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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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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
Dec 7, 2018

Murray Fife is a Dynamics 365 Global Black Belt at Microsoft who also spent years in the Dynamics partner channel. He writes on his own "A Tinkerer's Notebook" blog, he publishes an ongoing series of books about D365 and AX configuration and usage, and he can frequently be found in person and online educating the community on some of the latest and greatest tech inside and around Dynamics. Murray out in front on how the possibilities for blending standard Dynamics 365 capabilities with other cool. And as you'll hear in this conversation, these days Murray is looking farther and deeper than ever before at the ways customers can approach their technology needs.

Show Notes:

  • 3:00 – What is the Global Black Belt role all about?
  • 5:00 – How D365FO deals are changing in terms of what customer proposals look like
  • 6:30 – What Murray likes about the GBB role
  • 14:00 – Microsoft technology that Murray is excited about today
  • 22:45 - Sentiment and emotion analysis
  • 27:30 – Working alongside Dynamics R&D
  • 33:00 – Building amazing Flows
  • 36:00 – Distinguishing between Flow and Azure Logic Apps
  • 40:00 – What you can do to make Flows into a service that teams can manage rather than individuals
  • 43:00 – Update on Murray's Barebones Companions guides, moving to D365FO
Dec 3, 2018

The news roundup is back! With a busy few weeks behind us, the MSDW editorial team looks back at some of most important news and announcements in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM ecosystem. There were leadership changes, product architecture announcements, partner channel revelations, and plans for a new article series.

Show Notes:

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.
Sep 19, 2018

On this episode of the MSDW Podcast we look ahead to Directions North America 2018, which kicks off on September 30. Brent Fisher, the leader of Dynamics 365 Business Central and NAV at DXC Eclipse, joins us to preview the event. He is on the Directions NA board and leads the content team for the event, working with partners and Microsoft subject matter experts.

Brent helps us put the 2018 event in context after a 2017 event that proved to be a critical part of the Dynamics 365 SMB story, from product roadmap to branding to partner readiness.

Show Notes

  • 4:00 - Are partners anticipating even more in 2018 than they were at this time in 2017?
  • 7:00 – Why partners should be giving Microsoft honest feedback
  • 9:30 – What will partners be asking of each other? Of Microsoft?
  • 12:00 – The partner role in marketing Dynamics 365-based solutions alongside Microsoft
  • 14:30 – Directions NA stats and other details
  • 17:30 – Does Directions attract non-NAV partners? Different roles?
  • 21:15 – D365 Business Central as an ISV opportunity – hearing from Microsoft and partners who have gone down the product development path
  • 26:00 – Stepping into a busy conference season
Sep 13, 2018

Our guest on this episode, Elif Item, founder of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations training firm , Item by Item,  has worked with AX and D365FO for more than a decade and recently took her years of consulting and project-based work and translated them into a new video-based training platform designed to offer smaller, digestible units of educational content for companies deploying D365FO.

We talk about Elif's history in the Dynamics channel, her new company, and D365FO customers' training needs.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - Elif's journey from AX 2.5 to D36FO
  • 6:00 - The modern learning needs of D365FO users – 3 pillars
  • 9:15 – Continuously engaging learnings in the context of a D365FO project
  • 11:50 – The importance of skill-based, digestible chunks of educational content
  • 14:10 – How much do training needs differ by customer?
  • 21:00 – The story behind the D365FO Diary
  • 27:45 – What kinds of organizations are going live with D365FO?
  • 41:30 – What's the future of training?
Aug 29, 2018

We welcome back Gus Gonzalez, founder and CEO of Elev8 Solutions and a Microsoft MVP, to chat about his recent article discussing Microsoft's decision to open up access to the Dynamics Learning Portal, or DLP, making it free for partners and customers with premier support. The article generated some responses from readers, so we dive into the DLP discussion in more detail, taking on those issues as well as more of a comparison of what DLP offers versus other types of training and why more open access to DLP should serve as a competitive advantage for Microsoft in the marketplace.

Show notes:

  • 2:00 – Reviewing the history of DLP for partners and
  • 6:30 – Who's writing DLP content anyway?
  • 8:45 – How to sign up for DLP access and what you'll find inside
  • 13:30 – Why make DLP free when it was already relatively inexpensive for partners?
  • 17:15 – Is DLP really free for partners and premier support customers?
  • 23:00 – The idea behind producing "Two-Minute Tuesday" educational videos
  • 24:15 – Why there is still a need for independent training in addition to DLP
  • 34:00 – Why training remains such a hot topic – as a free and paid service
  • 37:50 – The connection between DLP and Microsoft certifications
  • 40:00 – Finding the balance between training and prepping for exams
  • 41:15 – Why Gus developed the Black Belt training series and why it has changed over time
Aug 22, 2018

On this episode we talk with Josh Greenbaum (@josheac) of Enterprise Application Consulting. Josh has covered Microsoft and other major players in the enterprise business solutions space for many years now and was at Microsoft's recent Business Applications Summit as part of an analyst briefing that coincided with the event.

Josh chats with us about the state of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations in the context of the competitive landscape, and he shares his latest new perspective on where some of the technology cycles are at more broadly in areas including citizen developer trends, integration, and automation.

Show notes:

  • 1:40 – Impressions on the revealed data about the Dynamics 365 user adds and implementation times
  • 10:00 – An inflection point in the market, and how D365FO faces the competition and nails their validity in the market.
  • 12:00 – Pressure to deliver cloud projects quickly and successfully
  • 14:00 – Faith in the extensibility drive?
  • 22:00 – Buyer advice – where the big problems and opportunities exist today (and how LCS fits in)
  • 25:30 – Why Microsoft has an opportunity to differentiate from Google and Amazon on cloud solution management
  • 29:30 – AI and process automation – where is that segment of the market today?
Aug 17, 2018

On this episode our guest is Julie Yack, a Microsoft MVP and Dynamics 365 CRM expert. When she's not helping to lead Colorado Technology Consultants, you're like to find Julie active in another role in the Microsoft ecosystem like organizing the XRM Virtual community, training customers, or participating at a conference.

On this episode, we talk conferences, training, including the new online training venture Julie is involved with, and keeping up with the Dynamics 365 product roadmap.

Topics include:

  • Thoughts on the inaugural Business Applications Summit
  • The history and evolution of XRM Virtual
  • Golden rules of running a user group
  • Application lifecycle management concerns in the D365 CRM community
  • A new online training venture – 365DotTraining
  • Why in-person training is Julie's favorite format
  • Diving into LinkedIn SalesNavigator and its integration to D365 – with Microsoft and other partners
  • The evolution of Microsoft Social Engagement, why it's worth a try, and its automation possibilities
  • Watching project service automation mature
Aug 3, 2018

With the publication of its hefty new release notes document for fall 2018 release wave, Microsoft has made it clear that business applications partners and customers will stay busy through October figuring out what and how to prioritize their learning and deployment decisions across Dynamics 365 solutions, PowerApps, Flow, and Power BI.

On this episode of the podcast we check in with Steve Mordue, a Microsoft MVP and founder of RapidStartCRM to talk about where the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem finds itself coming out of a busy two weeks in July that included the Inspire 2018 partner event and the new Business Applications Summit.

We discuss the events themselves and what some of the highlights will mean for customers. We also discuss key decisions that will start impacting Dynamics 365 partners in the near term like Microsoft's commitment to twice yearly updates, the maturing PowerApps development model based on XRM, and progress on the Unified interface that is quickly broadening its reach on the D365 customer engagement apps.

Aug 1, 2018

The MSDW editorial team brings you another news roundup edition of the podcast, this one following two big events – Inspire 2018 and the Microsoft Business Applications Summit. We look back at the headlines from Las Vegas and Seattle, respectively, and more. Topics include:

  • Inspire's lack of drama
  • What the newly revealed D365FO customer stats could mean for the product
  • First impressions of the MS Business Apps Summit
  • The Power platform's role in shaping the future of D365 apps
  • New salary survey data
  • D365FO dashboards, reporting, and data sync
  • Real talk on Business Central/NAV from SMEs
Jul 12, 2018

Welcome to the MSDW Podcast, I'm Jason Gumpert, editor at MSDynamicsWorld.com. On this episode I talk with Eric Kimberling of Third Stage Consulting. As an independent advisor, Eric keeps his eye on multiple ERP solutions and vendors, so he sees the ERP selection and deployment process from a unique angle. We discuss the competitiveness of Dynamics 365 solutions compared to other vendors' cloud solutions, trends in project planning, and how buyers are dealing with their legacy IT investments in today's marketplace.

