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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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Now displaying: Page 1
Oct 13, 2021

Cynthia Priebe of New View Strategies joins us for a conversation following her article and presentation on how to best use the Dynamics 365 Business Central EFT data exchange definitions and assisted setup. These capabilities offer a lot of potential value for Business Central users without the help of developers or administrators, she says. But the setup is not always straight forward, and we discuss some of the points she has made already and how MSDW readers have reacted to her findings.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - Learning styles for BC capabilities
  • 3:00 - Challenges of learning how to work with EFT data exchange definitions and assisted setup
  • 7:00 - BC's terminology - North America compared to other regions
  • 8:30 - Troubleshooting errors in the tools like payment exports
  • 10:15 - Dealing with the pressure of being wrong in front of a client
  • 13:00 - Adapting to a SaaS ERP that gets frequent updates
  • 14:45 - What else data exchange definitions can do for customers
  • 17:30 - Reducing manual work: tackling this challenge at a hands-on level
  • 19:00 - Why consultants should train BC customers to do more themselves
  • 22:00 - What Cynthia is working on next
  • 24:00 - The excitement and adjustments around frequent release waves and monthly updates
Oct 11, 2021

It's about time for another news roundup from our editorial team. We look at new product launches, Microsoft Dynamics and Azure partner news, new sales figures, and some of the most popular article contributions from subject matter experts.

 

Show Notes:

Sep 29, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Mavim.

Business process modelling touches nearly every element of a Dynamics 365 ERP or CRM project, from the customer's requirements and goals to a partner's pre-sales engagement to Microsoft's own platform and tools for project execution.

On this episode we speak with Edwin Jongsma of Mavim, makers of BPM tooling built on Microsoft technology, about the variety of ways in which BPM fits into Dynamics projects today. 

We discuss some of the subtle but important reasons to focus on business process transformation from the diagnostic stage of a project onward, and why having a platform to support BPM leads to successful outcomes for both an individual project and for managing a broader IT portfolio.

Microsoft has a role to play in BPM for Dynamics 365, Edwin notes. The Lifecycle Services platform is one obvious touchpoint, as is the Catalyst methodology for envisioning and planning solutions. And Power Platform's low-code/no-code tools, have an important role to play in both defining business process and reflecting an organizations needs. 

And, Jongsma argues, partners should be applying BPM concepts to provide industry models and process expertise to shorten the diagnostic phase and provide better guidance. 

Show Notes:

  • 1:45 - Why the diagnostic phase of a Dynamics project is so important
  • 3:30 - Observations on Microsoft's Catalyst Framework
  • 5:30 - Why customers should define a clear roadmap to their 'to-be' state on D365 F&O
  • 8:00 -
  • 10:45 - How to avoid the risks of typical ERP projects by connecting people and technology
  • 12:00 - Why customers should expect partners to have to-be models already developed based on industry expertise
  • 14:30 - Positive outcomes in project phases after a successful diagnostic phase
  • 19:00 - How expertise in BPM fits with Microsoft's Power Platform value proposition

More from Mavim:

Sep 27, 2021

This episode is sponsored by ExpandIT.

 

Field service solutions maintain a unique position in the world of business software. It serves a distinct purpose and is used by very specific roles, and yet it also needs to work alongside other critical systems like a Dynamics ERP solution.

 

John Macdonald, group CSO and regional president for North America at ExpandIT joins us to talk about the types of businesses adopting field service today and how his firm's solution has matured alongside common ERPs like Dynamics 365 Business Central. We discuss the types of deployments and business outcomes his clients are seeking today, including some of his observations from recent customer conversations. For example, he estimates that eight percent of the prospects his sales team talks with are not moving from another field service solution but rather using manual, unstructured processes today.

 

As you will hear, John brings a unique perspective as a solution provider. Before joining ExpandIT, he held roles at Navision and Microsoft, so he is understands the challenges of the ERP-focused partner and how field service touch points should be optimized.

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:20 - John's history with Navision and Microsoft before joining ExpandIT
  • 3:35 - What types of organizations benefit from field service software?
  • 6:00 - The story of a growing business that was falling behind on service
  • 9:00 - What are organizations' starting points today?
  • 12:30 - Have ERP project experiences prepared customers for getting the most out of a field service deployment?
  • 16:00 - How ExpandIt engages with customers and partners
  • 20:00 - Navigating the need for a single source of truth between field service and other systems like ERP
  • 23:45 - How a field service deployment typically rolls out (hint: speed matters)
  • 28:00 - The types of business outcomes services firms are seeking

 

About ExpandIT : ExpandIT Field Service software puts information at your service technicians’ fingertips – digitally. Easily track key information, access up to date data, view a real-time overview of job related information, complete checklists and provide photographic proof of work completed.

