8/09/2011

Partner Point: A proactive approach MUST

Here we are talking about Dynamics GP in specific, but this is applicable to other products as well. Our job doesn’t end with just installing and deploying the solution out there. In fact, Our job as the most trusted partner would just start from there. We cannot expect the customers to constantly follow up on the latest software updates rolling down for their use because they expect they are in safe hands just like how You’d relax once you hand over your tax documents to your CPA. Microsoft on its part tries to send E-mail updates to the customers but how many of them would pay attention to these updates unless the partner approach them on a rather personalized basis explaining the benefits.

I’ll illustrate the above with an example. We know Analytical Accounting has some critical updates pending in earlier versions of GP and these were made available in GP 10 SP4. As a partner, It becomes our obligation to take this update to the customers, whether they take your advice or not is different. It happens such that when the customer reports an issue on the AA only when the partner suggests them to update the application to SP4. As trusted partner to Microsoft and the customer, We act as a bridge between the former and latter and this comes with a great responsibility.

It also becomes our responsibility to test the service packs or feature packs before deploying or suggesting the customer to upgrade the same. In some instances, We get requests from the customers asking us to upgrade to a specific service pack which is when it becomes important to help them understand the pros and cons of the upgrade rather than doing a blind upgrade.

Several Implementations have gone for a toss not for a poor implementation or a weak partner but lack of proper after implementation (sales) support the customers. In my Implementation experience, I observe the end users in some implementations who are expected to pay utmost seriousness in the training sessions during implementation phase fail to do that due to their other daily routines and they realize the importance of this exercise after the system goes live. Again, As an implementer, It is my job to ensure the end users are properly trained to use the application but still there will be gaps that are unavoidable which can only be filled up with an efficient and disciplined after implementation support.

If we change our subject more specific to GP2010, there is a need to evaluate how far and what approaches are adopted by the partners to create a full fledged awareness among their customers on the end benefits that arise out of this upgrade. Shall we do some webcasts or Shall we send some E-mail campaigns circulating what’s new presentations and documents, thanks to Microsoft for their quality of the ready to use campaigns or shall we conduct some workshops with the customers, these are the strategies that we need to put on table. Here comes the necessity to align the business goals with Customer satisfaction.

Specific to GP2010, Partners need to educate the customers about the application benefits that accrue to them by utilizing functionalities like SQL Server Reporting services, Business Analyzer, Dynamics GP Workflows, Analysis Cubes and Pivot table reports, Extender, Navigation List Builder, Word Templates, Drill Down Builder, Office Integration so on because most of these cool features are largely under utilized. If there are customers with regulatory compliance norms, they’d love to utilize Electronic signatures workflows which aren’t available as a feature in earlier versions. Just doing an upgrade without rolling these features would make the customer wonder why am I doing this?

We’re glad to have lots and lots of resources spread across Microsoft Dynamics community and Partner source that make the life easier even for a start up partner to gear up to the ultimate objective of winning the customer satisfaction.