Steve has another Chat with Toby Bowers


I have had my head down working on some big things, and it has been a while since you heard from me. Well, I’m getting back to it with a follow-up chat with Toby Bowers, the Leader of the Microsoft Bizapps ISV Program. I managed to catch him in his car, and got a great update on some new things happening in the ISV arena. Enjoy!

Transcript Below:

Toby:
Hi, this is Toby.

Steve:
Hey Toby, Steve Mordue, how’s it going?

Toby:
Hey, Steve. I’m doing well. Thanks. How are you?

Steve:
Not too bad. I catch you at a decent time?

Toby:
You’ve caught me at a fine time. I’m actually in the car at the moment. I’m just taking my team out for a little celebratory launch after our big Inspire event and also our Ready event earlier this week. So it’s actually a good time. Let me just pull over so we can have a chat.

Steve:
It’s Been a pretty frantic couple of weeks for you guys.

Toby:
Frantic, but good. Yeah. Yeah. We had a great showing at Inspire. We made some exciting announcements across the business applications business, but especially around our ISV program, ISV Connect, as you and I have chatted about before. So, it’s been good.

Steve:
Well that’s [crosstalk 00:00:50]-

Toby:
How about you [crosstalk 00:00:51].

Steve:
[crosstalk 00:00:51] the reason for my call is to try and catch up on ISV Connect. We talked some time ago about some things that you kind of had just inherited this role from Googs who moved on and were kind of getting your feet wet. Now you’ve had a close to a year in this position, right?

Toby:
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. I remember our initial chat and I think in fact I’m guilty, Steve, because we agreed to speak a little bit more often, but it’s been an interesting year this past year, as we all know, but yeah, it’s been almost a full year of execution since we last spoke and I even remember Steve, the nice article you wrote with some suggestions for me as I sort of took over.

Toby:
Yeah, I’d love to actually go back to that. We can talk about a little bit about some of the enhancements and announcements that we made last week.

Steve:
Yeah. I mean last week, I think for a lot of the ISV’s that they weren’t thrilled with some things as the program got launched, they were starting to kind of get their arms around it. But some of these announcements that I was hearing and hopefully we can talk about today, anything of course isn’t NDA, I think should make the ISV community pretty happy. It’s making me pretty happy. And really kind of throw some gas on that fire.

Toby:
Yeah. Well, absolutely. I’d love to reinforce it. I know, I know you get a lot of people listening to your impromptu calls here. So why don’t I do this? Let me maybe just set a little bit of context, just kind of where we left off Steve, and then I can hit on the high notes of what we announced and then we can dive into any particular areas. That sound all right?

Steve:
Yeah. You are pulled over, right?

Toby:
I am pulled over now, yes.

Steve:
Okay.

Toby:
You got my full attention.

Steve:
All right sure, kind of hit some of the highlights.

Toby:
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, for those who don’t know, we originally set out with the ISV Connect program a couple of years ago to attract ISV’s to our platform, building and extending upon it. That platform being both Dynamics 365 and the power platform with a specific focus on partners who had great industry or vertical IP to enhance the portfolio and delivering better value to our joint customers. So through the program itself, it’s a revenue share program and we reinvest back in the ecosystem in the form of platform benefits, go to market benefits, co-selling with our field.

Toby:
So when I sort of took over Steve, I wanted to sort of get a full year of execution in place. And in that first year we were pretty happy with the numbers. We have over 700 ISV’s enrolled in the program. Now we use AppSource as sort of the cornerstone of the program. We have, we have 1400 apps or more certified in AppSource. But after that first year, I really with the team wanted to understand how things were landing, and I think your feedback was good Steve. We did a bunch of research. We do partner satisfaction surveys. I of course talked to a lot of partners in my travels.

Steve:
[crosstalk 00:03:59] in a year’s time, you can kind of get a pretty good gauge on what was working well? What could work better? What wasn’t working well? What do we need to just abandon? What do we need to step on? And I kind of got the feeling that was this readjustment that we just saw was kind of bringing some of those things to light.

