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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: Category: general
Mar 23, 2020

Microsoft MVP Ed Gonzales (LinkedIn, Twitter)is not a professional developer, but his willingness to dive into new technology has helped him steadily expand his expertise from the Dynamics 365 product line to the Power Platform, Teams, and beyond. He recently told MSDW about his journey to becoming an MVP, with his time spent championing Microsoft tools at his day job while challenging himself with new tech at other times. He documents his latest explorations on his blog, The Flying Polymath, like an increasingly sophisticated bot that pulls in a range of Microsoft technology based on his own exploration and input from others in the community.

 

Show Notes

  • 1:15 - More about Ed's day job, including his efforts around CRM adoption.
  • 4:00 - What it's like being a CRM administrator and advocate, while also promoting Microsoft productivity tools.
  • 7:00 - Creating realistic incentives and assistance from prospective users.
  • 9:30 - On his efforts to gain support from management
  • 12:30 - Ed's thoughts on the D365 product direction and efforts to encourage power users and makers
  • 15:30 - User adoption milestones in the context of digital transformation
  • 18:15 - Exploring and collaborating on the Power Platform as a non-developer through the birthday bot
  • 25:00 - Applying information learned from experiments to real business cases.
  • 26:00 - Where is Teams going in combination with enterprise systems?
  • 32:00 - Other parts of the Microsoft tech stack that Ed is excited about
Mar 12, 2020

Directions on Microsoft research vice president Andy Snodgrass joins us to discuss Microsoft licensing, cloud transitions, Power Platform investments, and other complex choices that his firm's clients are weighing today.

Show Notes

  • 1:00 – The Microsoft products Andy covers and how Directions on Microsoft works with clients
  • 3:45 –Microsoft customers challenges with cloud pricing
  • 6:20 – Managing the true cost of cloud solutions
  • 11:00 – How to prioritize the areas to watch in Microsoft's Business APplicatinos group.
  • 17:00 – Thinking about Dynamics 365 aggregate applications, and why it doesn't simplify system management
  • 22:15 – What are the prospects for the new D365 Human Resources application?
  • 26:30 – Progress on the citizen developer trend with the Power Platform and how enterprises have adapted
  • 29:30 – Why some enterprises are going all-in on Power Platform, and what metrics are driving their decisions.
  • 31:00 – POV: Is "citizen developer" still valid if you're making Power Platform part of a larger IT strategy?
  • 35:30 – Evaluating the structure of the biz apps group
  • 39:39 – Has the Biz Apps group come full circle, back to the MBS days under Kirill Tatarinov?
Mar 9, 2020

Editor's Note: This is a special episode of the MSDW Podcast sponsored by k-eCommerce.

Louis Mousseau, president of k-eCommerce joins us to discuss the company's recently launched Payment Portal and Payment Extension for Dynamics GP. There are a range of reasons why a GP customer should consider adding e-payment capabilities, even if they don't need e-commerce. Mousseau explains some of the differences between the two, like the fact that e-payments provide benefits on top of fundamental GP accounting features arounds sales and invoicing. We also discuss topics including security, customer experience, and streamlining operations.

Feb 14, 2020

Why do some CRM-focused projects, probably too many, end with a less-than-satisfying outcome? As our guest, Chuck Ingram, explains, dissatisfaction with enterprise technology is a strange thing. Even when a consulting team leaves a project with all metrics "green", things might not say that way after some time has passed.

 

Chuck last joined the podcast about 3 years ago. He updates us on his professional path since then, including his new firm CongruentX. As he explains, his new team will take a different approach to CRM projects, with a somewhat different engagement model and different measures of success. He will remain focused on Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM technology, and we talk about the impact of products like Power Apps and D365 Customer Insights, customer adaptation, and life in the partner channel these days.

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:25 - Chuck's professional background and journey over the last few years.
  • 11:00 - Big picture perspective on approaching CRM projects differently to meet buyer needs.
  • 15:20 - Why CRM efforts don't always have to be big projects.
  • 18:25 - How CRM ownership and services change with Microsoft's semi-annual release waves.
  • 21:30 - The case for building on top of legacy systems vs upgrade or migration.
  • 24:45 - Why customer experience is about more than CRM.
  • 27:30 - How and why centers of excellence benefit organizations of different sizes.
  • 33:20 - Chuck's perspective on Microsoft's engagement with partners
  • 38:20 - Why D365 Customer Insights, Microsoft's Customer Data Platform offering, is exciting
  • 39:45 - Looking ahead to 365 Power Up Tampa on Feb 22
Jan 28, 2020

Microsoft just released the 2020 release wave 1 plans for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. On this episode we talk with Microsoft MVP Malin Donoso Martnes for her perspective on updates coming to the D365 Human Resources (formerly Talent) and Marketing apps.

Malin has worked in the Dynamics CRM and D365 Customer Engagement space for several years, first on the customer side and now as a consultant based in Oslo. We discuss the new features of Human Resources, how to position the application alongside Dynamics 365 F&O and Project Service Automation, the role of Power Automate, and more.