Show notes:

  • How do customers figure out whether they are ready for a cloud solution?
  • How is the marketplace taking to the Dynamics 365 cloud value prop?
  • Why are companies taking an incremental approach to cloud ERP, rather than lift-and-shift?
  • Is Microsoft's pursuit of new ERP business vs upgrading existing customer base similar to its competitors?
  • Choosing between SAP S4/HANA and D365FO – risk, scope, flexibility, speed, and more.
  • Navigating multi-cloud and hybrid IT ecosystems.
  • Why Eric has been cautious on jumping on the cloud bandwagon.
Jun 22, 2018

On this episode we welcome back Jeff Bacon and Elliot Fishman of Catapult ERP. Elliot recently published a two part piece on MSDW that explains how his firm will adapt its business model to serve clients in a SaaS era that no longer aligns with older time and materials or fixed price models for services delivery. Cloud adoption, a preference for subscription pricing, and a trend away from customization in favor of packaged add-on solutions all lead Fishman and Bacon to the conclusion that services firms that want to survive in this era must rethink their engagement model from the ground up.

Show notes:

  • 2:00 - The changing tendencies of the customer engagement model – from upfront investment to consumption
  • 5:45 – Software deployment as a risky enterprise for customers (historically)
  • 10:00 – Where's the risk today?
  • 12:45 – Are Dynamics 365/CRM and NAV customers trending toward standard ISV solutions?
  • 17:30 – How digital engagement is driving decisions.
  • 22:15 – The challenge of creating meaningful career paths with the right skills but accessible to more people.
  • 25:40 - How does a partner help clients understand the difference between older and newer engagement models.
  • 27:45 – What a SaaS model ought to mean for a reallocation of resources
  • 32:00 – Highlights of the eight point plan – the executive level
  • 36:00 – Can a new model empower customers and service providers?
Jun 15, 2018

On this episode we talk with Kyle McKie and Iain Wicks of RocketCRM. They co-founded the company less than a year ago to deliver Dynamics 365 CRM consulting services, but they both have years of experience with both CRM and education of various sorts.

Iain recently published a two part article series on MSDW featuring 22 tips for delivering CRM training, and if you've ever had to plan software training, you'll relate. We discuss enterprise software training in general, what Dynamics 365 CRM user adoption and training looks like today, and where they are focusing their own consultancy's efforts.

Jun 10, 2018

On this episode we chat with two veteran Dynamics developers for some more perspective on the impact of Microsoft's decision to buy GitHub last week. The deal, for 7.5 billion dollars in stock, updates Microsoft's overall profile in the software development landscape, but it also promises to keep the status quo in many ways.

Our Guests:

  • Erik Hougaard is a Microsoft MVP and popular blogger in the Dynamics NAV community. He is the VP of software development at E Foqus and is based in Vancouver.
  • Nicholas Hayduk is the founder and lead developer at Dynamics 365 and CRM consulting firm Engineered Code Consulting, based in Regina, Saskatchewan. He's also an MSDW contributor.

Nicholas and Eric talk about their own experience with git the technology, GitHub the service and platform, Microsoft's image in the developer community, including with Dynamics NAV, CRM, and 365, why the deal matters to Dynamics product-focused developers, and why you need source control.

Jun 4, 2018

The MSDynamicsWorld.com editorial team brings back the Dynamics community news roundup on this episode, with a little of everything, from Dynamics 365 product plans to partner challenges to leading edge tech and community profiles. And we introduce MSDW assistant editor Eamon Mcarthy Earls to the podcast.

Show Notes:

May 11, 2018

This joint episode of the MSDW Podcast and the Dynamics Podcast was recorded at Summit EMEA 2018 in Dublin with Tommy Skaue and Fredrik Sætre. As the event wrapped up, we grabbed a quiet spot at the convention center to look back at some of the event highlights. Upgrades and cloud deployments were top of mind, as were some of the recent announcements like the acquisition of new D365FO IP and the nearing end-of-life of AX 2009.

Stay tuned for an extended version of this episode going up on the Dynamics Podcast YouTube channel soon, too. Many thanks to Fredrik and Tommy for helping make this one happen!

Show notes:

  • 2:00 – Favorite sessions at Summit – more interest in D365FO
  • 4:00 – Migration from AX 2009 – Customer experiences and the state of Microsoft's migration tools
  • 5:45 – Nearing the end of life for AX 2009. How customers will adapt.
  • 8:00 – The latest IP additions to D365FO
  • 10:45 – Why companies are choosing public cloud – or not
  • 16:00 – The status of D365FO Retail
  • 18:30 – The "big brains" from Microsoft and the MVP community at the event.
Apr 13, 2018

Microsoft's spring wave of new Dynamics 365 customer experience apps includes both the long-awaited Marketing app and the lighter featured and lower priced sales app known as Sales Professional. For partners focused on the SMB, the arrival of these products is a welcome relief after more than a year of forecasts and updates. But, as is typical with brand new Microsoft business solutions, there are a lot of important details for customers and partners dissect to really understand how to turn the stock solution into something of value to a user base.

Perhaps no one has explored the possibilities and limitations of these new apps more so far than Microsoft MVP and Forceworks founder Steve Mordue. His recent blog posts on the Marketing app and Sales Professional have been tough on Microsoft at times, but they've proved popular within the community for their constructive criticism. We catch up with Steve on this episode of the MSDW Podcast to talk first impressions of the products, licensing, and how firms like Forceworks are working to take advantage of the new Microsoft offerings.

Show notes:

  • 6:00 – First impressions of the D365 for Marketing launch – pricing and other early decisions
  • 10:00 – What kind of partners will be selling D365 for Marketing?
  • 13:00 – How to resolve the logical definitions of leads and contacts in Marketing and Sales apps
  • 17:00 – What's been Microsoft's reaction to partner feedback so far?
  • 19:00 – Licensing schemes – why are they so difficult?
  • 23:00 – How do partners make sense of D365 licensing?
  • 27:00 – The importance of the Sales Professional app for Forceworks and other SMB-focused vendors
  • 28:30 – Stepping up from the Sales Profession to Sales Enterpise app
  • 30:00 – Will Microsoft lock down licensing rules or wait and see?
  • 34:14 – Do pricing and licensing updates change anything for the biggest competitive deals where pricing and discounts get huge?
  • 37:10 – Why CDS will change everything for D365 Customer Experience partners
Apr 4, 2018

Coming on the heels of general availability for Dynamics 365 Business Central, Dynamics ERP veterans and Microsoft MVPs AJ Ansari of InterDyn BMI, Rod O'Connor of BriWare Solutions, and Mark Polino of FastPath, joined us to discuss the details and reaction thus far.

After the initial announcement of the new brand name for the previously code-named Tenerife, the Dynamics community lit up with heated debate and candid opinions. Our panel discusses topics including the end of the NAV name and the quest for brand stability in the future, dischord among SMB ERP veterans, the updated roadmap, and the very real challenges Dynamics SMB partners will face in building a business model around an increasingly SaaS-based product suite.

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Mar 20, 2018

Editor's Note: This episode is the third and final segment of our mini-series with Catapult ERP exploring Dynamics 365 cloud services and strategy.

Dan Ditomaso and Jeff Bacon join Elliot Fishman to discuss Microsoft Azure. What is it, how is it different from other cloud offerings, and what are the opportunities to use it in context of Dynamics solutions.

