Steve has a third chat with Guggs


In this episode of “Steve has a Chat”, I catch up again with Steven Guggenheimer “Guggs” to get the latest on the ISV Connect program. It seems that the word is out at Microsoft about calls from me… they all seem ready now. But I still had a few surprises for him.  Enjoy!

BTW, don’t forget, Mark Smith (@nz365guy) and I do PowerUpLive every Tuesday at 4PM EST, click here to be alerted, and here’s a link to the replays!

Transcript below:

Steven Guggenheimer:
Hello. This is Guggs.

Steve Mordue:
Hey, Guggs. Steve Mordue. How you doing?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Good. How are you doing?

Steve Mordue:
You know how I’m doing. You know why I’m here.

Steven Guggenheimer:
I do. I do. I assume we’re get to go do a little update session, and so I know or I assume you’re recording and-

Steve Mordue:
You bet I am.

Steven Guggenheimer:
… whatever I say is ready to go.

Steve Mordue:
You got time?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Sure. Yeah, I got a little time.

Steve Mordue:
All right. Perfect, perfect. Well, it’s been a while since we talked. It’s actually been a while since we’ve heard from you. I was looking, and I think November was the last post, kind of an update to the world of what’s going on. I’ve been hearing the hammers banging back in the background, but lots of folks, lots of ISVs are reaching out to me for some reason or other, saying, “Hey, what’s the latest? What’s going on? What’s happening on that ISV front?”

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yep. Like you said, lots of hammers in the background. Once you get into that middle of the year, you’re just mostly heads down trying to do two things, trying to solidify all the work that’s going on for this year, so working with the field. The team went out and did a field tour and, on lots of calls, we have our middle of the year checkpoint. You’re just grinding away on that, and you start doing the planning for the next fiscal year. It turns out our Q3, which is January, February, March, is kind of double busy. You’re working pretty hard to do whatever tweaks you need for this year and you’re busy planning for the next year, and so I think everybody’s been pretty heads down.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Then you get into January and February with the virus coming out, I think you’re busy trying to figure out, “Are we going to do [MBAS 00:02:13] live?” You plan for one version of it, and then you plan for a different. You’re working with customers and partners. I think all of those things combined means everybody’s busy. My virtual team gets together on a regular basis, and I’ve got a couple of calls after this, so that’s where we’re at.

Steve Mordue:
The ISVs have definitely had some challenges with Microsoft. Not all of this, of course, is within your area. You’re working on the program for ISVs that will link to the products, which you’re not related to the products. You’re related the program. But on the product side, even, the ISVs are having some challenges. I know that there’s been ISVs that… The platform keeps shifting, keeps moving around, new things added, things dropped. I even know some ISVs that have said, “Hey, they just launched something, and it kind of wiped out my whole solution.”

Steve Mordue:
I think there’s multiple things going on on the ISV side that’s got a lot of them nervous, and I think they’re looking for some reassurance that, “We bet on the right platform, and was that a good bet, and when are we going to see a payoff on that bet?” What kinds of things can you say to maybe reassure some of these ISVs that are out there that are scratching their heads saying, “Hmm, what’s next? I mean was this a good bet?”

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah. I can’t think of a better bet right now, but that’s me. Of course, I’m on the wrong side of the fence for that. The-

Steve Mordue:
Well, we’re all biased. Even us ISVs are biased.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah, we’re all biased.

Steve Mordue:
We’re all biased.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Well, people want a little reassurance that, to your point, that they made good decisions. From a platform and product perspective, there’s probably never been more energy in the combination of Power Platform and D365 than we have today. I talked a lot about product truth. I didn’t think there was a lot of product truth for an ISV in the platform SaaS offerings if you go back five years when we were in the DPDx days.

Steven Guggenheimer:
James and [Mohamed 00:04:24] and Charles have just been cranking along, and so from the breadth of the portfolio and the quality in that link to Azure going down the stack and that link to SharePoint and M365 going up the stack and the coherence in the platform. Then we’ve been cleaning up. I mean God bless the team for all the work they’ve had to do to clean up just years and years of monolithic offerings that weren’t in good shape. That speaks a little bit to the change of the underlying platform.

