Impressions from Directions NA

That’s it; I’m on my way home from Orlando and Directions NA 2017.

And what a rollercoaster ride it has been, I’m not talking about our trip Tuesday to Universal Studio and riding The Mummy. No, I’m talking about all the confusion about Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”. I know I usually write about technical stuff, but this was an exception conference, and sometimes you’ll need an exception handler 🙂 (Some people will get that joke)

Bombshell #1 – We’re not getting a NAV2018 this fall. After the first keynote, we got no information on the coming release of “NAV2018”, strange?
And after the second day keynote is was clear, that a release was not close, not even close, “Spring 2018” was the GA date? That’s 7-8 months from now. The yearly frequency has delivered since 2013 and partners are planning and depending on this. Not getting a release means that partners need to backtrack to customers and potentially will lose business.

Bombshell #2 – The product will no longer have a name. I’m kinda paraphrasing here. This is perhaps the one that confused people the most. Microsoft told us that the product would be a “white labeling” product. Meaning, that a partner should name the offering “Eriks Fantastic ERP Solution (Powered by Dynamics 365tm). This might work well for some ISVs who have their own IP and actually sell their IP under that name. But most partners sell “Microsoft Dynamics NAV“, a really strong brand that carries the long successful history of Navision and the power of the Microsoft Brand.

To add to the confusion, not really a bombshell, but just confusion, the messaging around OnPremise vs. hosting vs. a new term “Bring Your Own Base App” stirred the already shaken partners even more. When ever something says “You can run Tenerife on premise BUT“, partners get an eye tick. I think it’s the old “if you want people to understand one piece of information, don’t tell them two”.

On top of all this, the SL and GP partners, invited to the conference on the promise of a Dynamics 365 offering for their businesses got quite confused and concered about having something to sell.

All the good Mircosoft soldiers (I believe there were 56 of them) worked very hard the next few days to deliver the messages, and some of the bits got more clear (See my interview with Vincent Nicolas for his answers on some of the technical confusions)

One of the details that I didn’t catch until late Tuesday was that the current offering on Dynamics.com for a Dynamics 365 Business Edition trial goes away. This makes a lot of sense, the process of Microsoft handling the incoming leads has been difficult, and partners are having a hard time figuring out how to work with that.

Wednesday, at the end of the conference, Marko Perisic took the stage and did his best to address these issues and he acknowledged that they understand the impact of the two bombshells and they would work very hard on getting a release and get the branding issues fixed.

All this reminds me of the old saying “No plan survives first contact with reality“. I’m pretty sure that there are 56 Microsoft employees on their way back thinking about how to get this right.

I’m sure they will get it right, but man, this week has been a rollercoaster ride 🙂

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