Show notes:

  • 2:00 – Azure – Who’s it for?
  • 5:00 – Cloud terminology basics
  • 8:00 – Is Azure relevant for on-prem NAV customers?
  • 11:30 – Are there differentiating benefits of Azure vs public cloud competitors?
  • 13:45 – Is Azure going to save me money in the long run? Should that matter?
  • 16:15 – Infrastructure security and scalability in the cloud
  • 18:15 – Microsoft’s uptime stats and SLAs for Azure
  • 22:30 – Do customers really enjoy the results of an Azure-based solution?
Mar 20, 2018

Editor's note: This is part 2 in a 3 part series exploring the presenta nd future of Dynamics 365 cloud services.

Going beyond the high level vision for Dynamics in the cloud, the crew digs into a finer level of granularity to look at Dynamics 365’s origins, its capabilities, and how the solutions differ from the legacy Dynamics products.

Show notes:

  • 1:20 – The move to brand Dynamics 365 and its impact.
  • 4:00 – Breaking down the product line – ERP, CRM and more.
  • 5:45 – Given NAV’s popularity with customization, can D365 Tenerife deliver the same flexibility?
  • 7:00 – Making sense of Dynamics 365 Customer Experience products and licenses
  • 10:00 – Is partner involvement a positive step in D365 rollouts moving forward?
  • 13:00 – What does the roadmap mean for on-prem Dynamics product customers?
  • 16:30 – License transition options for existing customers
  • 17:30 – Migration path and deployment activities Dynamics CRM on-premises to D365 for Sales, Service
  • 20:30 – Elements of the D365 customer experience apps’ user experience enhancements
  • 22:45 – Can Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations serve workers who aren’t behind a desk?
Mar 20, 2018

We kick off a new podcast mini-series with the team at Catapult ERP exploring the current and future opportunities for Dynamics ERP and CRM users in the Microsoft cloud. 

In part 1, Blair Hurlbut, Jeff Bacon, and Elliot Fishman start the series off by exploring Microsoft’s vision for the cloud. They cover how the cloud has changed delivery of enterprise software capabilities, its impact on both customers and partners, and the reasoning behind changes to the Dynamics brand.

Show notes:

  • 1:35 – What is Microsoft’s current vision in delivering enterprise software capabilities?
  • 5:00 – Are these changes in technology just hype or a legitimate impact to customers?
  • 7:30 – Will larger ERP and CRM solutions fade away in favor of smaller point apps?
  • 8:45 – Can Microsoft tame the confusion in the Dynamics brand?
  • 11:45 – How does Azure tie into Dynamics software today? How do partners use it?
  • 14:20 – How well can Dynamics customers move from on-prem to Azure?
  • 17:40 – How mature is the cloud enterprise software adoption cycle today?
  • 23:30 – Can PowerApps replace some ISV point solutions?
  • 24:30 – The role of the Microsoft partner in today’s market.
  • 27:45 – What is the value equation that customers are applying in the cloud?
Feb 27, 2018

This time on the MSDW Podcast we catch up with two of the leaders at Real Dynamics, an enterprise software consultancy with expertise in Dynamics AX and 365, BI, and the vertical of mergers & acquisitions. Yogesh Kasat and Jason Weidenbenner share some of their experiences working with AX customers at various stages of solution ownership, why BI is such a key part of D365 projects at go-live, their recent D365 implementation book, and some of the complexities that organizations deal with during a sale or acquisition.

Show notes:

  • 1:45 – Roots of Real Dynamics
  • 4:45 – Getting involved with clients’ M&A activities
  • 5:45 – Reflections on working on the activities around the sale of Kofax (case study)
  • 10:40 – What makes M&A work challenging and unique
  • 16:45 – Why organizations modelling is so important to prepare for the possibility of M&A activity in the future
  • 20:00 – How eager are customers to get to D365 from AX?
  • 24:00 – Working in an advisory capacity separate from a Microsoft partner
  • 26:45 – How is the role of the independent consultant changing?
  • 30:00 – Reflections after 3 years in business
Feb 16, 2018

R ”Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc., author of Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy, and longtime enterprise software blogger was on hand at this week’s Microsoft Business Applications Analyst Forum, the first such event from Microsoft in several years. He shared many observations on the fly over the course of the event’s two days and recently published an event report. Among the key findings, he wrote, was an updated Microsoft strategy focused around five key areas, at top of which was a “digital feedback loop” approach that frames technology around customers, people, and products, with data and intelligence at the center. It’s an ambitious vision, though one that the company might not yet have fully realized, Wang tells us.

Show notes:

  • 2:10 – First impressions of what Microsoft is doing differently today, including the digital feedback loop
  • 4:30 – Is Microsoft serious about competing with business soutions?
  • 5:50 – Impressions of the leadership team shaping Microsoft strategy
  • 7:30 – How the partner opportunity at Microsoft will change.
  • 8:45 – Winning with Dynamics 365 in the large enterprise – what is the reality?
  • 11:20 – Microsoft sees the C-Suite is pushing for digital transformation
  • 12:20 – The licensing vision for business apps?
  • 15:20 – Is Microsoft holding the door open for more big changes in branding and acquisitions?
  • 18:15 – The importance of major partnerships in the context of the cloud wars.

21:20 – What does Microsoft leave analysts with as they look across the broader cloud and enterprise software market space?  

Feb 6, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing is now on track to reach general availability by April, and principal program manager Kishan Chetan joins MSDW editor Jason Gumpert and Forceworks founder and Microsoft MVP Steve Mordue to talk about the newly revealed plans and the application’s role as “the front end of the sales cycle”.

The product is now in public preview and, as Kishan explains, partners, customers, and prospects will see in the solution much of the latest tech related to the recent “CRM v9” release of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. Topics of this interview include:

  • When the Marketing app reach general availability;
  • What’s in version 1 and what is in the roadmap beyond;
  • How Microsoft differentiates the value proposition for Marketing vs Adobe Marketing Cloud vs third party solutions;
  • Lessons and discoveries from the private preview so far;
  • Interesting architectural considerations of Marketing on Azure;
  • How the partner channel and existing customer base will want to explore Marketing.
Feb 2, 2018

Rod O’Connor, CEO and founder of Briware Solutions, has been taking stock of a year living with SaaS business applications, both for his own company and some clients. Rod is an ERP and accounting software veteran based in Ontario and who has been a reseller and user of of Dynamics GP for many years. But last year he tried something different - he migrated his own business from GP to what was then known as Dynamics 365 Financials, now known as Finance and Operations Business Edition, and soon it’s likely to have yet another brand name.

Rod talks to us about what the adoption of SaaS has meant for his company, what it will mean for other SMB VARs who are still entrenched in the on-prem ERP world, and the evolution of Dynamics 365 and its add-on solution market so far.

Show notes:

  • 4:00 – Transitioning from on-prem GP servers to a SaaS solution
  • 7:50 – Adjusting as D365FOB product has evolved.
  • 10:20 – Seeing features appear in a SaaS app at unexpected times
  • 11:30 – D365FOB as part of Briware’s expansion, and how its constantly expanding feature set changes the potential market space.
  • 15:00 – Experiences and best practices today for integrating D365FOB and the (enterprise) Sales app.
  • 16:45 – How to investigate new add-on apps for D365FOB
  • 22:20 – How Rod’s outlook has changed on traditional ERP-related services that go away in a SaaS world.
  • 25:00 – What to look forward to in the D365FOB roadmap as Tenerife approaches.
  • 26:40 – Could a traditional GP firm evolve to support Tenerife/NAV?
Dec 25, 2017

Chris de Visser, North American GM at Sana Commerce joins the MSDW Podcast to discuss a new report measuring B2B businesses’ attitudes around e-commerce and digital transformation. Among the findings was importance of customer experience in B2B and companies’ attitudes toward investing to achieve digital transformation. The discussion includes findings from Sana’s report and the broader outlook for eCommerce in the Dynamics 365/ERP channel, including trends around integration, different industries, and the challenges of B2B versus B2C commerce.

