The MSDW Podcast

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

Aug 4, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Stratos Cloud Alliance, Velosio’s Microsoft partner program. Visit 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


Jun 15, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Stratos Cloud Alliance, Velosio’s Microsoft partner program. Visit 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 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 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


Mar 8, 2021

Note: This episode is sponsored by Continia Software. To learn more, join one of their webinars.

Since we last spoke to Chris de Visser on the podcast he has taken on the role of North America CEO at Continia Software. Continia provides financial automation solutions with a focus on Dynamics 365 Business Central and NAV and, as a vendor based in Europe, has been working to expand its presence in the North American market. De Visser explains how he approaches his role  and some of the ways a firm must adapt to succeed in North America compared to other parts of the world.

We also discuss some of the other challenges that Dynamics 365 Business Central has presented to firms like Continia. Veteran NAV ISVs have invested many thousands of hours into transitioning away from  Microsoft's previous generation of ERP technology and we talk about why 2021 may be an inflection point in that journey as Business Central gains momentum.

Chris also shares some background on his own role and how his career has evolved as the Microsoft Dynamics channel has matured.

Feb 9, 2021

With the tools and services of the Power Platform evolving so rapidly, Microsoft and community leaders face a complex challenge in engaging with the experienced users and subject matter experts from around the world while also fostering an ecosystem that welcomes newcomers.


The Global Power Platform Bootcamp, taking place live (virtually) on February 19 and 20, offers one indication that users around the world still want to learn from each other when it comes to Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI. Last year's event consisted of 40+ local in-person meetings around the world. And though this year's event will be virtual, the organizers are expecting an even bigger set of meetings.


As people grow their own Power Platform skills, they can add value to the community by adopting a "show and tell" attitude, says Microsoft Power Platform senior evangelist Jon Levesque, who joined this episode along with Kent Weare of Microsoft's Power CAT team and two of the event's organizers, Kunal Tripathy and Vivek Patel. The group discussed the event's evolution, what attendees can expect to hear from Microsoft, and what it means to promote community as virtual communication persists.


Show Notes:

  • 5:30 - How this year's event will be different from 2020
  • 7:00 - Finding a balance between the local and global interests of Power Platform communities
  • 8:15 - Building more awareness of Microsoft's RPA and Power Virtual Agents work
  • 9:30 - How do local groups blend their direct interests and discovering the latest product updates?
  • 11:00 - What messages from Microsoft speakers will resonate at the event?
  • 15:15 - How is the mix of people joining Power Platform events changing?
  • 23:00 - Observations on the most innovative companies adopting Power Platform, including use of the Center of Excellence
  • 25:30 - What it takes to bring a global event together, and what attendees can expect
  • 30:10 - How to get involved in the Global Power Platform Bootcamp
Jan 11, 2021

On this episode we welcome back Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics and Karen Riordan of Menlo Technologies for a discussion of the new year's Dynamics GP outlook for customers and partners.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is Microsoft's SMB ERP product of the future, so changes still to come are to some extent predictable already starting to play out: incentives for legacy ERP customers to plan for a transition to BC; greater urgency on partners to transact via Microsoft's CSP program, and a GP product roadmap that has shriveled to almost nothing.

But given these realities, what is to be done? The economics of ERP are changing along with the rest of IT and enterprise software. We discuss the impact of some of Microsoft's latest moves like new cloud assessments for on-prem customers (not necessarily through their partner of record) and the latest channel sales incentives. These changes, will impact customers not just in terms of whom they consult with, but what types of partners can really serve their needs in the future.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - Microsoft's interest in getting customers to assess a transition away from Dynamics GP
  • 4:30 - Why aren't GP customers more interest in transitioning to cloud ERP?
  • 7:00 - Pressure on partners to manage their GP customers
  • 10:00 - Finding an optimal way to engage with Microsoft customers: Can a partner talk to both IT and the CFO?
  • 12:00 - What should a customer really expect from their partner in terms of making sense of Microsoft's offerings?
  • 16:30 - How difficult is it for GP customers to do a full assessment of their next steps?
  • 20:15 - The economic challenges of ERP for Microsoft partners
  • 25:00 - What does the subscription-based ERP model mean for Microsoft's goals and partners' challenges?
  • 32:30 - How well has GP served its user base during the pandemic?
  • 36:30 - How many GP to BC transitions are really happening?
  • 39:00 - Who is doing GP to BC transition assessments for Microsoft and what are the outcomes?
  • 44:30 - How will Microsoft's  newest incentives shape the partner channel in 2021?
  • 47:30 - Do partners and Microsoft have a responsibility to encourage their clients to evolve enterprise IT?
  • 48:30 - 2021 predictions
Jan 5, 2021

This episode is sponsered by HCL-PowerObjects.