Sep 8, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Stratos Cloud Alliance, Velosio’s Microsoft partner program. Visit www.dynamics365partner.com to learn more about their partner offerings.

 

Microsoft has been moving the Power Platform forward steadily over the last few years, both by expanding the platform and by deepening the tools and capabilities in each of the services. At the same time, the messaging from Microsoft about the suite has evolved, with encouragement for citizen developers and promises that professional developers and partners have a place in this ecosystem. Those dynamics of customer self-service and partner guidance may seem at odds, but the reality is that, like the rest of the Microsoft business applications stack, expertise comes from investments in skills development and from the time and experience gained from real world projects. While users may be able to get started themselves with Power Platform by building small scale apps or flows, the reality, say my guests Scott May and Rod Donovan of Stratos Cloud, is that partners are already becoming the trusted resource for most customers in more advanced scenarios. And, they believe, that opportunity will only grow, making Power Platform one of the best opportunities for new client engagements going forward.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - What's the reality of the Power Platform's value today?
  • 4:30 - Rod's experience helping Microsoft customers and partners to ramp up on Power Platform expertise and usage
  • 8:00 - Ways Stratos Cloud is getting partners interested in Power Platform opportunities like App in a Day or Dashboard in a Day
  • 11:30 - Observing Microsoft partner reactions to Power Platform around the world
  • 15:30 - Different models partners can use to engage with customers on the latest technology
  • 20:00 - The difference between being a Power Platform dev shop vs a well-rounded business apps service provider
  • 22: 00 - Microsoft's role in supporting Power Platform projects and deployments
  • 28:00 - Business apps growth in Microsoft earnings, and how Power Platform elements is becoming more closely tied to Dynamics 365 products
  • 32:00 - The most exciting new opportunities with Power Platform around licensing updates, RPA, and more
  • 33:30 - What partners can do next to ramp up engage with clients

 

About: Stratos Cloud Alliance is the Microsoft CSP Indirect Provider that provides all the sales support, enablement, and services a partner needs to build a profitable cloud solutions business with Microsoft Dynamics 365. With over 33 years’ experience implementing Dynamics business management solutions, Stratos Cloud offers partners a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, Customer Services, and flexible Partner Programs supporting transformation at the pace and investment level that is right for you.

Sep 2, 2021

This episode is sponsored by BI4Dynamics.

Microsoft offers its Dynamics ERP customers a variety of ways to get started with analyzing their business data, but the BI and analytics landscape continues to evolve as data growth accelerates and industry demands change. Our guest on this episode,  Dr. Vijay Jog, the founder of CRGroup and president of Global Business Applications for CRGroup’s parent company, Quisitive, joins us to discuss the BI and reporting themes influencing Dynamics space today.

Expectations are changing for many roles, Vijay believes. Accounting teams must provide better insight that leads to a proactive outlook. IT departments must gaining new skills  in areas like data lakes, analytics, storage, and security. And teams continue to struggle with the perennial problem of data islands, Vijay says.

BI and analytics options vary by Dynamics product, and Vijay shares his views on  some of the most interesting new and upcoming capabilities, including the transition from BYOD to BYOL for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations and advances with Power BI.

Show Notes:

  • 2:15 - What is unique about today's data challenges?
  • 4:30 - What do Dynamics customers get out of the box for BI and reporting?
  • 7:00 - BYOL and the other important competencies of BI
  • 10:00 - Building a great BI team around business systems like a Dynamics ERP
  • 14:00 - Metrics that customers are analyzing more carefully due to the pandemic
  • 16:00 - What makes an organization a top performer on BI and analytics practices
  • 18:00 - Microsoft technology to watch in the analytics and data management space
  • 21:30 - Optimism on the BYOL model for Dynamics 365 F&O

You can start a free 30 day trial of BI4Dynamics, just visit bi4dyamics.com/trial to learn more.

Aug 30, 2021

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

Change is hard when it's not predictable. But replacing or adding to a worker's business applications can also be a comfortable experience when the organization provides adequate preparation and support. 

Our guests on this episode, Hannah Whiteside and John Dorrian of Pendo, discuss some of the ways in which change management is impacting technology adoption today. We discuss some of the typical symptoms of a failed software deployment, including ways to prevent them. And our guests share their views on the different kinds of change management that organizations must contend with, whether human, systems-driven, or even compliance-driven.