Steven Guggenheimer:
We’re probably as solid as we’ve ever been. We’ve got a twice-a-year release train. The notes come out early. We did an ISV session for the partners to get ahead of it. We’ll do that again on an every-six-month basis. Satya is sort of heavily invested. Scott’s heavily invested. Amy, our CFO, is heavily invested. I think there’s both product or platform truth. There’s good energy in the marketplace. I mean we’re growing very well.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Can’t say anything. Q3 will be coming up, but you look at Q2 and Q1, you look at just quarter over quarter, now the platform’s growing and, if the platform’s growing, that’s opportunity, in particular, Power Platform, Power BI, some of the D365 services. I think all of that speaks to just incredible momentum. I see a decent number of ISVs coming into the program and the platform unsolicited wanting to take part in that.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Now, the one place people might feel a little discomfort is, as the platform solidifies and as the services solidify and we add things like AI and mixed reality in there, there might be places where people were making an investment or were looking to extend that we might be extending in that area. I would say, look, if you’re an ISV on the Microsoft platform, historically, one of your trademarks is being somewhat nimble. I don’t care if it’s all the way back to the Windows days and Windows 95 working your way up through the internet era or intelligent cloud, intelligent edge. The value of a platform is that balance between giving developers something to build on and having enough coherence and consistency that both customers and ISVs can count on it.

Steven Guggenheimer:
There’s a fine balance there in terms of where you add features or functionality or new capabilities to keep up with what your competitors are doing, to keep up with what the customers are asking for. It’s a balancing act. I think the good thing, at least in the Dynamics side, is that we’re always open for conversation. Whether it’s myself or Greg or Mohamed or Charles, look, we’ll pick up the phone and we’ll have the discussion. There’ll be places where people might feel uncomfortable that we’ve gone in that direction. Great. We’ll have that conversation, and we’ll talk about, roughly, where we’re going without breaking NDAs on either side.

Steven Guggenheimer:
My feedback to ISVs has always been the, “There’s always someone at Microsoft who thinks, someday, they’re going to build something that competes with you, so let’s focus on the 90% where we don’t compete and know that there’s going to be 10%.” I think that’s just a truism. Look, energy is really good. I mean product coherence is good. Product truth is good. If you look at what’s going on, right now, during the COVID response and the pickup for the Power Platform in terms of helping hospitals and healthcare workers and quick solutions, holy crud.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Then the new areas are good conversation, so let’s have the discussion. I mean I know a lot of the historical ISVs have been around a long time, and some of the work they did that was either custom on the product side or custom in terms of working with our field as we make that available to everybody, that feels a little less comfortable. We do a good amount of handholding for that.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. I think one of the things you guys have been telling ISVs, for years, as a way to build a business but also, in a way, to protect your business is to go vertical. The more vertical you can get, the safer you are. You guys are not going to go there. A lot of horizontal ISVs, and they’re… If you’re horizontal, you’re plugging a hole. You’re always at risk that Microsoft’s going to get around to the time to plug that hole. You’re definitely safer going vertical.

Steven Guggenheimer:
That’s for sure, and that’s even more true today. As some of our competitors invest in the acquisition of vertical solutions, it opens up that direction more. I would say, as a company, we’re making that pivot, albeit slowly but surely, to industry-led versus product-led. We’ve always had product conversations. We’ve always had audience conversations, developers or IT pros. We’ve always had sides of organization enterprise, but industry was always kind of a… not as strong a direction in terms of how we went to market. We pivoted the company pretty heavily, and Azure’s doing a lot of this work at M365, and so is Dynamics. In industry-based solutions, those are always the ones that get the best pickup, and now our sales force is pivoting more and more in that direction. That’s the way to stay aligned.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. You talked about nimble. Frankly, one of the challenges some of these ISVs have is they’re not that nimble. They built a bunch of IP on something, and their goal was to just sit back and collect checks, but you can’t do that anymore. We’re no longer in a space you just build something and sit on it for years. You may not be able to sit on it for months before you’ve got to go back in, modify, refactor, take advantage of some new technology or… It’s a continuous motion now for ISVs. They’re in continuous development mode where they didn’t use to be. It was like, “We’re going to go build something, sit on it, and cash in.”

