Dynasource: The Value of Connections

 

I’ll admit it. The first time I heard “Dynasource” come up in a session, I thought the presenter was saying “Dinosaurs”. She was speaking quickly, and I was a little tired, so hearing “Dinosaurs” had me wondering if it A) was a new R&D naming convention, B) I’d finally lost it, or C) it referred to aging products.

Turns out it was none of the above.

Think of Dynasource as the Airbnb for professional services. You can visit dynasource.com and search for professionals to work on your clients’ projects, list yourself as a free agent for upcoming projects, or offer up your employees and their capabilities as a match for fellow Partners’ needs.

The idea for this Partner-to-Partner resource sharing came from Richard Bross’ own experiences at HSO when he was constantly looking for more consultants or more developers, but not necessarily at the same time, coupled with a conversation that Richard had with then Microsoft Dynamics execs Kirill Tatarinov, Neil Holloway, and Doug Kennedy.

“We were discussing how we could grow the MBS business from $1.5 billion to $3 billion at an advisory council meeting, and they mentioned there were 25,000 Microsoft Dynamics AX consultants within the Partner ecosystem,” says Richard, founding partner of both Dynasource and QBS Group.

“I asked them how they knew it was 25,000, and they said that was the number certified, and that we would need to double that number to 50,000 in order to grow the business,” Richard continues. “I came back with the Columbo question, ‘How do you know all 25,000 consultants are on a project right now?’ To which they answered, ‘We don’t know.’”

“If you look at a Partner org, there are always 20 percent of resources not on a project at any given time,” says Richard. “On one hand, you need resources. On the other, you are over capacity. It’s hard to be profitable in that model.”

If We Start Building It

What if there was a market where Partners had visibility into projects and available resources?

Peter Robin Mijderwijk, then responsible for Microsoft Dynamics in Western Europe, had the same thought and was building momentum on the idea.

“We got lucky by having serious meetings with serious people,” says Richard. “Microsoft told us that if we started building it, they would follow through on the momentum.”

Four years later, and the results are enviable. Beyond enviable, actually:

Dynasource is 22 employees strong and has 10,000 resources in the marketplace.

Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s worldwide Partner group, sits on the advisory council.

Microsoft Inspire 2017 (formerly WPC) will feature the resource used in two Partner cases during keynote sessions.

They’re part of Microsoft’s Partner-to-Partner metrics strategy.

They are the only external group to have a page on the Microsoft Partner Network site: partner.microsoft.com/en-us/marketing/dynasource.

The Dynasource database is integrated with the Microsoft certifications database, validating the certifications of the professionals who list themselves as project resources on the site.

Yet Richard says they haven’t really started yet.

“It sounds stupid as we’ve been around for three years, but right now it feels like we have the momentum where we can start making a difference,” says Richard.

Part of that momentum stems from the fruition of the Microsoft stack story. The other is from the need for Partners to grow services revenue as margins recede.

“Microsoft is seeing an explosion of technology and capability right now,” reflects Tim Wolff, CMO for Dynasource. “Customers have seen the possibilities and require digital transformation technology, making it more important than ever to share the resources that are out there. Microsoft has 600,000 plus Partners, a majority of which have 50 to 100 people, which makes it difficult to have stack expertise in one company.”

“There are just a few Partners out there that have all the capabilities in house to make this digital transformation, has said that the only way this will work is if Partners work together,” adds Richard.

Truly, Just Getting Started

That statement alone affirms what Richard said previously: Dynasource is just getting started.

“We’re having a conversation right now with Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) about their resource needs,” says Richard. “The way it works now is that MCS signs a deal, and then they send emails to system integrators (SIs) to see if they have people who can start the next week.”

This just-in-time fulfillment process forces Partners to make the constant decision: Take the “quick” Microsoft dollars or stay on task with current projects?

“We’ve finally turned a corner, and MCS agrees that we need to change the system,” continues Richard. “They’re going to use Dynasource to upload future projects, those happening three to six months from now, so that Partners can plan ahead.”

