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The MSDynamicsWorld.com (MSDW) podcast explores news, ideas, and events in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM community.
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May 20, 2020

Editor's Note: This episode is sponsored by DXC Technology

Organizations with on-premises Dynamics ERP or Dynamics CRM solutions probably understand that moving those workloads to the cloud requires planning. But with so many variables, no two cloud journeys are exactly the same.

Today's podcast guests, Chris Lavelle and Heather Palmieri from DXC Technology, join Microsoft MVP Rick McCutcheon to share their experiences planning and delivering cloud migrations of various types. The process always starts with a conversation to understand the business goals and the current application environment, Lavelle and Palmieri explain.

Listen in as our guests discuss their experiences working with customers to move a Dynamics ERP or CRM solution to the cloud and what kinds of plans, expectations, and decisions lead to success.

If you have questions you can get in touch with our DXC guests at dxcexclipse@dxc.com or by calling: +1 877-651-6193.

Show Notes:

  • 3:00 - How to start the conversation
  • 5:00 - Who on the user side needs to be involved in the process from the start?
  • 6:15 - How can an organization estimate the time their migration will  take?
  • 7:45 - Following a project planning methodology to develop a fact-based approach
  • 10:30 - Why legacy system migration usually includes unknowns that make expectation management a challenge
  • 15:15 - Estimating the time required of the end user organization to keep a cloud migration moving forward
  • 17:45 - How to prepare your organization for the commitment required on a cloud project.
  • 19:30 - Supporting an organization's ERP or CRM usage after moving to the cloud
  • 21:15 - How to use cloud migration as an inflection point for our business
May 17, 2020

Editor's Note: This episode is sponsored by DXC Technology.

An organization with a mandate to embrace digital transformation can only achieve its goals if it considers the needs of its workforce. Expectations by the executive team around productivity, flexibility, and expertise hinge on supporting employees with the tools that enable them to do their jobs no matter the challenge.

Today, as IT departments navigate a landscape that bridges the on-premises systems of the last two decades and today's cloud-based services, decisions around new technology investments will determine whether an organization can support a digital workforce.

In this episode, we hear from three subject matter experts from DXC Technology on how their clients are transitioning to support a digital workforce. DXC sales director Russ Riley, director of operations David Bowles, and IT manager Pete Loach sit down to discuss how a digital workforce succeeds today. We dive into how IT leaders are assessing their next investments and the measures that organizations are taking today to accelerate their digital journeys.

Show Notes

  • 2:00 – The value of virtual cloud migrations and scenarios that drive organizations to embrace it
  • 4:30 – What should companies expect to scope a cloud migration project?
  • 8:30 – Adopting virtual desktop infrastructure: The technology and the advantages
  • 12:30 – The importance of client-based VPN tools
  • 17:00 – Disaster recovery services and what they accomplish
  • 22:00 – DR and the importance of defining what's truly mission critical
  • 24:30 – Securing resources in a corporate environment via multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • 26:30 – The benefits of managing public cloud infrastructure compared to the days of all on-premises data centers

If you’d like to speak with our guests or learn more about DXC's work with organizations building a digital workforce, you can reach them at phone no#: 877-651-6193 or email: dxceclipse@dxc.com.

May 16, 2020

Anya Ciecierski, marketing director of CAL Business Solutions and the creator of several group blogs for the Microsoft channel, joins MSDW's Marilou Barsam for part two of a conversation on the challenges of developing and realizing value from marketing content. Here, she explains how some simple techniques can yield big results when it comes to re-purposing content for different online properties, as well as reviving great older content.

Show Notes:

  • 0:45 - Managing for the unending demand for new content and the risks of duplicating content.
  • 5:00 - Rewriting or repurposing blog posts - when and how
  • 8:30 - Tips for increasing traffic on an existing blog post.

More about Anya:

May 16, 2020

Anya Ciecierski, marketing director of CAL Business Solutions and the creator of several group blogs for the Microsoft channel, joins MSDW's Marilou Barsam for part one of a conversation on the challenges of developing and realizing value from marketing content. The source of the most insightful content at an ERP services firm is the firm's subject matter experts, a group that is notoriously challenging to encourage to write. Anya offers her tips for  getting the most out of her team, as well as some of the options for making the most of the content she develops, whether it is blog posts, white papers, or other items.

