Over the past week, several bloggers have speculated on what Microsoft's strategy is in some of the discontinuation announcements of OEM products. Microsoft is not going to build replacement functionality. Microsoft is not divesting. A poor relationship between Microsoft and an ISV didn't cause this.
In my opinion, Microsoft Dynamics GP has the strongest ISV channel in the market today. It's a differentiator for us that enables us to sell more because our channel is trusted and proven. If an ISV builds a quality product that has functionality people need, businesses will buy it.
I agree that some consolidation would be helpful to reduce the number of ISV products that are needed, but helpful is not necessary and over time it will be irrelevant. In the world today where there is an app for almost everything which are built from thousands of different vendors, people are used to working in that environment and as business apps start to be a common way of work, it will be questioned even less. I predict that in five years, the prospect question will not be why didn't Microsoft build this functionality, it will be I found an app that I want to use, does it work with Microsoft Dynamics GP or can you make it work?
As a community we need to start thinking more forward to provide solutions in new and powerful ways. Our trust in our community has allowed us to make the hard decision to make a bold change. In the long term it's the right decision to make that will improve the lives and business success of our partners and customers. Why? The power of five is much stronger than Microsoft alone. The five being the partner, the ISV, the customer, Microsoft, and the community.
The Microsoft Dynamics GP strategy around ISV's remains constant and simple. If an ISV has functionality that is already in market, Microsoft tries not to build it. We will focus on gaps and new technologies that enable our entire community. A few examples that prove this fact since actions are much louder than words.
- We added document attach in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013. We are not planning on adding full document management because it's already there though our ISV community. We did add simple document attach that fills a gap for something not as robust that prospects were looking for.
- We never added MICR checks.
- We are adding a simple SmartList creator in the base of the product because whether you think it's old technology or not, people use it and people love SmartLists. In order to sell basic GP we needed to have something simple to create new SmartLists. SmartList Builder has much more functionality and we have no plans to add more to the core solution.
- We added reconcile in the last couple releases. The ISV reconcile product does more and people are still buying it.
So, is it a conspiracy? No, not really. It's a change. A change that will be a good thing.