ReImagine 2016 was another great conference for the 400 reselling partners that are passionate about Microsoft Dynamics GP. I want to share some of the things I learnt during a very busy week:
What I Saw and Heard vs My Conclusion
What I Saw: Passion and success.
I spoke to hundreds of people and each one of them are part of successful and profitable businesses that serve mid-market ERP customers. These resellers are run by people that have a proven business model and provide a huge amount of value to their customers. Every partner I spoke with explained that they were busy, were looking for more staff and were currently resetting sales records.
Conclusion: Good business people run good businesses. Businesses that deliver value to their customers will always be successful. As technology changes these good businesses will grow with the technology and find a way to run successful businesses.
What I Heard: Microsoft announces Dynamics 365.
Later this year Microsoft will commit deeper to ERP by releasing a full cloud based ERP that they are naming Dynamics 365 – to align with the Office 365 business productivity software. This will be a 100% cloud play to compete with QuickBooks online, NetSuite and other cloud based ERP solutions.
Conclusion: This is a great move by Microsoft and I am excited to see an increased commitment to ERP. I hope this new product will be a raging success and give Microsoft a strong foothold in the cloud ERP space.
What I Heard: Dynamics 365 is an extra offering to compliment Microsoft’s other ERP products.
Microsoft is not about to kill or discontinue their other ERP offerings.
Conclusion: ERP is a huge market. Microsoft currently enjoys the hundreds of millions in renewal revenue they receive from the 40,000 (guess) Dynamics GP customers. Microsoft will continue to develop and support both their on premise ERP alongside their cloud ERP offering. There is no arguing that Microsoft is ‘ALL IN’ with the cloud. There will be more money spent on Dev, more money spent on marketing and way more buzz about the new cloud products. That only makes sense.
Microsoft is unable to make an existing market disappear overnight. Some mid-market customers will move to the cloud ERP’s over the next 5 years and that may or may not be the Microsoft offering. Some mid-market ERP customers will be very happy to stick with their on premise solution. Other ERP prospects will evaluate the costs and functionality of cloud vs. on premise and choose to go with on premise ERP’s like Dynamics GP.
What I Saw: Microsoft will not take GP to the cloud but others will.
There will be no Microsoft offering of Dynamics GP in the cloud. Their only cloud ERP play will be Dynamics 365.
Conclusion: That’s OK. There are many organizations who are wrapping up GP and offering it as a cloud service. Njevity and Rose ASP are making lots of noise about their exciting offerings. The only difference is that you will not be buying this solution form the Microsoft website you will be buying from someone else. I do not see this as a major issue as mid-market companies are not going to jump onto Microsoft.com and buy a new ERP as a whim. ERP’s are hard to implement and I have not seen anything that changes that if you want a fully featured solution. Mid-market companies will still require implementation assistance and they will partner with someone to do this. Buying the software from that company who also offers the entire platform will be a common path to follow.
What I Saw: Microsoft Dynamics resellers are increasing their breadth of offering.
Many partners have realized that there is more their customers want than just an accounting solution. Partners are talking more about CRM integrations, cloud app integrations and Office 365.
Conclusion: This is a natural part of growing your offering to customers. A CRM is not a CRM unless it is integrated to your ERP. Businesses are buying software differently and use many cloud apps in their daily business process. Partners are asking about the best ways to incorporate this as part of their business model and deliver integration between ERP and cloud apps.
What I Did: Delivered an alternate 2 minute presentation.
Given 2 minutes to present on stage I decided to make the most of my time.
Conclusion: People love humor.
What I Heard: Microsoft is tough to deal with.
In one particular session I heard many partners venting their concerns about how Microsoft is tricky to navigate and make strange decisions that do not support their resellers.
Conclusion: Microsoft is a huge organization. Huge organizations are hard to navigate for employees, vendors and customers. Large organizations make bad decisions and are slow to change direction. We all have a choice to be part of the Microsoft reselling community or not and if it is too hard then maybe it’s time to move on. Microsoft has always been a behemoth and as partners we need to find a profitable way through the process and red tape. Could Microsoft be better? Absolutely. Will Microsoft listen to the concerns and take action – probably not.
What I Heard: Microsoft has a dedicated USA based sales team for Dynamics GP.
Anjali Justus is heading up this team of people. They are good people who want the same thing we want – to sell more Dynamics GP.
Conclusion: This is awesome. I look forward to working with this new team and doing all I can to make them successful. Anjali brings a great amount of knowledge and energy to this space and I hope reselling partners make her feel very welcome.
What I Saw: eOne threw a great party.
eOne uses this event to throw a big party for all our reselling partners. We like to thank everyone for another great year by opening up the bar and having a good time. This year we kept everyone active with a yard games bar party – including Giant Connect 4, Giant Jenga, Giant Checkers, Ping Pong, Spike Ball and Bean bag toss.
Another great time had by all and another hefty bar bill!
Overall Conclusion: ReImagine is a great event and I am already looking forward to next year.