Microsoft Business Applications Oct 2018 Release Notes

The Business Applications October 2018 release brings significant capabilities to enable partners and resellers to transform their customers’ businesses and generate new revenue. These new services and capabilities become available starting in October 2018. Download this Microsoft document to learn more.


Webinar: Meeting the Microsoft FY19 Challenge Solutions and Strategies for Dynamics Partners

If you missed our June 14 webinar with fill out the form to watch now.

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The landscape for Dynamics Partners is rapidly changing with new challenges to come in FY19. How will you navigate this very disruptive period?

In this webinar Dave Wallen & me survey the current partner landscape, define the challenges, and introduce a variety of ways partners can succeed for years to come.

Discussion Topics:

  • Trends and Challenges for Dynamics Partners
  • Becoming a “Modern” Microsoft Partner
  • Investments You May Have to Make to Stay Relevant
  • Strategies for Profitably Transitioning to a Cloud Business Model
  • CSP Options and Programs for Dynamics VARs and ISVs
  • Other Partner Programs to Ease the Transition

Since Microsoft Dynamics 365 was released last year we have seen the implementation of the One Commercial Partner program and the launch of Dynamics 365 Business Central. In FY19 the requirements for Silver and Gold competencies will be increased, the bar for 1-Tier CSP partners will be raised and the NAV brand will be retired. We hope you join us in our talk about how to meet these challenges.

Dynamics Channel Changes: Adapting & Staying Profitable in the One Commercial Partner Era

Until recently, Microsoft’s channel-facing organization had been relatively stable for years. Lately, the channel has seen major changes to Microsoft’s partnering model, creating hurdles for some partners, but these changes have been necessary for Microsoft to keep pace with competitors and meet new market demands. As the push to be at the leading edge of 3rd platform technology, DX and remain relevant becomes more competitive, Microsoft is refocusing more resources than ever around its cloud solutions. Recent changes like the announcement of the One Commercial Partner Program have reshaped the Microsoft Partner Channel, especially in the Dynamics space. Checkout our whitepaper “Demystifying Microsoft’s Cloud Service Provider Program for Dynamics Partners” to learn how CSP can enable partners to move to modern with minimal shock to their business.

Dynamics Channel Changes

Just as the development teams and product groups out of Redmond were consolidated under the leadership of people grounded in cloud, the partner teams have been similarly reorganized.  Since the launch of the One Commercial Partner program last year, the channel has experienced:

  • The Elimination of a separate Dynamics field organization
  • The early retirement of many long-time Dynamics leaders
  • And the former Cloud/Platform leadership put in charge of the entire SMB space

Microsoft has been reorganized around supporting the One Commercial Partner model and partners who want to continue working with Microsoft and capture new revenue in this time of booming opportunity will need to be able to sell and support Microsoft cloud infrastructure as well as productivity and business solutions.

Leveraging the Cloud Service Provider Program

The Cloud Service Porvider (CSP) program helps cloud and traditional vendors to adapt to a recurring revenue model at their own pace to sell and support Microsoft cloud with minimal shock to their businesses.

Making Margins Work in the Cloud

With shrinking margins and service revenue opportunities, cloud economics requires providers to deliver a greater share of customer IT portfolio, selling more subscriptions across their client base in order to stay profitable. To drive reasonable margins and deliver a better customer experience, partners can bundle solutions to create customer value, simplify pricing models and drive down internal costs.

New Challenges

Microsoft is significantly upping the requirements for the competencies associated with Dynamics 365 with the introduction the Cloud Business Applications competency for partners that specialize in deploying and managing Dynamics 365 solutions. This new competency combines the traditional Dynamics CRM and ERP apps into one competency and significantly increases the number of technicians that need to pass the certifications.

Video: Bring the best out of your people – D365

See how Dynamics customers can bring out the best in their people with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent.

Adding Customer Value with FastTrack

Microsoft FastTrack for Dynamics 365 is a powerful tool for Partners to deliver faster time to value for their D365 customers. FastTrack is a success service that can enable your customers to smoothly and confidently make the move to Microsoft cloud services like Dynamics 365, Office 365  and Enterprise Mobility Suite. Learn more about FastTrack

The Microsoft FastTrack service can help Partners:

  • Provide a great customer onboarding experience.
  • Shorten customer time-to-value.
  • Accelerate your customer engagements through high-margin, high-value services

Checkout Resource 365 for quick paths to selling D365

Get your customers signed up and the Dynamics FastTrack engineering team will provide education opportunities to guide them through their cloud deployment, including usage and adoption. FastTrack will help to remove obstacles during implementation through the following interactions:

  • Regular touchpoints: Touchpoints are biweekly through the Initiate, Design, and Build phases, and weekly during the Deploy and Operate phases. They include 30-minute calls that continue throughout the engagement. Small technical proof points are sometimes provided to help remove customer roadblocks.
  • Workshops: Customers get interactive outcome-based activities that may involve automation and tooling. Customers and Partners can provide details prior to the workshops to customize the sessions to their needs.
  • Tech talks:Provide technical depth and best practices that empower both customers and Partners with knowledge that is specific to the subject areas. These talks often provide an overview of available tooling and/or content.

