After Direction EMEA 2016, Microsoft Dynamics NAV partners face crucial decisions on their future

October 24 2016

Directions EMEA 2016 

As a longtime Microsoft-observer with a perspective geared toward Microsoft Dynamics, I'd like to share some of my impressions of the important trends from this year's Directions EMEA 2016 in Prague. This article is based on a more detailed analysis from in this year's Directions 2016 Business Report for Dynamics partners.

About Guus Krabbenborg

Guus Krabbenborg has been active in the world of business software for more than 30 years. He has held various sales and management positions at Philips, Digital Equipment, DBS Business Solutions and Navision Software successively.

From 2007, Guus was co-founder and partner in Partner Master Class, the Dutch Partner Development Center.

In 2012 Guus was co-founder and co-owner in QBS Group – today known as Companial. He left the company in 2021. Companial operates as a Value Added Distributor in the Microsoft Dynamics channel with currently over 1.000 partners in 75+ countries all over the world. This makes Companial the largest eco-system in the Dynamics 365 partner channel worldwide.

In 2018, Guus started a new venture, called Dynamics and More. In this company he focuses on helping both Microsoft partners and Microsoft customers in their business transformation and digital transformation processes. He also delivers inspirational Masterclasses for software selection and Organisational Change.

In addition, Guus is a much-praised writer and presenter. His blogs and articles are valued by both end-users and partners. He is also a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars - both from Microsoft and Microsoft partners. Guus has published several books on Project Success with CRM and ERP solutions.

Guus can be contacted by e-mail at and by phone on +31 622 496 073. 

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naveksa's picture

Awesome post !

Guus Krabbenborg's picture

Thanks naveksa!

cn's picture

The author writes: " ... you'll understand that many owners today focus more on risk reduction and pre-retirement rather than on starting a whole new business line." Today's owners had a good business based on services and I am sure the 1% YOY growth on new sales would suit many just fine. MS decided that will not work for them (rightly so) and decided to go in another direction. So the only crucial decision for NAV partners is whether MS has the finger of the pulse of the ERP market and what small business want/need and can afford. There is a big difference between taking Windows wherever you want and customers having to follow eventually unless they wanted to go to Linux or iOs and taking ERP wherever you want given the plethora of options SMBs have. Even for partners there are plenty of options as seen by the Acumatica banner being driven outside of the Summit in Tampa. US government mandated that car companies build smaller and more fuel efficient. We all know that market has not materialized as much as predicted and people still like big trucks and SUVs. Elon Musk would tell you any day of the week that his Tesla is the future. And he may be right 20 years from now. But in the long run we are all dead ... There are many points from this that I could argue with but I will pick just one: author says "Channel development for Dynamics 365. Microsoft expects to find new Dynamics 365 partners in the Office 365 channel, amongst Hosting Service Providers, BPO partners via accountants" In a "vertical first" world as mandated by Microsoft, the ONLY thing that matters is deep industry knowledge and outstanding customer service. Hardly the strength or even focus of Office/MS resellers or hosting companies ...

Guus Krabbenborg's picture

Thanks for your extensive feedback, cn! Mind you - most of my article is a reproduction of what Microsoft communicated at Directions EMEA. However, I do agree with you that most of the current O365 partners and hosting providers will have a hard time selling business applications. On the other hand - their number is pretty impressive. So if only 5% of them will succeed, it's still massive! So I believe it's worth trying. Current NAV/GP/SL partners can continue their business since there's no need to adopt D365. Most of them love complexity and are used to selling time. I'm sure that there is and will be a market for traditional, bespoke ERP projects. On the other hand, many businesses - both small and big - simply cannot afford long lasting customization projects. So I do believe that there's a big market out there for a Dynamics 365 solution as well. As a partner you have the choice between continuing 'stand-alone' Dynamics ERP and starting with D365. Or even do both! I think that many non-Dynamics ERP resellers can only dream of such a comfortable position..... ;-)

jglathe's picture

Maybe with a little extension: D365F is a downmarket effort (or so). Does a partner even want this? Instead of "get them early" it could come to "burn them early". NAV is (despite quite some effort) an 80/20 product, not feature-complete, out of the box usable. You actually need a little consulting and customization to get going. It's NAV Enterpreneur all over again, now new with "cloud".

Guus Krabbenborg's picture

"A little extension" - that's a nice wordplay jglathe! ;-) Today, D365F is a stripped version of NAV indeed. But in the next 6 to 12 months, Microsoft will deliver the full NAV functionality in D365F. Microsoft's ambition is to deliver a complete, market ready product and that's a different concept than the traditional NAV concept. I expect that D365 over time will be a strong competitor for the traditional, bespoke NAV/GP/SL offerings due to its low risk, low TCO and ease of use.