Show Notes:

  • 0:30 - Anya's background as a marketer in the ERP channel
  • 2:30 - A 3-step process for marketers who need to develop new content with the help of subject matter experts
  • 9:00 - How to calculate the ROI on content investments
  • 11:30 - The debate on calls-to-action, gating content (or not), and engagement metrics
  • 13:30 - The benefits of content generation with subject matter expertise
May 15, 2020

Paul Soliman is one of the newest Microsoft MVPs and the first for business applications in the Philippines. As we learned from our recent profile piece, Paul splits his time between running two businesses, Hacktiv and Raven Global Ventures and helping to organize his country's growing business apps community group, which has grown from single digits to hundreds of members. Paul sat down to discuss his experiences in more depth, including his work experiences at major Dynamics NAV customers in his country and his realization at the possibilities of the Power Platform to transform businesses and careers.

(Editor's note: Due to some audio engineering issues, some parts of the interview have a bit of distortion, but it is still easy to understand.)

Show Notes

  • 2:45 - Paul's experience getting started in the Dynamics NAV space, including what he learned about corporate culture from his early employers
  • 5:30 - Experiences as an admin on a legacy ERP and exploring open source enterprise software
  • 10:00 - Transitioning to a consulting role and working with the Philippine Red Cross
  • 13:30 - Using empathic listening
  • 15:45 - Embracing the Power Platform
  • 17:00 - What it took to become an entrepreneur
  • 20:00 - Why focus on the Philippine market for his company's solutions
  • 23:45 - Favorite Power Platform use cases so far
  • 27:45 - The types of people who find roles via Hacktiv
  • 30:40 - Paul's early experiences as a Microsoft MVP
  • 32:40 - What's next in the Philippines Dynamics community
  • 36:30 - New and upcoming technology Paul is excited about: Adaptive cards, Teams, and more
May 13, 2020

Microsoft has noticeably ramped up efforts to offer a path for its on-premises SMB ERP customers on Dynamics NAV, GP, and SL to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Some technical tools already exist to help migrate data to the cloud, and there is a roadmap for more to come. And Business Central partners are armed with favorable licensing conversions and special offers for these existing customers.  While many SMB ERP customer will be well suited to a future Business Central solution, others will be best served looking elsewhere. Staying in the Microsoft family, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is the logical option for organizations with multi-company, multi-currency, or other complex needs that their current ERP is struggling to fulfill. Some may end up looking at other third party options.

Our guests on this episode, Karen Riordan of Menlo Technologies and Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics walk us through some of the reasons today's on-premises SMB ERP customer may be tomorrow's SaaS enterprise ERP customer - or not.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - Karen's background in the ERP channel
  • 3:00 - On being challenged to think about more than just Business Central for today's GP customers
  • 5:00 - When a GP customer should stay on GP
  • 7:45 - Microsoft's advantage by improving GP to BC cloud migrations
  • 11:00 - The importance of master data cleanup
  • 14:00 - Why GP customers may not be aware of the extent of the customization and ISV add-on solutions in their ERP
  • 18:30 - Consolidating legacy systems
  • 20:30 - Why leaving GP ought to be a move to the cloud in some form - whether BC, F&O, or another

See also: Peter and Karen's new article on the options that GP customers can consider when evaluating their on-premises GP solution's future.

May 7, 2020

Editor's Note: This episode is sponsored by Ingram Micro Cloud

Microsoft partners have no choice but to adapt at a time when coronavirus has raised so much uncertainty in the world. But while some firms are facing massive risk, others continue to thrive, engaging their clients and fostering a constructive position in the ecosystem.

To understand more about how partners should face the challenge of marketing during an unprecedented crisis, we're speaking on this episode with Shark Chobot, chief transformation officer at Neural Impact, a sales and marketing consulting firm that applies behavioral economics, neuroscience and persuasion psychology to the customer acquisition process.

On this episode we discuss how partners are adapting to change today, including the impact on the sale, service, and delivery of Microsoft technology, from productivity tools to cloud services to ERP and CRM.

To learn more about today's sponsor, Ingram Micro, and their partner services please visit https://microsoft.ingrammicrocloud.com/dynamics/.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - What Neural Impact is hearing from partners today
  • 5:00 - Should partners bother investing in marketing activities right now? And what's not working?
  • 10:00 - The impact of mass marketing in the current climate
  • 15:30 - How can marketers get started changing their marketing stance? 
  • 18:00 - Identifying new revenue opportunities
  • 21:30 - New programs Sharka is working on with Ingram Micro
May 7, 2020

Editor's Note: This episode is sponsored by PowerObjects.

 

The Power Platform has evolved into a collection of services underpinning everything about Microsoft's Business Applications suite. First-party apps like Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service are really Power Apps now, but so are the thousands of custom applications, automated processes, and dashboards built by and for customers.

 

Our guests on this episode are Avni Pandya, Merlin Schwaiger, and Dave Kuntz of PowerObjects and they will be discussing how organizations that use the Power Platform should approach critical components of any development project like user adoption, app development, and data protection.

