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What Microsoft misunderstands about the Dynamics 365 Business Central opportunity

by James Crowter
Managing Director, Clever Dynamics

Wow, just returning from @DirectionsEmea and it has been another week of the year that’s like no other. And this year it reached a new pitch of intensity with our channel in full transition. Almost every partner has stopped questioning Dynamics 365 Business Central and is keen to construct a cloud proposition they can win with. They know the certainty of the last twenty years is over but believe the opportunity for the future is even better. The established order is threatened, the smaller players sense opportunity and the big guys want to stay top of the pile.

It’s no longer just theory, those of us who were early believers can now provide compelling evidence of success. Cooper Parry in the UK and NAB in Sweden showed how the rapid implementation of templated implementations is rapidly leading to three figure customer adds. They are ripping it up, selling both direct and via the big distribution channels. They’ve discovered the secret to volume and their biggest problem is now keeping up with demand.

Microsoft previewed a video in the first keynote of a project we led for Wild & Wolf. With eighty plus users across four continents, using nine ISV solutions, it was the direct opposite of templated and could never be described as simple. Finally, no one could dispute that the mid-market complexity many of us used to construct and support on premises is now deliverable on SaaS.

ISVs have never had such a good conference.  Every VAR is transitioning to be an SI and is looking to form the partnerships that will form their proposition for the next decade. I use those terms deliberately. In the NAV world, integrating other solutions was more trouble than building your own so adding value through customization was the norm. Now with AppSource, your customer will force you to be an app integrator whether you like it or not, so most VARs are choosing to embrace it.

Everything was not brilliant, though. Multiple people said they were underwhelmed with Microsoft’s keynotes. That audience feedback on the final day, that the overwhelming majority of event attendees were leaving with questions, was indicative of the mood. In the channel we are being ask for commitment and investment like at no other time in the last couple of decades. There is no doubt that the product group in Demark is committed, but how about above that in Redmond?

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About James Crowter

I'm passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I've worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I've seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I've also had some hard projects over that time where it's felt more like warfare at times.

Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I've been working with a small Danish product called Navision that's now become Microsoft's Dynamics NAV and I've also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I've been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It's my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction.

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