The MSDW Podcast

The (MSDW) podcast explores news, ideas, and events in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM community.
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Sep 12, 2023

This episode is sponsored by Argano.


The team at Microsoft partner Argano attended the first Microsoft Power Platform Conference in 2022 and they are returning for the 2023 event in Las Vegas starting on October 3. In this event preview episode of the podcast,  Jon Rastia, senior director of innovation and technology at Argano joins us to discuss the team's experiences last year, the Power Platform roadmap, the evolution of the community, and more. He also shares a preview of a customer case study Argano will be presenting at MPPC 2023.


Learn more about Argano's presence at MPPC 2023 here.

Aug 18, 2023

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central veterans Robb Delprado and Steve Chinsky of Accelerynt attended Cavallo's recent PANELS'23 event and joined us as the event was winding down to discuss their impressions. We discuss Cavallo's Business Central product roadmap, the role of ISVs more generally in today's BC ecosystem, today's balance between investing in custom development (including Power Platform) and add-on solutions, and what an ISV like Cavallo, with its existing GP customer base, can teach NAV and BC veterans about the future of Business Central projects for organizations with on-prem ERP today.


Show Notes:

  • 3:30 - Reaction to Cavallo's roadmap, focused on both Dynamics GP and D365 Business Central
  • 8:00 - The challenge of planning for a Business Central implementation project
  • 12:00 - The importance of exposing GP customers to a future with BC
  • 14:30 - Customization versus packaged solutions for Business Central
  • 22:30 - More about the BC 3 Amigos podcast
  • 23:45 - Other impressions of the PANELS'23 experience


See also:

Jun 29, 2023

This episode is sponsored by Experlogix.


Configure price quote (CPQ) technology  is notoriously versatile, and while its early use cases focused on a few prime sectors of the economy, today's CPQ solutions regularly reach a broad swath of industries and business scenarios. On this episode, Peter Willemse, VP of product management at Experlogix, shares his latest views on why CPQ capabilities continue to expand and how the evaluation process for enterprise technology continues to change. He also explains his latest thinking on how to model ROI, taking into account the full spectrum of costs, benefits, and opportunities to improve business processes.


A podcast episode about CPQ wouldn't be complete without hearing about some interesting new scenarios that puts the technology to use. And Peter gives an update on Experlogix's product lineup, which is evolving to incorporate their newer document management and commerce capabilities.


Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - How to understand and explain today's opportunity for CPQ technology
  • 7:30 - Why CPQ capabilities are gaining a foothold in more industries
  • 10:30 - How Experlogix customers evaluate the benefits of an investment in CPQ or any enterprise technology
  • 13:30 - One company's quoting requirements and CPQ business case
  • 15:30 - Evaluating the cost side of ROI and how Experlogix's product portfolio now  addresses that across three business areas - CPQ, commerce, and documents.
  • 19:30 -  How an ISV works together with an ERP partner to prepare integrated demos when working with Microsoft partners
  • 21:00 - Areas of the Microsoft technology roadmap that Peter is watching closely
  • 25:00 - How services delivery tie into CPQ use cases
  • 27:00 - Experlogix product and company update: Acquisitions and product priorities across solutions

From Experlogix: 

Jun 27, 2023

This podcast episode is sponsored by NMB Solutions.


Chris Winstanley, VP of solutions management at NMB Solutions, joins us to talk about how the company's solution offerings in transportation, shipping, and third party screening have evolved over their 25 years in business. Staying competitive as an ISV in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 channel has required NMB to both broaden their range of offerings while also focusing on areas of specialization. Partnerships and strategic investments in integrations have been important decisions for the company in recent years, Chris explains. And he tells us why he believes the future of supply chain solutions in the Microsoft channel will lean heavily toward platform and connectors.


Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - NMB's experience at the spring Dynamics conferences
  • 3:30 - The company's evolution over 25 years: How customer needs have changed and how supply chain demands have broadened
  • 7:00 - The ISV landscape from a competitive perspective: relationship-building vs competition
  • 8:30 - Cloud technology bets for the future
  • 10:30 - Looking to the future
May 17, 2023

This episode is sponsored by Cavallo.

