Microsoft's industry accelerators for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform don't simply appear. Rather, they are the result of extensive collaboration with partners willing to share their years of experience and intellectual property to help develop standardized data models and feature sets. In the financial services sector, VeriPark has contributed to that effort, contributing to the development of the recently launched Banking Accelerator.
Our guest on this episode, Wim Geukens, managing director of VeriPark Europe, explains that committing some of the company's most valuable IP to an open source initiative like an industry accelerator wasn't an easy decision. And while they may be losing some advantages, there are advantages to helping Microsoft shape its industry model, too, he says. The company also continues to move ahead with efforts to offer more high value capabilities for financial services firms, in areas like language processing and facial recognition.
We also discuss Wim's recent articles for MSDW on approaching the requirements of omnichannel customer engagement in the banking and insurance sectors. One reason the articles work so well is that, unlike generic statements on the importance of improving customer experience, they take on real and addressable challenges like integrating legacy solutions and prioritizing the availability of customer information at key moments.
How do Microsoft Dynamics users really go about researching and making buying decisions about ISV solutions?
It turns out the reality is often much different from partner's assumptions about the buying process. As just one example, it may be tempting for Dynamics marketers to assume that product videos and podcasts are fringe marketing vehicles for third-party solutions, when in fact they are rapidly becoming mainstream, argues Adam Berezin, MSDynamicsWorld’s CEO in the latest Marketer’s Corner podcast.
In this episode of the MSDW Marketer's Corner podcast series, Berezin draws on the results of our latest Dynamics ecosystem survey of decision makers and influencers, drawn from among MSDW’s 70,000-plus active site-members, for a number of surprising observations about what Dynamics users are really seeking in their product research and buying decisions.
In this latest MSDW Marketer’s Corner podcast, Stephanie Burke, vice president of marketing at Sana Commerce, provides guidance about developing rich content that will engage Dynamics users researching new products.
For example, she describes steps Sana has taken to create a credible blog that has helped bring sales prospects in. She explains how Sana uses case studies to bring prospects along in the sales cycle, along with the kinds of company and personnel information the company includes on its site.
Inspire 2019 is coming to and end this week following a full three day schedule plus additional regional meetings and sessions. On this episode of the podcast, we get the Dynamics SMB partner perspective from QBS Group's CEO, Michael Hartmann, and VP of Business Development Nelson Tavares da Silva. They share some of the key guidance they received from Microsoft around Dynamics 365 Business Central, updates on programs including AppSource and partner benefits, and themes that they will use at their own firm and with their partners.
QBS Group will also be hosting their own webcast with more event updates on July 22.
In this roundup, the MSDW editorial team looks back at top stories from recent weeks. We discuss:
Inspire 2019 is just days away, and the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) will be there as always, advocating for Microsoft partners and celebrating its 25th anniversary. On this episode we speak with Jeffrey Goldstein, president of IAMCP Americas and the managing director at Microsoft partner Queue Associates. He'll be at Inspire and he walks us through the themes that both his firm and IAMCP members will focus on, both internally and with Microsoft executives.
Some of the most pressing matters should be no surprise, like how to navigate the changes to gold and silver certifications, the loss of internal use rights (IURs), and the evolving use of AppSource. But Goldstein is also helping lead
Mary Miller's marketing and partner engagement team at KwikTag fulfill's many roles for the company. When it comes to supporting their reselling partners, the team have deployed a marketing toolkit that provides a blend of resources from product information to demos, case studies, and industry research. They even develop landing pages and microsites that their partners can use in the context of customer interactions.
In this episode, Mary and podcast host Marilou Barsam discuss:
Linda's new book, Get Acquired for Millions, reflects her own experiences in 3 sales, plus new research from across the industry.
The sale of a technology services provider (TSP) business brings into focus matters of all sorts -- financial, strategic, operational, psychological, and even personal. The prospect of an acquisition also raises a lot of challenges and anxieties – the worth of a business today, how can that value be improved, how buyers are approaching opportunities, and where sellers are finding the best deals.
Our guest is Linda Rose, a veteran of the tech services space and the Microsoft channel in particular. She has sold three businesses over her career, most recently her cloud services business about two years ago. After taking some time off for a few adventures, she's back to work with a new book for other business owners. It's called Get Acquired for Millions: A roadmap for technology service providers to maximize company value.
We talk about her own experiences as an entrepreneur, her research for the book, and some of the findings and recommendations for other TSPs.
Mary Miller and her team at KwikTag by enChoice are responsible for marketing and the channel relationship. That covers a lot of ground, from events, content, supporting collateral, and anything the sales team might need to help promote and sell the company's products and services. In the Microsoft Dynamics space, they go to market with their channel partners, and that relationship is critical to their execution strategy.
Marketing expert Marilou Barsam hosts the episode and talks with Mary about KwikTag's most pressing needs and the tactics they have used to boost results including a rethink of their webcast strategy, which now caters to users and partners in unique ways.
