The Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central community has a heritage of conferences around the world, some that go back decades. But with the pandemic, everything has changed in 2020. Some events have gone online, others have been put on hold, and still others have emerged as new alternatives. BC Tech Talk is the latest new event. It runs December 3 & 4 and is free to attend. MSDW is a media sponsor, so we sat down with three members of the event's planning committee to learn more about what to expect, who should be there, and what's new in the BC community.
Pattern Energy, a company that develops and operates wind and solar energy generation projects around the world, had many years invested into a Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 ERP solution that was on-premises and highly customized. But by 2018 they knew that their aging system needed to be replaced.
On this episode, Nick Tavenier, the ERP systems analyst at Pattern Energy discusses some of the company's experiences in moving away from AX 2009 as they evaluated new options and eventually committed to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management in the cloud. He discusses his team's experiences planning and executing their migration project, work with third party solution vendors in areas like security, governance, and financial management, and how they have maintained an engaged core ERP team even after their go-live.
The latest release wave for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is now rolling out with a range of updates that should benefit users, developers, and system administrators. Dynamics NAV and BC veteran Kim Congleton of New View Strategies has been busy examining the new updates and helping the community understand how to make use of the improvements. She recently wrote about the system administration enhancements and followed that up with a webcast presentation for MSDW readers. We caught up with Kim for this podcast episode to dig into a few more details of the new release wave as well as to talk about how Business Central has evolved as a new offering (not just a continuation of NAV), how her firm has experienced the pandemic, and her expectations for the future.
Australia-based business consultant David Ogilvie has been thinking and writing on how businesses can adapt to economic conditions triggered by the pandemic, looking at factors like managing capital, supply chain optimization, and customer service. And managing across all of those areas require the ability to track the right metrics.
David discusses how his work with companies in his region have changed with the pandemic, what the ERP competitive landscape looks like today, the role of the independent ERP consultant today, and some of the tools and metrics of inventory management that he is focusing on.
This episode is sponsored by Provance. Support a digital transformation in IT with Provance ITSM—the most Microsoft-centric IT Service Management product on the market.
On this episode we catch up on some of the top headlines and contributed articles from the last month, including highlights of the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2020 release wave 2, new industry-focused business apps directly from Microsoft, new Teams integration for Business Central, and a few choice Azure advances.
Articles discussed in this episode:
Samuel Adranyi is a Microsoft MVP who brings his expertise to the local, regional, and international Microsoft Azure and Power Platform communities. He tells us about his own professional development, the decision to move back to his home country of Ghana from a role in the US, and what he is doing today to encourage others to gain expertise in Microsoft technology. He has organized local events, he mentors students on developing their professional skills, and he is an active content creator across his own blog and podcast, as well as on YouTube and other social media.
We talk about how he has focused his community efforts since returning to Ghana, some of the most promising tech for students and others looking to gain new professional skills, making cloud technology more accessible in Ghana, and Samuel's experiences as an MVP so far.
This episode of the MSDW Podcast is sponsored by dotdigital. Find out more about their Microsoft Dynamics offering here.
As marketing technology continues to evolve, so does thinking on where it can deliver the most impact in an organization. The marketing-to-sales funnel remains the most common way to deploy marketing automation tools, but Dan Griffin of dotdigital makes the case on this episode that the organizations should be pushing for customer engagement that encourages more of their own departments to communicate across channels. Customer service, product managers, and others have a lot of value to add to the customer experience after the sale is made, and the digital tools that marketers understand best today could be brought to bear with the right planning, says Griffin.
We also discuss the evolution of the Microsoft channel when it comes to delivering martech solutions. System integrators and agencies will deliver marketing solutions quite differently. And today's economic climate has led customer to ask their service providers to help them deliver digital marketing capabilities in new and more efficient ways.
Blue Horseshoe Solutions holds a notable role in the history of Microsoft's enterprise ERP development. The firm was founded in 2001 and some if its own modules for warehouse and transportation management have become part of Microsoft's core ERP products, first with Dynamics AX and now Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
On this episode, sponsored by Blue Horseshoe, Steve Shebuski, vice president of digital transformation, and Mike Castelluccio, partner director, discuss some of the standout features and differentiators in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management today and how Blue Horseshoe has moved their own roadmap forward alongside Microsoft. They explain why the future of supply chain innovation will be in the cloud, still working with ERPs like Dynamics 365 but available as a service rather than a deep customization.