As the Microsoft Power Platform has enjoyed greater adoption, the challenges of managing security, governance, data migration, licensing and other needs have gained greater urgency for customers.


John Doris and Jamie Barker of HCL-PowerObjects join us to discuss their experiences working with a wide variety of organizations that have been investing in the Power Platform to modernize their systems and processes. We dive into the most common challenges as well as other considerations that both partners and customers are dealing with like the future of front office and back office applications, the impact of Microsoft Teams, and Jamie and John's experiences helping organizations build a Center of Excellence.


Other resources:


Show Notes:

  • 2:45 - Judging and measuring growth of Power Platform in the last year
  • 5:45 - How the pandemic impacted PowerObjects customers' priorities around collaboration and automation
  • 7:15 - Why a Modern Workplace are taking a stronger interest in use of Power Platform and Teams
  • 11:30 - Organizational challenge: finding a balance of front office and back office support
  • 13:00 - The varying approaches to governance and IT fundamentals with Power Platform
  • 16:00 - Challenges that customers should be considering next: onboarding, app evaluation, and more
  • 18:00 - Encouraging app makers to be innovative while also taking advantage of reusable components and following development best practices
  • 22:30 - Center of Excellence: What it takes to plan for creating one properly
  • 24:00 - How do organizations work with a Microsoft service provider for help with Power Platform development?
  • 27:45 - Measuring end users' happiness with the apps and flows they get from a citizen developer corp.
  • 33:00 - Discovery tools: Know when to retire, replace, augment, or keep them
  • 36:00 - Dealing with the end of life of SharePoint 2010 workflows and replacing them with Power Automate flows
  • 41:15 - What can organizations expect in licensing for Power Platform elements?
  • 44:45 - License consumption strategies
  • 48:00 - How to get in touch with Jamie or John
Dec 14, 2020

Note: This episode is sponsored by Avanade. Learn more about Power Platform at Avanade here.

Venkat Rao, Power Platform go to market lead for North America at Avanade, joins us for a conversation following up on his recent five part article series on the Power Platform and its role in supporting the evolution of business applications. (Check out parts onetwothree, four, and five.)

Enterprise-grade systems like Dynamics 365 applications are here to stay. But, Venkat believes, thanks to low-code tools, organizations can now expect to give more responsibility back to their workers as they plan the future of their enterprise investments. Much of Venkat's writing has dealt with newcomers to the Power Platform, and he explains that embracing the tools here requires the acceptance of concepts and practices like running a Center of Excellence. He also reflects on recent customer successes in areas like  managing the return to work, mixed reality, and initiatives to empower citizen developers.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - Making sense of Power Platform and how to approach it for the first time
  • 5:00 - Thinking about low-code and no-code solutions as a technology segment
  • 7:30 - The importance of considering complex software requirements when evaluating low-code solutions
  • 9:30 - Venkat's evolving professional focus, from Dynamics CRM to Power Platform
  • 14:30 - What it looks like to scale up Power Platform initiatives across an organization
  • 18:00 - The frequent challenge of bringing a Power Apps deployment back under control after rapid spread
  • 21:00 - The Power Platform Center of Excellence (CoE) starter kit - Venkat's views on its usefulness
  • 24:30 - How organizations build upon the CoE starter kit
  • 27:00 - How Power Platform and HoloLens 2 work together
  • 33:30 - Is RPA mundane or amazing?
  • 36:00 - Looking ahead: New technology Avanade clients are excited about
Dec 8, 2020

The Microsoft channel is ever-changing, and ISVs can spend considerable time optimizing their approach according to the latest incentives, rules, restrictions, and opportunities. Microsoft MVP Steve Mordue returns to talk about some of the latest updates in the channel. Steve is the founder of the ISV business RapidStartCRM. He's also a popular blogger for channel pros. He has also started a new site, ISVConnectED, a private community for ISVs who want to talk channel strategy and tactics, ask their peers questions, and otherwise compare notes. We discuss Microsoft's current partner programs that impact the Dynamics channel, opportunities around Power Platform, including Dataverse, the risks ISVs face when Microsoft builds similar IP, and what the Salesforce Slack deal means for Microsoft.