Steven Guggenheimer:
And particular in this space, and we see it a lot. I use the term, sometimes, there’s this notion of lifestyle businesses where you build something and it supports the lifestyle, and there’s not a lot of interest or energy in reinvesting to change it or modify it. Truthfully, that doesn’t work. There are places where-

Steve Mordue:
Tell me about it.

Steven Guggenheimer:
They’re-

Steve Mordue:
That’s what I’ve been trying to do.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah, it’s not working. Part of the blog series I’ve been working on, it’s called Continuous Transformation, and it’s all… If you look at 25 years or the 26 years of Microsoft, all we’ve ever done is evolved and changed, and it’s driven by technology and scale and culture. I can’t remember a period of time where something’s not upending the conversation.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah, but the pace is much greater in the past few years. The shift to the cloud and the catch up, really, because we were behind getting in the cloud, the catch up necessitated a pace that we have not ever seen from Microsoft, this kind of a pace.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah. I think, in the line of business application space or the Dynamics/Power Platform, we were further behind in that move, as a Microsoft property, than some of the others, be it Office or Azure, and so we’re doing a lot of catch up, and that’s why think that… I talked a lot about product truth. I think they’ve done a phenomenal job, but that’s like a bit of a whip where we’re as close to it as you can be and, the further out you get, the more you’re going to have to go and make those changes, and you’re playing a lot of catch up.

Steven Guggenheimer:
The truth is, D365, there were custom deals floating around there and custom support and all kinds of things that, as you modernize and change, that goes away. I think some [crosstalk 00:12:10]-

Steve Mordue:
It’s not scalable, yeah.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Well, people get frustrated because they had this special deal. Well, look, we don’t even build that product anymore or that product’s not one we’re trying to sell. We’re off doing cloud stuff, so no, we’re not going to go renew a set of terms or a set of conditions for something that we’re not trying to drive anymore. The market’s moved on. That’s gone, and so you need to go modify and change your solution to meet the current market needs. Yeah.

Steven Guggenheimer:
On one hand, I get it. On the other hand, look, the time to move is now. The world is moving, and the opportunity is very good. Despite current conditions which are there, look, there’s… The world, the first thing they move is their infrastructure as a service. They move the core horizontal infrastructure out, but sooner or later, the next thing they’re going to do is they’re going to want to go to a set of SaaS applications. They’re not going to want to have a cloud-based infrastructure then run some client server on-premises solution. They’re going to want to set a SaaS services.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Even though people may feel like it’s a push or it’s a hurry, that’s where the world’s going. We’re going to go push on it, and you need to move your solutions there.

Steve Mordue:
I’ll tell you, it’s been very acute, these folks that have on-premise solutions, particularly if they’re physically on premise, with this virus and the push to send everybody to work from home in organizations that really weren’t set up for people to work from home from a technical standpoint.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah.

Steve Mordue:
I’m sure there are people out there now that are thinking, “Damn, I wish we were in the cloud right now because those guys got it pretty easy working from home if you already made this transition.” It’s very acute right now.

Steve Mordue:
I was talking to Charles two weeks ago. I pounced on him, or a week ago, I pounced on him for a call. He was saying one of the things that’s a-

Steven Guggenheimer:
You are getting a bit of a reputation, but keep going.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. People are going to be scared and have my number blocked.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Nobody’s going to pick up the phone.

Steve Mordue:
One of the things he said that was a big focus right now is making everything work better. It’s like we were firing off lots of solutions, getting them to like 90%, move on to the next one, fire it off, fire it off. Now there’s this effort to kind of go back to this. Let’s close these gaps. As he was talking about, there’s still some significant gaps in not the product truth. The product truth is there, but there’s some gaps that they’re now really going to focus on closing. It feels like it’s kind of like it’s time to do that. We’ve shot out tons of things. Now let’s go back, tighten them all up, and then go back to revisit shooting out more things so-

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah, I think that’s right. You look for gaps and overlaps. You look for how do we take all the AI scenarios? They’re kind of scattered. Can we bring some of them together? Do they make sense together? When they first came into the portfolio, they were sort of all independent, so we ran them uniquely and independently and just kept them going and, excuse me, tried to find alignment with the various SaaS services. Now you go back and you say, okay, where is their consistency? Where is the sum of the parts greater than the individual?