 

They also share lessons from the field about learning how to use tools like Power Apps and Power Automate, mitigating risk, and some success stories.

 

Learn more about PowerObjects' training on organizational adoption and governance of Microsoft’s Power Platform.

 

Show Notes

 

  • 5:00 - How to begin understanding the Power Platform
  • 11:30 - Protecting your data.
  • 19:00 - The benefit of a common database to build upon
  • 22:00 - Assigning responsibility to your users for building, with guardrails
  • 23:30 - How to encourage use in places with resistance?
  • 27:00 - A story of the benefits of modernizing a carpet company
  • 33:30 - A key benefit of asking your team to help define the apps they need: ownership
  • 34:45 - The limitations of the citizen developer's skills and involvement
  • 36:00 - Other app examples
May 1, 2020

Editor's Note: This episode of the MSDW Podcast is sponsored by Avanade.

Larger enterprises have transitioned to remote work in response to the coronavirus, and it has forced IT managers to re-evaluate their traditional methods for mobilizing, managing, and delivering a successful technology project.

To understand the delivery challenges of an ERP project in today's environment, we speak with David Misakian, delivery management group lead at Avanade. David discusses recently completed and ongoing client work and explains how his teams are navigating the current challenges successfully.

Topics include:

  • Client concerns arising from coronavirus
  • Interesting use and the rapid uptake of Teams
  • Whether risk management has changed
  • Observations on successfully transitioning to remote work
  • Project ownership
  • Agile development for ERP
  • Perspective on planning an F&O project today

To learn more about how Avanade helps organizations upgrade, integrate and maximize their ERP technology investment visit https://www.avanade.com/en-ca/solutions/business-applications/finance-and-operations.

Apr 7, 2020

Frieda Maher of SalesPOD joins us to discuss the her work with organizations deploying or improving CRM systems and processes. One of the key challenges to successful CRM, she says, is establishing a strong relationship between end users like sales reps and the largeyl technical teams that roll out a CRM-based solution. We discuss notable projects like Frieda's work at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), innovative use of Microsoft technology like Power Apps and Teams, and how projects apply agile techniques and Scrum, particularly in the context of CRM.

Show Notes:

  • 3:00 - Why CRM requires the successful interaction of sales teams and back office systems-focused workers
  • 4:30 - How Frieda tends to get involved in projects, including organizations
  • 7:00 - Why organizations need a sales ops team to keep CRM-related systems alive and evolving
  • 10:30 - The role that agile plays on different types of projects
  • 14:30 - Frieda's experience leading product development of UNSW's CRM-based system
  • 19:30 - The challenge of replacing legacy systems across the university
  • 25:00 - Have CRM projects improved over time in sharing responsibilities between IT and the business?
  • 29:00 - The challenge of adopting the ongoing flood of new CRM features from Microsoft and other vendors
  • 31:00 - New solution areas that Frieda is watching closely
  • 35:30 - Why cloud is so critical to agile development
  • 38:00 - How is the Power Platform going to change the way solutions are designed?
  • 41:00 - Why the broader user base faces challenges to trying to take ownership of Power Apps
  • 43:30 - An example of a user leading the way on innovative use of Microsoft applications
  • 45:30 - What Frieda's most excited about for the future of CRM
Apr 3, 2020

The MSDW editorial team compares notes once again, and there is nowhere to start but the impact of coronavirus on the Microsoft ecosystem. We reflect on the varied feedback we are hearing from VARs and ISVs of different sizes, independent experts, and customers. And this week is also significant for kicking off 2020 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. We discuss some of the most consequential changes like dual-write for ERP-CRM integration and RPA for Power Automate.

Articles referenced in this episode include:

Mar 23, 2020

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

 

Show Notes

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

This is a special episode of the podcast, sponsored by ClickLearn, the multimedia digital training and documentation software firm.

Joachim Schiermacher, CEO of ClickLearn, joins us to discuss the company's newly announced updates to both their licensing model and partner model.

As Joachim explains, the changes, which include subscription pricing and new partner incentives, are key to the next stage in the company's growth and come at a time when the company aims to expand its reach, both among large enterprises and in the small and mid-sized enterprise sector.

