Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

Microsoft Dynamics Partner Events, Information and Tips

June, 2013

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  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Directions 2013 – Act Now: Early Bird Special Extension Ends June 30

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    Directions is the only Microsoft Dynamics NAV event driven by Microsoft Dynamics NAV partners — for Microsoft Dynamics NAV partners. It is designed to help your organization build new business contacts, learn about best practices, and discover valuable tools for execution and success. At Direction 2013 you'll find a wealth of sessions and speakers offering relevant and crucial information to give you the knowledge base you need to be successful. Just as important are the many networking opportunities at the Conference where you can enhance your relationships throughout the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Community.

    Don't miss your chance to be part of Directions 2013:

    · Be sure to attend: October 6-9, 2013, in Nashville, TN

    · The Extended Early Bird registration special ends June 30

    Be a part of Directions 2013 – Register, Sponsor, Exhibit – now.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Getting Started Guide for Microsoft Dynamics – June 2013 Edition

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    Whether you are a new Microsoft Dynamics partner organization or a new employee within an existing practice, this document is designed to help ensure you have the essential resources to set you off on the right foot.

    We have provided you with a step by step outline to help you and your organization get started with Microsoft Dynamics. Broken down through a timeline, each section has steps outlined in which to complete. Instructions and resources to help you complete them are provided on the following pages.

    Download the updated June 2013 Edition from PartnerSource.

    For additional guidance visit the Getting Started page on PartnerSource.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Kati Unplugged: Our Journey to the Cloud Enters the Next Phase

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    Countdown to the Cloud banner

    By Kati Hvidtfeldt, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and former US Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Lead

    Kati color 2004The cloud is more important than ever before. Despite initial resistance, the cloud business in Microsoft Dynamics ERP has grown exponentially. From non-existence we’ve moved to strong performance, with more than 120 active US partners and 60% CAGR on revenue over the four years since we started.

    Because cloud has become an integral part of everything we do at Microsoft, the team has agreed that Microsoft Dynamics ERP in the cloud no longer needs its own blog series. In this final installment of Kati Unplugged, I’ll share my personal perspectives on the journey we’ve taken in the years since I started in my role as Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Lead in the US subsidiary.

    ___________________________________

    Four years ago, when I was leading Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online sales motion as Senior Director, Microsoft Dynamics VP Dave Willis tasked me with navigating the uncharted waters of ERP Cloud. There weren’t many players in the market at that time. There were some startups and a few companies that were shifting from basic financials to bigger, more complex solutions, but it was really just the beginning of cloud ERP.

    Based on lessons I’d learned from my recent experience shipping the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in the US, I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. It would be a totally different game and the change in the organization and the culture would be massive. For example, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online sales team had become more like consultants than sellers, causing a quick shift to alternative ways to help customers out by publishing how-to videos for their customers. I actually wondered if I could personally make this journey. I suppose my Finnish “sisu” (determination and perseverance) kicked in to help me see it through.

    It was clear that we needed to create an onboard path for ERP partners. The laser focus on streamlining marketing and cutting costs of sales cycles was crucial in helping partners succeed in the cloud business. President of SalesWorks Systems George Brown and I prepared to address the partners at the December 2010 Partner Advisory Council on how to become profitable in the cloud.

    Uproar at the PAC

    In our presentation to the partners we were intentionally provocative. We wanted to drive home the message that the business was going to totally change from the current traditional partner business.

    We were very specific in our talking points:

    1. Think: Cloud is like starting a new business unit

    2. Think: New People

    · You will be a hybrid for a period of time

    3. Think: 180 degrees different from where you are today

    · This is a volume game
    · Toss out your old marketing
    · Do not reach out to a prospect more than once

    4. Think: Investment capital is required

    · Internal or externally funded

    5. Think: Change management

    · People need to make the transition

    Across the room, you could almost see the blood pressure rising. Partners didn’t like what they were hearing. They weren’t convinced this was where the market was headed, they didn’t think it made sense and they wanted to know why Microsoft was pushing them there.

    The idea of making a transition on this scale was too controversial and didn’t fit into many of the partners’ business models. But our message was clear: There was a rapidly shifting wind in the ERP business that wasn’t being determined by Microsoft. It was being determined by the market. It was clear I had to change my approach.