Steven Guggenheimer:
You go and you look for whether it’s process automation and the work we’re doing there, whether it’s the power of virtual agent. If you look at what they’ve done in terms of for COVID-19 in terms of using a virtual agent, making it available, how do you turn these into tools that can really scale and operate and work at the levels needed?

Steven Guggenheimer:
I think Mohamed’s got the same thing. There’s a bunch of solution areas as we took ERP and CRM and took them into their natural marketing and sales and finance and operations, and we picked up some other areas. He’s doing that same work. Now is a beautiful time to not necessarily double the number of offerings or add a whole bunch of new products. It’s now is the time to take the momentum we’ve got and the offerings we’ve got and fill in the gaps and, where there’s overlap, bring things together, make these things really operate at scale.

Steven Guggenheimer:
When you have the energy and you’ve got the interest, then what you start to get is feedback on what you’re missing or what’s not quite right. We want to take advantage of this time to go work on that.

Steve Mordue:
Let me circle this back to your space, the ISV side specifically. Over the past month, I’ve had two calls with some folks on your team that were looking for my opinion about some complaints they were getting, because you know I have opinions, about some complaints they were getting from some ISVs that had built their solution depending on this Team Member license and the changes to Team Member. I am actually aware of a couple of these ISVs that actually built their solution on the Team Member license without regard for the restrictions of that license. Certainly pretty easy to make your ISV solution have a lot of appeal if you’ve put it on a lesser license than it should be on.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Right.

Steve Mordue:
They’re complaining now about the changes. Both of your folks had asked me my thought about that. I said, basically, “The hell with them.” I mean I have no sympathy for somebody who built a solution on top of a license they shouldn’t have. If you can’t make revenue on the right license, then your solution’s not right or you’re thing isn’t right. I mean do you have similar feelings of lack of sympathy for those folks that did those things?

Steven Guggenheimer:
I sort of think about it a little bit differently. Yes, look, there’s people that take advantage of, it maybe intentionally or unintentionally, of licensing they shouldn’t. That just has to get fixed, and we’ll go work on that.

Steven Guggenheimer:
What there is that I think about is there are two scenarios that I think of as light use or light functionality scenarios. If you have something, a very large group of people… Students is a good example. Healthcare workers might be a good example. Pick your scenario where you have lots of people, and you have some people that are heavy users, and you have some people who might touch the solution once or twice a year or who touch the solution quite often, but they need just a very lightweight answer to it. They’re not-

Steve Mordue:
A light touch.

Steven Guggenheimer:
They’re users. They’re users versus creators. That lightweight or light touch scenario is one we still are trying to figure out the right scenario for because there’s not a great license type for this. By the way, this isn’t a Dynamics-type conversation. I can say the same thing for Office for all the years it was there and people would talk about different types of workers. It’s one of the-

Steve Mordue:
Contract workers, things like that.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah, yeah. They used to use the term knowledge workers, and there was something else I can’t remember. There is a collective challenge, which is how do you build a licensing framework where you can’t tell between the two, light touch or light use, or you can tell but there’s no consistency. If I ask the question, “What does light touch mean to one ISV or light use?” I’ll get a very different answer than what I get from another one, so you can’t design a licensing type that works for everyone.

Steven Guggenheimer:
That’s one where I definitely have some empathy. It’s not a sympathy term. I get it. I don’t know what the answer is. To your point, ultimately, you have to design the solution to work with the licensing types that are out there. There’s this funny juxtaposition between everybody wants simplicity but everybody wants all ultimate choice. Well, those two things aren’t the same. You either get simple or you have the… and not as much choice or you get all the choice in the world. It’s the most complex thing you’ll ever seen, and so I don’t know the answer to solving for this one.

Steven Guggenheimer:
I know that the licensing teams are very aware of it. They’ve had tons of these calls, in a good way, but there’s not… I don’t know the answer. I haven’t seen anybody figure out the answer in 10-plus years of banging heads on this, and so I do think trying to design a solution for the licensing types that are out there is the right thing to do. Team doesn’t serve that purpose. It’s gone relative to that where people try to use it for something that it wasn’t designed for, which in many cases, is that light use, light tough scenario, but it doesn’t work.