And we frame some of those challenges in the context of Microsoft's business software offerings. As Hannah and John explain, apps like Microsoft Power Apps and Teams pose their own unique challenges and patterns of adoption.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - How to position the role of organizational change management in today's business applications landscape
  • 4:45 - The risk of too many tools, both official and rogue acquisition
  • 8:45 - How to look at adopting Microsoft's commercial software from a change management perspective
  • 11:45 - The danger of gut feeling vs data-driven decisions with organizational change
  • 15:00 - Is Power Platform's flexibility an added challenge for adoption principles?
  • 19:15 - How to measure for process efficiency according to app usage
  • 22:30 - How to gently guide users away from their legacy systems with user-driven analytics
  • 28:15 - The role of system integrators in advising on app usage and adoption
  • 30:00 - How one Power Platform champion's team and dev group is changing from gut feel to data-driven evaluation of apps
  • 32:00 - Why discovery work ought to become a thing of the past in service engagements
  • 35:30 - Where compliance needs fit into Pendo's story
  • 39:30 - Other scenarios in which change management becomes critical, like M&A

For more information on how to overcome user adoption challenges on your employee-facing applications, https://pendo.io/digital-adoption.

More information:

Aug 4, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Stratos Cloud Alliance, Velosio’s Microsoft partner program. Visit www.dynamics365partner.com to learn more about their partner offerings.

 

What does Microsoft want from partners in their fiscal 2022? If July's Inspire 2021 was any indication, partners will have to re-commit to priorities ranging from continued opportunities in remote work and data management to co-selling industry-focused solutions.

 

Stratos Cloud's Scott May and Jeff DeMaria join us to sort through the announcements from July and to offer some guidance on how partners can prepare for the opportunities of the new year.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - What are partners experiencing as Microsoft's FY 2021 ends and they watch for new messaging at Inspire in July
  • 3:30 - Takeaways from Satya Nadella's Inspire keynote
  • 7:00 - Microsoft's cloud platform strength
  • 10:00 - How to get aligned with Microsoft and finding the gaps
  • 13:00 - Real world opportunities: security, next phases of remote work, employee experience,
  • 18:30 - Dynamics 365 themes like skilling, verticals, and growth
  • 24:00 - Partner interests: industry, SKU updates to Business Central, and D365 green field opportunities
  • 28:00 - What the new "world of work" really means for partners
  • 32:00 - Important Microsoft programs in FY22
  • 36:00 - What's next at Stratos Cloud Alliance

 

About: Stratos Cloud Alliance is the Microsoft CSP Indirect Provider that provides all the sales support, enablement, and services a partner needs to build a profitable cloud solutions business with Microsoft Dynamics 365. With over 33 years’ experience implementing Dynamics business management solutions, Stratos Cloud offers partners a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, Customer Services, and flexible Partner Programs supporting transformation at the pace and investment level that is right for you.

Jul 23, 2021

Note: This episode is sponsored by Sana Commerce.

 

What does it take to earn and retain the business of B2B buyers today? For manufacturers contemplating ways to improve the experiences of their customers, technology investment is likely a major component of any plan. After all, B2B buyers are hard to replace and, since they are also consumers when they're not at work, their expectations have changed over the years to include things like choosing their preferred ways to buy products and get support.

 

Our guest, supply chain technology marketing strategist Adam Robinson, joins us to provide context on how manufacturers investments in customer experience technology like modern e-commerce is becoming one of the most critical ways to position a company for success in the future. Robinson foresees a wave of change coming to the manufacturing sector that will impact supply chains through new waves of acquisition, continuing risks disruption, and new options for buyers who will more actively seek new options if a vendor fails to meet their needs.

 

Show Notes

  • 2:00 - How customer demand is driving manufacturers to invest in new capabilities
  • 6:00 - How concern over margins and other metrics are driving tech stack investments
  • 9:30 - Are current events creating smarter businesses?
  • 11:00 - Expectations in B2B commerce customer experiences
  • 14:00 - How to get out of day-to-day perspective and re-focus on broader view
  • 16:45 - The relationship between 3PLs and e-commerce technology
  • 20:00 - What roles in a manufacturing organization matter to understanding customers
  • 21:30 - Opportunities in direct-to-consumer scenarios when customer data connects across the organizations
  • 25:15 - Predictions on supply chain and logistics future

References:

Jul 17, 2021

Microsoft offered partners a wealth of Azure-related updates at Inspire 2021. To help us get our bearings on them all, we invited Gordon McKenna, a veteran Microsoft MVP and CTO for public cloud at Ensono, for a conversation. Gordon shared his perspective on both the hybrid scenarios that his clients frequently care about and some of the forward-looking goals that Microsoft has set with new Azure and Azure-adjacent product and service updates.

