As an ISV I want to be able to take full advantage of everything that Microsoft’s Power Platform can offer. Like SI’s and customers, I get excited when I see the roadmap of features that are coming… it is mind-boggling. Unfortunately, just because something goes GA, does not mean it is “ISV Ready”.
ISV Connect Technical Summit
I recently attended the least “technical”, technical event I have ever been to. As part of Microsoft’s larger “ISV Connect” effort to create excitement for ISVs, they had extended what had previously been a smaller F&O ISV focused event to encompass all of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. I missed the follow-up email suggesting that I send my technical people, and instead went myself.
It seems that this majority F&O crowd, did send their technical people, who apparently all live under rocks. Many of the sessions were about things like “What is CDS?” Content I had already seen 100 times. What I found interesting, was that this far into the game, so many people still did not understand what we have all been talking about for the last two+ years.
Twists and Turns
I have seen the Power Platform slides many times, but these had been updated to include “Power Virtual Agents” in the mix. To be honest, I don’t think Power Virtual Agents should sit at the same level as Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI. It feels like the dwarf on the basketball team. If I were in charge, I would probably have renamed “Dynamics 365 Customer Insights” to “Power Insights” and given it the upper level. As a standalone product, similar to Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights does not even require Dynamics 365. Ironically, I had predicted a while back that “Dynamics 365” would eventually become the brand name for Microsoft’s “finished” apps that run on the Power Platform, which is the reason I was given for this naming. But it is not that dissimilar a level of “finished” than Power BI, and we don’t call that Dynamics 365 BI.
Burned by GA
With my ISV hat on, I have become suspicious of the GA tag. Microsoft should really clarify that a feature or product is “GA for SIs and Customers”, but not ready yet for ISVs. What’s the difference? Well, as an ISV, who is drinking the AppSource Koolaid, I have to look at it differently. In an ideal world, my customer can go to AppSource, click a button to install my solution, and just use it. For the most part, this turnkey dream only works for Model-Driven apps today.
ISV Ready Tag
In one of the session Q&As, I asked one of the Microsoft ISV leaders about the possibility of an “ISV Ready” tag. He said “Good Idea!”, which I have heard many times with no subsequent action. But he was actually all over the idea, including creating a slide for his closing session about the “ISV Ready” tag, I had previously caught him in the hallway and suggested the ISV Ready tag should not be applied by the product teams, but rather by a volunteer committee of actual ISVs…. because we actually know when something is “Ready” for us.
What is ISV Ready?
Well, since Microsoft seems to be running with the idea, I guess we will eventually find out what they think it means. I also think it will vary from ISV to ISV. Many ISVs have an intentional services component that comes behind their IP, to perform various tasks and configurations. For me, I want turnkey. I don’t want to have to get on the phone with every customer, or create some complicated instructions, for them to be able to use my solutions. It’s more than just being “Solution Aware”, although that is obviously part of it. I mean Power Automate is now “Solution Aware”, but is not “ISV Ready” in my opinion. I recently installed Microsoft’s own Center of Excellence Starter Kit solution on an instance, and then spent half a day manually connecting all of the included Flows to make it light up. I can’t expect a customer to do that, as soon as it does not work as advertised, they’ll just delete my solution.
I get that Microsoft is going to build things that solve issues for customers first, and I am not suggesting that they hold off on GAing things until they are ISV Ready. But don’t think that feature is truly done, and move on the next shiny object, until it is ISV Ready. This assumes of course that Microsoft is sincere in their desire to grown a thriving ISV ecosystem like SFDC. At the moment, I believe they are sincere, but as my ex wife used to say to me, “Actions speak louder than words”.