Microsoft has a 100 percent partner strategy for her Dynamics 365 business software. Microsoft’s main role is to develop a great set of solutions. And that is something the company performs energetically!
Another important task is providing good, accurate information and relevant buying arguments to her partner channel and the market. That includes relevant user metrics like the number of organisations that use D365 and the progression of that number.
But here’s something strange going on! At Directions North America in April 2022, Microsoft’s Mike Morton told the audience that “Microsoft has stopped sharing the customer count with the outside world for proprietary reasons." But taking away that metric means that “the company now sees the growth [in Business Central] as a meaningful corporate data point”, he said.
Is see two remarkable fact here. First one is that Microsoft and her partner channel have great statistics that makes many competitors very nervous. So there is nothing to hide! On the contrary even! The second one is that Microsoft didn’t sell even one D365 BC license themselves. All licenses are sold through you – the partners. Isn’t it rather ironic that Microsoft nonetheless refuses to share these metrics with the partners who are fully responsible for marketing, selling and implementing these solutions?
To me, this really is old school thinking. And it will have a negative effect on the growth potential of D365. It is also a sign that Microsoft does not trust its partner community to handle these metrics professionally.
And what could potentially be the next step? Stop sharing the price list? Or the product name?
In the past 6 years I had fierce discussions on this theme with various Microsoft managers like Paul White, Marko Perisic and Cecilia Flombaum. And more recently with Mike Morton. They all wanted to stop sharing this important metric at some point in time. With reasons like “Corporate marketing forbids us to do this“, “We have never done that before” and “Headquarters wants to avoid undesired influence on our share price.”
I was really amazed at the silence in the partner channel right after this announcement. And that makes me wonder: does the partner community don’t care at all? Do most partners miss out on their chances to pitch the positive continuity perspectives of D365? And why are the big D365 partners silent? Does Microsoft inform this selected group informally at Inner Circle events? Or during co-selling with Microsoft’s field sales?
Every D365 partner on the globe knows that one of the first three questions in each RFI is ‘how many users does your solution have?’ The answer to that question gives prospective customers an indication on the popularity and quality of a product. It also is an important indicator for the expected long-term innovation and continuity. According to Mike Morton, Microsoft wants you to answer this for D365 BC as follows: “The product's customer count is awesome and shows an amazing growth of 60 percent year over year.”
If you as a partner are not able to answer this simple but crucial question – why should your that prospect take you and your proposal serious anyway? But unfortunately, most of the Microsoft HQ employees who decided on this new policy don’t know what a RFI is. Or never had to fill one in.
In the Road 2 Repeatability trainings that I delivered to more than 150 EMEA Dynamics partners in the 2013 – 2018 timeframe I used to perform a quiz. One of the questions was “how many customers are using Dynamics NAV worldwide?”. Most attendees had no clue at all. Including the senior people! Answers ranged from 4.000 to 4 million customers where the real number was around 150.000. Just imagine how that looks to you if you are an external consultant assisting prospective customers in their selection process with two or three D365 partners on the shortlist?
Not sharing user metrics will make this situation even worse!
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