There is so much more to productive content than simply creating articles, blogs, videos and white papers. The content needs to maximize key product features. It needs to reflect the prospect’s buying stage and demographics. It needs to be effectively staged. And more.
Heather Robinson, director of marketing for Fastpath, has years of experience getting results from content marketing in the enterprise software space and understands how and why to engage and nurture prospects with appropriate messages and touch points.
In this Marketer’s Corner interview, she explains:
When it comes to ERP, smaller businesses with complex operations face a major challenge in finding a solution that can optimize their business while not hampering it with eye-watering deployment costs. As podcast series co-host Peter Joeckel recently wrote, SMBs who invested in Microsoft Dynamics AX over the last decade are now likely to find themselves stuck in the middle of an ERP world that might feel like it has forgotten them.
Both of today's guests, Chris George of Smith Pump Co. and TJ Phelps of ALT Fabrication, support their companies' AX systems and know them inside and out after years of service. That means they not only know how the solutions have helped build the businesses, but they know in what ways they are now being held back by various factors including licensing, customization, and general limitations that more modern systems would be able to accommodate.
Thanks to both Chris and TJ for their candid assessments and for sharing their findings as they plan for the future.
It's time for another Microsoft Dynamics news roundup. The MSDW editorial team looks back at top stories from recent weeks including:
…and more, including upcoming coverage plans.
In this episode we talk with two Dynamics channel veterans who are also relative newcomers to the long-running Directions North America conference and its traditional audience of Dynamics NAV partners. Jonathan Stypula and David Gersten of Dynamic Consulting focused on a broader range of products and clients than just Business Central, but they also see the importance of this product in the future of Microsoft's business apps segment and the channel.
We explore their impressions of Microsoft's messaging, parallels to the Finance and Operations world, whether partner M&A will pick up, and what entrepreneurial VARs will do next.
Our journey through the AX to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade experience continues with a primer on Microsoft's Fast Track program for D365FO implementations.
Fast Track is a component of every D365FO cloud deployment, whether customers know it or not. It involves multiple stages and activities throughout (and after) an implementation project. The goal, our guests explain, is to improve the likelihood of a successful go-live by ensuring the system is properly designed, built, and ready to operate in a production environment.
Two principal solution architects from Microsoft, Sigita Cepaitiene and Gokul Ramesh, join us to discuss key details of the program, including its origins, how it works today, and ways it might evolve in the future. They also offer insight into what Microsoft is learning, from module usage to project management to One Version, as the company helps customers transition to SaaS ERP.
In the era of on-premises ERP, private hosting partners offered a relatively straight forward value proposition. For many small to mid-sized businesses, especially those without a robust IT department or data center of their own, hosting had (and still has) measurable value. But that story changes when the future of an on-prem ERP is mostly in the public cloud, as we see with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.
While the story has changed, it is not over for Microsoft partners who traditionally focused on hosting and private cloud services. For one, most AX customers have not yet upgraded to D365FO, nor do they have immediate plans to do so.
Second, as we have seen in previous episodes of this series, an ERP running in the public cloud and managed by Microsoft is not a simple arrangement. Partners and customers alike need new skills on various Azure services and tools to be able to properly manage both their IT infrastructure and its costs.
Add to that the fact that a D365FO solution on Azure will become just one node in a multi-cloud topography for most organizations, and the role of a cloud services partner starts to come back into focus.
Tyler Doerner, VP of sales at WatServ, a hosting and cloud services provider and Microsoft partner, joins series co-host Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics and MSDW editor Jason GUmpert to explore how both private cloud and Azure services are impacting Dynamics customers. We discuss how private, hybrid, and public cloud services are changing the partner channel, what Dynamics AX customers are doing today to plan for F&O, hybrid cloud scenarios are most important today.
On this episode we talk with Microsoft's Aleksandar Totovic about what he willl be presenting at Directions North America 2019 next week in Las Vegas. Aleksandar described these sessions on his blog recently, and he explains here some of the factors that went into his decision to take on topics that are forward thinking and probably a little outside of the conventional NAV and Business Central partner's plans. The common theme of the sessions – figuring out how to incorporate other fast-moving Microsoft business applications with Business Central – underscores one of the big opportunities and challenges that partners face: deciding where to invest precious time and resources in the Microsoft channel.
In a recent article, the co-host of today's podcast, Peter Joeckel, shared his perspective that the Dynamics AX user base falls into one of three categories as it relates to their Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade prospects:
That last cohort, the constrained mid-market customer with complex customizations, is staffed with tense IT managers harboring the legitimate fear that the financial losses tie to an upgrade-gone-wrong could do real harm to the business overall.
In this episode of our Dynamics AX to D365FO Upgrade Journeys podcast series, we meet Irene, an IT director at a manufacturer running a not-so-successful AX 2012 system (she preferred to leave her company out of the discussion). Their AX implementation began in 2012 RTM and "it was not an easy implementation," she says. They faced many of the hurdles you hope not to find when executing an ERP project: the lack of a change mindset, a conservative (and seemingly un-engaged) executive team, and some technical deployment problems. Since their less-than-satisfying go—live, they have been working to steadily bring back features and functions that should have been there from the start.