Show Notes:

  • 2:15 - Experiences as an MVP
  • 3:30 - Microsoft's hybrid cloud updates and how they will help customers
  • 10:30 - Converging services around public cloud
  • 12:00 - Updates from Microsoft on Azure Kubernetes Service
  • 16:00 - The explosion in cloud data projects and new migration scenarios for partners
  • 20:30 - How to evaluate Microsoft's priorities, including in Teams
  • 23:15  - The Windows 365 opportunity alongside WVD, AVD, and Citrix
Jul 15, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Cavallo.

Distribution software firm Cavallo may have recently appeared in the marketplace, but the brand is really the new incarnation of one of the most well-established vendors in the Microsoft business applications ecosystem. Formerly known as Salespad, the company has a long legacy building its solutions atop Dynamics GP and the firm has announced plans to launch its next generation of solutions on Dynamics 365 Business Central first, while also planning to support some products more broadly.

Senior vice president of product Jeremy Boogaart joins us to discuss the story behind the new brand, the evolving needs of distributors, the company's outlook for customers on both Business Central and GP, and his own lengthy career at the company, starting as one of the first employees sixteen years ago and building his expertise in a range of roles.

Show Notes:

  • 0:50 - Discussing the company's rebrand to Cavallo
  • 4:00 - "Project Davinci", the meaning of the new brand name, and the connection to the company's heritage
  • 7:15 - What the Salespad customer base can expect going forward
  • 10:00 - Customer expectations and product roadmap plans
  • 12:15 - How are distributors looking to improve performance?
  • 16:30 - The need for flexibility in order management
  • 19:15 - Jeremy's view on Business Central's native capabilities for distributors and how Cavallo adds value
  • 24:15 - Why this is a great time for ISVs to invest in Business Central
  •  26:00 - What are Dynamics partners telling Jeremy's team about adoption of BC?
  • 28:00 - Jeremy's work at Salespad and Cavallo over the last 16 years

To view Cavallo’s solutions, request a demo or visit their website at www.cavallo.com 

Jul 13, 2021

DevOps has changed a lot in the last decade. And in the world of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and its predecessor, Dynamics NAV, the devops landscape has absorbed many of those changes in just the last two to three years as Business Central emerged as a cloud-first SaaS ERP product.

Our guests on this episode, Tobia Fenster, a Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Regional Director and fellow MVP Waldo (a.k.a., Eric Wauters), discuss their experiences with DevOps for Business Central, including the tools and services they have created to improve the experience. Their work in this area has been driven by both a need to help their internal teams and to offer solutions for the broader BC developer ecosystem that take on a range of needs in areas like container management and automated build pipelines.

DevOps requirements are more sophisticated than ever, which means the tools are more powerful, but the concepts are also more complex. That rapid shift could be a risk both to partners and to BC customers that rely on customizations in the cloud. The situation remains quite manageable, Tobias and Waldo say, but development teams joining the BC community need to address the challenges straight away and understand the stakes,  for their own sake and for their customers.

Show Notes:

  • 1:40 - Introductions to Tobias and Waldo
  • 4:00  - How is the developer experience today different from the old days?
  • 6:45 - Waldo's outlook on embracing Extensions
  • 10 :00 - How is the development community adapting to modern techniques?
  • 13:30 - Who needs to have expertise in modern CI/CD and containerization for an ISV or a VAR organization?
  • 18:00  - The origins of ALOps (created by Waldo) and its reception in the community
  • 20:45 - Tobias's experience as an ALOps early adopter and use of the tool at Cosmo Consult
  • 25:15 - What are Waldo and Tobias are asking of Microsoft to strengthen DevOps
  • 30:00 - What types of partner organization can benefit from finding an existing DevOps framework
  • 33:00 - What, if anything, should customers and others in the community understand about these development topics and the impact on their systems?
  • 37:00 - What to look for in the near future

Links:

Jul 7, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Versapay.

The payment processing landscape today has been shaped by the enormous stresses of the last fifteen months. As our guests, Meredith Mitchell and Jason Read of Versapay explain, they have seen customers accelerating existing modernization plans while for others, their companies' survival hung in the balance of opening up new digital payment options for clients.

Jason and Meredith discuss some of their latest thinking around payment modernization and process automation, like ways to help an organization get paid on time and to make the process both easy for customers and united with the rest of the business operations through systems like Dynamics 365 Business Central.

The Versapay team is also watching some of the more interesting trends today in the Microsoft space, like supporting migrations of Dynamics SMB customers to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management and helping customers seeking achieve even more optimization around payments.

Show Notes

  • 1:00 - What has changed in conversations with finance professionals in the last year
  • 6:00 - How CFOs and treasurers faced the reality of the pandemic
  • 8:30 - Bringing new capabilities online quickly to help customers pay
  • 9:30 - The latest thinking on payment modernization in the B2B world
  • 14:30 - Finance organization goals, from customer experience to cash flow
  • 17:30 - Process automation in the Microsoft ecosystem
  • 21:30 - What else customers asking for and how Versapay has responded
  • 24:45 - Looking ahead in the product roadmap at Versapay
  • 27:30 - Investing in supporting upgrades and migrations to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management in addition to Business Central
  • 28:45 - The latest on the ChargeLogic merger with Versapay
  • 30:00 - Wrap up - improving how payment around ERP can continue to be optimized.