Show Notes:

  • 4:00 – What is the spectrum of e-commerce deployment and architectural models today?
  • 7:00 - How do you describe B2B e-commerce maturity today?
  • 13:00 – How divergent are B2B and B2C today?
  • 16:55 - Will consumer experience today shape B2B ecommerce expectations?
  • 18:30 – Industry-specific needs and opportunities for improvement
  • 23:10 – What’s driving investment in digital transformation today in the context of Dynamics ERP & CRM solutions?
  • 25:40 – Differences in the e-commerce market in North America versus Europe
  • 27:30 – What business goals drive e-commerce planning?
  • 30:50 – The value of sticking with standard, updated software and avoiding customization
Dec 15, 2017

Pablo Peralta joins us this week to talk about his current endeavor, Comunidad365, and about the business, technology, and community changes over time that have helped him reach this point in his career. 

Show notes:

  • 1:45 – Pablo’s background
  • 4:00 – On being an entrepreneur in the Microsoft channel in Uruguay
  • 11:00 – The need for a place for Latin American and Spanish Dynamics CRM professionals to form a community
  • 13:00 – On the need for native language communities and support for Dynamics CRM/365
  • 18:45 – The evolution of Comunidad365 from forum to education resource
  • 22:30 – Spanish language training needs
  • 25:00 – What types of content are Comunidad365 members most interested in?
  • 28:40 – How does Microsoft fare with translating D365 for Latin America and making the latest available?
  • 33:40 – Does a CRM forum help improve the D365 sales prospect’s impression?
  • 37:45 – Upcoming plans for Comunidad365
  • 42:00 – Learning about and teaching an expanding product like D365 Customer Experience apps.
Dec 8, 2017

Leon Tribe is a Microsoft MVP who is serious about Dynamics 365 and CRM, but still enjoys having some fun with the industry in which he has made his professional home. So when he isn't busy delivering complex enterprise solutions to customers, he might be found breaking down a new analyst report or simply trying to break the latest technology.  

Leon is the author of a long-running CRM blog, and his recent writings provided a great starting point for this conversation on Microsoft, Salesforce, agile projects, Flow, and more. 

Show notes: 

  • 2:40 – Analyzing the latest trajectories of sales force automation vendors from Gartner and Forrester
  • 6:45-7:45
  • 8:40 – Tactics Salesforce uses to compete with Msft, and the value debate
  • 11:35 – Salesforce earnings analysis, which Leon provides quarterly.
  • 17:00 – Lessons learned from setting up and playing with Microsoft Flow
  • 29:50 – Running a longterm scale Dynamics 365/CRM project with agile methodology
  • 45:20 – Other things Leon is involved with, including Microsoft Tech Summit and CRM Saturday

 

Dec 1, 2017

In this week’s Microsoft and Dynamics Channel news roundup, we’ll look at some compelling Azure news – why are Microsoft and SAP cozying up? We look at VMWare migrations, along with an outsider’s view on what NAV developers are excited about, GDPR regulations, standing up a Dynamics 365 practice in a hurry, the bumpy road to becoming an ISV, and more.

Notes

Nov 21, 2017

On this episode we talk with Lisa Craig, director of channel marketing at CafeX. The company has become a close partner of Microsoft when it comes to the Dynamics omnichannel customer service story and they are a serious participant in the bot story that Microsoft wants to tell around business apps. Craig also explains how the company has embraced Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner (OCP) strategy, and what that will mean for their own business and Dynamics partners who align with CafeX.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 – Where’s the CafeX relationship with Microsoft today?
  • 3:00 – Lisa’s outlook on One Commercial Partner (OCP)
  • 5:15 – On building out the CafeX relationship with Dynamics partners
  • 6:30 – New features and product priorities of Live Assist with Dynamics 365
  • 9:20 – The BYOB (bring your own bot ) trend
  • 11:15 – Enabling features like escalation from bot to human agent
  • 13:30 – Who best benefits from a multi-channel customer service solution?
  • 16:00 – What tech do customer service teams really need to deliver better experience?
  • 17:20 – What’s the impact of Dynamics AI plans from Microsoft?
  • 19:45 – How do Dynamics partners grow their role in CafeX programs and deal opportunities
  • 23:00 – More on what vendors should do to fit Microsoft’s OCP plans.
Nov 13, 2017

We sit down with Joe Corigliano of the eXtreme365 team to talk about last week’s partner-focused event. While product news was part of the conference, changes around how Microsoft plans to go to market with partners in the future was the prevailing theme. Joe gives some early impressions of the week, including highlights that included the Executive Exchange program and Ron Huddelston’s keynote session that kicked off the event.

Show Notes:

  • 3:30 – Why the Dynamics channel is thinking so hard about change in 2017
  • 6:00 – Do partners have addictive behaviors as it relates to running a Microsoft channel business?
  • 6:40 – Why Microsoft’s partner re-org could be one of the most significant of modern business history
  • 9:30 – Why partners need to hear what Ron Huddleston spoke about at the event (check out the eXtreme365 site for access to the recording).
  • 12:45 – How to map your business model to complexity of Microsoft’s landscape and ecosystem
  • 13:40 – The eXtreme365 Executive Exchange – take-aways from the two day partner-to-partner exchange of ideas and experiences.

Show Notes:

  • 3:30 – Why the Dynamics channel is thinking so hard about change in 2017
  • 6:00 – Do partners have addictive behaviors as it relates to running a Microsoft channel business?
  • 6:40 – Why Microsoft’s partner re-org could be one of the most significant of modern business history
  • 9:30 – Why partners need to hear what Ron Huddleston spoke about at the event (check out the eXtreme365 site for access to the recording).
  • 12:45 – How to map your business model to complexity of Microsoft’s landscape and ecosystem
  • 13:40 – The eXtreme365 Executive Exchange – take-aways from the two day partner-to-partner exchange of ideas and experiences.
Nov 10, 2017

As eXtreme365 US 2017 wraps up, we sit down with Microsoft MVP and Dynamics channel veteran Rick McCutcheon to talk about what we learned and where partners will go from here as Dynamic 365 and One Commercial Partner continue to ramp up.

Show Notes:

  • 1:15 – High level takeaways from eXtreme365: Partner feedback and
  • 3:00 – Evaluating the OCP formula – Can partners work with it?
  • 6:00 – How OCP will begin to touch the typical Dynamics 365 partner.
  • 8:30 – The managed services model appears to be drifting away, and partners who live on revenue source that may need to find new options
  • 9:45 – Why AppSource will gain in importance
  • 12:45 – What does MIcrosoft really expect from AppSource in influencing deals?
  • 16:00 – Changes to the Dynamics product team and what happens now that they have embraced cloud solutions
  • 21:00 – The challenge of supporting Dynamics on-prem solutions in a cloud-first world, and ways Microsoft might push back.
  •  23:30 – Rick’s work advising startup tech companies, including some that work with Microsoft AI
  • 24:00 – How major CRM projects absorb professional talent
  • 26:00 – Is Microsoft ramping up sales and technical support staff for Dynamics as part of One Cmmercial Partner?
  • 28:15 – Final thoughts on eXtreme365
Oct 30, 2017

This week we’re bringing back the Dynamics news. Jason and Dann review a range of recent announcements and commentary pieces. It’s a wide-ranging episode, touching on Summit and Directions EMEA, and looking ahead to eXtreme365. Topics include Dynamics 365 Tenerife and NAV’s future, Dynamics 365 hybrid and on-prem plans, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and more. 

Notes

Oct 10, 2017

After writing two well-received new pieces analyzing Microsoft’s current position relative to its SMB business solutions partner channel and product line, James Crowter, director of Technology Management in the UK and a blogger and MVP, joins us to recap Directions EMEA 2017 and preview Summit Nashville 2017.