    Onboarding Strategy

    Knowing that the market for the cloud would soon start challenging our partners—especially in the SMB space—I needed to act quickly to provide them with a way to respond. Two things were essential for partners to begin adopting a cloud business strategy: they needed professional hosting partners and they needed educational resources.

    Early Adopters and Breakthrough Partners

    I needed to recruit early adopters who could envision the benefits. I needed someone—even just one partner—who would be willing to change and become a showcase ERP cloud partner.

    Although most partners struggled with the transition there were a few who saw the light. One of those first few partners met with me the January after the PAC meeting and shipped a cloud solution that same year—just six months later. On the heels of the economic downturn, the launch was a big turning point for that partner’s business. The partner had to fire people and hire new people with different skill sets to prepare. It was a big overhaul, and although I don’t recommend everyone do it this way, this particular partner has built a strong cloud business as a result.

    We started hosting annual structured networking events at Convergence to help partners connect with hosters and develop synergistic relationships. If not for the handful of partners willing to take the risk and make change, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

    Cloud Educational and Readiness Resources

    At the same time, Pam Kram and I were consulting one-on-one with pilot partners willing to transform their businesses. We looked at all aspects of the business—marketing, sales and services—and recruited Salesworks to conduct cloud workshops and help the partners who were willing to transform.

    The Road to Repeatability (R2R) best practices program was born two years ago. We wove in all the best practices from the cloud workshops and the lessons we learned from our cloud consultations. Many of our early cloud partners were part of that first-year R2R program. Ever since we have integrated cloud across the board: from marketing campaigns like Grow Your Business, to partner readiness, to special programs.

    We launched the “Countdown to the Cloud” website to provide an easily accessible, stepwise approach to getting partners cloud ready, creating a one-stop-shop for all the various cloud tools and resources.

    Looking Ahead

    Through all of the bumps in the road, we’ve delivered what we promised when it comes to Microsoft Dynamics ERP in the cloud. We said we would have web clients for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and we shipped them. We said we would launch products on Windows Azure, and we shipped for both Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV in June. It may have taken a little longer than we wanted, but we have shown our commitment to the cloud and we are there.

    There is a great opportunity today for Microsoft Dynamics partners, in both partner-hosted and Microsoft-hosted solutions. Partner-hosted solutions offer a higher level of service and are critical to the cloud ecosystem. For partners going the Microsoft-hosted, Windows Azure route to the cloud, you will become a hoster and will need to update your company’s skill sets. As with our customers, we offer partners various options to embrace the cloud on their own terms, and we hope all partners are seizing the opportunity.

    In closing this last Kati Unplugged blog post, I leave with the great satisfaction of knowing that our partners are having real successes in their transitions to cloud, and cloud is truly in everything we do.

    _____________________________________

    To learn more about how to determine if, when and how to successfully incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans, visit the Microsoft Dynamics Road to Repeatability page in PartnerSource. 

    Check the Microsoft Dynamics ERP SMB Grow your Business page for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions can benefit their businesses. 

    Finally, I recommend spending a few minutes to see with your own eyes what the “ERP SMB Prospect Experience of the Future” looks like by viewing the video located here.  

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Aligning Your Company's Positioning and Branding with Microsoft

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    There is some great guidance recently shared by the US Partner Team on their blog explaining partner usage of the Microsoft logo, Microsoft product logos, and Microsoft services logos in their sales and marketing materials. In general, the Microsoft logo and our product logos are not intended for third-party use, even by Microsoft partners.

    Take some time to review the blog post for information including:

    • Brand and trademark basics partners should know
    • How to showcase your MPN membership, capabilities, and solutions

    Additional branding guidelines for Microsoft Dynamics partners are found on PartnerSource.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Microsoft Partner Info Windows Phone Mobile App – June 2013 Update

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    Fellow blogger, Eric Ligman, has recently deployed some new enhancements and features to this Windows Phone app. Zip over to his blog to learn about the exciting new information including how the app is being repurposed.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Special Device Opportunity at WPC 2013

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    Jon Roskill, corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group, has announced via the Digital WPC blog a special offer to make Surface easily available to WPC partners.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Getting Ready for the Next Major Release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (codename "Orion") Planning Guide

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    Get an overview of the readiness program that is being developed to support the release of Orion. This is a dynamic document that will be updated as we continue toward the Orion launch.

