Monday the 16th of September 2013, somewhere in the Oxfordshire countryside, the prestigious Lotus F1 facility was host to Microsoft Dynamics’ Partner Kick-Off event for the new Financial Year 2014. All UK Microsoft Dynamics partners, including KPMG Crimsonwing, were invited to join Microsoft to discuss the results of the past year as well as the projections and objectives of the year to come.
Surrounded by heavy engines and slick race cars, the new Microsoft UK VP Michel van der Bel spoke about Microsoft’s shift for the past few years, from a hardware and software company, into a device and servicing business. Indeed, to maintain Microsoft’s leading position, the company has had to evolve to support socially-changing businesses: British Airways for instance, wanted to improve its internal process and did it through Microsoft Office 365 and the instant messaging tool, Yammer. Historical retailer Marks &Spencer moving to the Cloud is also the perfect example of how Microsoft have had to grow and innovate to stay ahead of the market’s ever changing needs.
Therefore, it came as no surprise when Ian Corcoran, Partner Lead at Microsoft UK, explained to us that first and foremost, Year 2013 had been a “build and develop” year, during which heavy investments in product development, marketing, advertising and human resources were made. As per the planning and objectives of Year 2014, Microsoft is hoping to reap the rewards of its development initiatives through a strong growth of its partner channel’s capacity.
Product-wise, Microsoft announced the first successes of Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 thanks to the out-of-the box “Road to Repeatability” package: from a 6 months implementation to a 6 days project, Dynamics NAV partners now have all the tools to serve more customers, without making any compromise on the quality of the system.
Microsoft Dynamics AX R3 is also scheduled for release in Q1 2014, bringing to the table functionalities such as:
- Horizontal capabilities (e.g. eProcurement)
- Industry specific capabilities
- Microsoft Windows 8 apps and Mobile apps, enabling time-sheets and approvals to be processed directly on smartphones, at any time, from anywhere.
Lotus F1 also presented the case study of how the multi-million dollar worth company came to not consider, but need a solid ERP system. Lotus IT Director Graeme Hackland explained that, after having to spend three hours tracking the batch of a faulty piece through more than ten different systems, and nearly not making it through the initial selection process of a major International Grand Prix, the question of an ERP system was answered. In an industry where speed and efficiency are quite literally at the heart of success, the road to information needs to be a highway.
As always, Microsoft’s efforts to communicate and interact in real life with its partner channel are not only welcome by all partners in the channel, but it adds an indisputable value and closeness to KPMG Crimsonwing’s relationship with Microsoft. With such a strong partnership as a foundation, we are looking forward to building and expanding the successes of the Dynamics range.