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Doug Kennedy's Dynamic Vision

Doug Kennedy sees the potential in Microsoft Dynamics. He also knows that Redmond needs to work on its approach to the enterprise software product line.

The long-time Oracle veteran signed on to Redmond in March and is now vice president of Microsoft Dynamics Partners. He's got a vision to fine-tune -- there's no overhaul needed -- Dynamics and help the suites continue to eat away at the market share of SAP as well as that of Kennedy's former employer.

Kennedy is excited, first off, about Microsoft's plan to differentiate channel members in the partner program with good-better-best competency designations (see RCP's exclusive coverage here).

"The partners are all asking for some sort of delineation between them," Kennedy told RCPU this week at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston. "They see this as a welcome change for them. The ones that are more excited about this are the ones saying, 'I want to grow; I want to be more important, tell me what to do.'" He's hoping that good-better-best, along with a few Dynamics-specific initiatives he's working on, will reduce channel conflict -- something many Dynamics partners would love to see happen.

Kennedy is listening to the "tell me what to do" part, too. For starters, Kennedy feels as though Microsoft could tighten up its Dynamics marketing quite a bit. Microsoft is, after all, telling partners to go vertical if they want to survive -- yet much of Microsoft's messaging on Dynamics is strikingly horizontal.

It's not just about marketing, though. Kennedy said that Microsoft needs to stop taking a homogenous approach to managing Dynamics partners and instead give them guidance that's more specific to their particular vertical industries and specializations.

"We've been managing them all pretty well the same," Kennedy said. "We haven't been pivoting around industries. We need to shift some of our spending into more industry-centric, vertical-centric awareness and demand generation."

Redmond also needs to take a more proactive role in guiding partners in the marketplace, he said: "Telling the partners how they should do things versus us stepping in and helping them do that -- that's what we need to do now," he said, noting that the latter course is the one Microsoft is looking to follow.

RCPU has long said that Dynamics is loaded with potential -- and, in fairness, it's doing very well already -- if Microsoft can just get its messaging straight around the suites and get partners mobilized. If he can put his words into action, Doug Kennedy should be the person to unlock Dynamics' potential.

Posted by Lee Pender on July 10, 2008


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