Show Notes:

  • 4:00 – How to adapt to Microsoft’s decisions around the Dynamics 365 SMB space
  • 5:50 – Directions EMEA review – did it meet attendee expectations?
  • 8:50 – Microsoft’s approach to developing new strategic plans before and after Directions US
  • 12:30 - Looking ahead to Summit Nashville 2017 – will the latest announcements resonate with users?
  • 14:20 – For NAVUG, is NAV 2017 still the focus at Summit?
  • 17:15 – Will Microsoft update its Dynamics 365 message for existing users this year compared to Summit US 2016?
  • 20:50 – Are existing Dynamics customers receptive to the latest tech announcements?
  • 24:20 – What new Msft tech will users respond to?
  • 29:40 – How does a partner help Dynamics customers digest what they are hearing at an event like Summit?
  • 36:15 – Roadmap updates and whether they will have a positive impact on customer sentiment and partner opportunity.
Oct 9, 2017

While good security and audit practices tend to remain steady, the real world conditions, from regulation to criminal activity to technology enablers, mean that organizations can never feel safe with last year’s policies. In this episode of the podcast, we talk with Andy Snook, Mark Polino, and Alex Meyer of Fastpath, the authors of the newly released Security and Audit Field manuals for Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition. We talk about the effort to release these titles, what they learned in the process, and what companies should be paying attention to these days. GDPR is one of the big topics, but Equifax, Yahoo, and interstate alcohol sales are all up for discussion.

Show Notes

  • 4:00 – Casting the vision for two new books on security and audit
  • 8:30 – Does writing a book broaden your knowledge of the software about which you write?
  • 11:45 – How to adapt a book to software updates like GP 2018?
  • 13:20 – How do enterprise software vendor product choices inform security decision making?
  • 14:00 – How are companies responding to and preparing for GDPR?
  • 17:30 – What should you be asking vendors at a conference exhibit hall?
  • 19:00 – Does GPDR really impose different demands for buyers or security vendors
  • 22:30 – Can good security practices co-exist with a world of purpose-built apps?
  • 26:00 – Is the social security number still viable in the US?
  • 31:00 – The road to Summit Nashville 2017
Sep 25, 2017

After an eventful week at Directions North America, Steve Mordue of RapidStart CRM joins us to look back at the impact of some key announcements for partners, especially those who sell Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer experience apps. Since this episode was recorded, Microsoft has clarified even more of its Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM application plans, while keeping most elements of the plan essentially on track.

Episode notes:

  • 2:15 - How is Microsoft going to market now?
  • 5:00 - How partners will adapt to changes in Microsoft’s enterprise software model.
  • 7:00 – Dynamics 365 Sales app – what we know about the two tiers
  • 10:00 – Reviewing CRM executive Q&A session at Directions NA
  • 17:00 – Where is the CRM strategy sitting today?
  • 19:00 – Will ERP and CRM apps move forward in closer alignment, including with Common Data Service (CDS).
  • 20: 15 – Will Dynamics evolve as a platform play with CDS? With XRM? With NAV?
  • 27:30 – Microsoft’s challenge of encouraging product-focused partners to sell the full suite
  • 37:45 – Why SaaS Dynamics offerings will eclipse on-premises
  • 45:00 – The timing issues between in-person conferences and Microsoft’s software planning cycles
Sep 20, 2017

This episode was taped live on location at Directions North America 2017. Todd McDaniel of software firm Dynavistics and the Enterprise Software Podcast joins us to chat about the first two days of the event: the good, the bad, and the somewhat puzzling. We share some first impressions on Microsoft's broad range of updates (keeping in mind there are more to come).

Topics include the future of Dynamics NAV as Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”, AppSource announcement like the introduction of customer reviews and partner services listings, some updated plans for the CRM apps for both SMB and enterprise, and a few reflections on how the North American Dynamics partner channel might interpret this week's event, including SMB ERP partners who sell GP or SL.

Sep 13, 2017

Microsoft MVP and Dynamics 365/CRM expert Gus Gonzalez has charted his own path to serving customers. And while the six-time MVP’s knows that some of his choices are a little unconventional, like his willingness to take on fixed-fee projects at the firm he founded, Elev8 Solutions.

But Elev8's work is grounded in years of experience around what works for Dynamics customers and partners on projects. On this MSDW Podcast, we discuss Gus’s experience in the field, his decision to found Elev8, the Microsoft MVP program Gus's own CRM MVP Podcast, and the Dynamics 365 roadmap.

Show notes:

  • 1:30 - The origins of Gus’s career in CRM;
  • 5:30 – Why Elev8 Solutions is different than past CRM firms Gus has worked at;
  • 7:15 – How to identify CRM customers with the right characteristics for success;
  • 13:30 - On saying no to customers – before or during a project;
  • 16:00– What happens when a prospective customer’s culture is not there?
  • 22:00 – Training partners on Dynamics 365/CRM
  • 26:00 – Do consultants utilize the available learning resources (like Dynamics Learning Portal)?
  • 30:00 – Why all your consultants should aim for Dynamics 365 certification
  • 32:15 – Should more CRM pro's go for MVP status?
  • 33:30 – What pushes MVPs to achieve and maintain their title?
  • 36:30 – The wrong and right way to try to reach MVP status
  • 45:00 – Things that MVP could change, in Gus’s view
  • 50:00 – Dynamics 365 technology of interest in 2017 and beyond (professional services, LinkedIn, and more)
Aug 22, 2017

Last week’s Dynamics GP Tech Conference at Microsoft’s Fargo campus was about more than the next new release. Sure, GP 2018 was discussed, but our guests, Microsoft MVPs Belinda Allen of njevity, Mariano Gomez of Mekorma, and Mark Polino of Fastpath, say the event was a well-rounded dive into the technology that should matter to any GP partner or consultant preparing for what’s next in the Microsoft ecosystem. Deep dives into GP tech was part of the event, but so were Power BI, PowerApps, Flow, and other cloud-centric tools.

  • 1:05 – GP 2018 was a part of the conference, but it took a backseat to other opportunities to focus on tech.
  • 5:00 – Why sessions about the GP web client were valuable
  • 10:20 – The importance of web-based reporting (and the role of MR)
  • 12:00 – Who attends GP events in Fargo?
  • 14:30 – The role of PowerApps, Flow, and other Microsoft tech as part of the GP cloud story
  • 16:40 –Microsoft employees that work with various Dynamics products
  • 19:30 – Summarizing the sessions run by Belinda and Mariano – Power BI, OData, Dexterity, and more.
  • 25:00 – Other standout sessions
  • 26:00 – How are GP customers doing?
Aug 21, 2017

This week’s guest, Guus Krabbenborg, has worked with Dynamics products and partners for almost twenty years. He has had several roles in that time, including a role at Navision before the Microsoft acquisition. But Guus’s current role as a co-founder of QBS Group puts his team’s venture at the center of Microsoft’s partner channel transformation. MSDW has documented QBS Group’s growth over the last four years, working as a distributor of sorts, with an approach that has been broadly adopted by Microsoft’s partner team.

Guus is also a long time documentarian when it comes to major Microsoft events like Inspire. As with WPC before it, there will soon be a new report coming out about the latest event (there is also a webcast coming up), so this was also a great time to catch up and learn more about his latest observations.

Show notes:

  • 2:00 – The evolution of the Dynamics partner channel and Guus’s role
  • 4:10 – Why a single country in western Europe was too small for starting up a “Master VAR”
  • 8:50 – On the competitive concerns of Dynamics VARs on joining an SMB distributor/CSP/Master VAR
  • 10:30 – Why do VARs buy into QBS Group’s model?
  • 14:45 – What does size and scale mean for Dynamics VARs and ISVs and their investments in marketing?
  • 17:30 – Reflections on Inspire 2017, several weeks later
  • 20:15 – Why Inspire was not so big on product news, and why that might continue
  • 22:40 – The future of Microsoft’s distribution policy for Dynamics
  • 23:45 – What percentage of Dynamics partners will be directly managed going forward?
  • 26:00 – What does the disti world look like today, and how will traditional Dynamics partners adapt to Dynamics 365?
Aug 9, 2017

Harald Horgen of The York Group has worked on and around Microsoft channel programs for over a decade. Vendor and reseller priorities have change in that time, and in the last few years Microsoft’s focus has been on driving higher cloud technology consumption.

Horgen believes the newest approach, via One Commercial Partner and related platforms like Partner Center, will bring more discipline to Microsoft’s channel efforts, but not without some risks. ISVs looking to establish a channel of their own within the Microsoft ecosystem must be disciplined, practical, and strategic, says Horgen. Not all business owners will adapt to meet the challenges of this new phase of channel challenges.

