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Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview with Microsoft's Doug Kennedy & Kees Hertogh



Well, as part of the new blog launch, I saved an interview that I recently did with Microsoft's Doug Kennedy and Kees Hertogh, just for today!

In this interview, I talk with both of them, about Microsoft Dynamics AX, the Dynamics Ecosystem, Cloud Computing and of Course Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012!

This is actually my yearly interview with Doug Kennedy, in which you can view last years, here.: Interview with Microsoft's Doug Kennedy (2010)

Without any further delay, here is the result of that interview.:

Doug this year truly is turning into the year of the Dynamics ERP Cloud. I had a chance, while at Convergence 2011, to attend the 'Count Down to the Cloud' event with my company President John Pence. With the information we gathered there, as well as the rest of Convergence it seems that truly Microsoft is going 'All-in' for Dynamics in the Cloud. Can you talk about the vision for Dynamics and Cloud, according to Microsoft's point of view, and how it benefits both Partners and Customers?

Doug K: "The computing deployment models that are being widely discussed in the market today are Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Virtual Machines. All of these deployment paradigms offer advantages for the customer, the partner and the software manufacturer. Virtual Machines have been around for well over two decades and the hardware and software advantages to incorporate technology such as Microsoft’s Hyper-V are well understood in the marketplace.

Technology that enables Private Cloud and Public Cloud deployments is relatively new and the associated workloads that can utilize these two types of Cloud deployments must be better understood by partners and customers. Productivity products such as Microsoft Office 365 and isolated workloads such as CRM can more easily be adopted in Private and Public Clouds. Highly integrated workloads, such as ERP, that can typically tie to legacy and home grown business solutions must involve more planning to shift to the Cloud.

Across Microsoft, we are spending a great deal of time working with customers and partners to ensure they understand the benefits and can incorporate the advantages Cloud computing enables. One example of these efforts is the Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Partner Profitability Guide that is available on PartnerSource. This guide was primarily designed to help CRM on-premise partners understand the business impacts of shifting to a CRM online business model but is also includes ERP examples.

Public Cloud should offer customers the ability to lower infrastructure costs and free up IT resources. This will enable CIOs to address their backlog of projects, which should help their company be more competitive and efficient, execute cloud base Proof of Concepts more quickly prior to introducing new business solutions into the company, scale computing power without the latency of asset acquisition and installation, and the give them the ability to rely on third party experts to manage their computing infrastructure.

As ERP adoption for Private and Public Cloud deployments increase, it is critical that the partner who performs the implementation is also the partner that maintains the application’s environment and provides key services such as upgrades, configuration modifications and integrations with adjacent or complementary business solutions.

Also, these partners continue to play the critical role of managing the customer accounts and being the trusted advisor for computing solutions for each customer. These roles are identical to the functions performed today by the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM partners and partners should not be concerned that Cloud will disrupt these vital partner roles."


Another huge topic, and one dear to my heart, is the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 into public beta, and also target timeframe of August for GA. Can you talk about the impact this will have as a game changing ERP platform, how it fits into the cloud, and also how it's very much still targeted to be an on-premise install base as well?

Kess H.: "We believe the cloud can provide strong customer benefits, however, customers should not get forced to choose how they provision their ERP solution. They should be able to choose the model that best fits their own IT governance model. This continues to be true with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, which will be made generally available in August of this year. We’ve made great advances across the application lifecycle in this release, making the solution easier to deploy and manage for both the customer’s IT organization as well as service providers if customers choose to use these.

In order to provide a true generational shift in ERP, based on increased customer benefits, we focused on providing a powerfully simple ERP solution. With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 we intend to provide a powerful ERP solution that can bring more value faster to our customers, provide a rich set of ERP capabilities across different industries, and financial administrative function, like HRM, Financial Management and Supplier Relationship Management, into one common ERP solution.

Secondly, a solution that enables agility within the organization, allowing customers to more easily pursue new business opportunities while reducing the risk of doing so. We want ERP to be an asset in the face of change for customers, not a liability! We continue to invest in the core architecture, for example through Unified Natural Models and our Model Drive Layered Architecture. And lastly, a focus on providing a simple solution that drives adoption of ERP and provides ‘ease of use’ for all roles in the organization and throughout the application lifecycle of the ERP deployment.

Bringing all this customer innovation together in one ERP product we believe allows us to provide this game changing solution you’re referring to."


With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you now have five industry sectors that Microsoft is offering. With the past few years of focus for partners to specialize and go vertical, can you talk about those efforts and the build up to AX 2012 in regard to this, as well as beyond AX 2012?

Kees H: "Yes, the connection between our vertical focused partner strategy and our product strategy has been very deliberate. We started to address common industry requirements in our product strategy for Microsoft Dynamics AX about three years ago. By Microsoft full-filling the common requirements in a given industry, partners can spend their time and investments in meeting the unique requirements within a given vertical in that industry. This will allow partners to build more complete, higher quality standardized solutions for each vertical and provide more value to the customer.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is the next iteration in this strategy, where we’ve introduced public sector as a new focus industry and brought together separate industry solution, for example process industry and lean manufacturing, into one common architecture. Our focus now is to bring these capabilities to market with our partners and enabling them to build compelling vertical solutions on this release."


Doug, could you sum up your teams focus for FY12, starting this July, and maybe give some advice to partners in helping them better align themselves with Microsoft vision and changes with the new MPN?

Doug K: "In FY12, the partnering strategy is to ensure partners qualify for the appropriate MPN levels by discipline: ERP or CRM. Additionally, the partner incentives pay for performance model that was announced in October 2011 will take effect on January 1, 2012. It is very important for all partners to understand how we are rewarding partners for new license growth, customer adds, and achieving high BREP revenue recapture.

Both the MPN changes and the new partner incentives are aimed at delineating and rewarding partners for aligning with our objectives to grow the Microsoft Dynamics business. We are certain all partners are striving for the same outcome; to capitalize on ERP and CRM opportunities in the marketplace to grow their business."


I also asked Doug to give some closing thoughts, to help bring everything into focus.:
"Microsoft continues to be committed to enabling our Microsoft Dynamics partners to be successful. We will continue to invest in technical and non-technical trainings, including cloud-readiness training, which we believe are essential to helping partners succeed. We will continue to invest deeply in R&D to provide what we consider to be the best ERP and CRM products in the marketplace. We will continue to invest in the caliber of the Microsoft Dynamics field resources and we will also continue to invest in field and partner tools that are required to enable our partners to succeed.

We know that we will not be successful without well trained and highly motivated partners that are focused on driving growth for themselves and for Microsoft. Microsoft’s investments, and the changes we have made to the MPN program and partner incentives, reflect our goal of being jointly successful with our partners."


I would like to thank both Doug and Kees for taking the time to sit down, virtually be that, and hash out with me some questions I had floating around in my head. I hope, that maybe some of the questions and answers helps you, and helps place together the vision, thoughts, and information from such Executives as Doug and Kees.

I find this information very valuable and I'm glad they are both always willing, when time permits, to sit and talk about this great passion of ours called "Microsoft Dynamics."

That's all for now, but check back soon and often as I have so much more to come!



"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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