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:
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.
It's time for another Microsoft Dynamics news roundup. The MSDW editorial team looks back at top stories from recent weeks including:
…and more, including upcoming coverage plans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
On this episode we bring back the news roundup, and there is a lot to cover. We review both the most popular and most important Microsoft Dynamics news of recent weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 TurnOnDynamicsjoins 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.