#ScrewedAgain

by Peter Joeckel

Okay…so the title of this article is not really a hashtag that you see in the Microsoft Dynamics channel, but it would be if people were not big fraidy-cats. More specifically the hashtag would be #ScrewedAgainByMicrosoft.

Let me explain.

As a longtime Microsoft Dynamics Partner that has worked in both the Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics GP world, I constantly hear this complaint from my Microsoft Dynamics GP friends. Every Convergence or other Partner-related event is an opportunity to vent about the latest indignities visited upon the downtrodden Microsoft Dynamics GP channel.

Everyone knows the issues by heart. Primarily that Microsoft Dynamics AX gets all the love, and Microsoft Dynamics GP folks are getting the scraps that fall off the big boy table. Coming back from New Orleans and the FY15 Microsoft Dynamics kickoff event, I can report that there is now even more evidence to alarm the Microsoft Dynamics GP crowd. Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are all the rage, right behind the cloud and moving everything to Microsoft Azure as fast as possible. Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and Microsoft Dynamics SL are now all lumped together and referred to as Microsoft Dynamics SMB.

This is great news because misery loves company.

Let’s analyze that for a minute: S…M…B! As in small and medium-sized business. Small and medium. Maybe just a little bit bigger and more sophisticated than a QuickBooks install. Not BFB, big and fabulous business, but small and medium.

If all of my eggs were in a good-sized practice dedicated to selling and servicing Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers, I would now be concerned as well.

So is there really an issue? Of course there is, but I don’t think it’s time to panic…tomorrow maybe, but not today.

Figuring out when to actually panic requires some analysis of what is happening. Here is my condensed version:

  • Microsoft is worried about competing with Google, Apple, and other giants like itself.
  • The Microsoft Dynamics business is just a portion of the business that is Microsoft as a whole. As such, I doubt most at corporate even knows what Microsoft Dynamics GP is, never mind figuring out strategies on how to screw Microsoft Dynamics GP Partners.

As far as Microsoft corporate is concerned, all they know about Microsoft Dynamics and all they care about are the following:

  • Number 1-10: Azure…oh yeah, that is not Microsoft Dynamics, but hey…you get the point.
  • Number 11: Microsoft Dynamics CRM, because that has the greatest possible opportunity to get people into “cloud licensing” or the golden goose; repetitive revenue.
  • Number 25: Microsoft Dynamics AX: If we can only figure out how to spin up as many servers on Azure as possible to run Microsoft Dynamics AX, we might someday stop giving awards to competing ERP Partners!
  • Number 123 or maybe 233 (I was not taking notes fast enough): Microsoft Dynamics SMB. Let’s see, if we can get all the Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners to sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM licenses. Hmmm…oh just forget it.

I know all this to be true because I am a Microsoft board member, and I sit in on all of their important management meetings. Just kidding. Actually I am guessing based on observation anecdotal evidence.

Bonus points: Is that deductive or inductive reasoning?

So how do you deal with this environment to avoid #ScrewedAgainByMicrosoft NON-POSTS?

  • First and foremost, ignore it. It’s not intentional. Never was and never will be. It’s just a big company with bigger fish to fry.
  • Recognize that it is happening and plan accordingly. The biggest short-term threat is from competitor messaging. You have to have a good story when your prospect tells you that they “heard” that Microsoft is discontinuing the Microsoft Dynamics GP line.
  • Don’t panic and pick up new products. New mid-market ERP vendors are taking advantage of the dissatisfaction in the channel using it as a recruitment tool. I would, too. But is the grass really greener? And what is the real cost of picking up a new product?
  • Don’t forget the power of the installed base! Just because Microsoft wants everyone to buy Microsoft Dynamics AX or convert to it does not mean it is going to happen. Project Green anyone? With Partners panicking maybe this is a good time to be a great remaining Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner.
  • If you can’t beat them, join them. Add a Microsoft Dynamics CRM practice or figure out the opportunity in upgrading Microsoft Dynamics GP customers to Microsoft Dynamics AX. Hint…it’s fantastic.
  • Additional revenue. There is a goldmine of “non-VAR” revenue in your installed base. In some cases more than for a software and services sale. Believe me, I’ve done it.

Or if all else fails, grumble and pout.

Enough for today, I have a Microsoft Dynamics Partner program update I have to read, and I’m sure it’s not good.

 

Peter Joeckel is the president and founder of TurnOnDynamics, a Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner that specializes in manufacturing implementations and transitioning clients that have outgrown Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Additionally, TurnOnDynamics focuses on the strategic concerns of executives and owners with a unique Dynamic CFO Service offering. Learn more at www.turnondynamics.com, and reach Peter at Pjoeckel@turnondynamics.com.

Want to read the one about hashtags? Check out the Fall 2014 The Partner Channel Magazine.

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