By: Dann Anthony Maurno
The rollercoaster ride that has been the future of Dynamics 365 Financials and Operations, Business Edition (D365FOB), with plans for the upcoming Dynamics 365 “Tenerife” in Spring 2018, couldn’t feel any more personal than for a Microsoft partner that already both sells the solution and runs their own business on it.
That exclusive club of customer-resellers includes Microsoft MVP Rod O’Connor, owner of Briware Solutions. He delivered the session “Why I Moved my GP Business to Dynamics 365 Financials Business Edition,” at Directions North America in September, just as Microsoft revealed plans to end the Business Edition branding and move to Dynamics 365 Tenerife, with “full NAV” capabilities and an emphasis on building and selling vertical apps.
Almost immediately, O’Connor says “I had people phoning me saying ‘What’s going on?! What do you mean there’s no more Dynamics 365 Business Edition?'” The first impression from partners was bad, but Microsoft soon clarified the Tenerife launch plans. O’Connor released a blog he entitled “Calm Down, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition is Not Dead.”
“All along Microsoft’s been showing us [Tenerife] – it looks awesome – and they’ve told us there that it would be offered both on-premise and in the cloud,” he says
He continues, “The fact that they don’t want to call it 365 Business Edition anymore doesn’t faze me so much as the fact that they don’t have a name for it at all. It makes it really hard for me to sell it if I don’t know what it’s called or what it’s going to cost.”
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O’Connor’s enthusiasm for Dynamics 365 Business Edition has been driven by its strength with SMB clientele that didn’t need the full functionality of GP; now he is tasked with selling a product that will hew much closer to Dynamics NAV 2018.
“If I have to learn all the ins and outs of NAV, and if I have to learn the NAV development language just to implement this, I’ll have to rethink,” says O’Connor.
Without Tenerife, Briware would remain a Dynamics GP VAR and CSP, which O’Connor says he would be content to do. In fact, Briware has hedged its bets by not taking down its own GP server.
“I think GP is a very strong product with a very bright future, I always have, even when everybody else was announcing gloom and doom,” he says. He opted to bring on D365FOB simply by virtue of the customers that Briware serves. “We like the growing customers, companies who are just reaching that point where shouting across the office to find out if the job is done isn’t good enough anymore. They’re at that point in their growth where they really need sound business process and systems to support those processes.”
So O’Connor is keeping his mind open about Tenerife. He refers to the Directions NA misstep as a “left-hand, right-hand thing” that has become common to Microsoft messaging. “I do wish that they would have figured this out while the product was being developed, because we have a product that’s ready to go, with customers that are ready to buy it,” he says.
But the pain belongs solely to the partners, and is temporary. “If I was a customer, which I am since I switched my business over to Dynamics 365, I should be excited because Tenerife is coming out. It will have the full feature set of what is currently known as Dynamics NAV,” he wrote on his September 20 blog. “The product has clearly been worked on. The product is moving forward. The product is not going away. They have just changed the marketing model, again.”