Podcast Review: Why Microsoft needs Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations customers to succeed with Fast Track

May 16 2019

Microsoft principal solution architects Sigita Cepaitiene and Gokul Ramesh joined the MSDW Podcast to discuss their work on the Fast Track program, which the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations R&D team uses to ensure that all customers attain certain levels of skill, team readiness, and system performance before going live. They shared insights about the program's origins, how it operates today, and how it has shaped Microsoft's approach to designing and delivering SaaS ERP.

Fast Track in context

Both podcast guests have over a decade of experience with ERP at Microsoft and Ramesh explained that Fast Track had its origins in supporting the journey from Microsoft Office on-prem to Office 365. Cepaitiene said:

The digital transformation journey—we went through that ourselves, as Microsoft, owning an on-prem ERP system and moving to the cloud. It allowed us to learn way more about our customers and how they're using the product as well as evolve to meet customer needs. Fast Track is a big part of that journey. ERP systems are more complex [than the Office transition].

Fast Track has two solution tiers: Essentials and Full, based on the number of D365FO users. Many of the elements are shared, but the Full program involves more direct access to a Microsoft solution architect at various phases. Essentials relies mostly on a "self-serve" approach, drawing on insights from telemetry and data.

Architects take an approach modeled on a blend of R&D and consulting. They might only work with one customer or several, and offer best practice guidance as well as working to spot gaps. As soon as a prospective customer creates a Life Cycle Services (LCS) implementation project, the Fast Track team reaches out. Cepaitiene noted:

Much of our work happens with monitoring telemetry data. For example, user acceptance testing on sandbox, look into the data of the environment and make sure the performance of that environment was doing alright.

But telemetry also plays a role for Microsoft R&D before a full implementation project gets launched, as Gokul added:

About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor of MSDynamicsWorld.com, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at eearls@msdynamicsworld.com.

Before joining MSDynamicsWorld.com, Eamon was editor for SearchNetworking.com 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.

More about Eamon McCarthy Earls