After the Custom Workflow Creation session, there was time to catch the shuttle back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes and then catch another shuttle to Downtown Fargo for the conference keynote and then a sponsor pubcrawl (or barcrawl for the Americans).
The keynote was followed by Mark J. Lindquist (a motivational speaker, singer and actor amongst other things). I was expecting this to be absolutely cringe-worthy, but Mark was an entertaining speaker who got quite a few laughs from the audience (I am willing to admit I may have smiled occasionally).
After this, there were five partners who had events at bars around the downtown area (none more than five minute walk from the remainder).
I bounced through a few of them and ended up at the Pickled Parrot for a while with Njevity (they have two MVPs), before catching the 2300 shuttle back to the hotel. While day three was a short day, I was aware I had a very early start on Thursday).
The fourth session was a short one, just before lunch. It was Deploying PowerGP by NvevityTo Go. In the session, Chris Dobkins showed the web portal they have created which allows Dynamics GP tenants to be deployed in 5 minutes. He showed that it did only take this long, by asking for someone in the audience to give him a company name which he then used to deploy the tenant and logged into it.
It was very impressive and sets a high bar for anyone looking to compete. The web portal they have is very slick and easy to use.
Very impressive work from John Lowther and others.
Looking at the 30 minute presentation/demo Chris did , Dynamics GP as a SaaS offering from partners looks eminently possible. There will be a huge amount of complexity behind the scenes making it all work correctly, but it is doable and gives the full functionality of an enterprise scale ERP.
The second session was one with somewhat controversial content, the Dynamics 365 for Consultants session. This session was opened by Errol Schoenfish and then handed over to Chad Sogge for the demonstration section. Dynamics 365 does look fairly swish, but I do wonder where we’d fit it our offerings.
Yes, the Cloud is not just coming, but is also here now. Dynamics 365 would appear to be pitched at the bottom end of the ERP market; a market which can be met by a hosted Dynamics GP implementation while Dynamics GP also retains it’s ability to scale upwards as required. Perfect Image has a client with over 250 concurrent users, and Njevity spoke of one with 400 plus concurrent users). It is viewed by some people as the next Office Accounting; remember that? Yeah, not many do.
At Perfect Image, we have a small number of clients who have gone for web client only implementations of Dynamics GP and I have been looking into providing what would basically be a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offering. It turns out there are US partners out there who are far ahead of us, not only in thoughts about it, but actually implementing it, such as Njevity. I am lead to believe MVP John Lowther was responsible for much of their work (more on this in the next post) along with their wider team.
So, while having a cloud offering is required, this is something which can be offered by partners using Dynamics GP, rather than taking on a functionality limited cloud only offering. At the moment, it is limited not only in functionality of features, but also in how it can be extended; it is a vary rare implementation which does not require some customisation or development of something somewhere; which you cannot do in D365.
The only way to add extra functionality is to write an app for it to Microsoft’s guidelines and publish it to the Dynamics 365 app store; I can’t see a single client paying for something which then ends up in an app store. I’d also expect Microsoft to reject the majority of this type of development as not being suitable as it would be too focussed on one clients needs.
I will be taking a more detailed look when Dynamics 365 launches in the UK.
It is also worth noting that while I mentioned Njevity above, there are other US partners who are in the clou space as well such as RoseASP and WatServe.