4 Technology Trends for SMBs

By 2020 the conversation around cloud will no longer be ‘public’ vs. ‘private’ because it will just be how business is done and how IT is provisioned, according to a recent whitepaper from Microsoft: Four technology trends helping SMBs thrive in a digital world.

One of the key trends to keep in mind in 2018 is that cloud computing is no longer just a buzz word. It is becoming the foundation on which businesses are built and grown. As adoption continues to accelerate, ERP customers expect affordable, go-anywhere systems that will grow alongside their businesses.

Microsoft is meeting this demand with Dynamics 365, Office 365 and other cloud based solutions. Of course Microsoft relies on its Partner community to deliver industry specific knowledge and functional expertise to the end users’ implementation.

The Indirect Cloud Service Provider program allows Dynamics Partners to continue to focus on IP and expertise by delivering turnkey D365 practices to resellers. Learn more about getting started as a D365 CSP reseller.

“71% of strategic buyers cite scalability, cost and business agility as the most important drivers for using cloud services,” according to Gigaom Research data found in the whitepaper.

While a stalwart on-premise ERP customer base will continue be present, traditional providers are in a better position than ever to translate their expertise in the cloud to open new lines of revenue a help grow recurring revenue for the business, without a complete re-organization of business.

A key takeaway here is that 2018 will likely be the year that Dynamics channel stops looking at cloud as disruptive technology and start considering the new standard. This represents an opportunity worth $72 billion according to presentation at eXtreme365 this year.

7 Emerging Finance Trends

Technology was identified by business executives as the most important external force shaping businesses, according to a recent whitepaper published by Microsoft. Seventy-five percent of CFOs reported spending 50% or more of their time on strategic aspects of their business according to the whitepaper.

Get more great stats like this when you download the whitepaper on 7 Emerging  Finance Trends…

As we see the technology space change extremely rapidly, we also see dramatic change in the role of corporate financial leaders, many of whom are Dynamics end users.

“The responsibilities of finance leaders have evolved to encompass everything from business strategy to operations to IT risk management. The role of finance now permeates all areas of business as its influence continues to grow,” said Microsoft in the paper.

In the paper you will be able to explore seven emerging trends in finance that will help empower finance professionals to drive performance, better assess and manage risk, and drive corporate strategy and growth for their business. There are a lot of great stats in this whitepaper for general industry knowledge and it will help you conceptualize how Dynamics helps financial pros solve problems and meet new and emerging challenges head on.

Learn about free steps to become a Cloud Service Provider and start building your Dynamics 365 practice »

Resource 365: What to Know About Resource 365

resource 365 tiltWith Microsoft’s Indirect Cloud Service Provider program, getting started with Dynamics 365 is easier than ever for Partners and enables traditional ERP resellers to easily generate recurring revenue in the cloud with almost no upfront investment. However, one thing you will need to invest is a bit of time. We have released Resource 365 to help you minimize your time investment for kick starting your D365 practice.
Check out Resource 365 »

Resource 365 is a concise library of resources and instructions to help partners quickly consume the necessary knowledge and take the proper steps to start generating new revenue in the cloud with D365 and Office 365.

Becoming a Microsoft Cloud Service provider through the Indirect CSP program means all the heavy lifting is done for you by Indirect CSPs like Stratos Cloud Alliance.

As a CSP with Stratos Cloud Alliance you will also be able to sell a suite of other apps and products, including Azure with a cloud marketplace customized for your website.

Enrolling as a CSP is FREE. To learn more about enrolling as a CSP see the first steps at Resource 365.

The SCA Onboarding process brings multiple moving parts together in a systematic experience to help partners quickly launch a Microsoft Cloud Solution Marketplace.  As a strategic go-to-market partner, SCA helps partners launch a D365 practice within 30 Days.

Come back soon as we will be posting updates about the content found at Resource 365.

