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Directions EMEA 2023 Preview: A connected ecosystem to meet in Lyon

by Jason Gumpert

Directions EMEA returns in November, and the organizers of the channel-focused conference expect their biggest audience yet, surpassing 2022 and even pre-Covid events.

"There is more content than ever online, but people want to meet face to face and have that interaction," says Torben Kragelund, the community manager at Directions 4 Partners. "ISVs and Resellers wants to engage. Microsoft wants to send the engineering team to talk directly with partners. CSPs want to talk to the people that really sell their licenses. So I think it's the entire community that wants that interaction."

Attendees can count on Directions EMEA 2023, running from November 1 to 3, to deliver some of the event's traditional elements like Business Central and Power Platform product updates from Microsoft based on the latest release waves plans. But the event also reflects shifting trends in the ecosystem. For example, attendees will notice more sponsors than in the past, say Kragelund. And the growing importance of Power Platform has led the planning committee to the level of that content, which is expected to reach 25% of the session agenda this year.

The event will also include efforts to take on some of the trends that have led the Business Central ecosystem to lack diversity of age and gender.

Leaders from Women in Dynamics, a group that started within the Directions 4 Partners organization but now operates independently, will present an update during the opening keynote on their growing membership, employment data, and their new career advocacy framework. They are also organizing sessions and meetings at the conference.

Futures in Dynamics, a group organized by younger members of the Microsoft channel in the last year, will also be at Directions EMEA to advocate for supporting and nurturing the careers of workers under thirty. The event team has set aside 250 tickets at half price for people under 30, which can be purchased by or for employees of partner organizations.

"The channel is short of capacity. So how do we as a community attract young people," Kragelund says. "Because when they wake up in the morning, in the last year of university, becoming an ERP consultant or AL developer is not top of mind. And then when they come in and sit with a bunch of old middle-aged men, how do they then decide to stay and work within the community after a couple of years?"

Most partners will come to Directions EMEA 2023 still grappling with navigating the economics of a cloud-based ERP model. The channel for Business Central is being pulled in two directions, it often seems: toward larger, longer, and more complex projects and toward small, quickly implemented, repeatable business. It's a challenge that is complicated by capacity constraints, but also by the more routine daily challenge of keeping a partner's business sustainable.

"The question of how partners become better at selling cloud solution and packaging them remains top of mind," says Kragelund. "How do we become more scalable in supporting more customers with the same staff? So it's partly a capacity issue, but then also it's the cloud issue that is forcing partners to think about becoming much more efficient with the people that they have."

This year's sold-out sponsorships could offer attendees some guidance on what the future holds. The event will feature first-time sponsors who are recent entrants into the Microsoft channel. Attendees may also note more solutions being promoted that rely on integrations to cloud platforms rather than native BC solutions. Kragelund also advises attendees to be on the lookout for new service providers who are sponsoring as they move into the space from other ERP channels.

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, 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

Prior to co-founding, 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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