The following is a blog post written by Terry Petrzelka, founder and former CEO of Tectura Corporation.
Back on August 3rd of this year, I wrote a blog post reacting to the announcement of Dynamics 365 and the CSP business model titled “WPC 2016 – The Dynamics Channel Gets Slapped in the Head.” I shared my initial thoughts about the impact that Dynamics 365 would have on the channel and the challenges that VAR’s would face. Among my many observations was this one:
“Dynamics partners must prepare for new competition as Microsoft will not only be recruiting and enabling existing Microsoft platform partners, but also NetSuite, Intacct, and Acumatica resellers.”
Since then, I have been monitoring developments, meeting with Microsoft folks and talking to resellers, ISV’s, and other of the Dynamics community about the possible impact of these changes. On this topic, I received mixed feedback from partners. While some agreed, many doubted that traditional platform partners would be interested in or able to compete in the ERP space. Hadn’t Microsoft tried to enable the traditional channel to drive CRM and hadn’t that generally failed? How could companies who focused on Office 365 or infrastructure solutions be able to sell or implement an accounting or ERP solution?
Since launch, we’ve learned that Microsoft is investing in Dynamics 365 training and enablement resources to broaden the community of partners selling Dynamics 365 and I believe partners should be fully aware of and prepared to capitalize on these changes. Yes, based on the history of CRM I can understand why many doubt that Microsoft will be successful as Microsoft makes these investments. However, we have now experienced the launch of new a program that partners need to be aware of.
Ingram Micro and BDO have teamed up to provide fixed-rate implementation service package that any CSP partner affiliated with Ingram can resell. From their literature:
Set your customers up for success from day 1 with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials
Use the resources of the world’s #1 professional accounting firm for small businesses to help your customers get up and running with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials quickly and easily
At BDO, we know that your customer’s business depends on transparent and accurate unit level financial reporting. We also understand that your customers have more pressing matters than implementing accounting software. Use our services a little or a lot – you decide. We have 3 different service offerings for you to pick based on your individual customer requirements.
This is another indication of how the traditional business model of Dynamics resellers is changing. I don’t imagine this is the last program of this kind we will see as I’m sure the other big channel players will have to follow suit. These programs represent a challenge to the traditional Dynamics VAR model, especially for smaller VAR’s who have relied on local presence and relationships as their only differentiator. The community of small platform or traditional VAR’s is significantly larger than that of Dynamics VAR’s. They are onsite and in communication with customers much more regularly that ERP providers. If programs like this are successful, they would be able to offer their own local presence coupled with the BDO brand and expertise creating a potentially powerful new competitor.
They’ll be able to sell and deliver Dynamics 365 solutions with no investment in training or headcount. They can and will compete with traditional resellers.
While challenges like these exist, there is certainly opportunity as well for the channel and I’d like to engage partners in discussing how they’re positioned for the future. The engagement with the influencer community is another challenge in itself, that needs to be understood, analyzed and necessary plans developed. To that end, I will be moderating another webcast in conjunction with SBS Group on Thursday, January 12th, entitled “Impact of Dynamics 365 on the Channel – What Have We Learned and What’s Next?” You can learn more and register for the webinar by clicking here. I also welcome comments here on the blog or feel free to email me with your thoughts at Terryp@ThePetrzelkaGroup.com.