By: Linda Rosencrance
As the clock ticks down to the start of Directions EMEA 2017, which runs from Oct. 4-6 in Madrid, the chairman of the event, is hoping Microsoft will provide attendees with an update regarding the recent announcements and discussions since the Directions North America conference in Orlando.
After Directions North America 2017, which ran from Sept. 17-20, some partners were unhappy and uncertain about news of a delayed rollout of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Tenerife and Microsoft’s unexpected go-to-market plans. But more recent updates have suggested that a NAV 2018 on-premise release will still arrive in this calendar year, before the SaaS Tenerife launch. And some of the most un-popular plans floated at Directions North America, like the transition to only white-label offerings, could be loosened.
Christian Sega, CEO at the Hamburg, Germany-based agiles Group and chairman of Directions EMEA, the community event focusing on SMB partners, is one of those partners who expects better answers.
“I was in Orlando and it was the first time in 10 years or longer that I was really uncertain about the messaging of Microsoft executives,” Sega says.
Currently, the entire channel is somewhat concerned about the future of Dynamics NAV, according to Sega. The channel also knows from recent communications that the concept of Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition and Business Edition is gone.
“We all want to know how [these elements] fits together with the three development platforms: the NAV platform, the XRM platform, which is CRM, and the [AX] platform,” he says.
Microsoft execs stay quiet publicly so far
Sega says partners would like to see executives from Redmond in Madrid, but he doesn’t have any evidence yet of that happening. Although Perisic’s team on the technical side will be at Directions EMEA, Sega would like for executives on the business side, the Dynamics product marketing side, the value proposition side, to attend as well.
“Right now, I and members of the Directions EMEA board have sent several emails and I’m in discussions with the new people from Microsoft’s leadership team,” Sega says. “Members of the board of directors has even emailed Satya Nadella and he forwarded the communications to Scott Guthrie [and others].”
Despite the contact with the executives, Sega says he still doesn’t have confirmation that any other executives will be at the event.
“This is disappointing to me because I told them that we have the biggest audience ever, we have 2,050 attendees already from more than 700 partners, including about 500 or 600 attendees from CRM partners, representing 60 countries,” he says. “This is a big group. They are valid and well-known and trusted partners and very loyal partners to Microsoft, and it’s still their sales force in the Dynamics SMB space.”
At the event, members of Perisic’s team will present several technical sessions, and Perisic will deliver two keynote speeches, according to Sega.
An air of mystery, and a hunger for answers
Sega and the Directions EMEA committee have adjusted some of the sessions based on announcements that will come out of Microsoft during the first keynote. But he says he can’t elaborate on the changes yet, per Microsoft’s request.
“We are not allowed to tell you which sessions will be shifted but there will be quite a lot,” he says.
Sega says even though the event is just around the corner, 10 to 20 people have been registering every day – an increase over past years.
“One week before the event we do not [usually] have as many registrations,” he says. “But now people are still registering because they see all the posts, they see all the social media, they have been informed based on their personal networks and they expect in Madrid a really clear update [from Microsoft] on the mission and statement of what’s going on to clarify all these rumors. They also want to know if there might be a product availability, what the new Dynamics 365 piece will look like and where is the future of the ISV concept.”
The Directions EMEA board plans to continue working to get Microsoft’s attention at the highest levels, during and after the event.
“The board’s intention is to talk to at least most of the CEOs of the biggest partners in the channel and we’ll try to get them all together at a single table. We want to make as much noise as we can in front of Microsoft because the only way to get attention from Microsoft is to make noise.”