Microsoft Dynamics is a vibrant market with hundreds of partners from small boutique operations through to massive global institutions. This vibrancy means many new partners are coming into the market each month. One of the most recognised issues for all sizes of Microsoft Dynamics partners has been and still is capacity. Here we review some of the major challenges for new partners and suggest a solution at the end of this article.
The Dynamics market has been growing rapidly over the last ten years, and it has been consistently impossible to meet the demand for resource through the existing channels.
Microsoft has made sure they have partner representation in all areas, so have been focussed on partner recruitment: this includes GSIs, vertical/industry specialists, Microsoft ‘Classic’ partners that take on Dynamics as an additional solution, partners providing competitive products, small and agile partners, etc.. The aim is that there should be a partner that can deliver a solution (standard or customised) for any size of organisation (small/large, local/global, and vertical/horizontal). All these partners need skilled resource to help them develop, then deliver, their Dynamics products and services.
So New partners, regardless of their size, are always facing the same challenges:
- Do you hire new people, and when?
- Where from – existing partners? This is a big No-No from Microsoft as this doesn’t resolve the channel capacity issue but merely moves it around a bit!
- Do you cross-train existing resource? Yes, but a SharePoint consultant might not be best placed to deliver CRM and so this can take time, with a high failure rate.
- Do you approach specialists in competitive products? Yes, this is a good idea but it takes 3 months or more to properly cross-train; and beware – with these new skills, your staff are now highly valuable in a demand-led market and so there is a risk that they might leave to join another partner.
- You need to demonstrate to Microsoft that you have the right resources for sales, pre-sales and delivery, as the new Silver and Gold partner accreditation process demands you to have minimum numbers of certified staff. This is very important if you wish to build the right type of exec relationship and receive the highest levels of support and recognition. Bear in mind that this can easily take years, or cost a lot, or both.
- It is unlikely you can successfully sell a Dynamics system if you can’t prove you have experienced delivery staff. So when do you hire them for sales cycles that typically last 6 months or more? Can you afford the investment of paying salaries for so long with no sales or consulting revenue?
Clearly, success in Dynamics represents a big opportunity for a large ROI, however it requires significant upfront investment. This can be a massive commitment.
How have new partners dealt with this?
Over the last 5 years, a clear model has emerged among the partner community. Instead of hiring full-time delivery resources, many partners initially reached out to the big freelance community and picked highly skilled resources as needed. The contractors’ market has been rapidly growing and many of the best Dynamics consultants have gone freelance.
This allows new partners to focus on the business propositions, marketing and sales, while the delivery is often outsourced to experienced independent consultants, managed by the partner’s own employees.
Why is this seen as such a good solution for new Microsoft Dynamics partners?
- It is a low-risk – you only hire the resources when you can sell them
- You get exactly what you need - hire resources with the right skillset when you need them
- It is low-cost – you don’t pay salaries and the consultants don’t sit on the bench
- You make a good margin – normally partners charge at least 50% mark up on top of what the freelancers charge
- You please Microsoft by focussing on selling and marketing and not poaching other partners’ staff
But this model has just got even better. The previous route to contractors often meant approaching the recruitment agencies. With such a demand-led market, many of them have put forward candidates without doing the vetting and matching that this role requires. So you end up doing the scrutiny work, yet their rates, remained high (30% mark-up on top of the daily rate that the consultants charge).
365 Freelance has a different model. Our firm was formed to address this capacity issue in the Dynamics market at an affordable price. If you are a new Microsoft Dynamics partner and need instant access to highly skilled delivery resources, do sign up with us at www.365freelance.com.
There are no recruitment charges so hurry up and find the people you need to make your Microsoft Dynamics practice successful.
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