoft Dynamics GP user, whose colorful comments consistently challenge the official word on the future of Microsoft technology. Frye has experience on both the customer and partner sides of the ERP ecosystem and he is now a systems analyst with Nashville, Tenn.-based Hunt Brothers Pizza, a deeply-entrenched Microsoft Dynamics GP environment with 7,000+ locations.

Jeff has much more to say about Dynamics GP's status and future, and he joined us to share his wisdom and shoot-from-the-hip commentary:

  • On the Dynamics GP development team: "I just get a sense they're hamstrung by a leadership that wants to take things in a different direction...that's a threat to what my company wants to do."
  • On the Dynamics GP roadmap: "[Microsoft] used the word ‘no big boulders,' just customers' most requested things...We're paying part of our support fees for those big boulders."
  • On staying loyal to GP: "We are a growth company...we'd rather spend time growing our business than changing an accounting system that works and meets our needs right now."
  • On a cloud migration: "I just would prefer my environment be the one that goes to the cloud instead of someone creating another ERP system for me to shove 85 users."
  • On "tone-deaf" Dynamics 365 marketing at GP events: "Opening up GPUG with a multi-hour presentation about a product nobody actually owns, D365 while everybody's there to learn about the products they have bought and continue to pay for...sort of wells up that knot in your stomach."

It's a lively conversation.

Dec 28, 2016

Sure, Dynamics 365 was the big story of 2016, and likely will be in 2017. But it wasn’t the only story with impact on the year ahead. What else do we see in our crystal ball for 2017?

MSDynamicsWorld Editor Jason Gumpert looks ahead, with his answers to the questions:

  • Will Microsoft need to rebrand Dynamics 365? And who will be the public face of D365?
  • Are customers eager for a Dynamics/LinkedIn integration? Or would that be one-too-many CRM interfaces?
  • What compelling reason is there to upgrade from Dynamics AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 for Operations? (Is there one?)
  • When will D365 for Financials reach functional parity with Dynamics NAV? And with its low pricepoint, where does that leave NAV partners?
  • Will SMB ERP partners begin dropping off or getting acquired, or, do they have too strong a value proposition to just fade away?
Dec 19, 2016

As 2016 nears its end, the MSDW Podcast ponders things ending (Envision), beginning (LinkedIn acquisition), and just coming into focus (Dynamics 365). We also review a raft of excellent expert content and look ahead to two can't-miss webcasts in this last full work week of the year (for most). 

Topics include: 

Dec 15, 2016

Something a little different this week: seven enterprise software podcasters weigh in on 2016 and 2017, talking about everything from Microsoft’s sudden burst of product releases, consolidations among both enterprise packages and partners, and even driverless cars and bitcoin.

Hosted by Bob McAdam (acting as moderator), Todd McDaniel, and Darcy Boerio, cohosts of the, also taking part were:

Dec 4, 2016

Is digital transformation “The end of ERP software as we know it”?

Panorama Consulting’s Eric Kimberling joins us to talk about his company’s report Everything You Need to Know About Digital Transformation, which makes that bold claim.

No, ERP is not going obsolete; it essential to digital transformation, but just a piece of the puzzle. 

Kimberling joins MSDynamicsWorld Editor Jason Gumpert to explore:

  • Why digital strategies are driven by an overarching business strategies versus IT’s need to upgrade current systems.
  • When ERP upgrades are the right choice.
  • Which industries have no choice but to make a digital transformation? (Hint: Can brick-and-mortar retailers compete with Amazon without deeply-integrated CRM and e-commerce?)
  • Why the global manufacturing environment practically mandates a transformation.
  • How intelligence, not tools, is the aim of any digital transformation.
  • How Microsoft leads in completeness of vision.
Nov 21, 2016

An interesting week it was, starting with Microsoft’s plans for a vastly new Envision 2017. Hint: More real-life experience and decision making, no expo floor. Also, why Dynamics NAV partners risk ignoring Dynamics 365 at their own peril. Plus the Dynamics GP 2016 R2 release, and a few very practical how-to articles in warehousing, calendars and CRM portals.

Among the stories we’ll cover:

Nov 11, 2016

“NAV used to be a rather stationary target, where updates and new versions were few and far between.” But not anymore.

So begins Catapult‘s latest eBook How to Future-Proof Microsoft Dynamics NAV (download), and CEO Elliot Fishman joins us to tell us more. Elliott describes:

  • How the “good enough” approach to upgrades costs Dynamics NAV users
  • The considerable advantages of Dynamics NAV 2017
  • The benefits of staying current, including:
    • Maximum security
    • Cost savings
    • New functionality
    • Cloud compatibility
    • Integration with Office 365 (and all its applications) as well as Dynamics CRM
  • How the sophisticated Dynamics NAV upgrade tools available from Microsoft ease the transition

Elliot has also just written the MSDW article 3 best practices for managing Cumulative Updates in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Nov 7, 2016

November 1 was a landmark day. We knew that Microsoft Dynamics 365 would be generally available, but Microsoft surprised us by releasing Microsoft Flow and PowerApps on the same day, as well as its Common Data Service – all cloud technologies in a single burst.

How are partners synthesizing it all into their businesses? Do these tools truly enable digital transformation at customer organizations? And what’s behind the sudden spike of Dynamics professionals planning to quit partners and go freelance?

(This is also our old-time AM transistor-radio series, wherein two editors on the road phoned in on land lines; please enjoy the classic 1950s sound quality.)

