Peter A. Jensen
I have been with Microsoft since 2002, but I have been with Dynamics even longer, starting out with a Dynamics NAV partner in 1992. I currently lead the Partner Programs team in the US Dynamics organization and look forward to keeping in touch with the US Dynamics Partner Community on this blog.
Our United States Microsoft Dynamics Partner Team is excited to announce the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Industry Summit 2.0. Come together to build stronger industry connections amongst Microsoft and your peers!
The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Industry Summit 2.0 will be held February 11 – 14, 2013, at the beautiful Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. Building upon the momentum and feedback from last year’s industry summit, we are also adding an emphasis on role based training by industry.
By attending this course, you will gain:
· Role-based skills transfer on Industry priorities, insights, tools, and resources
· Insights for partners on deeper vertical strategy
· Knowledge and connection points for ISV solutions that complete Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions for industry and/or vertical
· Unlimited Microsoft-to-Partner AND Partner-to-Partner collaboration
For specific details including registration information and sponsorship opportunities, please visit PartnerSource.
In addition, the Advanced Presales Workshop will bookend the event. Learn more.
Special guest post by Microsoft Dynamics partner: Matthew Woodward, SMBSuite
There are many reasons to attend Convergence. But as David Letterman puts it, here are the top 10 reasons:
10) Hear product and roadmap updates directly from the Microsoft product team. See the roadmaps in action and begin to plan for the technology.
9) Meet with Microsoft executives and those you have talked with on the phone but never met.
8) Receive information on last half offers before anyone else.
7) Education! You know you are multi-tasking, only half paying attention to the online learning you have participated in. It will be worth your time to attend Convergence for the learning opportunity alone.
6) Visit the expo and see the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace in action. Meet the companies behind the products. You will be surprised what you learn.
5) Get your head in the clouds! There are many benefits to the cloud. Do you really know how much time and money transitioning to the cloud can save your organization? Do you even know what solutions are available?
4) Networking. Meet other companies like yours and learn from them.
3) Evaluating the possibility of purchasing Microsoft Dynamics solutions? There is no better place than Convergence to conduct your evaluation. Shh… but there are always good purchasing offers for prospects who attend.
2) New Orleans! Great food! Great golf! Great weather! Great time!
1) It would take you 12 months to accomplish what you can accomplish in 4 days at Convergence!
Visit PartnerSource to download marketing materials, the Convergence 2013 Partner Guide, customizable email templates, and more.
Special guest post by Microsoft Dynamics partner: Andy Vabulas, I.B.I.S., Inc.
In my role as a Microsoft Dynamics partner, I have been to every Convergence except for the very first event held in Orlando, FL. Convergence originally started out as a 100 person event held in 1997 at the Buena Vista Palace – a facility that no longer exists. The originator was Doug Burgum, founder and CEO of Great Plains Software whose intention was to develop a community that encouraged partners and customers to build strategic business relationships.
What a great idea – a conference to bring people together to build relationships! Throughout the years, the conference has exceeded its original goal and has evolved to be so much more than a community gathering – it is an energetic forum that presents the attendee an opportunity to learn Microsoft’s directions, develop or enhance product skills, and explore extended solutions all focused around the Microsoft Dynamics product lines.
That said, the original intent of connecting and networking with peers is still very much alive and well which is the true secret to Convergence’s success.
I absolutely LOVE attending Microsoft’s Convergence. It is my favorite Microsoft event and the best business conference in the market today, hands-down. For me, attending Convergence has begins with a ritual that involves proper planning in order to drive clients to attend and then delivering an over the top client experience. A great example of a Convergence client success is the November winner of Share Your Convergence Story contest. Michelle Martin Kocher from Delta Medical Systems, an I.B.I.S. client, shares her story on how she became a believer after her first attendance in 2009. Read Michelle’s experience here.
It takes a bit of work to maximize your Convergence experience. You can’t fall off the turnip truck at the foot of Bourbon Street and expect to get the most positive Convergence experience. I personally take planning for this event very seriously and devote enough time upfront to insure I make the most out of the many opportunities Convergence offers.
