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Directions EMEA day 1: Would you like ERP with Office 365?

It’s the end of day 1 at Directions EMEA in beautiful Vienna and I’ve spent a hugely productive day consuming new information about the Microsoft vision and asking partners about how they see it.

NAV 2013 R2 is coming

In his keynote, Paul White announced that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 will be with us by October 31st, or even sooner.  His overall message was very familiar, of course and was a reiteration of something he has delivered consistently and with clarity for several years at these events: repeatability.  There was humor delivered in a short video with a satirical take on a “traditional” ERP sale illustrated by a bumbling “consultant,” and a modern ERP sale made by a slick and knowledgeable telesales executive several years the junior of the consultant [you can probably guess who got the deal].

But the biggest reveal of all for me today was that the “business solution proposition” from Microsoft is as much about Office as it is ERP these days.  Paul even suggested opportunities for attaching NAV to the transition of Office to the cloud where partners would propose “do you want ERP with that”?

NAV 2013 R2 moves this reality several steps closer. It is available:

  • In Office 365
  • On Azure

Cloud delivery via the NAV web client

Jesper LaChance’s web client demo was as amusing as it was impressive and the unanimous reaction from partners I spoke to after the keynote was positive with many commenting how far it had come since we saw a preview of the web client in Rome.   We certainly agree, and will be discussing our own experiences of the platform during our session tomorrow.

But an event like Directions is an incredibly valuable opportunity to get a steer from what’s happening behind closed doors in Vedbaek this past year.  Yes, the volume message has been around for a few years now, and I’ve always sensed resistance from the channel to embrace it.  That resistance stems from the pragmatism that IT suppliers have to manage cash flow very carefully like any business, and the cloud delivery model presents significant challenges in that regard.  Erik Tiden’s take on the opportunity is clear: cloud growth is 5 times that of the IT industry overall - now that’s attractive!

At Equisys, we’ve already commenced this journey of cloud transformation.  Our biggest challenge, as it is for all IT suppliers, is that we must continue to serve the requirements of customers today, while at the same time investing and building for the future. We have demonstrated this by achieving very healthy double-digit sales growth of our Zetadocs products in the last 12 months with 6 consecutive quarters of impressive sales growth.  At the same time, we have innovated on NAV 2013 R2, Office 365 and on Windows Azure.  We’re here at Directions to work with partners who are used to selling NAV the “traditional” way, but also to share our experiences and vision with partners who are seriously considering the cloud delivery model in the future, so we hope you can make our ISV session tomorrow at 11.45pm in Klimt 3.

Erik Tiden used the quote: “the universe is moving and we’d better move with it”, but I have my own favorite.

Day1_imageCompetition is fierce in the marketplace today and if NAV 2013 R2 truly does deliver the product and tools that partners need to successfully transition to the cloud, then surely it is time for action.

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