Those of you who follow me, know that we have a product called RapidStart for Dynamics 365. Well, not “we” actually, RapidStart LLC is a separate company owned by my wife. So I guess I should say, “she” has a product called RapidStart for Dynamics 365. Anyway, that product has just been “re-imagined”.
Same Issues, New Approach
When we first launched RapidStart, it was at the strong encouragement of Microsoft. This was a product that we had developed for our own use with our own customers, and it was Microsoft that suggested that we make it available to all partners. So we did. RapidStart was designed to help overcome several challenges with a complex business solution like Dynamics 365, both for partners and for customers. Some of those challenges included:
- The ability for a non-CRM partner to engage with and sell Dynamics 365 (Microsoft’s primary interest)
- An easy, low-cost starting point for a customer and any partner
- A simplified UI, designed to gain Customer Adoption quicker
- An integrated training solution, designed to get new customers up and running faster
- Our unique Wizard approach to obtaining the customer’s initial requirements efficiently
Close, but not Perfect
Even though we have over 300 global partners in our reseller channel today, and RapidStart is available from Distributors globally, we did not hit the target exactly in the center. While our primary target was a non-CRM partner, our most active partners turned out to be CRM partners… go figure. Also, the way we built our RapidStart solution was more invasive than we would have liked. For customers who used RapidStart, and subsequently wanted to do more, a knowledgeable CRM partner was required to make changes, at a cost. Microsoft to the Rescue!
The Game Changer
The App Designer that was launched with Dynamics 365 was just what we needed to evolve RapidStart. The new RapidStart is now an “App” that is assigned to new users. The basic platform now remains untouched. This is huge for us, and our partners and customers. Just as we were struggling to figure out how to address the issue, Microsoft launches the ideal solution. Thanks guys! The RapidStart App has all of our simplified forms and processes as well as some cool new sales dashboards, 100% contained within our app…perfect. The RapidStart app will be available soon in AppSource.
Another great capability that Microsoft has come up with, that fits perfectly with what we are doing, is AppSource. Not only will RapidStart soon be available in AppSource, but our Integrated Training solution “How2” is there today. RapidStart always included a training component, but we redesigned it recently for Appsource, and non-RapidStart customers are also installing it.
The RapidStart Wizards
The real “secret sauce” for RapidStart has always been our RapidStart Wizards. Partners, Customers and even Microsoft, are all impressed with the way we approached this part of a deployment. Whenever we demoed our Wizards it was just oohs and ahhs. So for our Wizards, we only tweaked them a little bit. We added a new Wizard for initial setup including theming. The “big change” to the Wizards, is that they are now “two-sided”, the existing Customer facing side, and a new, Partner facing side, for execution.
For those of you who know RapidStart, you also know that a component of it, was our team going into your customer’s tenant, and doing the initial customizations from the Wizards, on our partners’ behalf. This was by design, because our original target was a non-CRM partner, who frankly needed us to do this. But the CRM Partners, our active partners, were not crazy about that idea. Many asked about being able to just do the customizations themselves; what they really wanted, was just the Wizards. We heard you loud and clear, and the “partner side” of the wizards was designed for you, and is available to you in our Partner Portal. Partners will now perform the customization services that we used to perform! We no longer need access to your customer’s tenant at all.
While RapidStart was always a low cost model, particularly when compared to any other approach to an initial deployment, some partners still felt the cost was too high for their customers. Non-CRM partners, not knowing what a typical deployment should cost, also felt the price was high. Most of what was driving the cost, was our team performing the initial customizations resulting from the Wizards. By moving that workload from us, to you, we have been able to reduce the cost to around 25% of what it was. Granted, you have to take into account that you are now handling that workload, but that seems to have been the CRM Partner preference all along!
Since day one, we have had partners, and Microsoft, asking about offering alternative language versions. One barrier for us, was that our team was not proficient in other languages, and since we were performing the customization work, we were limited to the language we speak (English). With this new model, we expect to be able to cover other languages with ease, and we will be working on that shortly.
For Non-CRM Partners
The New RapidStart for Dynamics 365 will now require you to go into the customer’s tenant and make some customizations. This is simple stuff for a CRM partner, but we know that a non-CRM partner may not be comfortable with that. Eventually we will be developing training materials, where anyone with basic tech skills would be able to do this, but for now, the new RapidStart will only be available to CRM partners.
Did we hit the target this time?
Time will tell, but if the feedback from our existing active CRM partners is any indication, we think we did. “When will it be ready?”, is what they all are asking after they have seen it. Well, this post is letting you know, “It is Officially Ready Today!”. Please check out the new RapidStart for Dynamics 365 at https://rapidstartcrm.com, and let me know what you think.
If you are already a partner of ours, I will be reaching out to you by email shortly.