 

You can follow Malin on Twitter or LinkedIn, and on her blog.

 

Show notes

  • 2:00 - First impressions of the Dynamics 365 HR plans for 2020 wave 1 and why country-specific requirements are so important.
  • 4:30 - The partner opportunity around Dynamics 365 HR
  • 6:45 - Managing entities in the CDS, and how the HR app's architecture has evolved
  • 9:30 - D365HR compared to the HR module of Dynamics 365 F&O
  • 14:00 - Outlook on Dynamics 365 Marketing in the new release wave
  • 17:00 - Deciphering Microsoft's language on upcoming marketing features
  • 20:30 - More on Malin's professional background
  • 23:30 - On getting back up to speed with Dynamics 365 after an extended leave
  • 27:00 - How Malin creates her blog posts, with help from reader questions
  • 28:00 - Upcoming events and plans
Jan 8, 2020

While the Microsoft Power Platform is seemingly everywhere in the Dynamics ecosystem, not all Dynamics ERP partner teams can deliver these cloud services yet as part of customer solutions, especially in the SMB space. 

Sven Noomen, founder of Process4People, joins us to talk about his work to build a consulting, advisory, and training business focused on Power Platform services in the Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central ecosystem. He and his team have developed their own reusable IP, along with providing Power Platform services, training partners, and even working with Microsoft at times.

As Sven explains in this episode, deploying Power Platform requires a unique focus and skill set, and many Dynamics partner, especially those serving the SMB market, do not yet have enough expertise to properly guide their clients on all the options.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - About Sven and his work
  • 4:00 - How far has Power Platform progressed alongside Business Central?
  • 7:30 - Are there two visions for the future of Business Central solutions?
  • 12:00 - Is there room for businesses to build on Power Platform using NAV APIs as a backend source?
  • 15:00 - Why ISVs need more IP protection with Power Platform
  • 18:00 - Why customers opt for Power Platform as a low-code platform
  • 21:00 - What's it like running a consultancy offering Power Platform-related services?
  • 26:00 - Will a significant subset of Dynamics ERP users eventually become primarily PowerApps users?
  • 30:00 - Advice for traditional NAV/BC VARs to adapt for the future
  • 34:45 - How will Power Automate's addition of RPA capabilities impact assessments of legacy ERP
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
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 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 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 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.
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 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.

 

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:

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 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
Nov 27, 2018

The MVP collaboration known as PowerISV is all about the business opportunities of Microsoft's Power platform - PowerApps, Power BI, Flow, and the Common Data Service. On this episode we talk with two members of the group, Mark Smith, aka nz365guy, and returning guest Steve Mordue, to discuss why the group got together, what value they provide, and who needs to understand the opportunity for developing solutions on Microsoft's still-emerging cloud application infrastructure.

Show Notes:

  • 3:00 – Why do partners need to start understanding the Power platform as a product platform
  • 4:40 – What kinds of questions are SIs and ISVs asking today?
  • 7:30 – Tracking Microsoft's product and partnership decisions and how that will impact companies building against the Power platform ecosystem.
  • 9:40 – The biggest mistakes that ISV partners are making today
  • 11:45 – What is solid today? Where do we know it will be in the near future? And where do we think it will be farther down the road?
  • 14:00 – Why connectors are a huge part of the future opportunity.
  • 17:00 – What partners need to understand about the freedom of building standalone on the Power platform rather than starting with Microsoft first party apps.
  • 21:00 – Why you might bet that the platform will win out over Microsoft's first party apps over the long term.
  • 25:00 – What is the future of ISV solutions built atop the first party D365 apps?
  • 30:30 – Why Microsoft's efforts with Power platform recruitment are different from past initiatives to lure ISV investment.
  • 34:45 – Why the citizen developer is a huge part of the story.
  • 41:30 – Why partners struggle with change management as much as their clients
  • 46:00 – Why AppSource could be so much more than it is today
  • 50:30 – The importance of learning to "work the system" as a Microsoft partner in order to be successful

Other links:

Nov 20, 2018

Marko Peresic has now stepped down from his role at Microsoft in the Business Applications group, and the former general manager sat down with MSDW for an exit interview of sorts. On this MSDW Podcast episode he discusses his twelve years at Microsoft and reflects on both his own growth and the evolution of the company's business applications group.

