Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Publisher program

The last couple of months, there has been quite some questions from ISVs (and especially the “old” ISV’s) on how to register their apps in their specific situations. Just to name a few:

  • I only have OnPrem business – and I want to create a new product. How do I get a new object range?
  • Do I still need to go through the CfMD program to certify my apps?
  • App range? RSP range? What the hell is the difference?
  • With my new app, I don’t want to go to AppSource just yet – but first OnPrem – what do I do?

So .. in short: quite some questions on anything product registration and the obligations and/or restrictions that come with it.

Well, you might have seen the announcement from Microsoft ( http://aka.ms/bcpublisherprogram) – Microsoft comes with a new program which replaces the “Registered Solution Program (RSP)” and the “Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD)” program. And not only that .. there is more to consider. Much more…

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Publisher program

What the name indicates for me is that there is clearly an “AppSource first” strategy. Why? Well, the word “publisher” is typically used for anyone that puts apps in the cloud on a marketplace. Well, sometimes also the word “author” is used – but anyway .. let me make my point here  .

Cloud first strategy

Now .. It shouldn’t be necessary to explain how many advantages there are in the cloud version of BC. I mean – first of all: all baseapp features will work in the “cloud first” (get it?  ) and OnPrem “if you’re lucky”. And .. on top of that, you get the ability of all those extra services that come with the cloud. The Power-“fluff” (I should be calling it different, I know – but that area is still too grey for me ;-)), the azure stuff, … and so.much.more. The BaseApp will have a cloud first mentality: and so should you.. .

So, for Microsoft, it basically comes down to convince/force/… the ISV mindset to be cloud first. It’s as simple as that. In short:

  • Do you have a product? Put it on AppSource.
  • You don’t need it on AppSource but only OnPrem? Still, put it on AppSource, in order for you to be able to implement it OnPrem.
  • You don’t have this cloud first mindset? Then it might happen that you’re going to have to pay fees.

Wait … fees? What??

Are we being “punished” for selling OnPrem only?

Well .. If you will only do Onprem business, and you don’t register your apps on AppSource: yes, you’re going to have to pay a fee. Is that being “punished”? I don’t look at it that way. I look at it the way that Microsoft tries to motivate you for doing the “right” thing, for following their strategy. To sail in the winds they are blowing … .

Do know .. Microsoft absolutely does not want to let you pay for doing your business. Not at all. The best day for them would be that they don’t have to invoice anyone for this at all .. because that would be the day that all partners finally have embraced the cloud-first-strategy.

Because, let’s be honest, not all partners have really been listening and acting on Microsoft’s “cloud-first” approach, have they? It’s not like it hasn’t been obvious though:

  • Microsoft moved “infrastructure software” to the cloud: Azure was born
  • Microsoft moved end-user software to the cloud: Office 365 with even Sharepoint, Exchange, …

Did you really think ERP wasn’t going to follow the same approach? Hasn’t that been obvious for so long already? I’m just saying .. .

In other words, anyone who has already invested so much for moving to AL (apps), for moving to a “cloud-ready” architecture, for moving to AppSource – they are good! No extra investment needed. And they are – to use Microsoft words – “rewarded by freeing them from program fees or additional test efforts, outside of what is required for publishing to AppSource“.

Who would have to pay?

To not mis phrase anything, let me quote Microsoft on what you can expect:

This program will introduce fees that will gradually increase from September 2022 onward for publishers whose resellers have sold on-premises solutions to new customers without an equivalent cloud-based solution. The fees will only be applied to sales in countries where the Dynamics 365 Business Central online service is available. Solutions registered to existing customer licenses before the program cut-off date will not be impacted by program fees. However, adding new non-AppSource solutions after the cut-off date will be impacted.

Kurt Juvyns – Microsoft

For me, that means: Any ISV, who implements (by partners or by itself) products (apps) that do not exist on AppSource, will have to pay fees to do so.

In Practice

Let us look at this practically.

  • You will still be able to do OnPrem business. Check!
    • The only thing you need to do is making sure that you register your app on AppSource as well. That’s it.
    • So .. You might want to make sure to follow the cloud rules, no? Hybrid? Hell no! CodeCustomisedBaseApp? I gues not.
  • You will be able to reuse the same codebase for SaaS and OnPrem. Check!
    • You don’t even have to. Just make sure your product is registered, and if necessary, you can branch off and include some OnPrem necessities to your code to use at your OnPrem customers. This is extra work – I would try to avoid that..  .
    • As long as your apps are registered on AppSource, and can be used in the cloud!
  • You don’t need to certify for CfMD anymore. Check!
    • That has been replaced by AppSource validation.
  • You will be able to use all registered number ranges on all environments. Check!
  • If you already have a registered number range, you don’t have to renumber to comply with this new program. Check!

What’s next?

If it wasn’t clear yet, let me make it clear in my own words:

  • If you haven’t started to modernize your solution: start now
  • If you’re still in C/AL (v14 or not): start now and make sure you build your products into apps, and that it works on the latest version.
  • If you’re still hybrid, it means you’re still on v14: start now to unwind the reason why your solution is hybrid and make it real apps in the latest version.
  • If you’re having a code-customized base app: start your way to real apps now.
  • If you did your homework, and moved your product to cloud-ready solutions already – but you’re not on AppSource just yet? Well, register for AppSource. Now. It might take longer then you think (affixes, tooltips, … ) ;-).
  • Are you still stuck with all your dll’s, which makes your product OnPrem only? Make your way to Azure Functions or another technology, to make sure you can register your apps on AppSource.

That’s all I could come up with :-).

If you need help – there are people that can help you. If you think I can help you, just contact me – if I have time, I will – but there are also dev centers that are specialized for helping/coaching partners to make this move to the cloud. More info you can find here: Find a Development Center (microsoft.com)

Questions?

I’m sure you’ll have a ton of questions, depending in what situation you are. I don’t know if I answered any – but some of the questions I had a few weeks back, are sure answered for my own personal situation.
But still – IF there are questions, you can reach out to Microsoft!

Thoughts

Looking back at the focus, the sessions, the blogposts, … that I did that past years, it seems that the recommendations that I have been doing were not that far from the truth. Like:

  • Cloud-ready software architecture
  • No Hybrid (I was quite passionate about that…)
  • No code-customized base app (same passion .. This was never an option for me .. Never ever)
  • Don’tNet (which I shared in my latest 2 NAVTechDays appearances – even Vjeko agreed with me ;-))
  • CodeCops (which should all pass! Or at least most of them)
  • DevOps (imho the only way to manage in your product lifecycle – and, since you’ll be on AppSource, and you’ll have to manage your app for upcoming version – well – DevOps is going to be crucial ;-))
  • No migration but rebuild (I have been advocating this, not on blog, but in any conversation that I have been having with colleague-partners asking me on “what do I do”. I’m very happy to have gone the “totally rebuild” way, not having to pay any attention to refactoring, just a complete rewrite of the product. It gives you all the freedom in the world).
  • ..

Because, you know, if you comply with all this, the step to AppSource is pretty easy.

I hope this was useful!

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