Best case scenario: you’ve selected a Microsoft Dynamics Partner that’s in it for the long haul. They supported you in your on-prem days and helped you nail the transition to the cloud. And, they stuck around to offer ongoing support and proactive solutions for improvement.
But sometimes you end up with a partner that isn’t the right fit. You’re not getting the level of support you need. You’ve outgrown them and no longer see a future together.
Maybe they’re actively holding you back–keeping critical insights from you or leaving you to deal with the fallout of a poor implementation.
Whatever it is, sometimes you need to change partners. In this article, we’ll look at five signs your Microsoft Dynamics partner isn’t “the one.”
1. Lack of Expertise
One of the biggest signs that it’s time to start hunting for a new partner is that your current one doesn’t have the expertise you need to be successful with Dynamics 365 in the cloud.
So, that could mean they lack technical depth or they haven’t kept up with the latest innovations in the Microsoft universe. Think–inexperience with Microsoft solutions like extensions, Power Apps, or Power BI. Or–maybe they’re ill-equipped to handle system upgrades or don’t have the skills required to adapt D365 features to fit your business requirements.
Velosio Vice President Rob Urbanowicz warns organizations to watch out for partners that “lack the skills needed to support business goals. It’s a bad sign if they only focus on legacy solutions (like Dynamics GP or SL) and not cloud-based solutions that will bring your organization into the future.”
Beyond that, you’ll also want to avoid working with partners that focus mainly on developing solutions for a different system–SAP, Oracle, etc.
In that case, even if the partner organization employs Dynamics experts, D365 solutions won’t be the top priority and you could be missing an opportunity to get more from your ERP solution.
Whether it’s a lack of Dynamics-specific expertise or a lack of familiarity with the nuances of your sector, if a partner can’t provide a team of experts with relevant experience, it’s time to cut your losses and move on.
2. Poor Performance
Another major red flag?
Your Microsoft Dynamics partner isn’t getting the results that were promised.
That might mean they haven’t solved key challenges. Or–your current solution is so poorly implemented it’s hurting employee productivity or creating information silos.
It also might mean that the partner’s poor scoping or inaccurate estimations have caused project delays or budget overruns.
In some cases, it might mean the Microsoft partner has misrepresented their credentials.
“One of the more common problems I’ve seen is misrepresentation. A partner tells the client they can accomplish something–citing the skills and track record of the “A team” to win their business. The partner sticks their “B team” on a project that’s out of their depth and doesn’t get the results highlighted in the marketing copy and case studies.” – Sam Miller, Velosio Account Executive
Sam says he’s also encountered clients who have been burned by issues like poor governance or a lack of standards and best practices. He says, “in one instance, the client had project overruns without adequate documentation explaining why the project was over budget–which is a clear indication that there’s a lack of true project governance.”
Inability to deliver what was promised or a failure to meet expectations are obvious red flags. But, as Senior Consultant Eric Kurtz points out, “there are just those clients that are impossible to please no matter the timeliness or quality of work performed.”
He advises companies to look at resolution time and quality of the solution that was used to address a particular issue.
Essentially, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to separate frustrations connected to the problem, from those caused by the partner and look at the big picture.
3. The Don’t Provide Adequate Support
Now it’s important to note that “inadequate support” can mean many different things.
Here are a few examples of what that might look like:
- Lack of responsiveness. Your partner is unresponsive or doesn’t treat issues with the urgency they deserve. This might mean they provide services during limited windows of availability or push you to self-service options similar to those that come standard with your Dynamics subscription.
- Failure to deliver proactive solutions. In some cases, this might mean you’re working with a partner that takes a reactive approach to service. For example, they provide support when you need them to fix a specific issue, but don’t take the initiative to look for ways they can help you improve your business. They don’t understand your needs or consider your business on a holistic level and fail to surface innovative ideas.
- Poor collaboration. Inadequate support might also mean your solution partner is hard to work with. That could mean that they work in a way that isn’t compatible with how your team operates. They might be unwilling to share knowledge that might benefit your organization. Or, perhaps they have poor communication skills or aren’t especially efficient.
In some cases, inadequate support is a “fit” issue, while in others, it’s a matter of poor practices.
Either way, if it’s not working, it’s time to get a new partner.
4. The Lack the Resources to Support Business Goals
Unlike expertise or skills, a lack of resources isn’t always a sign of poor quality service.
Sometimes, a partner was a perfect fit, say, five, six years ago, but no longer supports the big picture plan.
For instance, they might only focus on one market/segment and you’ve expanded into new areas. Or, maybe their team of experts is already spread thin. Rob Urbanowicz advises organizations to move on if your partner “doesn’t have a staff that can scale to meet your needs.”
That might mean they don’t have experts that can assist with specific business areas/new capabilities in D365. Or, it could mean they don’t have the availability to tackle large scale projects on short notice (if at all).
The bottom line here is, you need a partner that can grow with you.
As you look for new potential partners, you’ll want to evaluate your options with the big picture in mind. Look for service providers that invest in innovation–like hiring experts to develop industry-specific reports via PowerBI. Or solutions that take advantage of just-released features like AI-based email content ideas, smart search, or improved audience insights.
5. You Can’t Justify the Costs of Keeping Them Around
Finally, if you can’t justify the costs of sticking with a partner, it’s time to break up.
The most obvious example of this is, you’re not getting the “right amount of bang” for your buck. So, maybe you’re paying support contracts, account management fees, or retainers that seem high compared to what’s delivered.
But, it might also mean you’re hiring new staff or seeking out lower-cost service providers to fill gaps left by your partner.
“Recruiting in-house developers to cut costs post-implementation or looking toward outsourced solutions to pick up the slack” is a big indication that your partner is falling short. – Sreenath Reddy, Director of Delivery
That’s not to say bulking up your internal team or partnering with outsourced talent is a bad thing. It’s just that replacing your Microsoft Dynamics partner with talent you’d normally use for day-to-day work or development projects suggests that you’re not getting the benefits a partner is supposed to provide.
A D365 partner occupies a high-level advisory role. They’re not there to supplement your development team, engage with customers, or pull sales reports.
They should be working with business leaders to gather requirements, create training programs, and identify opportunities to drive “wins” with D365. That might mean developing customizations that enhance business performance. Or–identifying new features that could be used to boost the bottom line from multiple angles.
Over time, you’ll be able to measure the impact of their input and link specific decisions and solutions to tangible outcomes (like profitability, cost-savings, and customer retention).
The point is, if your partner isn’t proactively helping you improve your business, it’s probably time to cut them loose.
The key takeaway here is your cloud ERP solution is the heart of your business.
It houses all of your data and impacts everything you do and every decision you make. It’s a big investment—and a really important one.
As such, it’s equally important to prioritize partnerships that help you make the most of that investment. A bad-fit Microsoft Dynamics partner isn’t just a waste of money and time, it actually prevents you from tapping into the benefits the platform can provide.
Velosio is a full-service Microsoft Gold partner and Value Added Reseller (VAR). Our experts provide solutions and support for D365 and other Microsoft products like Power BI, Office 365, and more.
Book a consultation to learn more about our process, services, and how we support our client partners.