Here are a few ways I plan for Convergence:
It is true that I will spend more hours awake than asleep while at Convergence – with some of my best meetings being held at the evening events. I will leave New Orleans utterly exhausted. Yet I will take with me a sense of energy that will passionately drive me over the next 12 months. I will leave with fresh ideas, answers to burning questions, and have new tools in my company’s solutions arsenal. Most importantly, I will have a list of new contacts and friends to add to my Outlook upon returning to the office. Priceless!
Visit PartnerSource to download marketing materials, the Convergence 2013 Partner Guide, customizable email templates, and more. To stay up-to-date on Convergence developments sign up for partner email alerts.
Enter the Convergence Share Your Story contest and you could win a $250 gift card - and a FREE PASS to Convergence 2014. Check out the full contest details.
Microsoft is excited to announce the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013. For more information please take some time to review Errol Schoenfish’s blog post on The Edge.
Additional partner resources are found on PartnerSource:
· Product Download
· Launch Portal
· ERP for SMB Campaign Partner Assets
· Getting Ready for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013
· Pricing & Licensing Readiness
· RAMP Training
Congratulations to our Microsoft Dynamics GP product management team as well as the partner and customer ecosystem on the new release!!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2012 December Service Update Tech Chat Series
After very impressive attendance at our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Training Blitz earlier this week, we are inviting partners to join us for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2012 December Service Update Tech Chat Series beginning next week. This series of 5 events will continue throughout the month of January on a weekly basis.
The announcement of the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM service update has generated amazing excitement – and questions- from our channel. This Tech Chat Series will provide an opportunity for ongoing discussion and Q&A between partners and Microsoft, leading up to the formal readiness courses and materials which will become available closer to the release.
The format for the Tech Chats is as follows:
· Partners can send questions related to the upcoming topic to CRMChats@microsoft.com up until one day before the Tech Chat.
· Microsoft will consolidate the questions and start off each Tech Chat addressing what is top of mind for the Partner Channel.
· Microsoft will then take written and/or verbal Q&A live, from attendees.
Upcoming Topics Include (UPDATED DATES AS OF JANUARY 18):
· Flow UI – December 20
· Lync, Skype, and XBrowser – January 10
· Infrastructure and Deploy – January 17
· Activity Feeds and Yammer – January 24 February 21
· iPad – January 31 February 28
All events will be held at 9:00AM PT and each last 60 minutes. Please register for the series on the Partner Learning Center.
This Practice Manager is a master of both the complexity and fundamentals of business; of people, process and financials. Microsoft Dynamics can help your business deliver results.
Microsoft is excited to announce Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is now generally available in 36 countries. Visit PartnerSource to download the release and access a new feature list document.
For more information, please review the announcement on The Edge blog.
This COO is a master of complexity and a maven of efficiency. He relishes the chance to do more with less. To be connected and in control no matter where he is. Learn about how Microsoft Dynamics can help you unlock the potential of your people.
Special guest post by Microsoft Dynamics partner: Josh Richards, Merit Solutions
Today’s partner channel is drastically different than what it was 10 years ago: working remote, video conferencing, virtual machines, and other web collaboration tools have allowed for long distances between partners and their customers.
However, when it comes to building a strong, lasting relationship with your customers, there’s really no better substitute than connecting live and in person. And what better place to connect than at Microsoft Convergence 2013 in New Orleans? As the premier event for the worldwide Microsoft Dynamics community, Convergence offers ample opportunities for partners to strengthen their relationships with customers and drive a high ROI for the event.
Here are the top five ways you can bond with your customers at Microsoft Convergence 2013 in New Orleans:
1. Make Personal Connections. Microsoft Convergence gives you an opportunity to connect with your customers in a more personal way, outside of the traditional business environment. It also helps customers put a face to a name, creating a deeper connection between customers and the vendors that they use. Remember: People build relationships with people, not companies.
2. Increase the Value of Their Investments. Microsoft Convergence is a great way for partners to help customers get more value out of their existing Microsoft Dynamics programs and investments. Whether it’s walking through the showroom floor learning about potential add-on solutions or sitting in on an educational session, partners have the opportunity to help customers drive added value for their organization.
3. Facilitate Networking. As the trusted advisor to your customers, you know a lot about their business challenges and successes. This puts you in a great position to facilitate networking at the unique environment that Microsoft Convergence provides. By introducing customers to other Microsoft Dynamics customers, you can help them learn what works and allow them to share their experiences with peers.
