Some of you may know, that one of several things I am involved with, is an ISV Consulting Collaborative called Power ISV. Together with four other ISV-focused Business Applications MVPs, we are helping existing ISVs to modernize, new ISVs get started, and guiding ISVs on other platforms over to the Microsoft Cloud. We also want to reverse the adage, “Those that can’t do, Teach“, into “Those that are doing it, Teach“.
Imagine, if you will
Looking around the Microsoft ISV space today, and specifically looking at AppSource, there seems to be a lack of imagination. It feels like the “inspiration” for many ISV solutions, is seeing existing ISV solutions, leading to either very similar ISV solutions being built, or ones with minimal advancement of an existing idea. Looking around AppSource you will see a lot of “copies” of similar things, and frankly most of those “things” are for solving simple problems. Don’t get me wrong, we all appreciate a nicely built widget. But are those really going to get us to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more“?
How does one actually “achieve more” with technology? It is not simply being able to respond to emails twice as fast… a typing class solves that. Replacing paper processes with digital ones? Yeah, that would put you in position to achieve more. Being able to collaborate with my team or customers better? Sure, but are we not already burnt out on the whole collaboration “Kumbaya” theme. I think “Achieving More” was a great goal at the time it was stated, and probably tied nicely into the Office 365 push at the time, but now what?
Building a Toolbox
As I look at what Microsoft has been doing in recent years, particularly around the Azure and Business Applications space, they seem to have spent a great deal of effort creating new technologies. Like IoT, AI, ML, [Insert Acronym Here], etc. The palette of capabilities has grown fast. Some ISVs have embraced parts of this new palette, but many are either oblivious, or just… uninspired. I understand, that if you have your own technology, your focus is going to be on plugging that into the Microsoft machine. But where is the disruption?
What is Disruption?
Maybe you have built a disruptive technology externally, and your goal is simply to bring your disruptive force to a broader base by moving it to the Microsoft engine. I am waiting to see the disruption being borne out of the Microsoft platform. Microsoft has been disruptive in the way they are providing, and growing the tools, but I am looking for the Uber, and so is Microsoft. Microsoft won’t build the next Uber, but they have built all of the tools necessary for an ISV to build it. Disruption is all around us. Home Depot disrupted the hardware industry, but that was not so much a technological disruption, as it was a scale and distribution disruption. Uber is probably one of the best known “Technology-driven” disruptions. An industry, that was over 100 years old, was turned upside-down… by an app.
Can you make a Unicorn?
From a pure technology only standpoint, it is hard to top Uber. Uber was not built on Microsoft technologies, but today, it could have been, and probably at a fraction of the time and cost that Uber has invested. When you break it down into its parts… it’s a freaking mobile App! It incorporates a bunch of things we already know, GPS, Ratings, Matching, eCommerce, etc. All parts, and many more, that are available to any of us in Microsoft’s Cloud portfolio. But it is not about the parts. It was about that day in the cab, when some guy thought: “This sucks ass“.
Inception to Disruption
For any of us, several times a week, we engage with something that Sucks. Sure, maybe it is the way that Dynamics 365 deals with some thing, that inspires you to create a widget. That is not disruptive, that is convenience. Clearly, most of us will aspire to the convenience, and there is nothing wrong with that, you might even make a few bucks. But a few of you, have it within you to not only recognize an opportunity to truly disrupt, but see the actual path through the vast Microsoft toolbox “illuminated”.
Walk the Talk
So the team at Power ISV, is going to attempt to “Practice what we Preach”, and journey down the “Inception to Disruption” path, utilizing nothing but the Microsoft Cloud toolbox. I can’t share the “idea” just yet as we are still wrapping our heads around it, but I can tell you the current experience Sucks. We will be chronicling every step of our journey, as we seek to create an “Inception to Disruption” roadmap. “What’s Next” indeed!
Shining the Spotlight
You can learn more about Power ISV here, but in case you don’t get to it, I wanted to highlight the MVPs who are part of the team. Myself of course, as well as Mark Smith, David Yack, Scott Durow and George Doubinski. Another thing we will be thoroughly testing, is the ability of a bunch of “know-it-alls” to work together as a team. That may prove the biggest hurdle.