Leaving the company was not a decision he took lightly, he says. The company's talented employees, as well as the intensity of its partner and customer bases it a unique place to work. He weighed different potential job offers, both inside and outside the company before landing on a new role at a yet-to-be-identified HR software firm. And he advised that the search for his replacement, which is ongoing, is expected to result in a new leader with same general manager roles and responsibilities. Other topics of our conversation included some of the feedback he heard from within Microsoft when he announced his plans, how he has adapted to handling conflict with stakeholders in the community, shifting from a technology focus to a customer success focus, and why Microsoft needs to better develop its executive talent pool internationally rather than centered in Redmond.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 – A warm response from the community to the news of Marko's departure
  • 3:15 - Did the latest progress with Business Central impact the decision to move on?
  • 6:00 - Why he spent such a long time at Microsoft after years of shorter term roles at startups
  • 12:15 - Recommendations for new hires at Microsoft, including the strengths of the culture and the need to get in front of partners and customers
  • 15:00 – Notable shifts resulting from the company's leadership change.
  • 20:00 – How his attitude and approach has changed, from "excessive self-confidence" in the early years to something more refined.
  • 25:00 – The impact of the partner channel on a Microsoft manager's role
  • 29:00 – Shifting from a technology focus to a business and customer success attitude.
  • 31:30 – Defining the role of Marko's replacement's
  • 33:00 – Why Microsoft needs more managers based internationally.
  • 36:00 – Where Marko is most excited about the direction of enterprise apps technology, including ERP, HR, and beyond.
Nov 2, 2018

Andrew King of WebSan Solutions joins us once again to talk building and selling Microsoft business solutions to SMBs. Andrew and his team have been working with clients on a range of the latest Microsoft technology, from the Business Applications suite to Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Teams, and Azure products.

On this episode we cover a range of topics including what types of solutions are resonating with new and existing clients, the technology on which his team is building expertise, the types of conversations he is having with NAV and GP customers these days, and WebSan's upcoming webcast for MSDW on November 20 about moving GP solutions to the cloud.

Show notes:

  • 1:30 – Introducing D365 Business Central to the market
  • 3:45 – What it takes to blend Microsoft technology together for a full vision when talking to prospects
  • 5:15 – Top scenarios with today's tech (Building AI chatbots, PowerApps, and more)
  • 8:45 – The bot, customer service, and field service opportunity
  • 12:00 – Why PSA and Field Service capabilities must integrate more comprehensively with Business Central.
  • 14:00 – Using Flow, Teams, Power BI, SharePoint, and more in solutions today.
  • 19:45 – Why Business Central is not sold by itself, and why competition doesn't allow for it.
  • 21:00 – Investing in PowerApps development services
  • 22:00 – The GP cloud migration opportunity (webcast)
  • 27:00 – The personnel challenges of ERP upgrades
  • 29:00 – Communicating the contrast between GP and Business Central and offering realistic guidance
  • 36:00 – Microsoft Tech Summit in Halifax
Oct 30, 2018

Mike Dickerson,the CEO of marketing technology vendor ClickDimensions, joins us to discuss his company and its evolution in the Microsoft channel over the last two years. Now owned by private equity firm Accel KKR, the company has adjusted its focus today to three main challenges for customers and partners in the future – simplifying the technology, reducing costs, and solving the skills and resources gap. He discusses some fascinating findings about Microsoft partners, how the company has adapted to Microsoft's other marketing technology moves, and some principles of leadership.

Show Notes

  • 1:25 – The ClickDimensions origin story
  • 3:15 – The company's position in today's market
  • 5:15 – What a focus on the Microsoft channel and technology has meant in go-to-market and distribution
  • 8:00 – How the company and martech field have changed in the last two years
  • 14:00 – Addressing the marketing skills gap in B2B
  • 17:00 – Bridging the skills gap – for partners and for customers
  • 24:00 – A "Center of Excellence" strategy for digital agency needs, and why it is needed
  • 34:00 – What is ClickDimensions is doing differently from Microsoft
  • 40:00 – Serving the on-prem customer base
  • 42:30 – Leading the company under private equity ownership
  • 46:30 – Guidance on decision making in leadership and advisory roles at tech companies
Oct 24, 2018

On this episode, Dynamics NAV veteran and COO of Dynamics Southwest AJ Ansari joined us live at Summit 2018 to discuss the future of NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central. Recorded on the fly in the halls of the Phoenix Convention Center, we discuss customer perceptions of Microsoft's SMB ERP roadmap, how partners are adapting, including AJ's own firm, and our predictions of some of the most exciting new opportunities for innovative use of Microsoft business technology by both customers and partners.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - What will the early Business Central customers look like, and what can history teach us about upgrade patterns?
  • 4:30 – The real meaning (and future possibilities) of the Intelligent Cloud Insights tool.
  • 8:00 – What Microsoft really wants to talk about today (hint: not GP or NAV)
  • 10:00 – The PowerApps with Dynamics approach – moving from concept to reality, and the roll of customers vs partners
  • 11:30 – Why Business Central's focus is good news for all SMB ERP Dynamics customers as a sign of Microsoft's commitment.
  • 13:00 – What it takes to propose and sell Business Central vs NAV today, from the small business to the mid-market
  • 17:00 – Making sense of the ISV readiness situation – preparing NAV add-ons, and will VARs industrialize their customizations?
  • 22:00 – The promise of a more modular architecture for Business Central in the future
  • 26:00 – Will we see the rise of a new type of Microsoft business apps partner profile?
  • 29:00 – Customer conversations at NAVUG/BCUG Summit 2018 – some surprises and some interesting use cases.
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