Microsoft has provided a wealth of Dynamics 365 Business Central product and channel guidance in 2023 that is sure to impact strategic planning across the ecosystem. Our guests on this episode, Matt Abbott and Bob McAdam of Cavallo, share their views on what the future holds for customers, VARs, and ISVs. Coming out of Directions North America 2023, they discuss their unique perspective on going to market with advanced capabilities that augment Business Central. In a specialized area like advanced workflow capabilities for order management, Cavallo must stay aligned with Microsoft's process automation capabilities, they say, while continuing to differentiate their advanced out of the box offering.

Bob and Matt also offer a preview of their team's conference plans for the near future.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - Our guests' impressions of the Dynamics SMB channel after Directions North America 2023
  • 7:00 - Is Microsoft encouraging Business Central customers toware ISV solutions and away from customization?
  • 10:45 - How VARs are transitioning to embrace ISV solutions
  • 14:30 - The importance of building successful partnerships between ISVs and VARs
  • 16:00 - Thoughts on the Business Central team's AI roadmap
  • 20:30 - Digital commerce opportunities around Business Central today
  • 24:30 - The importance of workflow automation tailored to an industry
  • 29:30 - Update on Cavallo's community activities: DynamicsCon Live, Innovia's customer event, and more

For more information or to see a demo of Cavallo, reach out to Matt Abbott:

Apr 11, 2023

This episode is sponsored by emfluence.


Following a recent webcast on data-driven email marketing, we speak with Monica Hoyer, marketing director at emfluence, to get her views on different ways to use business data in digital marketing.  For Dynamics ERP and CRM users, it should come as no surprise that their systems offer a bounty of valuable data that marketers can incorporate into their planning and analysis if they have access to it. Data from sales interactions, customer service, orders, and other touch points can all factor into crafting more effective email marketing campaigns. We discuss different types of  B2B and B2C scenarios where Monica has seen Dynamics and emfluence customers find new levels of marketing results by putting data to work.


Show Notes:

  • 1:45 - Top observations from the recent webcast with Jessica Best and Rick McCutcheon
  • 3:00 - Guiding companies from basic to sophisticated email marketing
  • 4:00 - What customer journeys are all about and understanding the key touchpoints
  • 5:45 - How do organizations tie end goals back to marketing technology investments around data access
  • 7:30 - Why Microsoft partners are in a unique position to bring better data to the marketing team
  • 9:45 - Building effective email campaigns, and how one B2C firm evolved its approach
  • 13:30 - The complexity of the online-offline interaction in marketing and sales journeys
  • 15:30 - Technology that can enable more sophisticated scenarios


For more on this theme from emfluence, check out the recording of the conversation Rick McCutcheon had with Jess Best on MSDW

Mar 30, 2023

This episode is sponsored by Formpipe.


Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects have the potential to impact organizations both in terms of the quality of internal operations and their customer-facing activities. On this episode, Formpipe’s Commercial Director Mike Rogers and Business Solutions Consultant Soren Hjorth join us to share their recent real world experiences working with Dynamics 365 customers. As they explain, solving business document challenges can deliver Dynamics ERP and CRM users with a range of benefits that not only achieve immediate goals but also position them for future needs.


We also discuss some news of the day: Microsoft's recent announcements of Copilot capabilities for Dynamics 365 apps, Power Platform,  Microsoft 365, and beyond. As AI tools scour an organization's content and data, proper access to business documents will be a critical pre-requisite.


Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - Why so many Dynamics clients are focusing on deploying connected business systems
  • 6:15 - First impressions of Microsoft's Copilot previews and what an AI engine means for document management and structured data
  • 11:30 - Why automation is such a popular topic for vendors and customers
  • 14:30 - Why integrating Formpipe Lasernet with other ISV solutions that work with Dynamics
  • 17:00 - The influence of Power Platform on business application strategy
  • 19:00 - Recent industry-related customer stories, including
  • 24:30 - A brief update on Formpipe's document management platform


For more information on Formpipe and its document management solutions for Dynamics, please visit: or please check out Formpipe content on MSDW.

Nov 3, 2022

This episode is sponsored by Enavate.

Microsoft Dynamics GP customers have a lot of consider as they plan for 2023. The product's outlook remains unchanged, despite some confusion caused by Microsoft in recent weeks. But with the move to Microsoft's modern lifecycle and the ongoing push for greater Business Central adoption, GP customers need to understand what their upgrade path looks like and how they can best navigate the decisions around it from a range of perspectives.