Now they face the prospect of an upgrade of some sort. Irene explains how she evaluated the two primary choices: upgrading to D365FO in the cloud or upgrading to AX 2012 R3. It's not a scenario (or an outcome) that will earn itself a flashy video at the next Microsoft conference, but it's one that might seem more believable for a certain set of AX customers weighing their options today.
The podcast is back with a look at some of the most important articles and features from the last month. It's an episode that is heavy on Dynamics 365 Business Central news as Microsoft ramps up the April 2019 release and communicates its plans to partners, both in Asia last month and in North America in May. We also review some new insights from subject matter experts in partner channel strategy, manufacturing, banking, non-profits, Customer Engagement, Finance & Operations, and more.
On this episode we bring back the news roundup, and there is a lot to cover. We review both the most popular and most important Microsoft Dynamics news of recent weeks.
With Extreme365 Europe just weeks away, we catch up with Microsoft MVP Mark Smith, a.k.a nz365guy, for a preview of his plans for the event and a few predictions of top areas of discussion around the business of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
On this episode we catch up with a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations upgrade project in process. We talk to project managers from both the partner and customer side to learn how each of them has navigated a challenging project with a very rigid deadline that is just two months away. From daily standup calls to project tools to executive sponsors, our guests, Arun (the customer project manager) and Ebrahim (the partner project manager) talk about their progress so far, technical hurdles of ERP on Azure, and how they have dealt with change management.
When Dynamics AX customers first examined Microsoft's cloud-first vision for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, many of the questions revolved around how users could remain on-premises into the foreseeable future. As the years have passed and Microsoft has pressed its case for SaaS ERP, the hardline on-prem segment has diminished, partly due to a clear view of what on-prem D365FO really looks like and partly due to a ceaseless campaign by Microsoft (and other ERP vendors) to promote cloud as the default option for new projects. Microsoft's progress on addressing key regulatory, security, and technical concerns of the public cloud seems to be helping, too.
Stickiest of all the on-prem debates, however, has been the hybrid question: how can an organization run both public cloud ERP and support sites that can't afford to stop operating if they lose connection to the outside world. Microsoft promised an architectural answer to this challenge, but their progress remains uncertain. In the meantime, D365FO partners continue to work with clients to develop real-world solutions.
On this episode of the series, we talk with Ken Edwards, a practice lead at Centric Consulting, on how he advises clients on the challenge of hybrid. Ken has worked on multiple generations of ERP and CRM from both the customer and partner side and explains that, in his view, the progress Microsoft is making with D365FO will not only change the conversation about hybrid, but about ERP investment more generally.
CRM has been an accepted enterprise software market segment for decades at this point, but debate still rages about where to seek the next great opportunities for growth and innovation. Analyst Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research, sees consolidation around broad centralized platforms as one of the next big trends of CRM-related technology and economic impact. He recently wrote about his outlook for the CRM market in next decade for MSDW and we wanted to continue the discussion around topics like consolidation, platforms, industry-specific solutions, and the technology that could have the biggest direct impact.
In addition to advisory services in the enterprise software space, Denis has written three books, including, "Solve for the Customer," and "You Can't Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It." Most recently Pombriant published, "The Age of Sustainability," about the economic and technical solutions to global warming.
Our Microsoft Dynamics AX to 365 upgrade journeys podcast series continues (catch up on parts one and two) with a very different perspective: the observations of a Dynamics AX 2012 customer still in the planning stages of their next upgrade.
Kenny Mullican is CIO of Paragon Films, a plastics manufacturer based in Oklahoma and a Dynamics AX 2012 R2 customer. Paragon Films is the perhaps a perfect AX 2012 manufacturing customer. They use most AX modules, work across multiple sites, and, thanks to Kenny's team, have managed a stable, standards-based, lightly customized (relatively speaking) ERP solution for several years.
Now Kenny and his team are in the process of evaluating where to take their ERP solution in the future. An upgrade to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations would seem to be the logical path, but there are questions. Chief among them:
Kenny walks through his team's approach to AX 2012, what he has learned so far about his D365FO upgrade options, and the questions that still remain. We are also joined once again by ERP and AX veteran Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics to share his perspective on both manufacturing and AX upgrades.
You might imagine that the choice between a new cloud or on-premises ERP solution would be carefully reasoned, with sober analysis and PowerPoint presentations leading to a final decision, the reality can feel more like a hostage standoff when real users start weighing their options.
In episode 2 of our series exploring Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) upgrade and migration projects, ERP and AX veteran Peter Joeckel of TurnOnDynamics joins us to share his experience helping companies evaluate their options. As Peter explains, a D365FO upgrade evaluation is full of surprises, from the nature of the internal debate to the technical considerations.
For more on this episode, read Peter's related article.