The Directions North America event started fifteen years ago as
a Dynamics NAV partner conference. At the time, partners could run
a profitable business focused almost entirely around deploying ERP.
Many of those business owners remain in the Microsoft channel and
still attend the event. But the landscape – as well as the event --
has changed, bringing new faces to the community along with
challenges, questions, and concerns from the veterans.
Can we do this?" was the existential question for some
Microsoft partners after hearing Microsoft's latest pitch for the
Dynamics 365 Business Central opportunity at last week's event.
deal sizes tripling and sales increasing, many partners with a
basis in Dynamics GP and NAV say they feel good about the future of
ERP in the Microsoft channel. But some also remain hesitant – or
have already made up their minds to head for the exits.
Buying, selling, or merging a Microsoft partner business was one
the favorite topics among Directions attendees this year. The
conventional wisdom around which firms are in play comes down to a
few key points.
With the prospect of GP and NAV-focused partner firms becoming
attractive acquisition targets in the near future, high performing
mid-sized Dynamics ERP VARs, larger system integrators, and private
equity firms all have their eyes on the space.
One of the most interesting debates around the future of the
Microsoft SMB ERP channel is what types of buyers are most likely
to succeed. For pure resellers (i.e., those without much repeatable
IP) with sizable NAV or GP client bases, at least three profiles
have the potential to yield a good deal outcome.