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What makes a good client-partner relationship? Microsoft Dynamics users share their advice

by Jason Gumpert

How should a Microsoft Dynamics partner keep their clients happy? A panel of Dynamics ERP and CRM customers and partners at the DynamicsCon Live event last week shared their ideas based on real experiences, both good and bad.

Though they had different stories, customers on the panel identified many of the same dimensions that they notice in a partner, like maintaining regular communication, working to understand the client's plans, and being ready to both advise and deliver services when called upon. How well a partner team performs in these areas can have a lasting impact on the clients’ perception and willingness to invest further in the relationship.

Two of the customer participants in the discussion, Cecile Dinh of travel data and services firm ARC and Connie Thompson of animal feed and nutrition manufacturer Alltech, spoke further with MSDW about their very different partner experiences with Dynamics ERP solutions and how those relationships have impacted business outcomes.

Cecile, a Microsoft Certified Professional, manages her firm’s Dynamics GP system with virtually no partner services, she told the DynamicsCon Live audience. Fortunately, Cecile is particularly well suited for these responsibilities, having joined the company after many years as a GP consultant. She believes her organization’s Microsoft partner let the relationship fade for a few reasons. First, the partner’s primary contact with the client left the firm. The partner team also observed that Cecile had taken on ownership of the GP system (the partner helped had actually helped ARC interview her for the GP admin role). But the fact that she hears from them only for maintenance renewals has hurt the relationship to a point that it is probably not salvageable, she says. When the company does need to call on a partner for important work in the future like a cloud ERP migration, they will likely look elsewhere. That personal connection is critical to winning her business, she says.

I believe in a quote that says “your smile is your ID. Your personality is your logo. And the way your customer feels is your trademark”. After a successful implementation, a partner gains their customer’s trust.  A good relationship has been built. They just need to maintain it. However, if a partner no longer reaches out, no longer communicates, then the relationship is gone.

Connie Thompson, Alltech’s global director for MIS solutions development and delivery, explained that her team’s primary ERP partner has had a crucial role in their years-long global migration from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

They've been a very stable partner for us. They have given us a lot of opportunity to work closely with Microsoft. They've brought us to executive briefings that they do. And then of course they are a large organization and have a large stable of expertise.

Thompson says that maintaining that robust relationship between her firm and her primary partner is critical as they continue to work through their ERP migration across 100 legal entities worldwide. They have completed the migration at thirty sites so far, with some critical milestones coming up like migrating their US feed operation in early 2023.

Beyond the current project, Thompson wants to benefit from her partner’s knowledge to bring new, higher value capabilities to her organization. Her team of about fifteen internal IT resources plans to augment Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions with a customer portal and more automation they don’t have today.  They also plan to expand their use of advanced warehousing and barcoding and integrate their batching system with D365. “We've known we've needed to do that for a very long time, but this change in our platform motivates us but also provides the opportunity to do it,” Thompson told MSDW.

Staying engaged with their Microsoft partner has also helped Alltech plan for a broader range of IT investments including business applications, low code, and cloud services. Thompson explained:

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, 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

Prior to co-founding, 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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