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Our key takeaways from Directions North America

Orlando welcomed Directions North America from September 17-20 - the big gathering of the NAV and Dynamics 365 community from North America. As a Directions Sponsor we met with many Dynamics partners and Microsoft representatives.
Marinka van der Eng
September 24 2017

 Microsoft traditionally announces the availability of the new Dynamics NAV (NAV 2018) during Directions. This year’s most notable announcement was the major change in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and the tighter integration of Business within Enterprise edition.

Here is a small recap of our experience and insights from Directions:

Firstly, Directions is always a great place to get reacquainted with existing Partners, and to get to make new friends with new Partners, while getting unfettered access to key Microsoft personnel. Being part of an active and connected community, absorbing all of the latest news, and being innovations in software solutions and business practices is a truly rewarding experience. We also had good conversations about the new SaaSplaza Azure Services. Our Partners appreciated our complementary Azure Services as it allows them to focus more on their core business while leaving the managed services to our experienced team. It also gives our Partners a great new revenue stream. 

ISV Session with Simplanova

On Sunday, we invited our partner Simplanova on the stage to talk about their Dynamics NAV upgrade tools, which we think are of great benefit for any Partner with customers looking to upgrade and migrate older NAV versions and move to the Cloud.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Business Edition

During the keynote on Monday, Microsoft announced the new Dynamics 365 version. With richer features, an integrated, full suite of business apps for sales, marketing, talent, finance, and operations. The major change for the NAV partners and customers is that Microsoft plans a single edition for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations based on Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition, previously Dynamics AX, adding the full capability of NAV. There will be 2 flavors to the new NAV offering:

  • As Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud application, which enables partners participating in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program to deliver a single business management cloud solution to their customers – across key business process areas such as sales, financial management, project management, and operations.
  • Via a business application platform for ISVs, which enables partners who qualify for the Microsoft ISV Cloud Embed program to build and offer vertical cloud solutions directly to customers to meet their unique needs.

Dynamics NAV 2018 and GP 2018 are officially planned to be released by the end of this year.

These announcements have a huge impact on NAV partners, it challenges them to rethink the product strategy. The majority of the NAV implementations are customized today and don’t fit into the ‘general’ Microsoft Dynamics 365 Cloud application and partners are not ready yet to work with NAV extensions nor re-develop all their customizations/IP in NAV extension. Moreover, NAV partners are not ready or willing to setup their own CSP business and to take responsibility for the NAV application availability (SLA), IaaS, support and billing.

Fortunately, Partners and Customers can take advantage of SaaSplaza’s NAV on Azure services that enable all Partners to easily migrate current customer workloads to Azure and as well as offering their current NAV solutions as Cloud service running on Azure:

  • Customizations / ISV add-ons are supported;
  • Priced per user per month;
  • Full Managed Services with 24/7 Support;
  • SLA backed, 99.9% Availability Guarantee;
  • BYOL – Bring Your Own License (Perpetual) or transition to Subscription;
  • Dynamics Partner retains Partner of Record designation.

We fielded a lot of questions from partners after these Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations announcements. Our team had extensive meetings with Microsoft management about it as well, and these talks are encouraging and in the best interest of the partners and customers. We expect more news over the next few weeks, especially during Directions EMEA. SaaSplaza is sponsoring Directions EMEA (October 4-6 in Madrid), and we will keep you posted when new announcements are made public!

For further reading we recommend these sources:

Blog of Alysa Taylor, Dynamics Community

+ Wrap up of Directions North America

What else?

Other news from Directions North America is the importance of CDS (Common Data Service) to provide interoperability between all Dynamics 365 applications. CDS will be available in both the Cloud and the On-Premise version.

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