Once again, its time for the Dynamics World Top 100 Survey and, once again, I’ve been nominated to the voting list. I assume this is on the basis of my good looks, charm, and Tarantino like writing skills as opposed to any real merit – but, as I say, take ‘em when you get ‘em.
Or something like that. Here’s the link:
Vote early! Vote Often! Vote for me, get a free beer!
I recently attended an ERP cloud strategy update from MS in which they outlined their next few years of ERP activity vis-à-vis the cloud. Here’s what I heard:
SL: No comments. No surprises there.
NAV2013 is in a TAP program on Azure with several partners and will be the first cloud ERP delivery expected to release in Q1CY2013. This will run on Azure, but the IAAS portion of Azure (in other words, it will be using virtual SQL Servers and Application Servers). It is NOT running on SQL Azure. They will also be releasing the web client which will work either with the Azure release OR with an on-premise release. They are also releasing a Rapid Start tool that uses QA interfaces to do initial configuration – clearly this is a method for making the provisioning as fast as possible. Any customer, regardless of licensing, can move to Azure but would have to pay the cost of the hosting (proc time and storage).
GP 2013 releases Dec 2012 and will be deployed on Azure exactly the same way that NAV is. However, they have done two things to make managing the environment a little easier. First, they have allowed the Dynamics system database to be named anything – this will allow a partner to host multiple versions of GP on a single SQL server. Also, they have developed a web based management console for GP that they say allows easier multi-tenant management. They did not show it but said it was available with the general release. I’ve looked at the Beta release of both the Web Client and the Management console. Rough and not ready for a high volume shop just yet. However, I’ve seen lots of cycle releases on the web client before BETA so I think it will improve fast.
AX is the biggest release change for the cloud. v.next AX moves to the cloud 2014/2015 and will release on Azure BEFORE it releases on-premise. They intend v.next to be delivered exactly like CRM Online (a true multi-tenant app I guess is what they mean by this) and will also offer a Windows 8 native interface. The entire client will be rewritten under HTML5 and JScript so it is platform independent, but will have an app wrapper so it can be delivered in the various app store marketplaces. They also intend to take advantage of tablet features (like camera and GPS).
For lifecycle management, they intend to deliver tools that will allow easier movement of code and data between TEST and PROD. Such will be workflow based so that approval events move data and code rather than people having to do it manually. In addition, they plan to manage data moves (like copying live to test) so that less manual involvement is needed (copy prod to test and eliminate any private data while, at the same time, stop any automatic emails, as an example).
They also intend for upgrades to be far more automatic with customer selecting the timing of the upgrade and allowing customer to automatically upgrade a test environment so they can do their own testing. In addition, they will do upgrades to reduce or eliminate downtime by upgrading snapshots and looking at production differential which, in turn, gets upgraded.
Convergence will be where most of this is announced in more detail and they may try to find early adopter customers at Convergence.
Apparently we will be hearing more Dynamics related messages integrated to the classic Microsoft stack as we go forward. Below is their vision of how this works followed by a stack slide showing where everything fits.
I love the above two messages. I think they are will thought out and definitely position the entire stack more cleanly.
One last note: during QA some people asked questions about ISV support in NAV and GP. The answer was very unclear and was something like “Azure is more vanilla so, if they need lots of ISV’s, they may want to go to a hosting partner”. I can’t interpret that at all, so I’ll keep my ears open.
I’m a pretty technical guy. I’ve been working with SQL since the release just before MS bought it. I’m pretty deep in data warehousing and BI. I’m really familiar with Sharepoint. And yet, I was lost within the first 30 seconds of this session.
My fault, completely. This was a developer session run by Andrew Connell and Ben Robb. They warned us it was pretty technical. In my overarching arrogance I thought “Nah, I can deal” and so I stayed.
I, and an awesome team of IBIS folks, are going big brain in Vegas at the Sharepoint 2012 conference. Standby for more…
Dynamics CRM sold under EA or on a credit card in the cloud. Dynamics AX sold under EA. GP and NAV in the cloud. Software margins declining. Plague, locusts and riot abound. Oh, mercy me, what is the Dynamics reseller to do?