4. Thank Your Customers. What better way to show your appreciation for your customers’ partnership and trust than taking them out for a night of fine dining, networking, and thanks! Remember, your customers are allowing you to be a part of their success; you can never say “thank you” too much. Plus, if your customers believe that you truly value the opportunity to help them drive success (and not just your success), they will trust you more when you offer additional products or services.
5. Take Advantage of a Customer Testimonial Opportunity. After spending three days ensuring that your customers receive real business value from attending Microsoft Convergence, ask them to spend some time talking about how much they value your relationship. By asking for a customer testimonial, case study, or video reference for you to use post-Convergence, you can create more value for your clients (free publicity) while gaining reference materials to use in the future!
Imagine the difference between a customer that has mixed feelings about their partner, and a customer who wouldn’t dream of buying from anyone else. The partners who drive the most success from Microsoft Convergence look at the event as an investment instead of an expense. They are investing in their brand, their network, and most importantly, their customer relationships.
A Blog Series for Microsoft Dynamics Partners by Kati Hvidtfeldt, US Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Lead.
In the last two Kati Unplugged posts I’ve focused on the importance of the partner’s role in ensuring a successful implementation. That means understanding the customer’s situation, business challenges, and potential issues.
Continuing on this theme, this week we feature ERP Senior Product Marketing Manager Jay Manley’s perspective on the issues customers should consider when selecting a deployment model for their ERP solutions. Jay has worked in ERP for almost 2 decades in various roles including consulting, sales, and product marketing.
This is part of the content Jay presented in his recent webinar, “ERP on Premises or in the Cloud: What's Right for Your Business?” from the Microsoft Dynamics ERP series for SMBs.
I’ve seen a lot of change in the ERP space over the years. One of the more impactful changes is in the way people work on a daily basis. Right now, one billion people are working in some kind of mobile environment through a variety of devices, and those devices are constantly changing. Younger employees in particular demand the convenience of on-demand access to the information they need to do their jobs. Companies that don’t support them in the right way with the right tools will not only lose productivity, but will risk losing their younger workforce to competitors.
Another change is occurring around how we think of infrastructure. We used to think of IT infrastructure in terms of the big data centers in corporate offices. But today even a couple of servers sitting in a back office can be considered a data center. For many companies, servers sit idle 85% of the time, and it can be hard to justify the expense.
And a third change is around IT budgets. Systems age, and the people who work for you get frustrated if your company runs out of disk space or processing power, or if systems are preventing them from doing their jobs efficiently. Even for small data centers it can be complex and costly to maintain and replace the hardware and software every 2-3 years to keep systems running smoothly. Since 2000, IT budgets have been slashed. And an estimated 70% of IT budgets are being spent on server maintenance.
This all boils down to a situation of more demand with reduced resources. Companies need to figure out how to address this challenge in a reasonable fashion. For a long time there’s been a debate on the benefits of maintaining on-premises systems vs offloading and outsourcing systems to a hosting provider in a cloud-based deployment scenario.
Customers may have reasons to keep some systems internal to maintain full control. But they may still benefit from saving on infrastructure and expense by choosing a cloud model for other systems. And by handling expenses via predictable monthly charges, companies take a lot of guesswork out of budget planning.
The good news is, Microsoft now offers deployment flexibility across our product offerings, even those typically thought of as being delivered on-premises. Now ERP deployment options for small and mid-size businesses are offered through a partner-hosted model as well as through an ERP system that is delivered not only on-premises, but also through a web client for remote connection—with no additional software required.
With more choices available, it’s the partner’s role to work with customers to help them understand the best deployment mix—and how they can transform their businesses to take advantage of these new technologies.
To view Jay Manley’s full on-demand webinar, with a Microsoft Office 365/Microsoft Dynamics GP product demo by Microsoft Lead Partner Consultant Jodi Christiansen, view the webcast “ERP on Premises or in the Cloud: What's Right for Your Business?”
To learn more about how to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans visit the Microsoft Dynamics Countdown to the Cloud page on PartnerSource. Go to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/growyourbusiness for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid, and on-premises solutions can benefit their businesses.