Show notes:

  • 3:15 - How long has P2P been on Microsoft’s agenda?
  • 8:00 – Microsoft’s goals with the One Commercial Partner program
  • 9:40 – What AppSource means for partners
  • 10:30 – What should ISVs do now to address Microsoft’s changes?
  • 13:20 – How ISVs should evaluate prospective reselling partners
  • 17:00 – Triangulating between an ISV, a channel partner, and Microsoft
  • 20:45 – How well are ISVs adapting their products to match with Microsoft’s direction?
  • 22:00 – The importance of Azure consumption and Office365 activitation
  • 23:30 – Why Harald has a pessimistic view of the future of the big distributors in the Microsoft channel
  • 28:00 – Why dropping margins will drive a repositioning of channel partners
  • 30:30 – Why partners are less willing to invest in new solutions today than in the past
Aug 3, 2017

On this episode, we speak with Afshin Alikhani, chairman of Retail Realm, a software distribution and development company specializing in the retail sector with a focus on distributing Microsoft’s Dynamics RMS, AX for Retail, and 365 for Retail, as well as their own related retail solutions.

Afshin founded Retail Realm in the 1990s and has expanded its reach around the world. He has seen the business landscape shift over that time, and he believes the Microsoft channel is at a major transition point. Veteran firms are re-considering their strategy and there are big challenges for new entrants. And amid these changes, the retail industry continues to be one of the fastest evolving for new technology for businesses of all sizes.

Show notes:

  • 2:15 – How the role of Microsoft partners is changing in FY 2018 in light of new programs, models
  • 4:30 – Is consolidation in the channel inevitable in the Dynamics channel, and is it the same at the enterprise and SMB spaces?
  • 8:10 – Do SMB retailers know what kind of solutions they need?
  • 11:30 – Microsoft’s challenge of building up the next generation of retail SMB offerings via Dynamics 365.
  • 15:10 – Why does Microsoft care so much about retail?
  • 18:45 – Where do SMBs go today for a Microsoft-based retail solution?
  • 21:00 – The opportunity (and risks) of moving from Dynamics RMS to AX/365
  • 26:00 – What are retail channel partners focusing on in SMB if Msft doesn’t have something for them today beyond Dynamics RMS?
  • 28:30 – Why ERP vendors are buying retail solutions rather than developing them.
  • 29:45 – How will Microsoft Partner Center help SMB partners?
  • 33:00 – Will Microsoft really change its account management following the reorg?
  • 34:45 – What’s new and exciting in retail tech in the Microsoft space.
Jul 21, 2017

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Our guest this week is Andrew King, CEO of WebSan Solutions, a Microsoft partner with offices in both Toronto and Indiana that provides Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions. Andrew last joined us a year ago, so this was a good opportunity catch up, following Microsoft Inspire 2017. Like everyone else at the partner channel event, Andrew was paying close attention to Microsoft’s guidance, as well as the program and product news that impacts the Dynamics channel.

Show notes:

  • 3:00 – What Microsoft’s re-organization means for partner priorities around breadth of technology supported.
  • 6:30 – Are Microsoft’s expectations and partner perceptions about market demand coming into line?
  • 7:10 – On winning a Microsoft Canada Impact Award for marketing
  • 10:00 –Partners have new ideas for Microsoft on Dynamics 365 pricing
  • 15:00 – How are Dynamics 365 Business Edition sales going? WebSan may have the largest volume so far.
  • 20:00 – What are existing Dynamics customers taking away from the latest news?
  • 25:00 – Why Microsoft’s verticalization push has become more credible to partners.
Jul 14, 2017

Inspire 2017 was a week of “shock and awe,” says Steve Mordue of RapidStart CRM, who spoke to us on the final day of Microsoft’s conference.

It was a good week. Mordue believes that the One Commercial Partner model allows Microsoft CVP Ron Huddleston to pull the trigger on his sales vision. And it will be a boon for Dynamics partners – if they are willing to evolve. Microsoft’s vision has no place for the “general purpose” partner who just wants to implement. Aggressive partners will be all over AppSource, and make themselves known on the Partner Center.

Customers are evolving as well, and are no longer willing to let the head of IT make ERP and CRM purchase decisions. Decision makers are looking for rich capabilities, in apps versus suites, and want to find them on AppSource.

In this episode of the podcast, Mordue and MSDynamicsWorld Editor Jason Gumpert discuss:

  • What partners can expect from One Commercial Partner and Ron Huddleston
  • Microsoft’s demand for IP partners with deep vertical expertise
  • The new sales model; say goodbye to the old-fashioned account rep
  • Why SMB partners should be encouraged by the reorg
  • Why partners must have an AppSource strategy
  • The new Partner Center; partners must go there to be “surfaced”
  • Dynamics 365 Business edition; much in demand, still fuzzy-edged
  • How AppSource is the “stickiness engine” for Power BI, Dynamics and Office 365
Jul 13, 2017

This episode comes to you from Inspire 2017 in Washington DC. We caught up with Linda Rose, who recently sold her business, RoseASP, to private equity firm ESW Capital. It wasn’t her first business sale, but she says it was different from previous deals, and it sparked a different type of response from other business owners in the Microsoft channel.

Linda tells us about the questions she is fielding from Microsoft partners about selling a business, the economics of today’s channel opportunity, and the efforts of Microsoft and others in the channel to support the importance of women in executive leadership roles at technology companies.

For more on Linda’s approach to business valuations, the question she says she is asked about most, you can check out here blog post on the topic.

Jun 29, 2017

Is Microsoft doing all it can to make Dynamics 365 the crown jewel of its enterprise business? Not like it used to, says industry analyst Joshua Greenbaum of Enterprise Applications Consulting. In a recent article he called out the company for what he sees as a reduced investment in marketing the product line to analysts and prospective customers. Less access for analysts to product executives and the product community has been “a damn shame,” he wrote, describing Dynamics as stuck in a “cone of silence” that is “ keeping Dynamics out of a deal flow that by rights it should be deep in the mix of.”

For their part, Microsoft officials have already stated they don't agree with Greenbaum’s assessment and cite new events like the "Business Forward" customer and prospect event series, which is expanding globally and aims to present the big picture on Microsoft's commitment to Dynamics.

But Greenbaum's perspective on the matter, as he explains in this episode of the podcast, accounts for the unique role analysts serve as advisers to software buyers who are thinking not just about features and functions, but about committing to the future performance of a software vendor and its larger technology ecosystem.

In this episode of the podcast, topics include:

  • 4:25 – Why Dynamics should be a showcase at Microsoft
  • 6:00 – The state of the analyst relations program for Dynamics
  • 11:30 – What bets are software buyers making on enterprise software?
  • 14:00 – The multi-cloud world that customers are trying to make sense of
  • 20:45 – Can Dynamics serve to open up larger Microsoft opportunities?
  • 25:30 – Microsoft remains strong as an enterprise tech competitor
  • 28:45 – The importance of Microsoft-run conferences among competitors
Jun 26, 2017

In this episode of the podcast we welcome Chris Cognetta to discuss last week’s public reveal of the next generation of Dynamics 365 customer engagement apps. You can see our day 1, day 2, and day 3 recaps.

Chris is a Dynamics veteran who attended the executive briefing and documented almost all Microsoft's announcements. He's a Microsoft MVP and a Dynamics 365 evangelist, and he's also the director for the center of excellence and the client field services engineering team at Tribridge.

Show Notes:

  • 7:10 – Jason’s top picks from the Microsoft executive briefing
  • 8:15 – Chris’s top picks from the briefing. See his blog post for his full top five.
  • 9:50 – Importance and implications of the platform plans
  • 15:50 – Cloud deployment model plans for Dynamics 365/CRM
  • 17:00 – Org Insights app and the implications for partner support of clients
  • 21:00 – How many times was “on-premises” discussed at the three day briefing?
  • 22:00 – Security and regulatory compliance in the cloud
  • 23:50 – On the different approach to the rollout approach for this release compared to past launches
  • 27:00 – Hints on the future of Dynamics 365/CRM leadership?
Jun 5, 2017

When Steve Endow and Christina Phillips started the Dynamics GP Land blog, they knew it was a time of change in the Microsoft channel. Events were changing, blogs were growing in importance, and Microsoft technology was evolving around them. Nine years later, the blog run by this pair of MVPs has become a rich source of knowledge on GP implementations, coding, upgrades, and a whole lot more. 