Toby:
That’s exactly right Steve. I mean, it’s such a diverse ecosystem of emerging partners to large mature partners across a pretty vast portfolio. So, it was a diverse set of feedback, but you’re spot on. We wanted to give it a little bit of time, but then check in and listen and make some adjustments. So that’s what we did, based on a lot of the feedback we got.

Toby:
I’d sort of summarize what we changed in three big areas Steve, the first is that the business model itself, the fee structure, and we talked about this last time, but not only having an investible model where you can reinvest, but actually investing in the ecosystem, especially as it’s growing like this business is growing.

Toby:
The second thing was a lot of feedback around the go to market, whether it was the marketing benefits, the co-selling with our field, really just getting that value proposition right Steve, and really delivering on the promise we made. We needed to balance that equation a little bit and equalize the effort.

Toby:
And then the third piece is really around the platform itself. And again, we’ve talked about this in the past, but just the platform, the tooling, dev test environments, app sources, and marketplace itself.

Toby:
So those were the three key areas that we sort of listened and got a lot of good feedback around. So with that in mind, what we actually announced at the event is that first of all, back on the business model we’re significantly reducing the rev share fees down from 10 and 20%, which you might recall, we had a standard tier and a premium tier. So we were bringing those fees down from 10 and 20% to 3%, just a flat 3% going forward.

Steve:
That’s across the board?

Toby:
That’s across the board. And in fact, it was part of a broader announcement we made as Microsoft, Steve, where we’re also bringing our commercial marketplace fees, so that’s both Azure Marketplace and app sources. We get transact capabilities down to that same flat 3%.

Steve:
So what’s the motivation behind that? I mean, what is it that they’re hoping that will accomplish for Microsoft?

Toby:
Yeah, it’s interesting. If you catch any of the sessions, even starting with Satya, he really talks about Microsoft wanting to be the platform for platform creators. And then if you parlay that into what Nick Parker said and Charlotte Marconi around being the best platform for partners to do business on, it really just came down to helping the partners keep more of their margin to invest in their growth.

Toby:
So it’s not a P&L, a profit center for Microsoft. It’s a way to deliver benefits. We think it’s pretty differentiated in the market compared to some of our peers. And it was sort of interesting to see, because we were planning on bringing the fees down for ISV Connect specifically, and then we started to align across the organization and just thought, gosh, we should just do this in a very consistent way across the entire Microsoft Cloud with that one flat 3%.

Steve:
So the math equation had to work out something like, if we dropped this to 3%, that’s going to grow that side of the business significantly, which is going to increase platform sales, right? There has to be an up for the down. And I guess maybe… I mean, not that the platform wasn’t already growing by leaps and bounds, but somebody must’ve been thinking this thing can grow a lot faster if we get rid of some of these hurdles.

Toby:
You’re exactly right. I mean, it’s kind of what we’ve talked about in the past. Just the value that an ISV ecosystem brings to Microsoft with that, whether it’s the industry relevance, industry specific IP, or just a growing ecosystem in general. I don’t know if you’d caught what we just did, our earnings earlier this week, but Dynamics 365 is growing 43% year over year, we doubled our power apps customer base. And so to your point, the business is growing, the platform is growing, and we want the ecosystem to grow and we want to attract as many partners to do that as possible.

Steve:
So, I mean, you can’t reduce fees and increase the benefit, you have to have taken some things away or maybe gotten rid of some things that weren’t being utilized, or how did that kind of offset?

Toby:
Yeah. Great question. Yeah, so we are investing deliberately to build this out and kind of putting our money where our mouth is, but we did, you’re spot on. We learned a lot around the benefits, the go to market benefits in particular, the second key thing we announced is that we are reducing just down to one tier at that flat 3%. So no more 10% and 20% or a standard and a premium tier. And we’re reducing the thresholds within that one tier for partners to unlock those go to market benefits and those marketing benefits. And then what I heard, especially from partners, again, to my point around, you’ve got some mature partners and some emerging partners, it’s not a one size fits all. And so we’ve got an option sort of an, a lA carte, option for partners to choose marketing benefits that make the most sense for their business. So we just tried to simplify things and streamline things a little bit.

