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Solution Provider or Software Vendor: A Dynamics Partner Dilemma

by Pam Derringer

Some Microsoft partners who create custom Dynamics code for a customer end up in the software business. Others choose to keep writing software for hire, simply moving from one project to the next. Simple enough.

But for Dynamics partners not clearly in either camp, the decision whether to perfect and sell their software as a product or to incorporate their code into a customized solution available only from the company that created it is not always clear cut.

Business & Decision, which will be debuting its Dynamics AX life science solution this weekend at Convergence, concluded that its best option was to retain its life science customization as an exclusive solution rather than make it available to the entire Dynamics reseller ecosystem.

Ian Thurbon, vice president of sales and marketing for the Wayne, Pa.-based Microsoft Gold Partner, said the solution route is a better choice in this case because the AX life science market is a narrow vertical without the volume potential of a functional module that would have broad, horizontal appeal to multiple sectors.

"If our aim is to dominate the market for AX in life sciences, why would we let our competitors have our differentiator?" Thurbon asked. "Then we would be able to compete solely on implementation."

While not ruling out a later switch to productization, Thurbon said Business & Decision believes, philosophically, that it is difficult to be both a systems integrator and a software vendor and do both jobs well. They are in two different worlds: opting for software obligates a vendor to devote resources to ongoing maintenance and support, while remaining a systems integrator AND a software provider could raise the appearance of ...

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About Pam Derringer
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