No idea. Or rather to many. But to me this looks suspiciously like an opportunity for VAR 2.0.
VAR 1.0 had an easy job. For the most part, we sold high margin software to clients fed by occasional leads from MS; massive interest from clients forced by programmatic (Y2K anyone?) issues or platform changes (Side of web services with that client/server, sir?); and depended on very expensive staff to deliver software training and cutover services that we hoped solved core business problems. However, we mostly focused on getting the system up within scoped budget and time.
Put another way, we sold a disk to run an application on a machine. Then we sent some people out to set it up.
Machine. Disk. People. Machine. Disk. People. Machine. Disk. People. Repeat until profitable.
VAR 2.0 has to approach this differently. The machine is gone – the cloud takes care of that. The disk is gone – the license gets rented. What’s left?
That’s right, the most expensive, time consuming, annoying, unpredictable and intractable part of your business is what you’ll have left. The good news, however, is that with the shiny machine and magical disk gone, you can use your people to focus on what’s most important to the success of your business.
The success of your client.
Screw that, its not scary. It’s a hoot, a holler and a joy. By removing software margin from the occasion we also remove a host of un-natural acts designed solely to drive software sales and not to drive customer success. Now, we can serve the client by giving them better systems to run their businesses faster, more productively and with less cost so they in turn can serve their clients even better.
With machine and disk out of the way, VAR 2.0 can focus on running a deal cycle where the majority of the customers spend is on solving business problems through the proper definition of the business issues, development of rational and productive solutions to said issues, and deployment of same using the tools at hand. No machine. No disk. Just people solving problems.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately so expect alot more on it here.
I pack a whole load of activity into single day so I don’t spend much time watching TV. The other night, in a rare gap of time, the Light of My Life and I caught up on House of Lies Season 1 Episode 3, Showtime’s gut wrenching send up of the consulting industry. In this episode, Don Cheadle and the Pack help a client through a difficult ERP decision while at the same time engaging in a riotous series of shenanigans apparently representative of the life of a consultant on the road.
In light of what this episode revealed about the fictionally glamorous life of ERP consulting, I realized my deep and abiding responsibility to give you, my faithful readers, what this episode may have looked like in real life.
Have you ever accused a co-worker in front of his boss of picking up a transvestite in a bar?
No. Never. I have accused co-workers of being communists, liberals, Latvian Wiener Dogs, moronically pathetic excuses for human beings and lazy. But never would I question the romantic practices of a co-worker. That’s just not respectful.
Have you ever picked up a transvestite named Kiki in a bar?
There was one moment sweet in life when the VC money was flowing, the internet was blossoming into a kudzu covered field green like cash, and the possibilities grew limitless across a never-ending plain of deal flow and increasing prices. At that one moment, when the shackles of the old economy were coming unbound and the feel of adventure vibrated through my very bones I…nah. Never did.
Have you ever pitched woo at a client’s wife to secure a deal?
No. I have, however, taken a lot of overweight middle aged guys to steak restaurants to secure deals. Is there really much difference?
Has the CFO of any client company offered to give you a foot massage?
Sadly, no. And to think I put in so many years of college not to get one.
Have you ever intentionally failed an ERP recommendation to a client board to drive the company into the ground and secure a juicy consulting contract with the buying company who you just happened to let know about the pending ERP failure?
Juicy contract? Hmmm. Probably not. Sounds more like something Polino would do.
I am about one week or so into the Windows 8 upgrade experience and have the following random thoughts:
This is a very App oriented as opposed to document oriented experience. Whereas Windows XP through Windows 7 drove you off the desktop or document list and hid the menu behind the Start – Programs button, Windows 8 drops you right into the main apps menu. Mine is below:
This initially really frustrated me since I don’t care much for the apps, I care about the documents. However, once I started using it, I began to see the method behind this. The Desktop is still there – just hit ESC or click the Desktop icon showing IBIS above – and is just as integral for documents as in previous versions. They just made the Start button a much, much better apps browser accessible from the Windows key (or hovering in the bottom left corner) or manageable on a touch screen.
