A bomb dropped by Microsoft. Is it Good is It bad? I do not know
Yesterday Microsoft together with Shopify dropped a bomb. A huge bomb for a lot of people. There will be a connector for Shopify and Dynamics 365 Business Central… and to be honest – I have good and bad feelings about it. Why? Let me explain.
If you did not hear about it here is a link https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2021/10/13/microsoft-partners-with-shopify-to-expand-dynamics-365-business-central-ecosystem/
To be frank with you, first I thought “WOW! Great! It will be a super cool feature“. As a customer and VAR, I would love to get it in the product – I think everyone will agree on that.
Then the sad part came to me “Let’s see if there is already something on AppSource“… the number of existing connectors is huge! Over 10. What will happen to them? What with those hours spent on developing it? What about time and money spent on the marketing and sales processes? As an ISV I felt really really bad for them. I would not be happy at all.
I still do not know what to think about it
It is not black and white to me. I was thinking about it the whole day, talking about it on Discord, and even calling few people (that is also why you see this post).
I understand Microsoft. I do. Especially after reading the part that came from Shopify directly (https://news.shopify.com/the-best-in-commerce-joins-the-best-in-enterprise-shopify-launches-global-erp-program). How it can be that there are native connectors for Infor and NetSuite and not for any ERP from Microsoft. Many times, I had a conversation that goes something like this:
Customer: Do you have the report XYZ?
Me: No but we have API and you can build it in Power BI…
Customer: Sooooo you don’t have? The others do.
I could imagine the same conversation about such a feature as Shopify connector
“yeee you can buy it from our partners.”
“OK so you don’t have it?”
From another point we always saying – There is nothing new in BC. So now when we have it, we should be happy? Right? I think most people in the channel will – already you can see it from comments. Microsoft is here also to make their product modern and better. Opening to e-commerce is one of those think that in our times is a must for good ERP software. I have no doubts that it will attract new potential customers which in the end will be a benefit for the partners (not only VARs but also ISVs).
Even trying to understand I am not super happy
Trust me. I work for ISV and I would not like to hear before the morning coffee that I just lost the market for one of my apps. And not to the competitor (with whom I can try to fight) but to my partner. Without any prior notice it was said:
Hey, thank you that you did the awesome app for our AppSource and we are really happy that you did it but we will handle it from today.
People have plans, budgets, etc. and it turns out that 2022 would not be so good for them as they thought. And Microsoft plans to release the feature very soon – as a customer I would wait and see what will happen till early 2022.
For sure it is hard to build the solution if can expect such news at any time. It is hard to think about investments and then read that you just lost money.
Is there a light in the tunnel?
I hope. First of all, there is always room to make the product better as we are doing with many areas in BC for years. On Discord (you really should join if you not using it) there was also an argument that in many cases the ISV can make a better product even if standard functionality exists – why? Because they are closer to real cases talking with end-users. So it may happen that customers anyway will be willing to pay if they see that it fulfill all their requirements. There are examples of that already in our channel.
Also, I do not think that is a new situation – I think there is quite a lot of extensions that are already outdated because Microsoft introduced the solution for it in the standard product. So, I hope those who are responsible for the business side of our work know how to deal with such examples. This one is different because it is huge from a marketing perspective.
Maybe there is a way. In other Dynamics products, Microsoft invested and bought the IP from the ISV to make their product better (https://msdynamicsworld.com/story/microsoft-add-enterprise-asset-management-eam-ip-dynamics-365-finance-and-operations). Is the way in Business Central? I do not know.
Let me know what you think about it! I know for sure that will be a topic discussed many times during Directions in Milan.
Where on Discord are you talking BC?
Try this link https://discord.gg/4wbfNv3
One (“our”) Conclusion @belware.de : we as an ISV transform to a (“special”) VAR … take the special knowledge of your ISV area .. a lot of Customer will like IT – do IT direct or indirect with VAR’s… who appreciate this special knowledge – the Customers for sure will!
Because all VAR’s are now ISV’s when creating Apps – which is the only possible (AL-based) Extension of BC …
One of Microsoft task MUST be bring Partners together! … and respect copyrights of ISV’s / VAR’s.
Nice to hear other opinion!
Hi Krzysztof, You make many good points about this issue. I believe ISVs in this space must always assume there is a risk that Microsoft could make a decision (build new features, acquire/license IP, pick a favored partner, etc.) that could impact their current solutions. E-commerce integration is a great example, but the issue holds for both vertical and horizontal software. But I also agree with you that even when these moves seem to hurt an ISV, it is not always a fatal blow. There are many examples from the past ten years of Dynamics ISVs that have thrived after similar developments. But some ISVs have also been hurt by it.
That is quite interesting news for me as well, as I am delivering currently a shopify solution for one of our customers. We’ve selected scrapify connector as it looks very well documented.
I am wondering what would you say, should we continue with scrapify or perhaps we should wait for Microsoft. I would go with first option as I would expect that ISV delivered long time ago would be more precise to customers requirements, and Microsoft solution will be v1.0 at that time. Wondering about your thoughts.
If this is already a project in progress I would go with the ISV solution. We do not know how MS solution will work if it will be able to be used from day one with all functionalities. But if you just starting I would be clear with a customer that MS is planning and that the connector will be a standard solution but in 2022. I hope next week we will learn more about it on Directions.