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Executive Q&A: Retail Realm on industry challenges, the promise of Dynamics 365 , and the evolving channel

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW
Afshin Alikhani

Afshin Alikhani has been in the Microsoft Dynamics channel as long as the channel has existed. He is delighted with Microsoft's product direction, but less so with its direction for the channel, and recently wrote the provocatively-entitled article How the Software as a Service (SaaS) Model and Corporate Greed are Destabilizing the Reseller Channel.

Alikhani founded Retail Realm in the mid-1990s, and for more than a decade, its flagship product was Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS). Now the company offers Retail Realm Essentials (essentially Dynamics AX with retail enhanced and manufacturing stripped out) to its portfolio of Dynamics AX for Retail and Dynamics RMS; plus its RRmAX, which extends the out-of-the-box retail functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX, and its Retail Management Hero point-of-sale (POS) solution for SMBs.

Alikhani talked with MSDynamicsWorld about challenges for retail in 2017, how Dynamics answers those challenges, and what Microsoft needs to know to keep the channel (and Dynamics) competitive.

MSDynamicsWorld: Retail challenges are always in flux. What pain points are retailers facing in 2017?

Afshin Alikhani: They are facing a very fast-changing environment. Also, the fact that they have to embrace change; and to keep up with the new technology and keep up with the new demands of customers. So the challenge of retailers today is to remain relevant, and to remain profitable.

I would tell them: embrace change. Accept the fact that whatever you know today is going to be obsolete by the time that you walk ...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).