Steven Guggenheimer:
We’ll keep banging our heads. We’ll keep talking to people. People do have to work within the licensing confines that are out there. We’re always evolving them. We’re always taking feedback. We’re always trying to do better. Assuming something’s going to come magically, it doesn’t happen.

Steve Mordue:
We’re not alone there. I was reading the Forrester Report on low-code solutions. We’re obviously up there at the top now with a couple of others. The negative for all of the ones at the top was overly complex licensing. I was just thinking to myself, “You know what? Whoever figures that out is going to win because that’s the thing holding all of the low-code platforms back a little bit is people can’t figure out how to buy it.” They just can’t. Partners can’t figure out what to sell. Customers can’t figure out what to buy, too many moving parts in the licensing. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones that have that problem, but whoever could figure that out is really… I’m sure you guys have got some smart people trying to figure that out.

Steve Mordue:
A couple of other things before I let you go. On-

Steven Guggenheimer:
Well, just on that one, there’s also a difference between the customer angle for that and the ISV angle. Trying to figure out a licensing framework that works well for customers and ISVs, whether it’s the low-code scenario or some of these others, it adds to the complexity. I highlight that in the sense that customers are a big chunk of… That’s typically where we start first when we’re working on a licensing framework because they’re the… many times are the purchasers or it ends up as part of a broader agreement set, and so we have to figure that out, and so that-

Steve Mordue:
Actually, I think it’s easier for ISVs because, as an ISV, I can figure out and understand what license would be necessary to run my solution and talk to a customer about, “Here’s exactly what you need to run my solution.” Bigger challenge, I think, for customers and SIs where a customer’s like, “We want to do all these wonderful things,” and then for them to try and figure out what kind of licenses they might need to accomplish those things. At least I know what I’m doing with my solution. It’s pretty straightforward. I may have to shift it from a license I used to have it on to some different licensing construct as things changes, but it’s a little easier for me.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah.

Steve Mordue:
One of the things that came up in one of my calls with a pretty good size ISV recently was the lack of… I think he told me his costs this year are going to be over $90,000 for Microsoft licensing to be able to actually build and develop their solutions on between their multiple sandboxes, different things like that. It’s a frustration for him that, “I’m building an ISV solution, a big one. I have lots of customers that are generating licenses and revenue for Microsoft, but I’m having to spend, as an ISV, a ton of money to even be able to do that.”

Steve Mordue:
We had that ISV competency out for about eight minutes, decided that wasn’t a good path. Some of the other paths to get IUR and those sorts of things that you would need to build on aren’t always relevant for ISVs. The biggest thing the ISV competency really gave was, “Here. Here’s some benefits. Here’s some resources for you to go build on.” What can we tell those folks that… I mean this guy’s literally having to buy retail. You know?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah. That’s a Microsoft-level challenge in many ways. It’s the what’s the benefits? It really comes out of the MPN, the Microsoft Partner Network. What’s the benefits? That’s where that competency came from of being a partner and, if you’re an ISV, how can you get access to the software you need to build a solution?

Steven Guggenheimer:
I know that the team is deeply aware of that. It’s from the day the ISV competency went away to through all the conversations. I haven’t checked in in a while to see where they are on coming up with an offering. I’ll go back and ask. It’s a good question. I don’t know. Look, I don’t know the answer, the how do you provide software? It ends up being, to your point, sandboxes or one-offs or these other things versus what’s the programmatic approach that scales across Azure, Dynamics/Power Platform at M365? How do we make it available? What do you need to do to qualify, as a partner, so it’s not just out there for everybody? It’s an expensive offering [crosstalk 00:25:23]-

Steve Mordue:
Yeah, so is manning an ISV practice with developers and people to build, so-

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yep. No, they’re both… That’s right.

Steve Mordue:
Yep.

