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Why the Microsoft Dynamics AX community needs independent professionals

by Don Riggs
Sr. AX Applications Architect, Business Process Improvement, Inc.
March 31 2017

There is an excellent resource in the Dynamics community that is not part of any Microsoft program: the independent AX professionals who serve customers around the world. Independents represent some of the best talent available for Dynamics AX. I doubt if most people could name five of these professionals. That article will explore their role and value.

Who Are These Independents?

The pool of independent AX consultants is primarily comprised of people who have worked for a Microsoft partner, worked directly for a customer, or in some cases may have even worked for Microsoft itself. They are individuals who have invested their time and effort over years to enable them to go out on their own. It takes courage to do this. Most of them do good work every day but are virtually anonymous. Many of them subcontract to Microsoft partners. Some work directly with clients. We all should recognize, if these individuals were not offering something more than what exists, they would cease to be. They provide a flexible resource for partner implementations, many times a lower cost alternative for smaller clients, and they also represent some of the best talent in the industry.  One other thing important characteristic: they are focused almost entirely on the delivery side of the business. They make their living leading or participating in successful projects.

Some people would say these individuals took advantage of resources from past employers and then went off on their own. But the situation is never that simple. In most cases these individuals have excelled while working for a Microsoft partner, helping win projects and delivering bottom line value. Many of them have also been laid off. It is a common cycle for partners to hire resources to try to staff their ...

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About Don Riggs

Don Riggs is a well-seasoned veteran with 25+ years of implementation consulting and 13+ years of Microsoft Dynamics AX experience. In his career, he has been involved in anything from helping design ERP systems, developing and marketing ISV solutions, to delivering a number of successful AX ERP implementations. As a regular participant in AXUG, he has delivered many courses and presentations. Don is considered by many to be an AX expert, particularly in the areas of inventory costing, manufacturing, AX project module, and implementation processes. Having attained APICS certification in the early 1980's, Don considerers himself a manufacturing consultant by trade and his love and enthusiasm for the industry has never waned. Always interested in new challenges, his branching out into other areas of the product has allowed him to become very knowledgeable in many areas. 

After a long and successful career, Don would like to share some of his hard won knowledge and experience, thereby giving back to an industry that has been very good to him. MSDynamicsWorld represents a most excellent vehicle to do that.

To learn more about Don and his company Business Process Improvement(BPI) visit their website at

More about Don Riggs
Submitted by jfveee on Mon, 04/10/2017 - 17:31 Permalink

I hope to join the ranks someday but am not quite brave enough to make the break. Still, I enjoy reading articles like this and living vicariously through you guys! Regards

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by donoriggs on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 11:46 Permalink

Thank you all for the kind comments and the many of you who have taken the time to read my articles. I've always believed that a strong independent marketplace strengthens the product. There is no greater motivation than to be the direct recipient of our own personal industry. Being independent is not for everyone. Our personal and financial situations are different. Keep in mind though, your current situation now will change over time. Knowledge is power continue to invest in yourself and be the best you can possibly be independent of your current situation. I believe we are in one of the most interesting and exciting professions that exists. Part of the problem I believe facing us now is that many of us are treating this more of a job than as a profession. What we actually do out here far extends past or specific technical knowledge. We must guide the client to help them arrive at the best decision for them.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by henrik_grender on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 07:40 Permalink

I was one of those successful independents for many years, up and until the release of 2012 R2. However, with the current model Microsoft uses, I understood that you are quite simply out-of-the loop unless you are employed by a mjor partner. You get no access to news, events and, most importantly, the product itself so you can learn from it. No self-employed consultant can afford to have a running Azure-based installation running to develop and explore solutions. You cannot even use the learning tools and get certifications. It's a bit sad, but not much we can do. Microsoft got the idea that independents where part of the problem with Dynamics AX/365-O, which was sometimes true, but mostly false IMHO.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by donoriggs on Mon, 04/24/2017 - 14:03 Permalink

I understand your concerns and frustrations. One consideration is to try to form a strategic relationship with an existing partner. This would allow you to pursue those educational benefits while maintaining a certain amount of your own autonomy. Although I can make no promises, I am also going to be trying to encourage Microsoft to provide for additional roles for independents. Another path is MCT, I will be seeking clarity as to the viability of MCT within the MBS space. Finally, some of us are working on, and independent marketplace that would include accessibility of resources and training for independent resources. If you have an interest, please register at HTTP:// I will keep you updated on our progress there. I believe that good independent resources are important to the AX industry. The question is, what is the best way to be involved and how do we ensure the quality that is needed. We must put ourselves in a position to work with the major partners. Undermining the marketplace is not the answer. The answer is us working together towards common goals.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)