Do you know what are the words that are most frequently spoken by partners at Directions EMEA 2016 conference in Prague? They are: "Let's see... ..." So many things are still new and unclear.

There has been one great opportunity to squeeze out the truth from the relevant Microsoft people regarding the future of NAV and unclear technical aspects of the solutions, proposed to the market. I've caught  and  together with many other partners, hungry for answers, in Management Q&A session.

Based on the discussion, here is a short summary of FAQ:

Q: Would this be possible for existing customers, already using perpetual licenses, to move to other licensing model, e.g. Dynamics 365 or subscription licensing? Visa versa, can those customers, who moved to NAV Financials as a part of Dynamics 365, migrate back on premise if they would miss some functionality? What would happen with the data in this case?

A: Basically, "Wind blows one way", that is - Microsoft is aiming to move to CSP model and promoting customers who move to a cloud solution. That would result in good (up to 40%) promotion discounts on Dynamics 365 licenses for those customers who would move from perpetual licenses. From the other hand, Microsoft is not pushing existing customers to urgently migrate to cloud-based solution, and there would be long lasting transition period.

However there would be no support for those customers who might decide to move from perpetual model to subscription model - no cash-back will be made.

Below is a simple table that shows how Microsoft sees the transition from existing licensing model (in the first column) to the new licensing models (in the firs row) (apart from the discussion of moving the functionality itself):

 

To Perpetual To Subscription To Dynamics 365
From Perpetual -

Transition not supported;

no promotions for moving

from Perpetual to Subscription

Supported, promotion

discounts up to 40%

From Subscription

Terminate

existing subscription and

purchase perpetual

-

Terminate

existing subscription and

start Dynamics 365

From Dynamics 365  

Terminate

existing Dynamics 365 and

purchase perpetual

Terminate

existing Dynamics 365 and

purchase Subscription

-

 

For those customers who for some reason would like to move from Dynamics 365 to perpetual licensing model, Microsoft aims as a priority to make missing functionality available in Dynamics 365. If not possible, customers can always take their data with them, there would be no restrictions on taking customer data from the cloud.

 

Q: If I'm a partner who develops own managed services, should I wait some time until Microsoft would publish it in my country or should I proceed with the development?

A: Wait.

 

Q: Looks like Microsoft throughout last years was concentrating more on enhancing the platform, integrations and interfaces, but not developing additional functionality (debatable?). "Local heroes" are developing their functionality, how to compete? How it is seen in the future?

A: Microsoft is trying to fix a stable platform, according to recent technological trends of the market. All other major players, e.g. SAP, Amazon, Sage are moving the same direction. "Local heroes" are indeed developing functionality, but this is the only thing they can do - they can't make considerable changes in the platform, they do not have resource for that. That is why Microsoft is now much more competitive, as it changes the platform the way market demands it, and Microsoft partners should be much more on the safe side, as they would work with all the most modern tools in the world. There will be also changes in the functionality in the future, but partners should bring the value here, too.

 

Q: Ho do you see the future of NAV 2017? Where it would be going?

A: Further. So far it will exist, but we strongly recommend partners to add new developments through extensions already now, even working with local installations.

 

Q: Can Extensions be implemented for specific tenant, the way that for each tenant there would be different Extensions?

A: Basically, there is no major technical threshold for having Extensions to be installed tenant-wise. However, this has not been the aim - the aim is to have a unified repeatable solution for all clients in the database, for all tenants. Technically it is possible.

 

Q: In our country, there is no official localization, provided by Microsoft. W1 version is heavily customized in order to match local legislation requirements and language interface. What should the partners do under Dynamics 365 model?

A: Use Extensions to make needed changes. We realize it might be a big work, but this is the only way. If there is no technical possibility to use Extensions as they are currently presented, Microsoft is ready to listen to these partners and add such possibility - e.g., make additional events in the core model to hook to.

 

Q: Would Dynamics 365 be available on Azure Stack?

A: Actually, we do not know. So far it has not been in the focus.

 

Q: Who would be the partner of record in Dynamics 365 model?

A: Clearly, only the CSP partner.

 

Q: Currently, there are two models under Dynamics 365: Business (with NAV Financials) and Enterprise (with AX). Will there be any merge of those into one functionality, or will there be any exchange of the features?

A: Microsoft does not provide just a storage for customer's data. Microsoft provides solutions to match customer business models. Small customers have one business model that can be solved with more simple tools. Other customers might be bigger and thus require a different, more complex business model. Thus there is no plan to make any merge of those.

 

Q: What would be the future of NAV developer? If I would need to plan my career, what should I pay my attention to in the first place?

A: Microsoft is not planning to get rid of developers. Moreover, all existing knowledge would be demanded, as there would be just better tools (e.g., Visual Studio) to assist in developing. So, continue C/AL and all of the development that is currently in place.