Steven Guggenheimer:
How do we find that balance? I don’t know. Again, it’s a little bit like a light-usage, lightweight licensing SKU where I haven’t seen the answer to that. This is one of those ones that pops up and down in terms of, sometimes, we seem to give a lot of benefit in that direction, and sometimes we don’t. Let me go back. I’ll go back. It could be one of the last things I can go poke on a little bit, especially since-

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. That would be good.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Especially since I know Nick super well. Nick Parker took over the… He has the ISV remit underneath him now, so I’ll go bug him about that.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah, we kind of kicked the can down the road when the ISV competency went away, kind of grandfathered everybody into business biz apps or some other competency while we figured it out, but now we’ll be looking at people coming up on that expiring, and they’ll be like, “Okay, now what do I got?” I mean it’s obviously a big expense for ISVs when they’re looking at partnering with Microsoft. They’re thinking, “Here’s something you can do for me,” but other things-

Steven Guggenheimer:
No, that’s super constant, consistent feedback. That’s not a new one. We probably had that conversation the first time we did a call and-

Steve Mordue:
Every time since.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Every time since, and I still haven’t… It’s one I get to poke on. It’s not one that I own, but it’s one that I’ll go poke on again.

Steve Mordue:
How is ISV Connect? Have you guys collected revenue yet? Are we at the point where we’re collecting revenue from ISVs?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Oh, yeah. Yeah, collecting revenue. We crossed 1,000 ISVs that have signed the agreements. I think we’ve crossed 1,000 apps in AppSource now. We’ve done all the work to remove the ones that didn’t go through certification that didn’t join ISV Connect.

Steven Guggenheimer:
We’re actually in a good in a good spot. We’ve got a decent number at the 20% level, and we’re trying to get the ones that our field is really asking for aligned with more of the 20-percenters because those are the ones that are going to close out with the most. I feel really good about the getting people into the program. We’ve gotten the time to do the certification down. That’s all been cleaned up. I think terms and conditions, we’ve been through all of that. We’re heading into the next year. We won’t add a lot, so keep it simple, do more of the same.

Steven Guggenheimer:
The place we’re spending energy now is on the benefits side. We’ve got almost all the partners activated with their marketing benefits now, and they’ve had the call, and we’re working on that. On the co-selling side, look, we’re continuing to do the work with the field to drive that forward. Some people feel pretty good about it and we get really good feedback, and some people don’t feel as good quite yet, and so we’re working on both of those.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Now as you head into Q4 with an economic challenge around the world, everybody hunkers down a little bit, so we’re going to have to work a little harder. One of my meetings later today is how do we stay focused on the right things and the fewest number of things to keep the momentum going as we head into this year and next? We’re doing the planning for what would we tune for next year. Overall, it’s going well.

Steven Guggenheimer:
The operations, a lot of the challenges we had, once you got past the people discomfort with a new program, a lot of challenges we had were operations. We’re cleaning those up. We have some marketplace work to do. We’ve had good calls with that team. When people give us feedback, we understand it. We’re doing the engineering work now. I sort of feel like we’ll work our way through Q4 this year and then, as we head into the next year, we’ll have both an engineering uptick on operations work, on the marketplace, on the back end. There’s work going on on Partner Center because it’s going to scale to more and more partners across the company.

Steven Guggenheimer:
I feel pretty good, not perfect. I always say these things are a journey and they take time, that’s for sure, and so we’ll-

Steve Mordue:
Yeah, yeah. It always takes longer than you think, right?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah, yeah. I’m scarred enough to know that we still got another year of cranking away, but we’re in a good spot given where we were. The energy’s in a good place. We just got to keep focused and keep going.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. Maybe there’s a way to solve both those problems. I seem to recall, at least, the initial benefits that were being, “Here, in exchange for the rev share, we’re going to give you guys these benefits.” A lot of those benefits were targeting brand-new ISVs. A lot of the benefits on that list for an established ISV, they were like, “Oh, I don’t need this. I don’t need this. I don’t need a bunch of these things as an established ISV.” Those are all, certainly, high value to someone brand-new to the platform, which is something we all want is more ISVs. Maybe there’s a way to tie in those IURs or the benefits back to, “Okay, you don’t want a marketing thing? Fine. How about if we give you some credits that you could use towards the underlying platform stuff you might need that could be a little more value to those folks?”

