I know I have already been blogging twice this week. And for someone who the last couple of years typically only have blogged once every month or two, then that’s a lot. But my vacation actually started Friday, and it’s raining most of the time. The kids are watching TV and YouTube, so nobody notice that I’m blogging. Doesn’t really look like working.
And there is just so much to be exited about in the Microsoft Dynamics world these days. Ever since Microsoft announced Project “Madeira” in April, so many other news have been announced by Microsoft.
Last was the $26.2B deal last month, where Microsoft buys LinkedIn.
I was just watching this interview with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner on CNBC.
One thing that Satya keeps repeating in this and other interviews is how important Dynamics and LinkedIn are for Microsoft’s future. And how they could be working together with both with Microsoft’s crown jewels Office 365 and Azure. Also notice that he doesn’t mention Windows in the same context. That Navision this way could become “more important” to Microsoft, than DOS/Windows, was something I never could have imagined when I started working with Navision in 1990.
I’m sure you already know LinkedIn and have an account there, so I guess no actual intro is required. I have been using LinkedIn myself, almost since the beginning (2004), when they only counted single digit millions of users. Since then it has really taken off and as of Q1 of 2016 they had 433 million users.
It has basically become my professional “who is who” tool. Although LinkedIn would like to be thought of as the Facebook for Professionals, then at least to me, that’s not really the case. I’m not checking LinkedIn on a daily basis, sometimes there are weeks in between. But it’s still an important place for me.
It’s the place where I lookup information about “people in the industry”. If I need to speak with someone about something, then I often find someone I know working in that company, or someone who knows someone who does.
The reason I’m not using it more, is because I think there is just too much “spam” there. Too many uninteresting updates, from people just trying to sell something.
And then there are all the recruiters. As always love them and hate them. Most of them continues to waste your time (they obvious didn’t really read my profile before writing) while others do good work. The great thing about LinkedIn is that it also saves a lot time dealing with the recruiters, as instead of having to send resumes/CV’s etc. to them by email, I can just send them a link to my profile. If they still request a “real” resume, then I just creates it directly from my profile, as it already contains the same data, just more up to date than my Word version of it.
So I’m a happy user of LinkedIn, well aware of its many flaws.
I have tried to think about what reasons a user could have to want to integrate Dynamics with LinkedIn. The business case to integrate to Dynamics CRM is kind-of obvious. And already exists as ISV solutions for Dynamics CRM. Here the integration allows you to link your contacts in CRM with their profile in LinkedIn. This way it allows you to follow them directly from Dynamics CRM and send new contact requests and messages. Read LinkedIn’s blog about it. It’s basically the same functionality, which has existed inside Microsoft Outlook for years.
But what would be the business case in integrating Dynamics ERP (AX, NAV, GP, SL, Madeira) with LinkedIn? Except for the case of using CRM inside AX and NAV etc. would be the same as for Dynamics CRM, then personally I lack the imagination to see many places where an LinkedIn to ERP integration would be of much use in core ERP. If you can, then please comment below.
The only functional area I can see it being a little useful, is in terms of credit evaluations. Where information about your billing contacts leaving your customers could create an “attention” flag on your next invoice, reminding you to update invoice contact. But where I come from, that’s still really CRM functionality.
If I don’t really see much usage of integrating Dynamics and LinkedIn in Dynamics NAV, then why am I exited about this news?
Because it underlines Microsoft’s commitment to becoming a service company, rather than a software company. Sure they will continue to developer software, Windows is not going to be shut down. But the new cash cows is in service, Azure and Office 365 bundled with all kinds of integrated services.
When Microsoft was just selling software, you could say they didn’t care much how easy it was to use. They never really was in direct contact with the end users. That was job of their partners. As long as the revenue continued to grow, everything was fine.
As a service company, its very obvious that Microsoft has become much more interested in all the different business processes of their customers. They are now all opportunities to make more money.
Just look at Project Madeira. What they are really focusing a lot about with this preview release, is to improve usability and integration of services into NAV. All so that it takes them as little time to support and maintain as possible. And that’s also an advantages to both customers with NAV in the cloud and on-premise.
As for the traditional NAV partners, they need to wake up. For them its going to become a whole new world too. Creating once-off customizations will become more and more seldom. Instead they will have to code for repeatability and think in services too, if they want to continue to say in the top.
Even if it's called Windows or something else, then that's always be needed. But the traditional desktop Windows client will be come less important, where Windows Server will become more important.
The news in regards to Facebook selecting Office 365, is not that much that they didn't select Google, but that they go more and more cloud here too. The big advantages of both Dyn. 365 and Office 365 is that the platform/device basically doesn't matter.
Microsoft leaves more and more the OnPremise World and goes forward to be a Cloud-Only-Company in the future. Buying LinkedIn is therefore a logical step. LinkedIn will be a part of the Dynamics 365/Office 365 World, a strategic tool. Look at Dynamics 365. Nav and AX will be part of it as Dynamics 365 Business Edition and Enterprise Edition, also CRM, Workflow, Power BI and so on. The OnPremise World becomes more and more less important (for Microsoft).
Why did Microsoft buy LinkedIn? Because of the addresses, all the contact data, the postings, the relations/connections between all these people. That's really worth a Fortune. LinkedIn will be for sure important for working with Outlook and CRM, but also for the ERP Tools. The ERP Tools Nav and AX (and also the smaller ones) will be more and more the ERP/Business Databases behind the scene, which can be used from each app in this app-cloud (Power BI, PowerApps, Office, Flow, what ever). It will be possible to select a company and/or contact in a sales order in Nav and getting there all additional information from LinkedIn/Outlook/... and the way back: Publish data directly from Nav/AX to LinkedIn as posting or additional company data. All data is connected with all other data.
Maybe once they do not need even Windows any more!
Another important news: Big deal with Facebook. Facebook did not buy Google Office but MS Office 365!
This is one big strategy. All has to do with the Cloud. We all should be prepared for that.