Blog Feed Post

Dynamics 365 – Some Microsoft Advice to Ignore

If you have been around the channel for a while, you are quite familiar with the Microsoft messaging to partners. “Add a Dynamics Practice”, or “Add an Azure Practice”, or “Add a whatever we want to sell now practice”. I suggest you ignore these messages.

Why aren’t you doing Azure?

I am assuming that you must do some “thing” well… or at least well enough that your car is not getting repossessed. In addition to whatever this “thing” is, you have a myriad of options to do “other” things. Not aware of these other things? Call your Microsoft rep, they will be happy to suggest 50 of them. More than just suggest, Microsoft will strongly encourage you to pursue these other things. In fact, they may even make you feel like you are inferior, if you don’t.

A Race to Mediocrity

Let’s say you cave to this pressure, and decide to add some new thing to your bag of tricks. You will need to invest some time in learning it, or at least learning enough about it to sell it. Azure and Office 365, for example, are not interchangeable. These are quite different products, designed to solve quite different customer challenges. The fact that you may know one of them well, does not mean you have even the slightest head-start on learning the other one. Your practice will be quite out-of-balance for a long time; with things you know and do well, and things you are figuring out how to do. In my opinion, this has led to a significant number of partners, offering mediocre services… at best.

You can never learn it

I talk with a lot of Microsoft Product managers, and in this new cloud world, they all seem quite proud of their ship rate. “We are shipping a new build every week!” “Ship” seems to be a leftover term from the old days that Microsoft has not shaken, seems like “publishing” might be more appropriate. What are they “Shipping”? Bug fixes, tweaks, new features and whole new versions. As a partner, this is coming at you, at a velocity heretofore unseen. We are all woefully unprepared. It takes everything you have, just to stay current on that one thing you do well, much less anything else. Any time spent learning something new, is at the expense of maintaining your knowledge of what you know well. Eventually you could find yourself “in-balance”… mediocre at everything. No longer an expert at anything.

It almost happened to us

As Salesforce.com partners, we were quite expert with that platform. Our transition from Salesforce.com to Dynamics CRM in 2011, was challenging enough, but at least we understood the concepts. Before we even got our feet under ourselves, Microsoft was pushing us to offer Office 365. My thought at the time was, this is great, as a Salesforce.com partner we only solved a sliver of a customer’s needs, now as a Microsoft partner we could solve so many more. We dived in head first. We had “mastered” something before, so surely we can “master” something else, my ego was telling me.

Slaves to the Scorecard

Until very recently, your Microsoft PSE’s very existence was determined by their scorecard metrics. How well they were doing at selling a bunch of different services. I don’t know if “One Commercial Partner” changes this dynamic or not, we’ll see. But as partners, by extension, we became slaves to this scorecard as well. If you wanted to get any love from Microsoft, you had better be impacting more than one line on that card. Hence the pressure to add more services. Ironically, at the same time Microsoft was telling us all to broaden our services, they were also telling us to narrow our focus on specific industries. I am not exactly sure what they were imagining we would all become.

The Golden Goose

Fortunately, I never lost sight of what I knew we did well, and we continued to absorb the Microsoft Dynamics business solution platform. But I can’t help but feel, that our absorption rate was slowed by our simultaneous efforts to absorb other things as well. My biggest fear became that we were on a path to being mediocre at everything. If we continued our split focus, we risked losing our mastery of Business Solutions… so, we stopped. As of this writing, I am in the process of moving our non-Dynamics customer portfolios, and staff, to another partner. For FY18, we are becoming laser-focused on Dynamics 365, and actually even a segment of that, that I’ll tell you more about soon. In fact, I had a customer reach out just yesterday asking about SharePoint, and for the first time in years I said, “Sorry, we can’t help you”. Man, that felt weird. You can ask me a year from now, if this turned out to be a good idea.

So, Have you heard the news?

So it was pretty clear at Inspire that Microsoft sees gold in the industry focused hills. I am not disagreeing with that assessment. In fact, I am “Inspired” that Microsoft themselves, will be focusing more on the path they have been telling all of us to take. But I am curious to see how this “Sell With” plan will take shape. For a nice customer, in a coveted industry, will Microsoft prefer to “Sell With” a team of partners, each an expert in their area? Or, for efficiency, will they be seeking single partners who offer a wide range of services, and “sell Mediocrity With” to these customers? We’ll see.

Banking on P2P

We have probably done better than most on the P2P front, but that still ain’t saying much. I expect to see that change significantly this year, given our total elimination of all competing services. Plus, Microsoft is actually taking some legitimate steps, finally, to activate this motion. I also think I can’t be the only partner who fears becoming mediocre, and some on the other side of the fence, who may have ventured down the “Start a Dynamics Practice” path, might be thinking of refocusing as well. If you are one of those partners, let’s chat.

The post Dynamics 365 – Some Microsoft Advice to Ignore appeared first on Steve Mordue.

Read the original blog entry...

Latest Stories
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Today traditional IT approaches leverage well-architected compute/networking domains to control what applications can access what data, and how. DevOps includes rapid application development/deployment leveraging concepts like containerization, third-party sourced applications and databases. Such applications need access to production data for its test and iteration cycles. Data Security? That sounds like a roadblock to DevOps vs. protecting the crown jewels to those in IT.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
What is the best strategy for selecting the right offshore company for your business? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, will discuss the things to look for - positive and negative - in evaluating your options. He will also discuss how to maximize productivity with your offshore developers. Before you start your search, clearly understand your business needs and how that impacts software choices.
IBM helps FinTechs and financial services companies build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly and at scale. Hosted on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform builds in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics and security to help reduce development time and testing. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Lennart Frantzell, a Developer Advocate with IBM, will discuss how these tools simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing devel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...
There is huge complexity in implementing a successful digital business that requires efficient on-premise and cloud back-end infrastructure, IT and Internet of Things (IoT) data, analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Applications. In the data center alone, there are physical and virtual infrastructures, multiple operating systems, multiple applications and new and emerging business and technological paradigms such as cloud computing and XaaS. And then there are pe...
Why Federal cloud? What is in Federal Clouds and integrations? This session will identify the process and the FedRAMP initiative. But is it sufficient? What is the remedy for keeping abreast of cutting-edge technology? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rasananda Behera will examine the proposed solutions: Private or public or hybrid cloud Responsible governing bodies How can we accomplish?
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...