Even as their roles have changed, Phillips and Endow have kept the site an active and popular destination for the GP community, full of engaging stories and useful advice on project management, technical challenges, and customer outcomes.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - Origin story of the Dynamics GP Land blog.
  • 8:30 – How to tell a good story about software
  • 12:30 – Remembering a formative and complex GP project
  • 20:30 – GP Upgrades: Where are things changing today?
  • 27:00 – Does lower software ownership cost mean there will be more investment adding value and engagment?
  • 31:20 – Learning Dynamics 365 for Financials as a GP veteran
May 29, 2017

This week we catch up with the team from Catapult, a Microsoft VAR with expertise in Dynamics NAV, CRM, and now Dynamics 365. CEO Elliot Fishman and VP of client development Jeff Bacon have always watched Microsoft's product development and channel closely, and we discuss some of the important changes they have seen this year that they believe will directly impact partners in terms of technology, service offerings, and even personnel.

Some topics of the discussion include:

  • New opportunities for adding cloud infrastructure services to Dynamics client engagements;
  • Expectations and hopes for what will come next with Dynamics 365 for Financials;
  • The choice channel firms face when looking at Microsoft and its enterprise software competitors like Salesforce. 
May 22, 2017

For all the changes vendors are pushing in the ERP space today, from licensing to deployment to custom development, some patterns from past eras persist for both service providers and customers. This week on the podcast we talk to Peter Joeckel of Turn On Dynamics about the current crossroads that ERP buyers and partners face, looking back at legacy solutions like Dynamics GP and to opportunities of the future with Dynamics 365, other vendors’ solutions, and perhaps offerings that haven’t yet been developed..

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • Why ERP software selection processes have changed so little in the last twenty years
  • The realistic case for GP’s continued longevity
  • Why a GP to D365 for Operations migration path still has promise
  • How Dynamics partners should select the next opportunity to pursue – with 365 or otherwise
May 4, 2017

Do you truly need Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities? Does the definition that marketers are feeding you even accurate?

Joining us to make sense of the technology and nomenclature is Nucleus Research analyst Joseph Mathias, author of the provocatively titled report Cutting Through the IoT Hysteria. Mathias and MSDynamicsWorld editor Jason Gumpert explore:

  • What true IoT is, and isn’t. (Hint: can the thing receive commands?)
  • Why the IoT journey must begin with a problem that may be solved by sensors sensors and/or analytics.
  • How the IoT label is misapplied; most user companies need one-way sensor data and analytics.
  • Today’s compelling IoT use cases (e.g., in manufacturing, for predictive maintenance).
  • The difference between streaming versus batch analytics, and who benefits from each.
  • The analytics engines that companies use to make sense of IoT data (e.g., Apache Spark).
  • If, and how, Microsoft IoT and Azure Machine Learning fill the bill.
Apr 28, 2017

Be honest: why are you implementing CRM? To make relationships smoother, which serves both you and the customer, or to make transactions smoother, which serves just you?

Customers know the difference, says JC Quintana. He is author of CRM to the People; also Speaking Frankly About Customer Relationship Management, and the upcoming Serious Relationships: The 7 Elements of Successful Business Relationships due out in June.

JC is the founder and president of the Corporate Relationship Group, which helps companies resolve business relationship challenges; and before launching his company, was the Global Head of Customer Strategy Innovation with Hewlett Packard. Most recently, he delivered the customer keynote at eXtreme Lisbon, and he’s here to tell us more about customer strategies:

  • How the term CRM has become a technology, not a practice
  • How Microsoft with Dynamics 365 balances outcomes with functionality
  • Why relationships are about human needs – which requires an experience staging that must happen before a relationship begins
  • A customer relationship is still the goal; but staging the relationship to succeed is customer experience
  • How functionality, accessibility and emotional connection define an experience
  • How a CX assessment is the new measure of customer sentiment – but is it enough?
  • How to leverage CRM to deliver CX and stronger customer relationships.
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 EnterpriseSoftwarePodcast.com, 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.
Sep 6, 2016

A week of compelling stories from the Microsoft Dynamics channel, among the stories:

Aug 29, 2016

Your solution on a Dynamics NAV menu – perfect. But it has to have broad utility and proven pay-off, says Bob Monio, Director, Global Alliances at Lexmark International, Inc.

Then, how do you find and support partners? And what new demands do NAV 2017 and Dynamics 365 place on you?

Monio joins us to navigate the complexities. He will discuss:

  • Lexmark’s “glove-in-hand” partnership with Microsoft for a partnership in financial process automation solution.
  • How ISVs can grab Microsoft’s attention; a killer app is just a start, is it mature?
  • How Lexmark’s SaaS-based Invoice Capture Service (ICS) is built into Dynamics user interfaces for enterprises of all
  • The costs savings of AP automation. Hint: saving 80% of $15/invoice = just $3/invoice.
  • How this ISV will manage both NAV 2017 and Dynamics 365; Lexmark has been down the road of on-premise vs. cloud before, and is willing to advise partners.
  • Microsoft’s mandate to provide consistent value, and tasks ISVs to provide continuous savings.
  • Making the freemium model payoff: What’s the “breaking point” at which it drives subscriptions? (Hint: Research and guidance from Microsoft are two factors.)
Aug 22, 2016

A week of compelling stories. AX on Azure, NAV Extensions excitement and dismay, the Common Data Model preview for PowerApps, and why is marketing automation sitting on the shelf?

Among this week’s topics:

Aug 12, 2016

Dynamics AX cannot have enough add-ons: perhaps you need retail store pack-and-ship, or, advanced product lifecycle management. There are ISVs by the hundreds to choose from—but proceed with caution.

Don Riggs joins us to navigate the complexities. He’s a 13-year Dynamics AX veteran, currently Sr. Director AX Applications Architect, enVista Corporation, and a much-sought expert in the AXUG community.

Don will discuss:

  • Why ISV products are often bought but not implemented.
  • The qualities to look for in an ISV partner. Hint: what is their commitment to the AX product? What is their roadmap?
  • What are the partner’s responsibilities in an implementation, or for support?
  • What are the long-term risks and hidden costs?
Aug 4, 2016

Paul Greenberg is leading CRM analyst, the managing principal of The 56 Group LLC, author of CRM at the Speed of Light (now in its fourth edition and dubbed “The Bible of CRM”), author of the upcoming Commonwealth of Self Interest, and he practically hosted Microsoft’s June “Customer Driven” online event.

He joins us for the MSDW Podcast to share his latest views on issues and topics including:

  • “Customer driven” need not mean “customer obsessed”: customers don’t need to love you, they must want to continue to do business with you.
  • Does customer culture trump technology (like CRM)?
  • Self interest drives both the customer and companies; for companies, it is a key strategy.
  • Microsoft aspires to offer more than a platform, but the “matrix within” a business (and how the LinkedIn acquisition can help achieve that).
  • Why e-commerce is not the fourth pillar of CRM – but it can’t be missing.
  • Is there a worthwhile e-commerce vendor for Microsoft to acquire?
Jul 25, 2016

An interesting week! Microsoft released pretty good earnings driven by Commercial Cloud, the new Common Data Model and Azure Security hitting general availability. Plus, some interesting vertical-specific cases in fintech, food & bev (and government), and in

Among other stories we’ll discuss:

  • more WPC download
  • the Common Data Model
  • Microsoft’s not-bad earnings Q4 2016 (this year’s big hit: Windows 10 revenue deferrals)
  • Azure Security Center generally available, promises real-time threat response
  • CRM for banking and financial service
  • How Alfa People scored a 10-year deal with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to run Dynamics AX 2013 R3 and POS
  • Retail Realm’s and Retail Hero’s alternative to the sunsetting Microsoft Dynamics RMS. It’s not a Dynamics product, but it fills a void and was crafted by two long-time Microsoft partners.
Jul 18, 2016

With Microsoft’s World Partner Congress (WPC) just wrapping up, we look at what Dynamics partners are facing in the year ahead, what adjustments they need to make (and Microsoft will make) for Dynamics 365, Cloud and the new AppSource.

