After Directions EMEA: What awaits the Dynamics 365 Business Central partner channel in 2023

December 1 2022

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Directions EMEA 2022, put on by the Directions 4 Partners organization, welcomed nearly 3,000 members of the Microsoft Dynamics SMB partner community and celebrated continued growth in the partner channel, the ISV market, and the customer base.

While the event continues to focus on the interests of Dynamics 365 Business Central partners, Microsoft representatives at Directions EMEA 2022 sent a clear message that they expect SMB ERP partners to begin delivering solutions that blend ERP with Power Platform, Dynamics 365 Sales, and Teams.

Teams, Power BI, and Power Automate all feature prominently in the latest Business Central release wave, and Microsoft promised Directions EMEA attendees more integrated scenarios that use Power Automate, Power Apps, Power Pages, and AI Builder, especially around automation.  

And the stated mission of the Directions EMEA event has evolved as well, with a concerted effort by leaders to support the inclusion of under-represented groups.

By the numbers

Microsoft has clamped down on details about Business Central's performance, to the dismay of some in the space. Still, executives sound optimistic about their "sixty percent growth" in the number of customers and "triple digit" revenue growth year over year. The fact that revenue growth is outpacing customer growth can be attributed to a range of factors, Microsoft has told partners. These factors include growth in the number of users per customer, existing customers purchasing more seats, a more favorable mix of higher cost licenses, and additional revenue on services like cloud storage and environments.

Building a community: Representation and year-round work

Directions 4 Partners will aim to increase its year-round engagement with the launch of their new community portal. The site will collect the organization's event content for on-demand access, centralize their other year-round activities like webcasts, add forums and other community features, and do blog aggregation. Access is limited to Microsoft partners to encourage open dialog in the forum for partners globally – both VARs and ISVs, the team told the Directions EMEA audience.

32% of the speakers at Directions EMEA 2022 were women, the organizers reported during the event. That rate is up from just 4% in 2021. And while that growth may be promising, other data collected by Women in Dynamics revealed that:

  • Executive roles at channel organizations remain predominantly with men
  • The Dynamics channel continues to fail at both promoting women and giving young workers new opportunities. 68% of women the group surveyed reported holding mid-level positions.
  • Women hold only 3% of executive roles among their member organizations.
  • Half of the Dynamics partners surveyed had either one or zero women in a senior level (director and above)

Adding to the challenge is the fact that the data points above are likely to be more progressive than the broader Dynamics channel. Data came from organizations that have chosen to join Women in Dynamics, an interest group made up of volunteers and Microsoft partner firms, and share their corporate information.

Women in Dynamics chair (and CEO of Bam Boom Cloud) Vicky Critchley told the Directions EMEA audience that the group will advocate for gender parity in the ecosystem, from channel business leaders to event speakers to Dynamics consultants. 

About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com.

Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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