For more information on Versapay or book a demo with them, visit https://info.versapay.com/versapay-payments-schedule.

Jul 1, 2021

This MSDW Podcast episode is sponsored by KwikTag by enChoice.

Mike Fernandes, VP Products, and Mary Miller, Director, Marketing and Channel, from KwikTag by enChoice joined us to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence and the cloud on AP automation solutions for the mid-market – specifically in the Dynamics space. We discussed the growing market demand among organizations for cloud-based, accelerated deployments as companies continue to have team members working from home. We also explored the rising demand for complete procure-to-pay process coverage and where AP automation fits into the picture. Mary and Mike also provided insight into their product roadmap, which includes payment automation and new solutions for Dynamics products.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - How AI is already playing a part in AP automation
  • 5:45 - How cloud is changing the value proposition for AP technology buyers
  • 8:45 - Having a broader cloud deployment strategy, even if ERP remains on-prem
  • 10:00 - Differentiating procure-to-pay and invoice automation
  • 13:10 - Challenges raised by the pandemic and how KwikTag's customers have handled them
  • 16:10 - What else are customers asking the KwikTag team for?
  • 19:15 - At what stage are companies investing in capabilities like invoice management alongside ERP?
  • 21:10 - Tips on creating engaging videos and sharing company culture

KwikTag, by enChoice, leads organizational digital transformation as the one system for invoice and payment automation. KwikTag helps organizations increase efficiency and gain visibility into their invoice workflows with complete AP automation and powerful integrations with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP systems. Visit kwiktag.com to learn how automation could benefit your business.

Learn more about KwikPayables Accelerate, the cloud-based AP automation solution for Dynamics GP: Coffee With KwikTag – KwikPayables Accelerate. To read about AI within the KwikTag AP automation solution, check out the whitepaper “What’s Intelligence Got To Do With It?

Jun 24, 2021

David Rosas co-founded payroll and HR software firm Greenshades in 2002 and as CEO. He has had a front-row seat to shifts in the enterprise software space in the years since, from changes in his own products to shifting trends and regulations that have shaped the needs of his clients.

 

As integral components of most ERP and accounting system deployments, payroll and HR solutions, especially SaaS offerings, have gained even more importance since 2020. David tells us how his customers' needs have focused Greenshades' efforts, including the move from outsource to in-house payroll and the value of cloud solutions for organizations planning a migration away from on-prem ERP.

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - David's background and experience starting Greenshades
  • 4:30 - Understanding the need for payroll in relation to ERP
  • 7:00 - When does an organization need to step up its HR and payroll capabilities?
  • 9:15 - The complexities of managing work-from-home changes since 2020
  • 13:20 - The move from outsource payroll back to in-house
  • 14:15 - The history of SaaS options HR and payroll, and acceleration in the past few years
  • 17:30 - How do on-prem ERP users look at SaaS HR and payroll in the context of their tech stack?
  • 20:30 - How have Dynamics 365 SaaS solution roadmaps changed the outlook for Greenshades as a payroll and HR provider?
  • 22:15 - Some important new partnerships
  • 26:00 - Expectations for the rest of 2021 and outlook on the Microsoft channel

 

Greenshades takes the headaches out of payroll and HR for you. Right now, you can put the Greenshades payroll platform in your corner and get fifteen percent off your service, one free month, and no implementation fees. Visit greenshades.com and get started today.

Greenshades on MSDW

Jun 15, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Stratos Cloud Alliance, Velosio’s Microsoft partner program. Visit www.dynamics365partner.com to learn more about their partner offerings.

 

Jeff Edwards recently joined Stratos Cloud Alliance, Velosio’s Microsoft partner program. He and Scott May tell us about some of Microsoft's latest partner incentives and the hottest opportunities in the channel today. We also discuss vertical strategies, Microsoft's performance as their fiscal year nears an end, and what to watch for in FY22 in terms of licensing, program updates, and leadership changes.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - Jeff's history in the Microsoft ecosystem and his leadership at Stratos Cloud
  • 3:45 - Scott's role and responsibilities
  • 5:30 - Important updates from Microsoft: Incentives, investments, and planning
  • 11:00 - What Microsoft's channel incentives on cloud customer onboarding say about business priorities
  • 15:30 - CSP growth rates at Stratos Cloud and in the channel overall and what that says about the market
  • 18:00 - Three different partner profiles that are engaging with Dynamics 365 and the rest of the Microsoft cloud
  • 21:30 - Microsoft's new fiscal year and how partners will reset, from executive leadership to licensing and commerce tools
  • 26:30 - The work partners can do to become industry-focused while aligning with Microsoft's plans