Steve:
You know, I talked to a lot of partners. We’re, kind of unique in that our application is free. So, the revenue shared didn’t really come into play for what we were doing because there wasn’t a fee for our app or any recurring services with it. But you know, a lot of these ISV’s their business is significantly different. They’ve got revenue generating applications that run on top of your platform. Many of them that kind of told me in confidence that they just weren’t paying the fees. They were getting the notice from Microsoft saying, “Hey, please do us a favor and tell us how much money you’ve made and what you owe us.” And many of them were just kind of ignoring that.

Steve:
I guess if we’re getting down into a 3% range, it’d probably make it a little easier for some people to be more honest about things too you think?

Toby:
Yeah. Well, yeah we hope so. Again, that was kind of my point around balancing the equation and making sure that we’re delivering on the promise that we set out with the program itself. And I talked to a lot of partners as well, and there’s definitely benefit being realized, whether it’s from a marketing perspective or co-selling with our field, again, based on what’s important to their business, but you’re right, we do think by reducing it to this level and also just getting better at delivering the benefits in a consistent way, we’ll have more partners participating in the program.

Toby:
The one thing I would say, Steve, that I was just going to close off on with this sort of consistency across Microsoft is we also realized that’s our value proposition. If we can not only have a similar model with the 3% marketplace fee and ISV Connect fees across Microsoft, but a similar model to the way we deliver those benefits, to the way we engage with technical resources or engage from a co-selling perspective across Azure Teams and 365 Dynamics Power Platform, that’s kind of how we differentiate ourselves versus, the rest of the players out in the market.

Toby:
So we made a bunch of enhancements and announcements across the business Azure teams, ISV Connect obviously, and you’ll see us continue to sort of work towards a much more consistent approach from a Microsoft Cloud perspective, because obviously we’d love it if partners were integrating with Teams. We have over 250 million monthly active users with Teams now driving dynamics integrations all the way through to CDM and Dataverse and integration into Azure Synapse. Those are the partners we want to work with and the type of partners we want to support and go to market with.

Steve:
Well, I’ll tell you, I think the 3% has probably eliminated a hurdle for a partner, certainly I remember at the time a lot of partners complaining about the 10 and 20 saying things like, “If it was like three.” Okay, well it’s three now, so shut up and move forward.

Toby:
Yeah. We’ve had a lot of-

Steve:
And it’s interesting, because it’s kind of the way we sell is I guess for an industry ISV who built something specifically for Dynamics 365, maybe they approach things a little different. Our approach is more, we really try and sell the potential of the platform because we’ve got a simple CRM. So we’re up against a lot of competing simple CRMs. And when you open one of their CRMs and open, rapid start, for example, they look very similar and do very similar things. So for us, we really have to sell the value proposition of, hey, behind that little CRM that you’re using from Acme Cloud CRM company is really nothing. You’ve got the extent of what you can do with that right there in front of you and there’s nothing more that can be done, and we really lean in hard on the potential for things like integration with Teams, with things like integration with Azure.

Steve:
Obviously the integration with Microsoft 365, all of the pieces that are available in the power platform that we haven’t enabled in our app that are there to be enabled, you like the forums and some of the AI stuff, it definitely seems to be a huge differentiator in that sales conversation.

Toby:
Yeah. Well, that’s great to hear that’s really what we’re trying to get right and stitch together the teams if they exist across Microsoft and iron those out. I think your company is a great example of that Steve, and I know you talked to a bunch of our partners and sort of as an independent third party, we had a few partners join us at inspire. Icertis has been a longstanding partner of ours. They’re a similar story from, from Azure Dynamics Teams really across the board, and getting more and more focused on industry solutions with their particular IP.

Toby:
And then we had more emerging partners like Karma, Frank at Karma talked to us about some of the benefits we’re building into the platform, specifically license management, and now he’s taken advantage of that. And we have big partners like Sycor, that’s been working with us for a long time on the Azure side of the business and is doing some really interesting things now on the dynamic side and sees value in that co-sell motion.

Toby:
So I think that value prop is what we’re trying to land, and then we’re seeing lots of different types of partners take advantage of it in different ways, which is great to see.

