Is Microsoft pushing one partner for Dynamics 365?

Dynamics 365 one partner

The illusion of choice – a tool often wielded by advertisers to make customers think they are in control of purchase decisions. The reality is the illusion remains just that: an illusion. And there is a certain illusory filter at play on the platform for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

As of March, potential customers who answer a questionnaire on the site are recommended a monthly service package, and exclusively directed to Bam Boom Cloud, the UK-founded D365 partner. This is regardless of whatever answers are given to the questions at hand; good business for Bam Boom, but not great for the wider Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem.

Bam Boom has been chosen as default partner for a trial being run by Microsoft in a revamp of the Business Central platform. Though it doesn’t mention Bam Boom Cloud, the information comes via a recent blog from Mike Morton, VP of Dynamics 365 Business Central at Microsoft.

“We launched a limited pilot in the US and UK that routes a fraction of potential leads signing up for a trial,” according to Morton. “We chose to start the pilot with one partner to enable fast iteration, where we will learn about ‘stages of the funnel’. This will include drop off rates when giving a customers a survey, asking them to sign-in, checklist experiences, etc.”

There is no disclaimer on the Dynamics 365 page notifying customers of the beta trial. Also, according to a LinkedIn blog on the matter by James Crowter, MD at Technology Management and Microsoft MVP, the same results have been reported by users outside of the US and UK, for example in Belgium.

As of last week, users who do not wish to use Bam Boom’s service can do so via a link to a basic trial of Dynamics 365 Business Central which is located further down the page, but only in the UK and US. Some might call it the shadowy art of dark UX.

When contacted by ERP Today for comment, Microsoft referred us to Morton’s blog. Bam Boom Cloud hasn’t commented at time of writing, and informed us they under an NDA.

Bam Boom Cloud is both a popular D365 option, and popular with Microsoft itself; last year it won Partner of the Year in the company’s Dynamics 365 Business Central category. It offers the Microsoft service in a cloud-based, packaged format, suggesting a move away trend-wise from the full-package services of most partners.

This particular partner was also bought in February by cloud marketplace Pax8, in a unique case of a distributor buying a partner. The company’s key selling point may have been its partner-to-partner program offering wherein partners make the sale and Boom Bam does the rest, evolving the partner playground one step further as cloud remains king.

The boom and the bad

However temporary in beta form, Bam Boom’s current positioning as Redmond’s golden child may make Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) community suddenly feel a whole lot less valued.

MVPs though don’t have to see the D365 revamp as entirely bad news. According to Crowter’s blog, it replaces a system which never generated many leads for partners in the first place, as part of a completely digital buying experience – never a commonplace one regarding Business Central.

Crowter though pointed to the inclusion of on-premise Business Central on the existing system list in a close-up on the ever-tricky illusion of choice. If selected, Bam Boom is still recommended to the user instead of recommending contact with their existing partner.

“That means Microsoft is directly targeting moving existing Dynamics customers who might well still be paying maintenance etc., to move to the cloud with a different partner without giving the existing partner any opportunity. Just wrong, loyalty-destroying behavior that cannot be justified.”

And as the MVP also pointed to customers eventually pivoting to full packages upon reaching their current package limit, Redmond may be guilty of not only blanking its loyal MVP base, but also misunderstanding the needs of its customers in the SMB space. “An obsession with enterprise rather than volume in most contacts”, as he puts it.