From Dennis Bruce, Director, Data Masons: Last week I attended Microsoft’s AX 2012 Industry Summit in Jacksonville, FL for sales and pre-sales. This event focused on the specific industries that Microsoft has targeted: Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (IEM), Chemical, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Industrial Distribution, Services, Management & IT Consulting, Engineering and Construction and Public Sector. This was the second event of this type and Microsoft planned on 100 people to attend, but instead they ended up with approximately 170 which made for an even stronger event.

One of the things that I came away with was the amount of time and energy that Microsoft is putting into the industry specific solutions. Not just from a Dynamics AX development perspective, but also looking at the people that they’ve hired internally and the types of partners that they are onboarding.

On Day 1 and for the first half of Day 2, the event was focused on Dynamics AX pre-sales. Microsoft Technical Specialists, such as Chuck Juhnke, Jeff Einig, Shawna Mikes and others, presented and demonstrated how they are showcasing AX 2012 to prospects. Their mission was to make sure that the pre-sales attendees knew the type of messaging that is available. Each of us walked away with demo scripts, screen shots and access to virtual machine images that would help anyone starting from scratch get up to speed. 

The 2nd half of Day 2 focused on specific industry breakouts. During this session, the discussions revolved around Microsoft’s view on the state of each of these industries. Some of these breakouts also focused on AX specific functionality for these industries that is new in 2012. Later that night, Microsoft hosted a reception where each sponsor had a table. I was lucky enough to speak to a number of attendees that night and the overwhelming message was that partners were pleased with how Microsoft was starting to drive home the industry specific messaging.

Day 3 was devoted to getting partners up to speed on how to sell into specific industries. From industry specific language to issues that need to be addressed upfront, each session focused on what it would take for a reseller to successfully position AX 2012. The final day was all about the sponsors with each of the 18 sponsors having a one hour session to showcase their solutions and industry expertise. Data Masons was one of those sponsors and the only Microsoft Dynamics EDI ISV to present.

The message from Microsoft was clear; they are pushing Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 deeper into specific industries and expect that their partners be prepared to support that push. While ISVs can have all the functionality in the world, if their consultants don’t understand how to apply it to solve industry-specific challenges, then the solution will not deliver as Microsoft would expect.  As part of an EDI ISV, I walked away from Jacksonville convinced that our solution combined with our industry specific focus areas is well-positioned for Microsoft’s industry push and we’re looking forward to supporting this initiative as it grows.