Steve:
Yeah, it’s not often that you see both a cost of participation come down and the value of the benefits go up. And when we talk about benefits, and before, you and I have talked about some of these go to market benefits, there’s a segment of ISV’s that could make use of those probably mostly new ISV’s that don’t really understand that system.

Steve:
But for a lot of the ISV’s, they really didn’t see value there, but in the meantime they’re maintaining their own licensing systems and their own transaction systems and things like that, which as an ISV, that’s just like a tax. You’re building your solution to solve a particular problem, but you can’t just stop after you built this wonderful solution, you got to protect it, you got to monetize it. So those things ended up being just kind of attacks.

Steve:
And, every ISV out there has had to kind of build their own system for licensing and transacting. And you guys coming through now recently here would be with the licensing capability we were in that pilot, and that thing’s got some great potential, a couple of things left for them to do on that to get that really where it’s going to solve a lot of problems that ISV’s have had, even with their own licensing.

Steve:
Because with your own external licensing system, you can only do so much, but working with one that’s on the platform, that’s essentially the same one you guys are utilizing, is going to be huge for ISV’s, and then we’ll get to transactability, that’s just going to close another piece that ISV’s have had to deal with, especially when you talk about those startup ISV’s, they know an industry and they can build an app, but when it comes to licensing and transacting, and if they can just tick a button and plug right into a couple of those things, that’s going to lower the bar to entry and make it a lot easier for some of those folks to get in I think.

Toby:
Yeah, I hope that you’re right Steve, in fact, I didn’t know you were working with Julian Payor and the team on piloting the license management stuff. It’s great to hear your feedback. That was kind of the whole intent with the journey. If I rewind a bit with AppSource itself, you’ll recall we had to do quite a bit of work on the overall user experience for AppSource. We worked hard with the engineering team to improve that, improve discoverability and search capabilities and just sort of the plumbing underneath. And then the next step was, was licensed management, which we’ve just GA’d working again with the engineering team, and then from there, to your point, the value proposition, a lot of ISV’s put all this together and then you add transactability and the ability to actually sell your stuff on our marketplace to what’s now more than 4 million monthly shoppers, going to that destination is it is definitely a point of value that I’ve heard positive feedback from ISV’s on.

Toby:
So that’s why we really invested there. I know it’s taking us a little bit of time to get there, but that was another key announcement. We announced license management later in the fiscal year. We’ll have translatability and AppSource for our customer engagement apps, for power apps, and then we’ll continue to roll out a roadmap from there.

Toby:
And then the other piece I forgot to mention Steve, we made some noise about as well, was these new sandbox environments. And I know you’ve given me this feedback before, but you know, sort of in the broader internal use rights world, the value in having sandbox environments for our partners to do dev tests and do customer demos around, I heard loud and clear from you and from other partners. And so that’s the other thing we announced. We have these new discounted skews, which are basically just at cost skews across the business for those dev test environments. And then for partners who are participating in ISV Connect and hitting those new lower reduced rev share thresholds, we’ll provide those licenses for free.

Toby:
So we think that’s going to be a great new benefit for partners as well, more on that technical and platform side of things.

Steve:
Yeah. Particularly for the ISV’s, because ISV’s don’t necessarily see a lot of value or need to get Microsoft competencies. Competencies are definitely, as a program that was designed for resellers to demonstrate their competence. But a lot of ISV’s don’t want to have a need for that. And that’s where [inaudible 00:19:22] had historically kind of been tied was to those competencies.

Steve:
So is there any talk about any sort of… I mean, they did do that kind of short-lived ISV competency, which was primarily around, hey, if you’ve got an app in AppSource you qualify. Here’s some IUR.

Steve:
So this new program will replace that, but are they going to be revisiting any sort ISV competencies or need?

Toby:
Yeah, well I won’t say too much as far as future plans are concerned, but what I can say Steve is that we did this for biz apps, we did it for ISV Connect because that’s our program and we got feedback and we think there’s value in that.

Toby:
I did mention that going forward we’ll have a more consistent approach across Microsoft Cloud. There’s lots of different benefits out there. Azure Credits, we announced some new things around Teams. And so we just need to, as one Microsoft, provide that to our partners in a consistent delivery through these benefits so that we can support that kind of value proposition we talked about earlier. So look for more from us in that area. You’re spot on, on the competency side. And I wouldn’t even say resellers, I’d say more SI, system integrators services partners.

