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Microsoft encourages Dynamics 365 SMB partners to embrace competitive advantages in the "Era of Copilots"

by Jason Gumpert
Editor, MSDynamicsWorld.com
April 17 2023

Directions North America 2023 kicked off on Sunday, welcoming over 1,100 members of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 SMB partner ecosystem. Microsoft welcomed the channel with news that Business Central is growing its monthly active users at a rate of more than 75% year-over-year, including 105% year-over-year growth in the number of customers with over 100 paid users.

Microsoft representatives repeatedly stressed the competitive advantages that the company can offer to SMB partners of Microsoft Business Applications like the geographic reach (131 countries, with 20 more planned), industry specializations of ISV solutions, and the unique position that Business Central enjoys at Microsoft with first-party connections to Microsoft 365 tools Power Platform services, and Dynamics 365 Copilot.

Copilot “will be a transformational product going forward,” VP Mike Morton told the Directions 365 audience. The Copilot brand now covers a broad swath of the company’s enterprise software offerings, with AI capabilities at various stages of readiness that have been developed for GitHub, Office applications, Teams, multiple Dynamics 365 apps, and most Power Platform services.

Business Central now has its first taste of Copilot in preview in the form of a new widget that auto-generates marketing text for a product item. With controls like written length, format (like “tagline + paragraph”), and tone, the output is driven by the item’s other attributes in combination with the Large Language Model within Azure OpenAI Service and must be reviewed and updated by a user before it is saved for use in commerce interfaces. A pre-built Shopify integration button, another element of Microsoft’s broader Shopify alliance, can then synchronize that product data to an e-commerce store.  

The Business Central team continues to refine their Power Automate integration, with a new ability to provide templates for flows users can create and initiate from the BC UI. Using attributes like a BC entity’s URL, Power Automate flows can surface adaptive cards in Teams or Outlook while still retaining the security controls of BC.

Senior program manager Jannik Bausager urged partners to remind their prospects that Teams users with certain licensing levels also get free read-only access to Business Central through its pre-built Teams interface. He told the audience:

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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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