The MSDW Podcast

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

Related articles:


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.


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