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Podcast Review: Getting partners up to speed at eXtreme365 Europe and beyond

by Eamon McCarthy Earls
Assistant Editor,

As the Extreme365 Europe event approaches, Microsoft MVP Mark Smith, also known to many as nz365guy, joined the MSDW podcast to offer insights into his involvement with the event as well as changes afoot related to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

Pitching the need for a new partner training approach

Smith said 2019 marks his first time attending the event, although he has now had six years of steady involvement with user groups. He is set to arrive and attend eXtreme365 briefings, including his own presentation:

I've got 20 minutes to stir up people's thinking [with some key themes]. For one: Dynamics 365 is dead, long live the Power Platform and I'm going to unpack what I mean by that. When you're building products now you don't have to build with Dynamics 365. Different licensing constructs are provided to you. The next theme for partners is the idea of training and need to flip the training model on its head. [In the past] a training course would come up and staff would ask to attend it. The rate of change Microsoft is pumping out means that will no longer work. I liken it to a gym membership. You need to be working out every day of every week to build your learning muscles. We're drinking from the fire hose. One intensive session every three months isn't going to create a lot of benefits. Deep-dive sessions leave you overwhelmed with the knowledge and you can't retain it all. Need to build in a rhythm, 20 or 30 minutes a day learning the product and how it applies to their customers.

A new training cadence fits into big shifts that Smith sees coming up in the next five years:

By 2025 we'll really be in it—practical AI and the role of robotics. Robotic type functionality comes to everything that surrounds us. When I consider AI for example, I'm never worried about us getting to the level of singularity or it becoming self-aware and making decisions contrary to human desires, but we're going to see AI do one thing better than humans. It'll just be one specific thing that will be impossible to compete from a human perspective, combine that with robotic technology that will disrupt and change every single profession on the planet.

We're already seeing ordering fast food [that uses] Cognitive Services to understand what's happening from a complex order taking process. Bump that up to a high skill scenario: take all the data collected around radiographic process and feed it into a machine learning algorithm [for use by radiologists].

Assessing the Power Platform

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About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor at, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Before joining, Eamon was editor for at TechTarget, where he covered networking technology, IoT, and cybersecurity. He is also the author of multiple books and previously contributed to publications such as the Boston Globe, Milford Daily News, and DefenceWeb.