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - Microsoft's ISV programs and why Steve started ISVConnectED
  • 3:45 - Why Steve writes about the state of the Microsoft channel and why it continues to create complexity
  • 6:30 - The complexities of Microsoft programs like Direct CSP, and the importance of large CSPs  today
  • 15:30 - Power Platform  - the business model and special offers
  • 20:00 - Microsoft's efforts on industry solutions and what it means for vertical-focused ISVs
  • 24:00 - Working in Microsoft's shadow as an ISV - searching for white space
  • 28:45 - Encouraging news on AppSource
  • 33:00 - Dataverse rollout
  • 36:30 - Why Dataverse is so important to Teams and Microsoft 365
  • 43:00 - New opportunities for custom Power Platform development and the importance of governance
  • 46:00 - The Slack acquisition by Salesforce
  • 48:30 - How Microsoft competes with Salesforce
  • 54:00 - Microsoft's current approach to business applications acquisitions
Sep 29, 2020

Members of the Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 community came together for a series of online pub quizzes in July to raise money for local charities and support social action against racism. The events took place in midst of civil protests in cities around the world drew hundreds of participants and raised money for local non-profits.

In the UK, funds from the event went to Black Minds Matter, a London-based organization focused on mentoring, education, and other support services for black and ethnic minority young people. Microsoft MVP Tricia Sinclair, a key organizer of the original series of events, has continued her efforts to support the organization by creating a Power Platform-focused training curriculum for them that brought together subject matter experts from the Microsoft community to educate and mentor the group. The multi-week program concluded with a hackathon where the participants developed and presented Power Platform creations focused on themes like mental health and legal services.

On this episode, we are joined by Tricia Sinclair as well as Malik Gul, Director of Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network in London, and program participant Rosina St. James to look back at the hackathon and the broader program, to discuss the outcome, and to learn more about exposing professional opportunities in the Microsoft ecosystem to under-represented communities.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - Introductions to our guests and their work
  • 5:00 - Origins of the effort to raise funds, awareness, and support for Black Minds Matter in London
  • 7:00 - The mission and goals of Black Minds Matter in the context of social trends, including boosting opportunities for learning and development
  • 12:00 - Why making the connection between under-served communities and professional opportunities is so important
  • 13:45 - Reaction of the students to the program and the various roles and options
  • 15:30 - Getting an understanding of the software industry
  • 17:45 - Bringing Power Platform community members together to help build out the student program
  • 19:00 - Where is the overall effort to train the next generation on Microsoft business apps workers?23:45 - Preparing the student group for the hackathon
  • 27:30 - Rosina's app from the hackathon
  • 29:30 - Developing ideas for new solutions, and the judging panel's observations and engagement with social and healthcare services organizations
  • 34:15 - Next steps for the program including mentoring, internships, apprenticeships, and education options
  • 38:45 - Plans for scaling these efforts, from technology education to more diverse health and social opportunities



Aug 5, 2020

We continue the Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 migration podcast series with a conversation focused primarily around making the case for D365 Finance and Operations, once again joined by Karen Riordan of Menlo Technologies and Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics. In some ways, the path to F&O could be described as only marginally easier than a migration from GP to any other vendor's ERP, so the discussion touches on ERP selection more broadly, the range of approaches that partners in the Microsoft channel have selected regarding their own ERP product sales strategies. Many sell more than one ERP, and for many of those, the other ERP is not a Microsoft product. We also touch on the DevOps debate around Business Central and some of the latest Microsoft incentives to GP customers.


Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - Quick recap of the first three episodes
  • 2:30 - What are renewing GP customers hearing from Microsoft and partners?
  • 5:00 - Marketing evaluation: Microsoft's BREP to CSP incentive and surrounding positioning
  • 10:45 - If GP customers don't select BC straight away, what does ERP selection look like?
  • 15:30 - What are signs that a GP customer might be a good fit for evaluating F&O?
  • 17:15 - Customer story: How AX/FO dimensional inventory solved a GP user's needs
  • 27:00 - What drives cost in ERP projects (hint: it's moving from one to another)
  • 30:00 - Why a partner sells both Dynamics ERPs and a competing vendor's ERP
  • 35:00 - The DevOps debate
  • 41:30 - Why so many GP partners will never look at F&O, and perhaps why some never should
Jul 27, 2020

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

The coronavirus pandemic has become a core element of Microsoft's FY21 cloud strategy. And the company now expects their partners to align with goals around remote and returning workers, industry specialization, and digital transformation.

While that vision rings true in many ways, it presents challenges for sellers in the Microsoft channel who need to adapt what they sell and how they sell it. Mark Stuyt, chief engagement officer at Neural Impact, a sales and marketing consulting firm that applies behavioral economics, neuroscience, and persuasion psychology to the customer acquisition process, joins us to talk about the transformation that sales teams themselves should consider to close new business in this challenging climate.

Some selling techniques remain unchanged today, but Mark also emphasizes novel tactics like selling via Teams, using video at key times, thinking more about the advantages of industry specialization.

To learn more about today's sponsor, Ingram Micro, and their partner services please visit

Show Notes:

  • 2:45 - How the pandemic has impacted organizations' investment decisions around tech
  • 4:00 - Unconscious decision making by buyers that leads to selecting a partner
  • 6:30 - Stresses of selling without the traditional early impressions of face to face meetings
  • 8:00 - The range of ways to take advantage of video, and how it taps into buyer psychology
  • 11:00 - Strategies that sales are using today to tap into video
  • 17:20 - Why should a sales team say yes to an industry?
  • 20:30 - The disadvantage that broadly-based partners will face over the next 12 to 18 months compared with industry-focused partners.
  • 22:30 - Why now is the time to be bold in selling
  • 24:30 - The challenge of driving an emotional connection with prospects and customers.
  • 26:30 - The role that  Microsoft Surface Hub can play for partners.
  • 28:00 - Neural Impact's work with Ingram Micro to develop tools to help partners sell remotely
Jul 25, 2020

Microsoft only revealed Dynamics 365 Commerce a year ago, but the offering is already evolving. In reality, Commerce came into existence as a rebrand of Dynamics 365 for Retail with a new e-commerce and content management tools introduced. Today's roadmap for Commerce calls for updates all over the wide ranging solution, from back office to warehouse to the storefront and the call center.

Amid such a wide ranging product, how does a customer train up their various users? To learn more, we welcome Elif Item, an AX and D365FO veteran who now focuses on training development and delivery through her company, Item by Item. Elif explains that Commerce is now delivered in a range of scenarios, and that variability is what can make training so challenging. Customer service agents and e-commerce management staff have very different experiences in the same system, for example. Training methods are also changing, and Elif talks about how her firm and clients are embracing different types of training content and platforms.

Show Notes

  • 2:00 - The evolution of Dynamics 365 Commerce and Elif's recent experiences
  • 5:00 - How the introduction of e-commerce capabiilties changed the product
  • 7:30 - The types of scenarios in which Commerce is deployed today
  • 11:00 - How Commerce differs from third party e-commerce solutions
  • 16:00 - The range of unique requirements and roles that Commerce aims to cover
  • 20:30 - How do you balance so many retail-related roles in a single system
  • 26:15 - Overlooked roles that still need training
  • 32:00 - Learning styles and training trends for today and the future
  • 39:00 - On embracing the changing roadmap of Dynamics 365 products
Jul 8, 2020

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

There is no single approach to successfully tackling challenges like project methodology, executive sponsorship, user adoption, or planning for post go-live support, but they are all absolutely critical to a successful Dynamics 365 project outcome.

This podcast episode explores some of the very real decisions organizations must face before and during an enterprise software project, and how they reckon with the factors that determine success. The responsibility – and the credit – for a successful project outcome is almost always shared between the services delivery team and the customer's own people. Microsoft MVP Rick McCutcheon speaks with Russ Riley and Greg Pierce of DXC Technology about the mindset of great project teams and what a strong partner relationship looks like during and after go-live.