Steve:
Yeah.

Toby:
The key difference there is, we want those guys to be able to differentiate their organization. As a company, you can say, “I’ve got 15 certified individuals in this role-based certification. And I’ve got this many credits to my business that make me a gold partner at an organization level”-

Steve:
Which is something a customer looking at SI would be looking for.

Toby:
Right.

Steve:
But when you’re looking at an ISV solution, they’re really just looking at the functionality.

Toby:
It’s the app, right? You would want to badge in app versus badge and organization. And so that’s the key difference there. And I think we’ve kind of figured that out and again, you’ll see us do more in that space going forward.

Steve:
Yeah. I just want to mention, just go back for a second to make sure everybody is aware that the transactability and the licensing are optional. These are things that you can take advantage of if you spend a ton of money on your own systems, nobody’s going to expect you to rip and replace. These are really designed for… I mean when I think of a partner like myself, if I can get out of the license management and have transactability just be automatic, where all I really have to do is focus on building my IP, getting it in AppSource, hopefully promoting it properly, but then the licensing becomes automatic and the transactability becomes automatic, and I’m just getting money coming into my account. Of course, you guys are scraping your 3%, which I don’t begrudge because your given me those tools. That just makes things a lot easier.

Toby:
That’s right. And you’re right, it’s not mandatory. It’s again what makes sense for the partner. And so, you can do business with us and ISV Connect outside of the marketplace and work with us on the new 3%, get those benefits, or you can transact in the marketplace, it’s that same 3%. And it’s a different benefit. You get that whole commerce system, you get that whole billing engine. You don’t have to worry about that. And there’s a lot of ISV’s out there that see value in that. So yeah, you’re spot on.

Steve:
Yeah. I remember Goose had kind of recharacterized the revenue share after the kind of flap up from some of the ISV’s about the benefits and stuff and he recharacterized it as a cost for the use of the platform that you’re building on top of a platform that Microsoft has built, Microsoft maintains, Microsoft advances. So look at that as a cost for that. And I think you still kind of need to look at that as a cost for that. It’s not 3% for licensing and transactability, it’s a cost for maintaining the platform, there’s these pieces you can take advantage of or not. But if you’re not taking advantage of license management, transactability, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay the fee. You’re paying the fee for something else.

Toby:
Yeah.

Steve:
I’m trying to head off some things I know I may hear from some folks [inaudible 00:23:24] licensing. No, no, no.

Toby:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re right. You’re right, Steve, and again, to zoom back out again, I mean, it’s not about the 3%, it’s about attracting partners to build on the broader Microsoft Cloud and supporting their business in a way that works for them. And you’re right, there is a cost of doing that, but we want to invest, and I think we just sent a message hopefully to the market that we want to be aggressive in this space, we think we’re well positioned, we’ve got a great value proposition with this broader Microsoft Cloud thing that we’re just seeing incredible growth across the business.

Toby:
And I guess most importantly, we’re listening back to that, after a full year, really sort of staying in tune to feedback from partners like yourself, that [inaudible 00:24:07] at large to make sure that we’re doing the right thing and delivering, that’s kind of what was most important to me.

Steve:
So those discounted skews for ISV’s, in order to qualify for that, what do they need to do? They need to join ISV Connect?

Toby:
Yeah. So the discounted licenses, which are again, just basically at cost for us, are available to anyone who’s enrolled in ISV Connect. All you need to do is enroll in the program, but then if you hit the new reduced rev share threshold that sort of unlocks additional benefits, then we’ll give those licenses to you for free. And I can’t here in the car, remember all the details of the numbers and stuff like that, I think, and you probably have it. I think aka.ms.bizapp.ISV connect, I think that’s a link to our website that has all the benefit details and stuff, but that’s basically the way it works.

Steve:
Are those available today?

Toby:
They are. There’s a whole bunch of them available today and there’s more coming. I know that the sales service, field service, marketing, I think the customer insights products, maybe commerce, I might be forgetting a few others and then there’s more coming down the pike shortly.

