As a longtime WPC-observer with a perspective geared toward Microsoft Dynamics, I'd like to share some of my initial impressions on this year's WPC 2016 in Toronto and highlight some of the important trends you'll find more detailed analysis of in this year's WPC Business Report for Dynamics partners.
These are among the most important stories - and questions - coming out of WPC 2016:
- The overall focus on this WPC event was on Digital Transformation. Important for both big and small companies. For companies both in mature countries as in emerging countries. And of course also important for both Microsoft and her partner organizations!
- Every single partner should consider where they are today in this transformation process. The ones that haven't started yet have no time to lose. And the ones that have already made a start should consider speeding up. Microsoft tends to support the more innovative and cloud-ready partners over the remaining partners. So make sure you're don't get left alone!
- Microsoft is broadly perceived as being back at the top of the industry. During the event, we saw an impressive stream of innovations and new products. Over the last week, many people talked about Microsoft as "the world's biggest start-up". Or as Tim Campo, CIO of Facebook, explained about his company's selection of Office 365 for their 13.000 employees worldwide: "Microsoft got cool again".
- The Dynamics products made a remarkable revival! Only 4 years ago during WPC 2011 in Los Angeles, CEO Steve Ballmer felt himself forced to state that "the Microsoft Dynamics products were strategically important" in order to exorcize rumors on a potential close. This year, the very first thing Satya Nadella mentioned in his keynote was Dynamics 365.
- The announcement of Dynamics 365 was no coincidence. In all sessions and presentations you could see, hear and almost feel that many walls between the former silo's within the Microsoft corporation are coming down. Or even have been demolished already. The One Microsoft ambition is no longer a dream - it's right here!
- Dynamics 365 is shaping up to be a modern end-to-end cloud business solution based on ERP, CRM, Office 365 and Azure. The solution architecture will introduce a new Common Data Model for integrated apps and incorporates Power BI, Cortana Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. This new solution comes in two flavors: a Business/SMB edition for 10 to 250 employees and an Enterprise edition for 250+ employees.
- So 13 years after the acquisitions of Great Plains and Navision Software the Dynamics Group is now finally incorporated in the Microsoft organization. Direct impact: less distinction between Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP, and Microsoft Dynamics as a whole integrates ever closer with the rest of the Cloud and Enterprise organization.
- Independent Software Vendors (ISV's) play a more important role in the Microsoft strategies than ever before. ISVs have always been extremely important in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. Microsoft continues to send the message that it believes that ISV's are key for success in both industries and workloads.
- Regarding the "stand-alone" ERP products, Microsoft confirmed that AX, GP, NAV and SL will continue to be further developed, updated and supported as ever before.
- At WPC 2014 the Partner Account Manager (PAM) role expired and was replaced by the new Partner Sales Executive (PSE) role. This time Microsoft decided to replace the PSE role again by a new role called Partner Channel Development Manager - in short PCDM. Other than the PAM and PSE in the near past, the PCDM will have a focus on recruiting new partners. Interesting of course is to see what this means for you as a partner.
- The Cloud Service Provider (CSP) program is the basis for all Microsoft Dynamics partners to do their business in the foreseeable future. The importance of understanding CSP was stressed in nearly every single session. So every partner should understand what CSP is and how they can benefit from it.
Guus Krabbenborg's twelfth annual Business Report from WPC is available now! More information on how to get your copy can be found here.