Oct 28, 2016

The feel-good conference season is over, with its keynotes, success stories and Dynamics 365 unveiling. Now, what do Microsoft Dynamics SMB partner organizations truly think of the Dynamics channel direction?

Linda Rose, “Chief Cloudster” and founder of RoseASP, joins us for an unflinching look at what Dynamics SMB partners and their clients are likely to experience in the near future. She previews the 2016 Dynamics SMB Partner Survey (registration required) including issues like:

  • Competitive cloud products being sold, which scare partners and which entice them?
  • How reliant is the channel on cloud service providers, and can we expect more? Fewer?
  • Current plans for Dynamics 365: Must partners prepare for their own digital transformations?
  • Differences between Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL partners. Hint: D365 may be impressive but you’ll pry these classic solutions from the cold, dead fingers of loyal customers.
Oct 22, 2016

Dynamic Communities’ GPUG Summit celebrated its 10th anniversary this month with record attendance; it was the best-attended of four events (including the AXUG, NAVUG and CRMUG Summits).

GPUG Program Director, Bob McAdam helps orchestrate the Summit, from the content to the venue to Microsoft’s involvement.

Bob joins us to talk about:

  • The Dynamics GP roadmap. Dynamics GP 2017 has a name, and a release date (around Summit 2017).
  • The new, yearly release cadence – perhaps a relief to users?
  • Next year’s venue. With 60 percent higher attendance in 2016, the Summits have outgrown Tampa. Enjoy the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Why GP holds its loyal user base and will continue to do so, even as Dynamics 365 grabs all the attention.
Oct 18, 2016

Microsoft finally unveiled Dynamics 365 last week, just ahead of the user group Summit conferences. They also updated Dynamics ERP and CRM customers on their respective products’ roadmaps, and what 365 will mean for each one.

There was a lot to take in at the event, and we cover a lot in this podcast including:

  • Microsoft’s new intelligence apps, wherein Microsoft takes aim at Salesforce with new pricing, analytics expertise on display in Dynamics 365.
  • On-premise options related to the rapidly-changing D365 plans. Your on-prem solution for AX might be AX 2012.
  • Microsoft readies Dynamics 365 customer engagement apps with added analytics and new partnerships for customer service and lead intelligence round out next wave of offerings.
  • Dynamics 365 for Operations: Microsoft reveals AX 2009, 2012 upgrade tools, roadmap
  • Not one, but two new Dynamics 365 user groups.
Oct 7, 2016

The CEO of RapidStart CRM calls himself a “Dynamics 365 Fighter Pilot.”

Steve Mordue has enthusiasm for progress. You won’t find the cloud CRM veteran, ISV and blogger trying to cling to sunsetting products and last decade's sales models.

Steve is the author of such provocative posts as Dynamics 365 – The Irresistible Force meets the Immovable Channel, a subject he talks about in this week’s podcast. He also shares his wisdom about:

  • The future of Dynamics CRM. Is there one, post Dynamics 365?
  • Partner-to-partner relationships. Microsoft is pushing them for a reason; can you be an expert in all things Microsoft? And what’s behind partners’ hesitation?
  • Why the CRM channel should expect an uptick of acquisitions in 2016.
  • Is the channel making a dent in Microsoft’s market share?
  • Why ERP and CRM partners must “sing together" or risk losing out to a shifting software sales landscape.
Oct 3, 2016

Two weeks of compelling Microsoft Dynamics stories, including intelligence from both Directions 2016 and Ignite. Among this week’s topics:

  • Directions 2016 North America, where Microsoft asked NAV partners to embrace the differences of the Dynamics 365 opportunity (and clarifies why there is an opportunity)
  • Microsoft’s quiet AI revolution is over now that artificial intelligence is practical and in use by customers like Lowe’s and the NFL. And Surprise! Microsoft has built an Azure-based supercomputer to manage it all.
  • Several intriguing guest columns. The topics:
    • Is your CRM an enabler or enemy for your sales team?
    • Why there is no credible AX integration framework from Microsoft, and what to do.
    • Three reasons why the cloud may not be for your organization. Think capex versus opex – maybe your organization is not the subscriber kind.
Sep 26, 2016

Two weeks of compelling Microsoft Dynamics stories.  Among this week's topics:

  • reIMAGINE 2016, the Dynamics GP conference. What exactly is GP "Next," and what partners think of it, good and bad
  • Early pricing details for Dynamics 365 - incentives for choosing plans over apps
  • Microsoft's giant HP win and more
Sep 16, 2016

He’s a Dynamics GP veteran, author and even humorist, and he’s has co-written the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 Cookbook.

This week, Fastpath Director of Client Services Mark Polino tells us about his new book, the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 Cookbook - Second Edition, co-authored with Ian Grieve and available directly from Packt Publishing or from Amazon. Somewhere between editions he found time to write the free Undead Guide to Dynamics GP Summit (among others), and at the Summit he’ll deliver a talk called “Naked and Afraid: GP Security.”

There’s 55 pages of new material in this cookbook update, meaning quite a lot that’s new. In the podcast, Polino talks about:

  • “GP Hacks,” a new chapter devoted to clever work-arounds by actual users.
  • When to surrender your hack and seek a third-party solution.
  • Do GP experts still get jazzed by new editions?
  • What excites Polino about 2016, and what would he like to see in the next release?
  • Are you poking a hole in your firewall by using OData from a remote location? Yes, but you should use it anyway.
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