2018 Channel Predictions – Dynamics DX

We previously reported that Microsoft predicts there will be $72 billion in opportunity for Dynamics partners as Digital Transformation (DX) of the Dynamics channel accelerates. According to Nucleus, ERP vendors will push industry specific IP in order to differentiate themselves  as part of their DX strategy.

“As ERP vendors continue their push to the cloud, delivering more tailored industry-specific capabilities has been the drive for many of the R&D dollars spent,” said Seth Lippincott, senior analyst at Nucleus Research in a recent announcement. “They’re focused on delivering functional depth for cloud-based offerings, of which customers are more accustomed to seeing within on-premise environments.”


The Microsoft CSP program is designed to help Dynamics Partners, ISVs and MSPs start offering Dynamics 365 in 30 days with almost no upfront investment. Learn more about Dynamics 365 partner tiers.

As we approach the end of the year and Dynamics DX continues to accelerate, we thought it would be good to share some cloud and DX predictions from a few independent research firms. If you have any predictions of your own for 2018 Dynamics or cloud leave us a comment:

DX Predictions From Around the Web

By the End of 2019, DX spending will reach $1.7 trillion worldwide, a 42% Increase from 2017–IDC

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2017 estimated spending of $3.5 trillion, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

Digital disruptors are emerging in all industries, and the need for CIOs to embrace digital transformation is urgent, according to Gartner, Inc. In fact, once digital revenue for a sector hits 20 percent of total revenue, digital transformation can’t be stopped–Gartner

The ability to use AI to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience will drive the payoff for digital initiatives through 2025—Gartner

By 2020, robots will engage in work that drives customer outcomes. They’ll reshape customer experience by predicting customer needs, providing customer service, empowering online self-provisioning, allowing in-person self-service, and ceding full responsibility to self-service–Forrester

By 2019, 60% of CIOs will complete infrastructure and application re-platforming using cloud, mobile, and DevOps, clearing the deck for accelerated enterprise digital transformation–IDC


The opportunity for Dynamics partners is growing and the time to seize it is now. As Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 CSP, SCA partners will have access to sell SCAs exclusive intelligent apps, cloud infrastructure and sales enablement tools to quickly launch their Dynamics 365 practice. Partners who are able to differentiate their offerings through industry-specific IP and functional expertise will be highly successful in leveraging the SCA Microsoft Dynamics Partner program.

$72 Billion in Opportunity – eXtreme365 Con

Dynamics 365 and its complimentary apps represent a $72 billion opportunity, according to Microsoft. The eXtreme365 Conference is wrapping up in Long Beach, Calif., where Microsoft has shed a lot of insight into the future of Dynamics 365, particularly for Dynamics Partners. Jeffrey DeMaria from the SCA team snapped a photo of this slide which brakes down the Dynamics 365 opportunity by user role…

extreme365 dynamics 365 opportunity

$72 Billion Dollars in Opportunity for Dynamics Partners broken down by user role, according to Microsoft. Learn more about partner tiers for starting a D365 practice…

In one session, Microsoft  Dynamics 365 CTO Mike Ehrenberg urged partners to start positioning their practices to offer a full suite of applications and not just Dynamics ERP or CRM. “We want [business solutions] to work together, but we want to make it easy to buy and implement just what you want and bring a [solution together] that aligns with the business areas,” he was reported saying by MSDynamicsWorld.

Of course many Dynamics CRM and ERP resellers remain reluctant to invest any resources or time into a D365 practice.

To dramatically reduce risk and eliminate costs for VARs, Microsoft has partnered with the Stratos Cloud Alliance to enable partners to get started selling D365 and add-on apps. With zero upfront membership costs, sales enablement, eLearning resources and a customizable cloud app marketplace, SCA offers turnkey solutions for starting a Dynamics 365 practice. Here is a picture of me presenting the why, what and how of the D365 Cloud Service Provider program for partners. You can access a similar presentation I did with MSDW, See D365 Partner WebCast »

extreme 365

In addition to great learning experiences at eXtreme365, it was great to be in sunny Southern California just before the holidays. Once again, Stratos Cloud Alliance was joined by a “Princess Leia” impersonator and a programmable R2D2 replica. The conversation around Dynamics365 is getting more exciting with each event we go to. We spoke to many partners and customers who are curious and eager about the opportunity. If you missed it, here’s a video recording of Joe Corigliano and Ron Huddleston Keynotes from eXtreme365…

The digital transformation of the Dynamics Channel is in full swing and change is creating a lot of excitement. At SCA, we’re looking forward upcoming events in the Dynamics channel as change seems to come at a faster pace every day.

Here are some more pics from eXtreme365 2017 in LBC.