Steve:
All right. So a good reason for people to go back to revisit ISV Connect site if they haven’t in a while.

Toby:
I would love that. Yeah, I think so. If we can get people to go back and like you said, revisit, just get educated, hopefully get re-engaged and then keep the feedback coming. That’s a great outcome.

Steve:
So I’ve had a few ISV’s asking me about what’s the future of ISV Embed, and maybe you can speak to that because that one’s kind of a little vague, I think, for a lot of folks right now.

Toby:
Yeah. It’s a great question Steve, that’s kind of next, next on our list. And again, today I can’t share a lot of specifics, but this is a good topic for us to come back to probably in our regular chats.

Toby:
As you know, Cloud Embed is a model that supports kind of like an OEM like model where a partner’s just packaging their IP directly on the underlying license and selling it together through our ISV Cloud Embed program, which leverages our CSP vehicle as a way to transact. And so we’ve had it out there for a couple of years. And I may have mentioned before that we’re sort of modernizing a whole bunch of our commerce capabilities and new business models and so we’re working on a few different options still to support that embed scenario where things like co-selling with our field or certain other marketing benefits aren’t the most important thing for a particular ISV in a particular scenario, they don’t want to have to mess with reselling the underlying dynamics license. They’re not resellers. They just want to sell their IP.

Steve:
Yeah.

Toby:
So we’re working on some stuff there, especially, on both the core dynamics business and the power platform business. So we can stay in touch and I can come back to you for some feedback once we have more to share.

Steve:
Yeah. That, I mean, that program worked for a particular kind of an ISV.

Toby:
Yeah.

Steve:
A lot of the ISV’s that have add on solutions that are not SI’s, there’s a partner already involved with a customer and they just want to sell their add on solution.

Steve:
Yeah. Licenses have probably already been sold by that partner. They don’t want or need to get involved in that management of that sort of stuff. They just want to sell their IP. And then there’s some ISV’s that the customer is actually buying, which I think we’re starting to see now. And I think I told you this before, one of the things that Salesforce had going for them with their ISV’s was there were a lot of very robust ISV’s that did a lot of direct marketing to customers about their solution and less so about the fact that it ran on Salesforce.

Steve:
Salesforce is this platform in the background, but this is what we’re selling is this ISV solution, and in that scenario they own the customer because the customer wasn’t buying Salesforce, they really were buying the solution to their problem for this ISV, and we hadn’t seen as much of that on the dynamic side for a long time. It was definitely, you start with dynamics and then you add on ISV features and capabilities. But I think we’re starting to see more of that, that holistic ISV solution that a customer is buying the solution that happens to run on the power platform or on dynamics.

Toby:
Totally. That’s the scenario we see mutual opportunity in. That example, you said where the ISV owns the partner or the customer, the relationship with the customer, frankly that helps us reach more customers as Microsoft. And then if we provide that ISV still the underlying technology and the right business model to support their business, then that’s goodness on both sides. So, that’s exactly [crosstalk 00:29:10].

Steve:
So that’s the one where ISV Embed probably makes the most sense, , that type of partner. So we’re starting to see more of them.

Toby:
That’s great. That’s great. Well, I always appreciate the feedback if you have any. So I’d love you to go through these new things in a bit more detail, and then send me your feedback and we can continue to keep the lines of communication open as always.

Steve:
I’m not letting you off just yet. I’m keeping you for a couple more.

Toby:
Oh man, I’ve got my team waiting, I’m hungry Steve.

Steve:
I just want to ask, “What is the most exciting thing you’re seeing in the space coming soon that people should really be paying attention to?” I know we’ve got some things happening that aren’t so much related to ISV, like the power platform pricing coming down, but what are some of the things that you’re seeing in your group, or maybe some things that are already out there that you’re feeling like ISV’s are not understanding what this is obviously or they’d be all over it?

Toby:
Hmm. That’s a great question. I’d say probably two things. One is, again, one of the big announcements we made at Inspire that wasn’t necessarily related to ISV’s or ISV Connect specifically, but what we announced with Teams where Teams users will now be able to sort of view and collaborate on Dynamics 365 records from directly within Teams.

