Microsoft product priorities that will shape Dynamics 365 partner efforts
Microsoft continues to converge its planning across Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Flow, and the Common Data Service. Those changes will lead to new opportunities and new demands for partners. The message to partners at this week's eXtreme365 conference was to prepare for changes and embrace them, as older programs and priorities start to vanish.
In the areas of vertical solution development, Azure services, and the Power Platform, the latest guidance will require partners to adjust the way they engage with Microsoft and how they prioritize their teams' investments in skills and knowledge.
Four areas of discussion this week presented partners with options for future planning of their own priorities. They include the updated industry accelerator program, changes coming to AppSource, Azure services that will become more relevant to Dynamics products, and the alignment of the Power Platform alongside Dynamics 365.
Industry accelerators: An accelerating portfolio
Microsoft's industry accelerator story has pivoted to the world of Power Platform and Azure services. Common Data Service and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 become the primary cross-system data storage and analytics tools of the industry team's efforts – which they believe will offer a common and compelling starting point for partners who want to think big about their industry scenarios.
It's all part of what the Business Applications group calls its Application Platform as a Services (APaaS) approach. In the case of industry accelerators, the model serves a few purposes:
- Microsoft provides only the components that are the most universally applicable to a vertical. That means country-specific, micro-vertical, and other niche capabilities will be left as white space that partners should expect to have the opportunity to build out
- It sets out an architectural model that begins with the state of the art for Microsoft today. The most relevant at this point include the Power Platform, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, and other Azure services.
- It exposes use cases that can include even more Microsoft products like Teams and Office 365
- It serves to kickstart relationships in the industry, either through cooperation with key organizations in a sector, through integration with other first party business applications in the space, or even collaborating with competitors
Microsoft has first versions of accelerators in the market for healthcare and financial services; version 2 for nonprofits is about to come out; and a new accelerator for automotive is due soon. And others are in the pipeline in areas including K-12 education, retail manufacturing, public sector sub-verticals, and media sectors.
Expect the accelerators list to grow further. Microsoft advises partners that more industry accelerator-related announcements are coming soon related to licensing, the use of AppSource, and more.
AppSource: More hints at future uses
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