About: Stratos Cloud Alliance is the Microsoft CSP Indirect Provider that provides all the sales support, enablement, and services a partner needs to build a profitable cloud solutions business with Microsoft Dynamics 365. With over 33 years’ experience implementing Dynamics business management solutions, Stratos Cloud offers partners a comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft Cloud Business and Productivity Solutions, ISV Products and Tools, Customer Services, and flexible Partner Programs supporting transformation at the pace and investment level that is right for you.

Jun 10, 2021

A recent episode of the podcast looked at changing trends in the Dynamics 365 Business Central community, including some of the risks customers face when deploying the software in a fixed fee model.

 

For another perspective on the topic of fixed fee and the broader outlook on Business Central deployments, we spoke with Robert Jolliffe, founder of Microsoft partner Sabre Limited, to discuss his firm's evolution in delivering ERP projects. Jolliffe explains that while fixed fee ERP projects can be fraught with danger for both the consulting firm and the customer, they can also work well when designed to play to a partners' expertise and matched to the right type of customers.

 

In the Microsoft channel, partners with strong industry expertise can make the best case for fixed fee, Jolliffe believes, by relying on their knowledge and experience to shape projects that avoid typical pitfalls. Fixed fee does not have to mean low cost, and it doesn't necessarily mean a rapid deployment. But  new engagement models can help Microsoft partners differentiate themselves, and Jolliffe talks about how this approach informs not only deployment of an ERP solution like Dynamics 365 Business Central, but also the support, training, and other activities.

 

Jolliffe also discusses how his firm arrived at its current model, including the importance of learning from other VARs in the Microsoft channel and leaning on his pre-Microsoft ERP experiences. We also talk about the technology that is shaping his firm's work, the challenges of re-branding, and still feeling like a relative newcomer in the BC and NAV channel after nearly a decade.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - Rob's career history in engineering and ERP, including entering the Microsoft channel
  • 6:00 - What it was like entering the Microsoft channel with NAV in 2012, including the growing pains and path toward repeatability
  • 11:30 - The debate over if and how fixed fee BC deployments can work
  • 16:00 - The dangers of a basic fixed fee approach to ERP when an organization has specific industry needs
  • 20:45 - The balance of sales velocity and delivery quality
  • 25:00 - How Sabre's model has evolved, including what Rob has learned from other partners
  • 28:30 - More on transitioning a business model form hourly to fixed fee
  • 33:30 - Other important cloud tech for manufacturers
  • 41:30 - Rob shares a branding anecdote
May 19, 2021

Businesses set different thresholds for successful ERP projects, and the reasons can be complicated. With budgets that range from thousands to millions of dollars and often little room for delay or rework, it should be no surprise that some organizations end up going live with critical financial and operational business systems that an outside observer might consider sub-par.

Microsoft has taken an interesting strategy with Dynamics 365 Business Central, the company's SMB ERP cloud offering, urging partners to pursue highly repeatable, fixed price deployments wherever possible. That model serves some interests, like accelerating the growth of the customer base, but it has also created tension with ERP professionals who say their years of experience and dedication to customer success have taught them to pursue other approaches to achieve the best outcomes.

Alex Chow, founder of AP Commerce, is one of those ERP veterans who has charted his own path in the Microsoft channel. He says he started his own firm in 2005 to allow him to work with clients in the way he preferred. And while the firm is not the biggest or fastest growing, he says the company's philosophy has held the team on a steady path even as the product and channel trends have shifted around them.

Alex recently wrote about his experiences meeting Business Central customers post-go-live that were living with problematic deployments and the concerns these cases have raised. We discuss some of those observations and more about his broader experiences with Business Central and NAV.

Show Notes

  • 2:00 - Alex's early experiences in the ERP consulting profession and how that led to him starting his own firm
  • 6:00 - Finding other consulting models beyond billable hours, and how to make it a reality for NAV professionals
  • 13:00 - Does traditional billable consulting still make sense for Business Central today as a SaaS offering? And how Microsoft is managing partners today.
  • 17:00  - What makes an organization unique - or just like everyone else
  • 19:30 - What can go wrong on a BC deployment, and what led Alex to write about it.
  • 23:30 - The nature of fixed-price BC implementations and why it can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes
  • 25:30 - What's unique about these companies' issues compared to ERP failures of the past
  • 27:00 - How to improve sub-par implementations and why BC customers might be wary after go-live
  • 31:30 - What differentiates a worker doing repeatable deployments vs specialized service
  • 39:45 - Where to find professional help for BC
  • 41:30 - Response to Alex's article
  • 43:00 - If and how selling and servicing BC has changed AP Commerce
  • 45:30 - Can customers install solutions from AppSource themselves?
May 12, 2021

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

 

Across Microsoft's broad base of legacy ERP customers running Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL, there is a range of reasons why any organization might consider a cloud migration project. But until they assess the current state and future options, business leaders will be challenged to justify a decision on how to move forward with ERP modernization.