Toby:
So this concept of collaborative apps you’ll see, and that’s at no additional cost. Obviously that concept you’ll see us continue to do more around to bring that again, pretty large install base of Teams users that are out there, 250-million now, together with Dynamics, we think is sort of unique to our value proposition. So there was [crosstalk 00:30:58]-

Steve:
So this is somebody you think ISV’s out there should definitely go do a little bit of investigating into the Team story?

Toby:
Yes, yes. Teams on the front end, it’s such a large install base that we can take advantage of as partners. And then on the backend, I mentioned that again, power platform, Dataverse, leveraging our data services like Azure Synapse Analytics, again, stitching that all the way from the front end of the backend. We as Microsoft, we’re really focused on that combined Microsoft Cloud story. And I think the partners that are recognizing that and investing in that with their own IP are the ones we’re going to engage with and hopefully generate some good opportunity around.

Toby:
The second one, in that vein Steve, the second one I was going to say is just what we continue to do with our industry clouds. So we have cloud for healthcare out there at the moment, we’ve got financial services, manufacturing, retail, we announced the cloud for sustainability, we’ve got not-for-profit. So, these things continue to roll off the conveyor belt, but it’s such a great opportunity. I was sort of surprised with how much interest we had from the ISV ecosystem around these industry clouds. Obviously as we build more industry IP, we need to sort of adjust our relationship with our partners who serve those industries, but there’s still so much space to add, specific IP to that industry and work with some of those very credible industry partners that we were sort of talking about just a moment ago is a big place that we’re going to invest going forward. So, that’s an area I’d encourage people to keep a close eye on.

Steve:
Are you satisfied with the level of ISV engagement with the accelerators? Are they still kind of too many of them on the sidelines kicking or poking it with a stick or have we got enough of them actually coming in now that you’re happy with that velocity? Or are you feeling like there’s a bunch more that need to get in there?

Toby:
I think, first of all, we’ve evolved a bit from that original industry accelerator approach to now just real industry IP that we’re building first party in these verticals that I mentioned. Obviously there’s great partners out there that can work with us with those solutions to, like I said, have their IP built on that broader Microsoft Cloud. Industry clouds are just a great example of a Microsoft Cloud solution, frankly. And so to your question of, do we have enough partners there? You want to obviously get it right when you launch an offering like that with the right, frankly, small number of partners to complete the solution and have it be good and relevant and useful for customers, but the more the merrier around that investment.

Toby:
And so it’s early days, Steve, we only have one industry cloud in market GA’d at the moment, but as I said, there’s a lot more coming. So we want to make sure we’re building the ecosystem around it pretty aggressively.

Steve:
Yeah. I mean, we’ve got partners of all sizes, so we got some big healthcare ISV’s I’m sure engaged in some of the heavy lifting, but healthcare is an awfully big market, awfully big field, and there is spot, point solutions kind of across the healthcare organization that need to be filled by probably a smaller ISV’s. So it seems like there’s stuff across that whole thing.

Toby:
Yeah. Totally. There’s plenty of opportunity and plenty of space around that. And even from a geographic perspective, I mean, different parts of the world have different regulatory requirements and are different, and so there’s yeah, to your point, and that’s what I was trying to articulate earlier. I think there’s still just a massive opportunity for partners to work with us around those new offerings.

Steve:
Well, I know you’ve got to get to your thing. You’ve told me twice in the call, I appreciate you pulling the car over to chat with me to catch up. I just wanted to get some of this stuff out to the listeners about some of these changes that just occurred.

Steve:
And I’m definitely going to go through, like you said, and study it a little more closely and I’ll reach out to you directly with some feedback and some thoughts and see if we keep this thing moving.

Toby:
Awesome. Well, Hey, I’m so glad you caught me, Steve. It’s always a pleasure to catch up and have a chat, and yeah, please do go through it in some detail. Again, your feedback is important. Whole ecosystems feedback is super important to me, so I appreciate it. And yeah, it was great to catch up.

Steve:
All right man, talk to you soon.

Toby:
All right. Take care, Steve.

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.

Hey You! I don't write this crap just for your personal enjoyment!

Pimp my post to your social networks. It will make you look smarter to your friends!