    A sampling of content and information includes:

    • Learning Plans
    • Training Blitz Day
    • Sales Training
    • Demo Scripts
    • Courses & Exams


    Download the latest guide and watch for updates via the Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner launch portal on PartnerSource.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Top Reasons Partners Should Attend Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2013

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    Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2013 hosted by GPPC is the only event this year for in-depth insight into the future of Microsoft Dynamics GP. Register today - you don't want to miss this conference!

    Top Reasons You Should Attend Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2013

    1. Learn about FUTURE WOW! Hear what’s coming for Microsoft Dynamics GP - before anyone else!
    2. Be in the know. Discover everything a developer needs to know about new web client features.
    3. Get ready. Apps for Microsoft Dynamics GP - got your attention yet??
    4. Plan ahead. Prepare to better serve your customers with in depth views of upcoming service and feature packs.
    5. Network. Connect with developers and consultants to share best practices and geek out.
    6. Get excited. Glean the next several years of product vision and focus technologies for Microsoft.
    7. Get schooled. Earn CPE credits from GPPC for a number of sessions.
    8. Go deeper. Get your questions answered with more direct access to Microsoft Development and Support resources.
    9. See further. Learn about App Development and hardware from guest keynote speakers.
    10. Peer Collaboration. Hear best practices from others in the industry - strengthening the Microsoft Dynamics GP community.

    Still Not Convinced?

    11. Have fun. Attend Tuesday’s Welcome Reception for an evening of fun – Midwest style. Enjoy BBQ, beverages, games, and lots of camaraderie!

    Registration is open now and space is limited. Register today to reserve your seat!

    Event Details

    Dates: September 18-20, 2013
    Where: Microsoft Campus - Fargo, ND
    Visit the Technical Airlift website for more information.

    Come Early!

    For even more in-depth training covering three special topics, join us on September 17, for the Support Pre-Conference Training. There will be four full-day tracks focused on HR/Payroll, Web Client, Reporting/BI, and Accelerated Demos.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner Training Blitz Day – July 31 – Register Today!

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    CRM Training Blitz Web Banner or Hero Graphic

    The global Microsoft Dynamics CRM product and partner readiness teams would like to invite you to an online, free 4-hour training blitz on the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM which is launching in the second half of calendar year 2013. During this training, we will showcase the incredible innovation coming in the next release including the new user experience complete with guided processes, the mobile sales application for Windows 8 tablets and iPad, as well as the embedded social capabilities. Come discover how we are making business personal with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

    This event is designed to provide you with role-specific information on the value of this major release. During the event you will have direct LIVE access to Microsoft experts who will be there to answer your questions and support your training experience. Pick the track that interests you most:

    • Sales & Marketing Specialists

    • Technical Overview for Application consultants, Presales consultants and Developers

    With the product launching soon, now is the time to find out about how the key investments made in this product will impact your customers.

    Audience: Microsoft Dynamics CRM marketers, sales specialists, functional consultants, technical consultants and developers.

    Level: 100 & 200

    Training Dates and Times:

    Option 1
    July 31, 2013
    7:00 - 11:00 PT
    (16:00 - 20:00 CET)

    Option 2
    August 1, 2013
    11:00 - 15:00 SGT
    (20:00 - 24:00 PT on 31 July 2013)

    To register or for more information please visit the Partner Learning Center.

    --Kevin

  • Microsoft Dynamics Partner Community Blog

    Now Available – Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics GP on Windows Azure!

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    Head over to The Edge blog for a very exciting announcement from Paul White, Senior Director, Microsoft Dynamics ERP. Here’s an excerpt…

    I’m excited to announce that Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 are now available from partners in the cloud hosted on Windows Azure! This means that starting today Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV customers can take advantage of easy to use, quick to implement business solutions from Microsoft with the added benefit of knowing their solution is hosted on secure, enterprise-class cloud infrastructure from a trusted provider.

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV & GP 2013 on Windows Azure opens up opportunities for partners to reach new customers helps them compete effectively and grow.

    --Kevin

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