 

Our guests on this episode, Jennifer Ranz and Chad Sogge of Enavate, discuss the guidance and tools they have developed for organizations considering a move to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud. Jennifer and Chad are veterans of Microsoft's ERP product teams and they have carried that experience in the SMB market with them to Enavate where their team has been developing new assessment tools and guidance around migrations based on Dynamics products and Enavate's own experience with many organizations that have already deployed Business Central.

 

We discuss various types of ERP journeys today, some of the ways Microsoft partners are collaborating on ERP projects today to benefit their clients, and how to handle challenges like industry-specific needs and historical data. We also look ahead to the future of migrations and how Business Central will  evolve to support more customers moving to the cloud.

 

To learn more about cloud migration, technology and options visit the Enavate blog.

 

Show Notes:

  • 3:00 - Advice Chad and Jennifer are offering legacy ERP customers today
  • 6:00 - How adoption of other modern business technology like Office 365 is spurring thinking on modernizing ERP
  • 7:30 - Benefits of Business Central after a transition
  • 11:00 - How to assess and select the right transition path, and about Enavate's assessment tool
  • 14:30 - How to explain the scope of a BC project to a customer
  • 16 :30 - Know your ERP project priorities
  • 21:45 - Why legacy ERP customers are going with SaaS transitions
  • 23:00 - ISV discovery and mapping from legacy to BC
  • 26:45 - What partners need to know about migration factories
  • 28:15 - Migration tooling available now
  • 32:00 - The importance of historical data and what to do with it after the transition to BC
  • 35:00 - How to make BC a better solution than the legacy system
  • 38:30 - The growth of assessments for ERP customers as the solutions evolve
May 5, 2021

Editor's Note: This episode is sponsored by Sana Commerce.

 

Many manufacturers still struggle to understand and meet B2B buyers’ expectations for online customer experience. In reality, business buyers are just consumers at their jobs. They know that Amazon-level experiences and capabilities are possible, and now their expectations of B2B experiences are rising.

On this episode we talk with Sana Commerce’s Customer Success Team Lead, Roberto Najera, as he shares his viewson the past, present, and future of e-commerce in the context of manufacturer's needs and Dynamics 365 integration. We also discuss findings from Sana Commerce's new State of Manufacturing and E-Commerce Benchmark Report and how some of the findings around levels of investment and addressing current challenges are reflected in Roberto's experience working one-on-one with manufacturers.

 

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - A historic perspective of e-commerce in manufacturing and the changing trends today
  • 4:30 - Investments in B2B e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic, both technology and skills
  • 8:15 - Managing the growth of digital channels
  • 12:30 - Deciding if and how to enhance more customer interactions from traditional to online
  • 13:30 - Maturity levels that businesses go through in e-commerce adoption
  • 18:15 - E-commerce planning in the context of ERP data analysis
  • 19:30 - Surprising findings from of e-commerce initiatives
  • 21:45 - New challenges that B2B firms are facing today that e-commerce solutions are helping them overcome
Apr 30, 2021

Editor's Note: This episode of the podcast is sponsored by the PartnerLinQ Unified Digital Connectivity Solution.

The last year has taught us how volatile supply chains can be. Weaknesses came to the forefront, and businesses and consumers alike discovered the big downstream impact a seemingly small manufacturing or transportation issue can have.

In this episode of the MSDW Podcast, Visionet executive VP Jawad Khan and senior EDI strategy consultant Thomas Smith join the podcast to look back at what has happened to supply chains in the last year and how individual businesses running Dynamics 365 have adapted. Visionet recently launched PartnerLinQ globally.

