I started working with Navision in 1990 and since then I've done almost everything in this industry.
In 1995 I started the Dynamics User Group, formerly Navision Online User Group and Microsoft Business Solutions User Group. Here on my blog I write mostly about the Dynamics Community, my experiences with Microsoft and especially the Dynamics NAV and Navision projects I'm working on, but also how it is to work as a self-employed Navision freelancer, Navision contractor or whatever you call it.
Last week Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Partner Network at their Partner World Conference in the US.
As Waldo wrote in his blog post, then one of the changes is that Microsoft now requires more people and more certifications from their partners, if they want to continue to be the “best of line” partners, what they used to call “Gold Partners”.
But there are other changes than new requirements toward certifications and number of people.
In the material sent out by Microsoft they state these three goals as the primary reason for their changes:
1) Triple the average customer adds of our VAR Partners 2) Triple the number of ISVs and VARs gaining >50% of their revenue from packaged, repeatable vertical solutions 3) Increase the average operating margin of our Partners by 50%
This all sounds good, and one of the things they want to do is to grow their partners. Partners with 20, 40, 60 people must grow to 80, 120, 150 people.
They are also introducing minimum annual revenue requirements (I know this did already exist in some markets). And the a partner holding the “Advanced ERP Competency” badge (the new Dynamics Gold Partners), then 85% of their customer must renew their annual service/upgrade plan.
All in all a plan where Microsoft wants bigger partners, who is able to sell a lot of packaged software.
In this plan then I’m really missing the customer and the customers expectation towards the unique solution customized to their special needs. Instead Microsoft want to have highly specialized industry specialists.
But where are the small partners in this picture? The partner companies with 2-3 top consultants, who have been working with Navision or Axapta for years and are doing a great job delivering superior service, but not selling too much software?
Well as I read this, then these companies can either grow, merge with another partner or find something else to do. Basically these smaller partners are now sailing in the same boat as the freelancers have been doing for years. Microsoft knows that we are here, but they really don’t care too much about us, as long as we are not selling their software. It doesn’t matter that we are making lots of customers very happy about their software.
But what do you think?