Partners with Microsoft Dynamics expertise are also poised to experience demand from “classic” Microsoft Partners who now want to be part of the Dynamics 365 story.

“We’re having conversations with Partners who don’t have that Dynamics knowledge and need it to fulfill a project,” says Tim. “The cloud is also bringing global capability to have SaaS solutions, but Partners are in need of local specialists to bring them to market in the country of international customers.”

Sharing Experiences and Skillsets

“If you really look at the ecosystem, how many Partners have the operations, financials, and CRM competencies? It’s inevitable that Partners start working together by sharing their experiences and skillsets,” adds Richard.

“We’re also working under the lead of Gavriella so that Partners who lend resources will get competency recognition for their collaborative efforts,” says Richard. “Right now, if you’re doing a project with other Partners’ people, the competency only goes one way. With Dynasource, those lending the resources AND receiving resources will get recognition.”

“On top of that, we see that the biggest value is for those Partners who have profiled themselves so they are discoverable based on their qualifications,” says Tim. “We have a connection to the Microsoft certification database, so you know that experts are vetted against that database.”

“This is a big one,” says Richard. “If you go to LinkedIn and saw my profile, I could say that I have expertise in Dynamics Financials, but you wouldn’t know for sure if that’s true or false until I work for you, and you find out that I was a drummer instead of playing the guitar.”

As mentioned in the enviable list above, Dynasource is the only external to Microsoft entity that is integrated into Microsoft’s certification database. On top of that, Dynasource uses a standardized way of listing resources’ skills, making your search for a consultant a more apples-to-apples examination rather than ciphering how skills and competencies might rank across candidates.

Building up Content

“A marketplace is all or nothing, and you’re just as good as a marketplace as the volume of what you have,” says Richard. “We talked to the people behind Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon – people who know everything about marketplaces – when we were going through our funding process, and the key for each of them is volume.”

Richard continues, “In talking to Spotify, it took a long time for them to get serious artists involved. Now they have almost every song. We had nobody when we started and then a couple hundred and now 10,000. If you do a search, you may find somebody now in Fargo as opposed to Chile.”

“Those companies have their marketplaces secured, and we want to claim the category of sourcing professionals for the IT industry,” says Richard. “If we dream bigger, we leave the word IT out, and we claim the category of sourcing professionals. We need a lot of money to make that happen, and the good news is that we’re raising a lot. We also need commitment, and the good news is that Microsoft realizes that Partners need to work together to speed up deployment and implementation.”

Currently, and for the near future, Dynasource is a free service to Partners, for both resource listing and utilization.

“We don’t want to be part of the transaction between Partners,” says Tim. “We’re the enabler. We believe in building up content and the quality of the database and that in the end, the monetization will be easy as Partners will see the value.”

Either You’ll be Out of the Game or You’ll be Part of the Change

According to Richard, the question that Partners should be asking themselves is how long they can survive without sharing resources with other Partners.

“We’re in a time of enormous change and opportunity, seeing the success of changing business models and how that changes industries when something is disrupted,” says Richard. “Bottom line: Either you’ll be out of the game, or you’ll be part of the change.”

When Richard spoke with larger Partners two years ago, they loved the idea but did not like the idea of sending their employees to competitors.

Tim adds, “It’s a mental status. It’s pretty scary to loan your car or house to somebody you don’t know yet (using the examples of Quora and Airbnb), and that’s the same for a Partner. It’s scary to loan your employees to somebody you don’t know yet.”

That thought process has come around in the last two years, largely driven by Microsoft and their commitment to Dynasource as a platform and Partner-to-Partner initiative.

“We’re a search engine and a matchmaking engine, letting supply and demand find each other,” says Richard. “We are the Airbnb for professional services, so don’t wait. Sign up for free at dynasource.com.” 

This article originally appeared in The Partner Channel Magazine Winter 2017 issue. Check out more articles from this issue here.

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