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Microsoft Tooling Dynamics Partners To Accelerate Delivery

The cadence of version releases isn't the only thing that is accelerating for Microsoft Dynamics partners.

Last week at Convergence, the annual conference for Dynamics partners and customers, the need for speedier implementation times for the ERP and CRM solutions was a common theme. To support those faster deployments, Microsoft is developing configuration, implementation and testing tools for Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX.

CRM Business-Process Templates
Microsoft Dynamics Labs has developed approximately 30 Dynamics business-process templates, according to Seth Patton, senior director of global industry solutions at Microsoft.

"We have built out the business-process templates for specific verticals and are using those to support our go-to-market in those industries," Patton explained. "The templates use the process flows within CRM, but augment the standard sales process to fit the industry -- for example, a case-management process in public sector."

The process templates are built for Dynamics CRM 2013 and available through Dynamics Marketplace for partners and customers to download.

Industry-Specific Repeatable Solutions
For more complete vertical solutions spanning Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX, Microsoft has developed a set of industry-specific accelerators that are available through the Dynamics partner connector program. 

Available for silver and gold partners, "the templates help customers to envision what is possible with business processes and provide a jumpstart for the industry or vertical," Patton said.

Lifecycle Services for Dynamics AX
While Lifecycle Services (LCS) is not a new concept, the term was a popular buzzword at Convergence. This is Microsoft's definition from TechNet:

"Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services provides a cloud-based collaborative workspace that customers and their partners can use to manage Microsoft Dynamics AX projects from pre-sales to implementation and operations. Based on the phase of your project and the industry you are working in, the site provides checklists and tools that help you manage the project. It also provides a dashboard so that you have a single place to get up-to-date project information."

To take on the growing competition for cloud-based ERP, this immediate stand-up of the customer's solution makes sense. Simplifying the process to give customers early insight into implementation progress and deliver training on actual data before go-live is clearly a benefit for partners and customers.

GP, SL and NAV forgotten?
There was no word on whether there will be industry accelerators or LCS for Microsoft's other ERP solutions -- Dynamics GP, SL and NAV. Since Dynamics AX is clearly Microsoft's product of choice to build ERP visibility in the vertical markets, the current accelerators and LCS may be a first step in providing these tools across the ERP solution set.

Multiple partners at Convergence did express concern about Microsoft's apparent singular focus on the enterprise ERP solution.

As the pace of business accelerates, so do customer expectations that business management solution implementations should take weeks or months, not years, to deploy. Fueling some of Microsoft's focus on speed must be the growing competition from cloud-based CRM and ERP that turns on in an instant. Following Microsoft's lead, partners should take full advantage of every opportunity to capitalize on tools that can speed delivery.

How are you accelerating solution delivery for your clients? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share your story.

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Posted by Barb Levisay on March 12, 2014 at 11:36 AM


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