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.
The news roundup returns, and on this episode, we look back at top headlines from the last several weeks of executive hires, Microsoft revenue numbers, product wins, partner updates, and more.
Microsoft MVP, solution architect, and Scrum expert Neil Benson recently concluded two years of work on a membership and sales platform upgrade for RACQ (Royal Automobile Club of Queensland) that involved Dynamics 365 Customer Service, integration with multiple other SaaS vendor solutions, and, of course, lots of legacy data to contend with from the decades old systems being replaced. This was a big project by any standard. Microsoft celebrated its early successes last year, but work has continued, and Neil gives us an inside view of what it has been like managing five delivery streams amid a host of other changes, from user adoption to the IT department's Azure transition to going live during the pandemic.
Where to find Neil:
Lisa Crosbie joins us to talk about her many community activities and interests in the Microsoft Business Applications space. Lisa is a technology evangelist at Barhead, a Microsoft partner, and when she's not working with their sales and professional services teams, she can be found doing a range of things, from blogging to podcasting to videos to presentations. We sit down to discuss some of the things Lisa has been focused on in her community efforts recently including Microsoft Teams and Project Oakdale, Microsoft certifications, product updates coming in the 2020 wave 2 releases for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, and her latest presentation schedule, including the upcoming DynamicsCon event.
He recently created a Blast from the Past video in which he spun up an old NAV 3.56 system and explored its features, customization language (which was also called AL at the time), and interface. Looking at a 30 year old predecessor to today's Business Central was more than just a trip down memory lane, as he tells us. It can also give today's customers and professionals a better understanding of why the latest version of Business Central looks and acts the way it does. With that perspective in mind, Erik also shares his views on the latest customization trends, ISV solution adoption, SaaS support, and how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the ecosystem.
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.
With Microsoft's big summertime virtual event, Inspire 2020, now behind us, the MSDW editorial team chats about some of the biggest news of the event, as well as some of our readers favorite new articles from recent weeks. Up for discussion are the newest Microsoft business applications product names: Customer Voice and Dataflex, as well as Azure cost management, Business Central DevOps, and more.
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 https://microsoft.ingrammicrocloud.com/dynamics/.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The news roundup podcast returns! developments. MSDW editors discuss a range of topics including:
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.
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.
When the full extent of the coronavirus pandemic finally became clear to businesses around the world, the falling stock markets, locked up supply chains, and panic buying were accompanied by a frenzy within marketing departments to re-calibrate both their messaging and their communication channels.
For marketing automation vendor ClickDimensions, one of the results was a massive jump in message volume from customers, says the company's CEO Mike Dickerson. He also observed that the crisis has put very different demands on the customers and the Microsoft partners with which his team works on a daily basis. Dickerson talks with us about these recent experiences and his observations on changes in the Microsoft channel since he last joined the podcast, including the evolution of digital marketing more generally, the need for special skills to accompany a marketing automation deployment, and the ISV Connect program.
Talking about digital transformation to an Microsoft community audience is a little like talking about gold medals to Olympic athletes. They all understand, they have all heard it a hundred times before. But few have a good chance to reach the goal. Fortunately, strategic IT is not a winner-take-all sport, and our returning guest for this episode, Guus Krabbenborg of Dynamics and More, has been spreading the message that all organizations have the opportunity to transform by shifting their thinking, re-focusing some IT priorities, and demanding a different kind of relationship with their technology partner.
Guus has a new book that tackles these challenges. We dive into Guus's motivation to create the book and his experiences in the last few years that shaped his message to customers and partners.
Kerry Peters and Cynthia Priebe of New View Strategies join the MSDW Podcast to continue the discussion on some of the critical and timely topics they have raised in recent articles about bringing automation and digital tools to bear in financial management with Dynamics 365 Business Central.
They discuss some of the pressures their clients have faced in the last two months due to COVID-19, some of the new features of Business Central that they believe hold a lot of value for clients, and what they have learned about introducing new organizations to Business Central.
New View Strategies has created a page that collects all their remote work articles and a checklist.