Through more modular, digestible pricing, and a reshaping of their training and platform infrastructure, Microsoft is making it easier than ever for end-users to get the platform they need – regardless of the niche. Here we explore what this means for end-users, partners, and Dynamics professionals.
It’s less about consulting; more about niche
In the past, Microsoft has relied on a large network of specialist partners to help prove the case of and sell Dynamics AX, NAV and Dynamics CRM to end-users. Taking advantage of a subscription based sales model and ensuring end-users got the right platform implementation for their needs.
Right from the beginning, one disadvantage of this model was that deciding upon, developing and installing the exact business solution specified by the end-user has – more often than not – been a costly operation for the end-user, as it has required a great deal of technical consultation.
With Dynamics 365 (as well as other key productivity tools like SharePoint), Microsoft has now taken on the consulting world by providing products that do not require costly platform implementation.
Easy deployment in 1, 2, 3
What Microsoft has done is make platforms like Dynamics 365 and SharePoint deployable – in at least a rudimentary sense – in just a few clicks of a button. This eliminates high entry costs, and means organisations can get set up without on-premises deployment support.
Online training for Dynamics is also increasing in popularity. This means that organisations like Lynda and Pluralsight are seeing steep increases in instructor-led training videos, and end-users themselves are training their technical teams to learn “on-demand”, rather than book expensive training days led by consultants that charge high rates.
Deployment has also been make simpler by enabling end-users to directly purchase Dynamics licenses through the Microsoft portal. Until a couple of months ago, end-users were forced to purchase licenses through partners.
It’s clear that Microsoft has decisively stepped away from the partner model to a more flexible, cost-effective and direct sales model that aims to encourage SMBs to jump into the Dynamics 365 world without much prior knowledge, or investment. This will offer the smaller companies the ease of exploring entry level D365 and from there they can scale and customise utilising the Partner expertise.
What does this mean for Dynamics professionals?
Ultimately, there’s certainly going to be a shift in the way that Dynamics professionals are trained and encouraged to grow in organisations but the fundamentals of developing, consulting and supporting new larger projects will remain the same.
We are seeing that entry level Dynamics 365 is now easily accessible which offers growing companies the ability to develop and evolve their ERP and CRM solutions as their business evolve.
It’s likely that over the next couple of years, there will be a hunger for more domain experts, as opposed to platform experts. You will need to be an end-user specialist as well as a technology specialist, making soft interpersonal skills as vital as problem solving, logic and technical skills.
Within the Partner market for traditional NAV and CRM we are expecting to see increased demand for technical consultants as end users buy into Dynamics 365, the Microsoft solution for their entire business needs, and look to scale up. With Dynamics 365 for Operations, traditional AX territory, we are expecting that 2017 could be a very buoyant year for project sales as the platform, the cloud, gains-increased accessibility and momentum.
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