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The MSDW Podcast

The MSDynamicsWorld.com (MSDW) podcast explores news, ideas, and events in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM community.
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Now displaying: May, 2019
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.
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