Our guests on this episode, Tim McHale and Pamala Turner of Enavate's GP services team, tell us about what they are working on with GP customers these days. As a team of over a dozen product experts, they are busier than ever supporting the needs of GP customers. Upgrades remain in high demand and other topics, like future support for ISV solutions and migrating to cloud infrastructure continue to challenge customers.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - About Enavate's GP pod
  • 6:00 - What are GP customers asking for today?
  • 7:30 - How to navigate a GP upgrade to get onto the Modern Lifecycle
  • 11:30 - Some broader Microsoft technology updates that impact GP customers
  • 13:15 - Why deprecation of Basic Authentication is so important
  • 16:30 - ISV role in upgrading their GP-related code
  • 18:00 - The real status of the GP roadmap
  • 23:30 - What staying current with GP means for planning for future technology options in ERP and beyond
  • 25:00 - Estimating costs and factors that influence it
  • 28:30 - Typical cloud migration options
  • 31:00 - Customer feedback to Enavate's GP team

More resources from Enavate:

Oct 21, 2022

We talked to Peter Wolf of Azamba and AJ Ansari of DSWi in May just after Microsoft announced the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) and they had a range concerns about how the early details appeared to impact SMB Business Applications partners. In short, the scoring at the time seemed geared toward enterprise-level partners and ran the risk of shutting a whole segment of partners out of the benefits they enjoy today by achieving Gold and Silver status.

Today, the story is quite a bit different. MCPP has officially launched, but it has evolved for the better, according to AJ and Peter. They've come back to the MSDW Podcast to discuss the SMB-friendly updates, to compare notes on their company's scores in the new model, and to do their best to break down some of the scoring criteria as Microsoft has explained it.

While Peter and AJ both say the program is still far from perfect, they give Microsoft credit for the improvements thus far.

Show Notes:

AJ's Links:

Peter's Links:

Oct 5, 2022

This episode is sponsored by AutoPylot Technologies.

It’s a universal complaint: the sales reps don’t use the CRM. It’s too much effort and takes too much time. As a result, the data in a system like Dynamics 365 Sales is incomplete. CRM may fail to meet expectations, yet the CRM remains the data touchpoint to a range of downstream business processes and decisions.

In this episode, we talk with Steve Shaw of AutoPylot Technologies Corp. about how and why they have entered the Microsoft Dynamics space with a new mobile app for that integrates D365 with added automation and other smart features to encourage sales reps to capture key data. Steve explains why company decided to enter this competitive market and the early results of upcoming research highlighting the impact automation can have on CRM adoption. We also discuss the complementary nature of AutoPylot and Viva Sales, and how conversational AI always starts with conversations. 

Show Notes:

  • 1:15 - AutoPylot's history and the decision to enter the Microsoft space
  • 2:45 - Why sales reps embrace automation, including new research findings
  • 4:45 - Must-have features of sales automation
  • 6:30 - The importance of tracking data to manage the sales process
  • 8:00 - What it takes to deploy an automation solution for sellers on top of CRM
  • 9:15 - How do companies tend to get started with AutoPylot? 
  • 10:30 - Engaging with the Microsoft channel
  • 11:30 - Viva Sales and how AutoPylot will complement it and contributer to conversation intelligence
  • 14:45 - Experiences as part of Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub
  • 16:00 - Why sales automation remains relevant

To learn how AutoPylot can solve for your biggest CRM frustration, visit And they will be at booth 640 at Community Summit North America 2022.

Sep 28, 2022

The first Microsoft Power Platform Conference (MCCP) 2022 has now concluded, and we catch up with Microsoft MVP Asif Rehmani to discuss what we learned at the event. We review some of the things we learned about Power Platform's position within the larger Microsoft Cloud, how SharePoint will co-exist with it, the various user roles related to Power Platform adoption, and our perception of the Microsoft product team's outlook. We also look ahead to how Power Platform events supported by Microsoft could change in the next year.


Asif has also written a LinkedIn post sharing his event experiences.


Related MSDW articles:

Sep 8, 2022

This episode is sponsored by Mavim.

An organization can invest in extensive business process modeling, but without an effective way for workers to access that information, the effort may not lead to any noticeable improvements.

