I am writing this seven days out from the launch of Dynamics 365, and the end of Dynamics CRM Online. We have an ISV solution called RapidStart CRM that
is was designed for Dynamics CRM Online. How will it work with Dynamics 365 on November 1st? This is a question many ISVs are asking about their solutions.
Feeling our Way around
Remember that scene in any horror movie where someone reaches their arm into a dark hole? You just know that something is going to bite that hand, or rip it clean off. That is the mode of the ISV today. On the one hand we have Microsoft assuring us that our ISV solutions will continue to work just fine, on the other hand we are thinking “how is that possible?”. Dynamics 365 represents some significant changes, the licensing changes alone have an ISV wondering what this means. It seems like the only way Microsoft could make that statement, not knowing what each and every ISV solution does or touches, would be on the assumption that all customers will be on a Plan. ISV solutions are as varied in function and complexity as it can get. It is probably safe to say that a widgety solution that interacts with the Contacts entity is probably pretty safe, but what about a more complex solution, that spans entities? Regardless of whether a solution will actually work, it may have cost ramifications of throwing the user into a Plan in order to continue, or start using it. This can throw the entire ISV value proposition into the air.
Let’s go play in the Sandbox
Most ISV developers have done their development work in a Sandbox environment. Although many have done their development work in an on-premise environment, and still others have built simple solutions right in their production instances. Some have spun up trials for development and others have actually purchased additional production tenants. Personally, I think the riskiest of these is an on-premise environment, particularly when developing for the cloud, which if you are not already doing, you soon will be. For us, the online Sandbox tenants are where we have done our work. Thankfully, we got our Dynamics 365 sandbox yesterday.
A-Holes and Elbows
It’s “Go Time” for ISVs. We have a week to make sure our solutions work properly. Even if they do work properly, does the financial model still make sense for an entity spanning solution. I get that Microsoft would like for everybody to be on a Plan, and indeed if you need three or four of the core capabilities, the Plan is a great deal. But what if you only need two? What if the only reason you need that second one, is to utilize an ISV’s solution? Some ISVs are going to have to completely re-architect their solutions as a result.
We are going to see a sales slump in November, there is no way around that. Microsoft built this awesome product, at least I think it is awesome, in a black box. Then, ready or not, it is launched. Hold your nose, because we are all going underwater for a while. I have to assume that Microsoft is betting that most of us will surface soon in an even better spot. I know for sure that SMB will slump, as we will have no product to sell them in November (the SMB “Promo” sku will not be ready until December 1st). Hopefully you can close a bunch of deals this week on Dynamics CRM Online to hold you over.