Steven Guggenheimer:
That’s some of the conversations we’re having is which benefits are people finding value in? Where would they like to see other benefits? The IUR is a constant one, so that one I sort of table off on the side because it’s a consistent.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah, yeah. Definitely, benefits will be different for someone brand new to the platform who’s never done anything versus someone who’s been there for a long time. Let me ask-

Steven Guggenheimer:
Right. This is one of the trade-offs when you go… A platform is only as strong as its ecosystem. To make the ecosystem stronger, you’re going to add more people in, and so you’re going to bring people in. Part of what you’re trying to do is attract that. Not all of those things feel great for the people that have been there and been working on it. That’s where a little bit of the tuning and being agile helps because you’re adapting to… Look, the platforms are going to scale and grow. It’s in a good spot, so there’s going to be more people you know on it, and so we have to find that the tools that work for everyone.

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. Thanks to your little kick, I got a call next week with about a dozen people on the AppSource team, so they’re going to get an earful of all my opinions so they can put that in the mixer.

Steven Guggenheimer:
No, I think it’ll be good because look… and they know. To be honest with you, they know. We told them, “Look, it’s better to hear directly. There’s a couple of folks, we’re having them talk to you. They’re sending me the feedback,” and then they can tell you where they’re at and what they’re doing and why it’s taking a little longer than maybe people had hoped for. That’s the beauty of doing it right and getting it fixed is… not the beauty, the reality.

Steve Mordue:
Necessity.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah, the reality or the necessity. It’s a little like rebooting this program.

Steve Mordue:
I want to wrap up here because I don’t want to take up too much of your time.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yep. Yeah, I got somebody-

Steve Mordue:
You recently announced a retirement.

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yep.

Steve Mordue:
Coming soon. Who’s going to be stepping into your shoes for this ISV motion? Figured that out yet? Has that been just thought about?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah. No, we’re going to move the team into another part of the organization. It’ll be close to the Accelerator Team, which used to report to me anyway, and the Industry Team and with one of our real good leaders and with DSI. It’ll end up in a spot with Greg and Sean still running their teams aligned with the work going on for another key part of the ecosystems, which is SIs, and the industry work, which has a ton of ISV work. It’s all the accelerators. Again, that team used to report into my org, so it’ll feel like a pretty natural connection into places it would fit and the people we’ve worked with pretty closely all along.

Steve Mordue:
You’re going to have every single one of these issues fixed, buttoned up, running like a well-oiled machine before you walk out the door, right?

Steven Guggenheimer:
I’m going to stay committed to doing the best job to make sure we’re set up well for our next fiscal year to transitioning well and to being there. Then I’ll be around for a little longer to make sure if there’s questions or engagements that are needed to done that I do them.

Steve Mordue:
All right, cool. Well, I’m looking forward to everything that that comes. Thanks for making the time for the call.

Steven Guggenheimer:
No worries. I always enjoy a surprise call on whatever day it is. Days get lost nowadays, but-

Steve Mordue:
Yeah. I’ll bet you enjoy them, right?

Steven Guggenheimer:
Yeah.

Steve Mordue:
All right, man. Have a good one.

Steven Guggenheimer:
All right. We’ll talk you, Steve. Take care. Bye.

Steve Mordue MVP

Steve Mordue, a Microsoft Business Applications MVP, is the CEO of Forceworks, a 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year. Steve started his business applications consulting career in 2001, originally supporting Salesforce.com as a Certified Consultant. Steve transitioned his consulting practice to Dynamics CRM, (now Dynamics 365) in 2011. Steve has been engaged in hundreds of deployments over the course of his career. As one of the leading Microsoft Business Application Consultants, recognized by Microsoft as an expert, Steve has provided training, on behalf of Microsoft, to other Microsoft Partners globally on how to launch and build successful practices. Steve is a member of the Worldwide Dynamics Partner Advisory Council, and is a frequent presenter and panelist at global Microsoft events. The opinions shared in this blog are Steve's alone. If you are looking for Microsoft confidential information, you will not find any here.

Add your 2 cents, but don't use my comments to pimp your stuff!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.