Our guest on this episode, Shrikanth Balla, product lead for Mavim Portal, focuses his efforts on the challenge of helping an organization's people access process models and consume the guidance to incorporate it into their work. Shrikanth explains more about where the concepts of business process modelling and digital twins align, as well as one of the key touchpoints for process consumption, the enterprise systems like Dynamics ERP and CRM, and Power Platform solutions.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - What does it mean for a portal to serve as a consumption platform?
  • 5:00 - What are digital twins about in the context of business process?
  • 7:00 - The consumption perspective of a digital twin and its evolution over time
  • 9:45 - The challenge of harmonizing processes
  • 14:00 - Where a portal fits in with an enterprise system like Dynamics or Power Platform
  • 20:30 - Portals in the context of cloud migration efforts by Microsoft customers
  • 23:00 - Why Power Platform is so exciting to Mavim

More from Mavim:

May 26, 2022

The technology needs of today's deskless worker reflect the pressures they face in their day-to-day work experiences. On this episode we are looking at the mobile capabilities that deskless workers are taking advantage of today and how various tech advances suit different roles.


Our guest, Trevor Metcalf of Resco, shares his perspective on the wide range of organizations investing in new solutions for field workers and how they prioritize those requirements to deliver solutions that are optimized for different scenarios, from humanitarian work to retail to travel and leisure.


And Trevor shares some interesting perspective on the future of mobile solutions. More organizations are coming around to the idea that entire workforces can embrace mobile solutions, he says, allowing them to design a future that in some cases is completely free of desktop interfaces.


Show Notes:

  • 1:15 - What is the macro view for deskless worker experiences today?
  • 3:00 - Employers' pressure to deliver positive workforce engagement
  • 4:30 - How do you define the deskless workforce today?
  • 7:30 - Where are the next mobile tech opportunities for workers?
  • 10:30 - Why deskless workers need tailored solutions that aren't generic
  • 12:30 - Resco client stories that reflect typical needs for various types of organizations
  • 16:30 - How to design for the workers' needs
  • 18:00 - Why starting small on new mobile capabilities is a smart approach in many cases
  • 19:00 - Why today's mobile solutions can stand on their own, without a desktop interface for the back office
  • 23:45 - Planning for Resco.connect 2022


A message from Resco:


Join Resco on June 9th, 2022 in Charleston, SC at Resco.connect 2022 to share ideas & spark debates around deskless workers.


Explore the agenda and secure your tickets while they last!


We’re Resco, one of the global leaders in developing cross-platform mobile software solutions. We enable companies to collect, access, share and evaluate vital business data in the field.


Today, Resco products mobilize over 200,000 licensed users at 2000+ corporate customers worldwide and are supported by a network of 600+ partners.


If you want to learn more about Resco, visit:

Mar 7, 2022
Dec 16, 2021

When a new application changes the way a business operates, it is changing the way individual workers carry out their jobs. Our guest, Derek Lichtenwalner, a digital transformation specialist at water bottling company BlueTriton Brands, understands the impact of  changes better than your average solution developer because he made the transition to his current role after working several in roles on the company's production line.

Now a Microsoft Power Apps expert at the company, he is responsible for developing and enhancing applications that the production workers use to inspect and maintaining equipment.

Derek tells us about how Power Apps changed the trajectory of his career from production to digital transformation, and how he now interfaces with both the company's employees and management.

Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - How Power Platform was introduced at his company
  • 4:15 - Why Derek tends to look at the user's perspective first when designing apps
  • 5:00 - How a hackathon kickstarted Derek's Power Apps work
  • 8:15 - Details about the autonomous maintenance app that Derek works with.
  • 10:30 - The technology that make the app work, like Azure AD connector
  • 11:30 - Observations on app speed
  • 14:00 - Maintaining relationships with app users and getting feedback.
  • 15:30 - Getting involved in the Power Apps community
  • 16:30 - On changing career plans as a result of Power Apps work
  • 18:30 - What Derek is looking forward to in Power Platform
  • 19:30 - Why the business still needs to add automation
  • 20:30 - Lessons or advice to newcomers to Power Apps (helping others with questions, speed up dev of their applications)
Dec 7, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Avanade.

In a landscape of global competition and supply chain complexity, manufacturers are turning to some of the most interesting and newest technology offerings to help fuel their success. And our guests,

Jennifer Johnson, Avanade’s North America Manufacturing Industry lead, and Thomas Nall, Avanade’s Global Manufacturing Industry lead, share their perspective on the investments their manufacturing clients are making or planning as modern manufacturers. From big data and data transformation to disruptive technology and sustainable manufacturing, they share stories from the field and how Avanade is helping manufacturers move the needle when it comes to data, technology and innovation. 