We discuss how organizations are maturing their supply chain capabilities and expectations, and what today's solutions need to offer to meet those demands.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - What has changed in supply chain connectivity in the last year, and how work to modernize has progressed in that time.
  •  6:30 - What are businesses looking for in terms of supply chain visibility?
  • 9:00 - The impact of getting more roles and departments involved in supply chain activities in various industries
  • 11:00 - The needs of Dynamics 365 users who are working to manage trading partner relationships
  • 15:00 - The role of transporters in the larger networks
  • 21:00 - How supply chain pressures are shifting their planning to the needs of customers today and in the future
  • 23:00 - PartnerLinQ's global launch from Visionet
  • 27:00 - Capabilities that are here today that all organizations should support
Apr 28, 2021

Jeremy Vyska has worked in the Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 space for  twenty years working in a variety of technical and consulting roles. His newest venture, Spare Brained Ideas, marks a new phase in his career as he gets more engaged with the community and develops products and services focused on education, professional development, and customer success. He is also now a published author, with his new e-book, Your First 20 Hours with Business Central, launching this week. Jeremy tells us about the motivation behind writing the book and how it aligns with his broader outlook on working in the Business Central ecosystem today.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - About Jeremy's new book and his work
  • 7:00 - The experience of virtual events and other digital spaces
  • 10:30 - Life in Sweden
  • 12:45 - Who can benefit from Jeremy's new book
  • 18:00 - Early response to the book, and the writing process
  • 21:15 - How headhunters and others can benefit from staying educated on the latest information in the Business Central ecosystem
  • 28:40 - Paying attention to the holistic needs of users and professionals, from continuing education and advocacy to onboarding
  • 35:30 - How user group communities could evolve with Microsoft's support
  • 42:00 - How is customer satisfaction with customers onboarding to BC?
  • 43:45 - How to get the new book
Apr 22, 2021
  • Editor's Note: This episode is sponsored by Cincom.

Two decades ago, many product companies started their digital journeys with a brochure-style web site. Back then, a static online product list may have met customer expectations, but today's buyers expect something more. On this episode we talk with Greg Hall, director of product management at Cincom about buyer experiences, the state of the CPQ market, and his observations on how buyer and seller priorities have changed over time.

Hall foresees more complex products and services, even products sold primarily as services, using CPQ technology to engage customers earlier in the buying process and more holistically throughout it. 

Want to see how CPQ can help you? Visit cincom.com/cpqsync to learn more.

 

Show Notes

  • 1:30 - Introduction to Greg and a bit about Cincom's 50+ year history
  • 3:30 - Evolution from "brochure" web sites to digital selling
  • 9:30 - Buying journeys: Why simple and complex can exist side by side, and how it continues to change
  • 13:00 - Representing a complex product across a sales process
  • 15:15 - Other ways to enhance sales processes
  • 17:00 - The creative ways companies use CPQ tools, including in services-based businesses
  • 20:30 - Digital maturity levels and what is next for CPQ users
  • 23:00 - Which organizations are ready to operate in a data-driven culture
  • 24:30 - Prioritizing investments in digital commerce
  • 27:30 - Why CPQ adoption is still in the early stages across the broader marketplace
  • 28:30 - What else Greg is watching in the broader enterprise software market
Apr 9, 2021

Accountants have plenty to look forward to in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central's 2021 release wave 1. Our guest, Cari Corozza of New View Strategies, has been investigating the finance-related features of this cycle and she has already shared several in a recent article and webcast. Now she joins the podcast to chat about her findings, how she expect's New View's clients to adopt the latest updates, and how others in the community have responded.

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:40 - About Cari's work
  • 3:00 - What's exciting about 2021 release wave 1
  • 4:00 - Dimensions updates and how users can take advantage of it
  • 10:10 - Changing or correcting dimensions on GL entries and the impact on posted entry.
  • 12:10 - Bank integration
  • 17:00 - Using the Ideas site to promote feature requests, including one of Cari's favorites
  • 21:00 - Preparing to roll out these features for users

Links

Apr 1, 2021

Lipi Sarkar joins us to talk about the new book Building a Digital Future: The Transformational Blueprint for Innovating with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Lipi and co-author Vinnie Bansal wanted to investigate how organizations have invested in Dynamics 365 solutions to meet strategic goals and what others can learn from those experiences. Unlike a lot of books in the Microsoft technology space, this one is written for executives, not developers or IT professionals, though anyone with an interest in management and strategic planning could benefit from its findings.

 

The book is available on May 25, and you can order it with a 10% discount from Book Depository or from your local Amazon site (without a discount).

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - Why write a new book focused on Dynamics 365?
  • 3:30 - Is the term "digital transformation" still valid in today's landscape?
  • 5:00 - What inspired the authors to write the book, and how the pandemic has influenced the findings
  • 8:45 - What customers told the authors about projects that were executed while the pandemic was unfolding
  • 10:30 - The dilemmas faced by of those seeking a transformative change
  • 13:30 - Has conventional wisdom on transformative technology evolved?
  • 18:00 - More findings from Dynamics 365 case studies featured in the book
  • 20:00 - How Power Platform is changing the nature of business application investments
  • 22:00 - Thoughts on deciding to take on the challenge of authoring this book
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