The metro apps that come with the product suck – part 1: Well, to be fair, the calendar is adequate and looks very iPadish.
- The metro apps that come with the product suck – Part 2: The email client also looks very iPadish. However, it has two major flaws: it doesn’t integrate with our email signature software AND it doesn’t allow you to accept and manage meeting requests. Big problem for me. It’s a decent concentrator for all my Hotmail accounts (I have 4, plus a gmail, yahoo and three personal domain accounts), so that makes it moderately useful, but since I’m working on the desktop most of the time and not using a touchscreen, Windows Live Mail is still a better product.
- The metro apps that come with the product suck – Part 3: Actually, the Skydrive app really rocks.
- The metro apps that come with the product suck – Part 4: Actually, Andy bought me an experimental new mouse design to mimic touchscreen behaviors. It takes some getting used to but its working pretty well and helping me enjoy the experience more.
There’s a host of new features that I haven’t even touched yet. But, for now, it’s a guarded “I kind of like it”. When the touch screens come out, I’m definitely going to be an early adopter and I look forward to using the same OS setting across phone, touchpad and laptop.
More to come later,
First it was “softwares”, “ERPs”, and “CRMs”, the ignorantly used plural forms of the group nouns “software”, “ERP” and “CRM”. Now, they’ve done it again.
Folks, “Incentivize” is not a word. I know you can find it in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary (also known as the Dictionary for the Lazy and Stupid) but, much like Chechen mail order brides or Viagra without a prescription, just because you find it online doesn’t make it right.
The noun is “incentive”. That means “something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action”. If you want to make that a verb, you either use “incite” (which I admit sounds really awkward) or you use it properly like “We can use a good incentive to help the sales team increase revenue” as opposed to “Let’s incentivize the sales team”. Don’t ever use “incent” – that’s just a degraded from of “incentivize”.
I didn’t “inventize” a new hiring process at IBIS. I didn’t “wifeicize” Kerri when I married here. Kerri didn’t “birthicize” our two daughters and, on the 15th and 30th your employer doesn’t “payicize” you.
Remember, the guys that started this crap are the investment bankers and MBA’s that cratered the economy from Wall Street. Don’t buy into the madness and stop using it. In fact, next time I hear someone use this I will reach across the board table, smack them with my laptop, then stand over their prostate body and pour a hot cup of coffee into their ears so the last thing they hear is my voice screaming “Incentivize is not a word you ignorant corporate drone!”.
And I will be applauded.
Join my rebellion!
#WPC12: WWPC 2013 (#WPC13) will be in…Houston.
Darn, I can’t wait to get mugged again like last time. July 7-11.
#WPC12: I’ll admit, I got here a bit late arriving at the start of the Kevin Turner strategy discussion. I’ve heard a few people talk about Kevin’s public speeches and comment he doesn’t get it – I disagree.
Kevin focused on what FY14 execution needs to look like but don’t kid yourself – he was pitching the Partners on Microsoft. He did an awesome job – clean, tight, meaningful. He had ton’s of good info, but here’s what I picked out:
- XP goes away April 8 FY 14. As Kevin put it, “fifteen great years, but its time to put it to sleep.”
- SQL Server 2012 is a big data platform – and that is really, really important to MS.
- Office 365 is critical to the MS Enterprise strategy and is how they think they will hold of Google
- Dynamics AX and CRM are critical components to their productivity strategy as line of business apps. In fact, the slide said “We have to win with AX and CRM”. Hope you GP, SL and NAV partners hear that message. Time to start thinking about product expansion, services commoditization, or opex efficiencies.
- Sever 2012 is targeted straight at the heart of VMWare ESX
- System Center 2012 is going to be increasingly important to manage the plethora of devices and services being used in the enterprise, including those not run by a MS product.
- And, finally, keep repeating after me, Windows 8…Cloud…Windows 8…Cloud….Windows 8…Cloud…
- Kevin, I know you are closet TDOR fan and I thank you for it. You did an AWESOME job today – thanks for the preso.
- More later.