Show Notes:

  • 2:15 - How to approach questions around getting data right for manufacturers and their supply chains
  • 6:30 - The importance of standardizing data
  • 8:00 - What do manufacturers face when they take ownership of new business systems?
  • 11:30 - Facing organizational change across many roles, from IT to the shop floor
  • 15:00 - Does more data open opportunities for new roles and responsibilities?
  • 17:00 - Trends in modernizing IoT
  • 18:30 - What do organizations need to understand about digital twins
  • 21:00 - What other new technology holds promise?  (augmented reality, predictive analytics, and more)
  • 28:00 - Do pressures of the pandemic prove instructive for future tech planning?
  • 29:30 - Are executives eager to talk about the future of their businesses, competition, and consumer habits?
  • 33:30 - Growing interest by customers in taking a technology-first approach
  • 36:30 - Reasons for optimism about technology investment in manufacturing

Connect with Jen and Tom on LinkedIn and visit for more information on Avanade - the leading digital innovator, creating great experiences and realizing results for their clients through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem.

Nov 22, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Vertex.

Changes in sales, use, and value added taxes around the world reflect other key shifts in economies, both local and international. As B2B and B2C commerce accelerated into digital channels starting in 2020, businesses were forced to not only reconcile their finances differently, but contend with any manual processes that would hold up their ability to levy and pay taxes. At the same time, companies have expanded geographically or digitally, making their tax burdens more complex. 

On this episode, Steve Johnston and Arun Raghavan of Vertex join us to discuss the state of tax automation and how it aligns with the ongoing shift to cloud ERP. As they explain, sales tax is not just about selling, it should be considered part of the broader customer engagement processes that touch sales, service, expense management, and more. And as regulations themselves evolve and modernize, the governments raise their expectations of businesses to comply, including the growing likelihood of the need in some places for real-time remittance and compliance.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 - How Vertex customers have altered their approach to digital channels during the pandemic
  • 5:30 - The impact of digital channels on sales tax collection on both businesses and governments
  • 7:00 - The shift to cloud as companies see on-premises infrastructure as a greater potential risk
  • 10:30 - Roles that have been impacted by shift to digital, from CFO and compliance to procurement, sales, and more
  • 13:30 - How departments and roles are adapting: Geographic, role-based changes in today's economy
  • 16:30 - International M&A and stretching financial resources
  • 19:30 - From managing tax manually to embracing automated updates
  • 23:30 - Evolution of tax automation alongside other trends in ERP
  • 28:45 - Why companies are modernizing tax automation and Dynamics ERP at the same time
  • 31:30 - How to understand Microsoft's tax calculation engine in the context of broader tax automation
  • 33:45 - Recommendations on proper integration of tax automation software with Dynamics ERPs
  • 36:00 - How far will taxes reach into customer interaction in the future?

For more information on how Vertex delivers sales, use, and value added tax technology for a wide range of Microsoft Dynamics platforms, visit or contact them by email:

Nov 8, 2021

This episode is sponsored by KwikTag by enChoice.


Many organizations understand the benefits of automated invoice approval but often they haven't taken the next step to automate payments processing. Our guests on this episode, Mary Miller and Tiffany Allen of KwikTag by enChoice, share their outlook on payment processing and how its role alongside AP automation has changed in the last couple years. Paper checks have always been a costly and inefficient payment method, especially at scale, but the pandemic made checks even more challenging to manage. We discuss key elements of automating payment processing like virtual cards and cash flow management. But Tiffany and Mary also explain some of the broader spend management opportunities that their customers are enjoying, like control of spend over time and optimizing contracts.


Show Notes:

  • 2:00 - How to position payment processing in the context of AP
  • 4:00 - How well do organizations assess their own payment processing needs
  • 5:30 - What are virtual cards and what purpose do they serve?
  • 9:30 - Why KwikTag offers payment processing in addition to AP automation
  • 11:00 - Choosing a payments provider and analyzing customer needs
  • 16:00 - What GP customers can expect from living with a payment processing automation
  • 18:00 - Vendor onboarding needs and challenges


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 to learn how automation could benefit your business.

Learn more about KwikPayables Accelerate, the cloud-based AP and payment automation solution for Dynamics GP, watch this episode of Coffee with KwikTag: Complete the AP Cycle with Payment Processing. To read more about why AP and payment automation is so important post-pandemic, read the whitepaper: Why Automate AP and Payment Processes?

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?
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