Among other stories we’ll discuss:

Jul 8, 2016

This lively discussion with Andrew King, Managing Director of WebSan Solutions begins with successful versus unsuccessful implementations. Then we steer into Microsoft product direction, both good and bad.

Among the provocative topics we cover:

  • Why the out-of-the-box promise of cloud is a mythical unicorn.
  • How much of systems that talk is owed to Microsoft ad how much is partnered services?
  • How data cleanup, not just integration, is key to successful implementations.
  • Office 365: Just a “side order of fries” for resellers, or the key to winnig long-term customers?
  • Partners and Madeira (or “Baby NAV”): “You want me to sell what, for how much?”
  • Microsoft knows how to sell software, but is it out of touch with how partners run profitable businesses?
  • Dynamics 365: Competitive with CSP solutions? Configurable or fixed-functions at a fixed price?
Jun 17, 2016

They look similar – even under the hood. But don’t mistake Project Madeira for Dynamics NAV 2016, two NAV veterans say.

Joining us to distinguish Dynamics NAV from Project Madeira – and to make sense of the upgrade strategies and Extensions – are author, consultant, educator, and NAV MVP Mark Brummel, and Andrew Good, CEO of Dynamics NAV partner firm Liberty Grove Software.

Among the provocative topics we cover with them:

  • If Project Madeira is a Dynamics NAV “cousin,” how does it resemble Dynamics GP instead?
  • What is the partner opportunity with Project Madeira? Think upgrades, volume sales, simple implementations.
  • The open source difference. Don’t expect the same customizability with Project Madeira that you’ve enjoyed with Dynamics NAV.
  • NAV and Madeira Extensions. Why are they a plus, but how do they restrict partners from delivering tailored solutions?  

Want to be heard on our podcast? We are always interested in a good story, idea, or accomplishment.

A significant product release, partnership, or merger. Your take on a trend like the move to the cloud, or Dynamics CRM product direction. Your thoughts on Microsoft's partner programs - are they enough? Too little? Just right for your busine

If you've got an idea for a MSDW Podcast feature write to us directly. We are Jason Gumpert, editor, at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com, or, Dann Maurno, assistant editor, at dmaurno@msdynamicsworld.com.

Until next time, thanks for listening!

Jun 12, 2016

In this week's MSDW Podcast, we look at plans for Dynamics GP’s release cadence, the sunset of Management Reporter for Dynamics GP, Microsoft’s GigJam preview, CRM data quality, your role in improving Dynamics AX.

Among the stories:

 

Do you have a tip, a great story idea or a podcast episode suggestion? Then write to us directly. We are Jason Gumpert, editor, at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com, or, Dann Maurno, assistant editor, at dmaurno@msdynamicsworld.com.

Until next time, thanks for listening!

Jun 3, 2016

That’s right – with no code whatsoever, it’s possible to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to create powerful business solutions for sales, service, marketing, and social.

Joining us to tell us all about it is TheCRMWiz – he is Dynamics CRM MVP Nicolae Tarla, a Senior Manager withKPMG Canada, and author of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization – newly released by Packt publishing and available from Packt and Amazon at $35.99

Among other things we’ll hear

  • How CRM 2016 can be seamlessly embedded into various productivity tools (like Office 365 and Outlook)
  • Will your customizations hold up in a Dynamics CRM upgrade?
  • How to customize Dynamics CRM to integrate with OneNote
  • What you can and cannot do to customize your Dynamics CRM installation, and where you’re better off using, for example, PowerApps.
May 23, 2016

In this week's MSDW Podcast, we look at Dynamics NAV development changes, the new Power BI Solution Templates, Excel for Dynamics GP, managed services for B2B integration, the void of Dynamics AX talent.

Among the stories:

Plus: More partner announcements.

Do you have a tip, a great story idea or a podcast episode suggestion? Then write to us directly. We are Jason Gumpert, editor, at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com, or, Dann Maurno, assistant editor, at dmaurno@msdynamicsworld.com.

Until next time, thanks for listening!

May 15, 2016

In this week's MSDW Podcast, we look at industry buzz, partners joining forces, Microsoft’s Solair acquisition, and opportunities for better B2B integration.

Among the stories:

Plus: More partner announcements.

May 15, 2016

In this week's MSDW Podcast, we look at industry buzz, partners joining forces, Microsoft’s Solair acquisition, and opportunities for better B2B integration.

Among the stories:

Plus: More partner announcements.

May 6, 2016

So now there’s a Dynamics CRM Project Service solution. But there’s also a Microsoft Dynamics AX Service Industries solution, and of course, Microsoft Project Online.

No, they are not the same, says our guest Andy Yeomans, US Director of Business Development for SAGlobal. Microsoft didn’t just cut-and-paste Dynamics AX capabilities into Dynamics CRM.

Which makes sense for you depends upon three questions (which Andy answers in the podcast):

  • Who is the buyer or executive sponsor, within the organization? Hint: Finance favors Dynamics AX, sales and marketing favors Dynamics CRM.
  • What is the organization's overall business application strategy? To consolidate or find a best-of-breed solution?
  • What functionality would support the business processes in scope? Start by defining your processes, then, the choice will be clear.

You will learn about:

  • Microsoft Project. When is/isn’t Microsoft’s classic application good enough? Do you need it in addition to Dynamics CRM or Dynamics AX services capability?
  • Which industries favor the Dynamics CRM or Dynamics AX solutions. One suits white-collar professional services, the other favors manufacturing.
  • What to expect from Dynamics CRM Project Services. You can expect Microsoft’s cloud first/mobile first and Internet of Things initiatives to shape development of this product.
May 1, 2016

MSDynamicsWorld.com editors Jason Gumpert and Dann Maurno bring you a recap of the headlines of the week on MSDW, from product news to new research, upgrade strategies, the future of SCM, and more. 

Apr 25, 2016

It has been six months since Microsoft rebooted the MVP program to be more regional, and less solution-specific. What do MVPs think of that? How is it working?

Two MVPs will tell us. They are Mariano Gomez, a senior software developer with Mekorma, and Mark Polino, director of client services with Fastpath.

They’ll also weigh in on –

  • How does it sit in the Dynamics family? What’s the partner opportunity, and how realistic are upsells to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics GP?
  • MPN Competencies. Microsoft is doing away with 12 partner competencies and replacing them with cloud competencies. Is this a boon or a burden for partners?
  • Microsoft Q3 2016 earnings. They were, frankly, a little soft and short of marks. But how did Dynamics and cloud earnings stack up? And when will the company shake the Windows Phone albatross? (Should it?)

Want to be heard on our podcast?

We are always interested in a good story.

A significant product release, partnership, or merger. Your take on a trend like the move to the cloud, or Dynamics CRM product direction. Your thoughts on Microsoft's partner programs - are they enough? Too little? Just right for your business?

If you've got an idea for a MSDW Podcast feature write to us directly. We are Jason Gumpert, editor, at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com, or, Dann Maurno, assistant editor, at dmaurno@msdynamicsworld.com.

Until next time, thanks for listening!

Apr 18, 2016

In this week’s podcast, we look back at an exciting week of product and partner channel news.

Among the stories:

  • Microsoft Envision 2016 – what is the takeaway? Microsoft aimed for something different, did it achieve that? And was it enough to attract attendees?
  • Project Madeira – what is different about this Dynamics NAV-based cloud offering? And why is it not Dynamics NAV?
  • Sunsetting MPN competencies – why all of a sudden is Microsoft doing away with 12 Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) competencies, and in such key areas as CRM and mid-sized business?
  • A roundup of Microsoft Dynamics partner news, from companies like Merit Solutions with Dynamics AX solutions for Life Sciences companies, SBS Group and its partnership with Progressus for professional services companies; K3 Software Solutions and its Dynamics AX-based ax|is fashion; and StratusLIVE LLC with its Dynamics CRM-based fundraising solution.