The Directions EMEA conference, which finished on 6 October in Madrid, Spain has confirmed that although Microsoft’s main strategic focus is Microsoft Dynamics 365, it will continue to develop Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Announcing that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 will be released in December 2017, Microsoft has also assured partners that it does not require a rapid switch to the cloud from its partners and independent software vendors. Instead, Microsoft declared its support for partners in their transition to the cloud by developing a set of best practices and tools.
In the keynotes, Microsoft's general manager for Dynamics 365 Marko Perisic substantiated for the new strategy and product vision by presenting the Dynamics 365 Tenerife ecosystem in which integration with Office 365 is the key profitability booster. Kees Hertogh, senior director of product marketing at Microsoft, also presented the concept of the simplified Dynamics 365 offering ensuring fast and smooth deployment for customers, encouraging partners to enroll in the Cloud Solution Provider programme.
Dynamics 365 Tenerife will be available both as a business management application suite and business application platform, which will enable partners to enhance it with their own vertical solutions and apps. A continuation of the current Dynamics 365 BE for Finance and Operations, Dynamics 365 Tenerife will be released as a cloud-based product in spring 2018. Work on the on-premise version will take longer. In addition, the Dynamics 365 product package will include solutions for sales and marketing, and will also be available in spring 2018.
Looking at market expectations, Microsoft has also changed its approach by withdrawing from the distinction between Dynamics 365 Business and Enterprise editions. As Kristi Hofer, cloud business solution director explained, the company-size based criteria might be confusing for customers. The new approach ensures users make their choice of ERP system based on the functionality needs and not on the number of users. This also means that Microsoft has to revise their price points.
"After Directions NA in September, Directions EMEA 2017 in Madrid has definitely provided better clarification of Microsoft’s product vision and roadmap that caused many concerns among the Dynamics Partner Community," said Christian Sega, the chairman of Directions EMEA. "As organisers, we are satisfied that Microsoft responded to our request to refine its messaging and consult the strategic issues with the partner community. Nevertheless, some of the doubts remain unanswered including product pricing and the policy for local versions that Microsoft is not planning to provide. As the community, we look forward to future announcements and hope that partners’ recommendations will be taken into account."
Directions EMEA 2017 was the 10th edition of this conference, which is well recognised as a communication platform for both the Microsoft partner community and Microsoft itself. As in previous years, it attracted increased numbers of delegates, bringing together more than 2,150 attendees and 70 sponsor companies. Taking into account the strategic changes to be realised throughout the following year, the next event - which will be held from 31 October to 2 November 2018 in the Hague - might be even more interesting when partners return with feedback on their experiences at Dynamics 365 Tenerife.
Magdalena Janas is a marketing specialist at IT.integro and on the Directions EMEA Committee