Mar 12, 2020

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

Show Notes

  • 1:00 – The Microsoft products Andy covers and how Directions on Microsoft works with clients
  • 3:45 –Microsoft customers challenges with cloud pricing
  • 6:20 – Managing the true cost of cloud solutions
  • 11:00 – How to prioritize the areas to watch in Microsoft's Business APplicatinos group.
  • 17:00 – Thinking about Dynamics 365 aggregate applications, and why it doesn't simplify system management
  • 22:15 – What are the prospects for the new D365 Human Resources application?
  • 26:30 – Progress on the citizen developer trend with the Power Platform and how enterprises have adapted
  • 29:30 – Why some enterprises are going all-in on Power Platform, and what metrics are driving their decisions.
  • 31:00 – POV: Is "citizen developer" still valid if you're making Power Platform part of a larger IT strategy?
  • 35:30 – Evaluating the structure of the biz apps group
  • 39:39 – Has the Biz Apps group come full circle, back to the MBS days under Kirill Tatarinov?
Mar 10, 2020

When your organization has made the decision to move ahead with a Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (D365FO) project, what should you expect from your implementation partner? What should your internal team be ready to provide? On this episode we talk with two D365FO consultants who have been through the deployment project experience multiple times and have some recommendations on what customers need to know upfront. MSDW contributing expert Satish Panwar and Sukrut Parab, both with Hitachi Solutions America, join us for a discussion of some of the key planning criteria for a new project.

Even if you have been through an ERP project before, there are probably going to be many new challenges with D365FO if it is your first enterprise-scale cloud ERP project. That means the expectations at various project stages will be new, like the need for fewer customizations in many cases. But other demands will be greater, like knowledge of cloud tools and systems, from D365 Lifecycle Services to key Microsoft cloud products like Azure DevOps, Azure Service Bus, Teams, and more.

We also touch on Satish and Sukrut's experiences working with the Microsoft FastTrack team, the promise of the Business Events framework, and other considerations when planning a go-live.

Show Notes:

  • 3:30 – 5 of the most important things to look at when approaching an implementation
  • 7:15 – Selecting a project methodology
  • 9:00 – What should D365FO customers expect in the early stages of a project?
  • 12:30 – Why most clients need fewer customizations with D365FO than with past AX releases.
  • 16:00 – Project and environment management strategies that factor in the ongoing release waves
  • 20:15 – What's new in LCS and Azure DevOps for D365FO projects
  • 24:30 – Other tools that customers should expect to be using, especially Teams
  • 30:00 – Data migration for D365FO – overall role and planning in the implementation phase
  • 34:45 – Other key goals that D365FO projects must account for
  • 37:00 – What unexpected need tend to arise on projects – data management, custom services, integration of other Azure technology
  • 39:50 – The importance of business events
  • 42:00 – Planning for go-live, including FastTrack
Mar 9, 2020

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

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

Feb 14, 2020

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

 

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

 

Show Notes:

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

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

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

 

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

 

Show notes

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

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

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

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

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - About Sven and his work
  • 4:00 - How far has Power Platform progressed alongside Business Central?
  • 7:30 - Are there two visions for the future of Business Central solutions?
  • 12:00 - Is there room for businesses to build on Power Platform using NAV APIs as a backend source?
  • 15:00 - Why ISVs need more IP protection with Power Platform
  • 18:00 - Why customers opt for Power Platform as a low-code platform
  • 21:00 - What's it like running a consultancy offering Power Platform-related services?
  • 26:00 - Will a significant subset of Dynamics ERP users eventually become primarily PowerApps users?
  • 30:00 - Advice for traditional NAV/BC VARs to adapt for the future
  • 34:45 - How will Power Automate's addition of RPA capabilities impact assessments of legacy ERP
Dec 10, 2019

Mariano Gomez is a Microsoft Dynamics GP expert, but he has also been focusing on the Power Platform for some time – not only learning for his own work but creating walkthroughs, demos, and presentations for the community. And he is often able to tie those Power Platform findings back to GP, as he is doing in a new three-part video series on Power Automate and its new (still in preview) UI flows tool.

On this episode, Mariano discusses his findings from working on a range of Power Platform scenarios, how it impacts his day job as director of technology services at Mekorma, and the implications of these new tools on ownership of older ERPs.

Show Notes

  • 2:00 – Ways the GP community can make use of Power Platform
  • 3:30 – What to be caution about with preview products from Microsoft
  • 6:00 – Breaking down Power Automate use cases into practical steps
  • 9:00 – Looking at the business user's perspective on Power Platform
  • 11:00 – How to talk to both developers and business users
  • 13:00 – How could the desktop automation aspect of Power Automate and other RPA solutions change the outlook of GP solution owners for technical modernization?
  • 17:30 – Why it is valuable to show customers more than one way to use Power Platform to achieve similar automation goals.
  • 22:45 – Why GP users might find Power Automate a better option than GP macros for automating repetitive activities.
  • 26:00 – Will Power Platform serve as a preferred area of investment for GP customers over ERP upgrade or migration?
  • 31:00 – How Mekorma is incorporating elements of the Power Platform into their product development and internal operations.
  • 37:30 – What Mariano would like to see improved next in the Power Platform
  • 39:00 – Why Teams is so important to the future of business applications
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?
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