If you’d like to speak with our guests or learn more about DXC Technology and how they can help your organization move your business applications from on-premises to the cloud with post go-live support, you can reach them at phone no#: 877-651-6193 or email:

Jun 30, 2020

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

Dynamics 365 is one of the product areas in which Microsoft encourages its partners to push for growth. With some of the highest margins in the channel, Dynamics is a lucrative opportunity for firms -- if they can make it part of their portfolio.

In hindsight, many partners forget or may not have the capacity to add Dynamics 365 to their practice while most may not have the talent, operating model, or financial structure. With the economic impact in today’s market, traditional ERP or CRM isn’t a want anymore, but a need in the digital transformation era.

Mathew Batterbee, UK & EMEA Dynamics 365 lead at Ingram Micro Cloud, joins the podcast to discuss some of the ways Ingram is working to bring more Microsoft partners into the Dynamics 365 space. Growing the number of partners transacting on Dynamics will require some new thinking and new program models, he says. We discuss some of Ingram's latest programs and also look at broader updates in the Dynamics partner channel like new the BREP to CSP incentives and the untapped potential of Microsoft's Cloud Ascent tool.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - Mathew's background at Microsoft and in the channel
  • 5:00 - The challenges of transitioning to Dynamics 365
  • 9:00 - How Ingram supports cross-selling Dynamics 365
  • 12:30 - The value and challenges of Microsoft's Cloud Ascent analytics tool for partners
  • 17:00 - The importance of growing the Dynamics 365 channel
  • 19:15 - Mathew's perspective on the new EP to CSP offer for Dynamics ERP on-prem customers
  • 26:45 - How customers who have lapsed on support might be able to revive it
Jun 16, 2020

While the second episode in our GP upgrade series dealt with customer needs, both current and future, this episode looks at some of the specific conversations that customers and their partners have when it is clear that a change is coming.


As we discuss in this episode, there are several precipitating factors that lead to a change from the GP status quo. And it is pretty clear that some ERP veterans, including our guests, Karen Riordan of Menlo Technologies and Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics, have not yet embraced the idea that all or even most GP customers should move to Dynamics 365 Business Central. For some GP customers, BC is a good option, they say. But they also make the case that plotting the wrong path forward can result in big outlays of time and money with little to show at the end.

Show Notes:

  • 2:15 - Why now is the time to talk about GP customer upgrade options
  • 8:45 - Defining two of the unique reasons why GP customers are motivated for a change
  • 16:45 - Are GP customers moving to cloud hosting?
  • 20:15 - Multi-tenancy - what it means that GP doesn't support it
  • 22:45 - Peter makes the case for why GP to BC is not an upgrade
  • 24:45 - Are GP users educating themselves?
  • 28:45 - Why Karen is seeing interest in Intelligent Cloud
  • 30:15 - Where should this series go from here?
Jun 9, 2020

In the first episode of this series about upgrade strategies for Microsoft Dynamics GP customers, Karen Riordan of Menlo Technologies and Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics joined us to discuss the wide-ranging the experiences of these organizations and varied viewpoints they hold today when it comes to the much-hyped promise of moving from on-prem ERP to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud.

On this second episode, we go deeper on the needs of GP customers today. The tens of thousands of GP customers in the world are a diverse group. Some have watched carefully as Microsoft and other vendors have released their new generation of ERP solutions, while others need someone to come in and start from the beginning on what cloud is all about. Peter and Karen agree that GP customers should expect their partners to take a consultative approach rather than acting as an extension of their IT team. And they discuss some of the signs that a company is a good candidate for moving to pure cloud ERP as opposed to some other alternative.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - When talking about upgrades, why talk about the GP market's decisions?
  • 4:30 - Why don't companies have a great understanding of what a newer ERP system can do for their businesses?
  • 6:30 - The challenge of taking a consultative approach rather than a technical approach to ERP discussions
  • 10:30 - Signs that an organization really needs to consider a new ERP
  • 15:30 - What roles or groups tend to support new technology investments and why is there resistance in other areas?
  • 19:30 - Distinguishing between different types of GP deployments and why the broad use means different future needs
  • 22:30 - Why executive vision is the critical foundation to enterprise application investments, both for the organization and the success of an implementation partner.
  • 24:30 - How coronavirus has impacted the ERP and broader IT priorities of organizations.
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