Monday, December 21, 2020
“Microsoft Power Platform” is a new buzzword on the market with more and more customers reaching out to Microsoft Partners asking for details about it. Therefore, Microsoft Partners are putting additional investments and getting more and more people trained on the Microsoft Power Platform. Given that adding the Power Platform, a low-code development platform, to the product portfolio is a completely different business for a typical Dynamics and Modern Workplace Partner, there is confusion on:
How do you build the Power Platform competence? How do you market the Power Platform? Where is the opportunity for you, as a Dynamics and Modern Workplace Partner?
In an effort to alleviate some confusion in the market, 1ClickFactory invited four Power Platform experts from different organizations to share their insights and best practices for the Power Platform market:
- Ignas Stočkus, Power Platform technical expert and instructor at 1ClickFactory
- Péter Kuna, Business Applications Partner Program Lead at Microsoft CEE
- Angel Georgiev, Founder & CEO at Sappience
- Lukaš Makovička, Product Developer for Power Apps at NAVISYS
If you missed the round-table discussion “How to Utilize the Power of the Power Platform to Get New Customers on Board,” where this noteworthy panel uncovered the main obstacles and provided best practice recommendations, you can access the session recording here.
However, if you are interested in a short summary, here are the things you need to keep in mind when starting a Power Platform business:
- The main reasons Microsoft Partners choose to add the Power Platform competence to their portfolio
- The top 3 reasons why marketing the Microsoft Power Platform is different to marketing Dynamics 365
- Planning your investment in the Microsoft Power Platform
- Dedicated training will get you up to speed with the Power Platform much faster
- 1ClickFactory recommendations and next steps to get started with the Power Platform
- The Power Platform offers the functionalities which are not as easily addressed with standard Dynamics 365 solutions:
Most the Dynamics Partners approach customers with proposals based on a Dynamics ERP which can sometimes be time-consuming and utilize valuable resources internally or externally, may also be costly and cause development delays. However, the Power Platform provides a simple solution for most users to be able to create, automate and analyze data without consuming too much time or resources. The Microsoft Power Platform extends the capabilities, controls and functions of Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate and it can be easily connected to the customers’ own systems. In addition, it can be connected to Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Azure and many other apps to help build business solutions - this last feature is the biggest benefit of the Power Platform.
- An innovative way to open new business and create additional value:
With all these features and solutions, it can become an innovative way of securing new business and creating additional value for customers.
- A great upsell opportunity:
The Power Platform provides a great opportunity for you to contact your existing customer database to let them know that you can now provide solutions that were not available before to help them fix particular issues in no time: this is a great way for you to generate an additional revenue stream.
- It provides a unique chance to open up doors that were closed for you before:
If a customer is already in a relationship with another vendor other than Microsoft, it’s pretty hard to convince them to do business with you while approaching with solely a Microsoft Dynamics proposition. With the Power Platform it is a completely different story: regardless what infrastructure a customer is using, you can still find value in your Power Platform offer (and there are connectors that will enable you to easily connect). So, this is a perfect opportunity and a huge potential for you as a Dynamics Partner to extend your customer database.
- Leaving technology in the background:
The majority of Dynamics Partners are very comfortable selling ERP solutions, however, with the Power Platform, the approach has to be different. If you are coming from a technology rather than a business perspective, the customer won’t be able to envision the result, and therefore it will be a very hard sell. The solution is to invest some time to create a value proposition for the product which is backed by the technology in the background.
- When you offer everything, you are selling nothing:
Possibilities offered by the Power Platform can effectively help customers to solve challenges that are unique to their businesses: Don’t try to sell everything at once but rather propose very particular solutions built on the Power Platform that can enable customers to solve a particular challenge quickly.
- You will have time to upsell later:
Dynamics Partners are very good at selling large projects, where they are trying to land deals that encompass all the possible solutions they have in-house. With the Power Platform, the approach is very different: don’t try to sell everything all at once, but rather focus on the one challenge and one solution instead. You will have plenty of opportunities to come back with an upsell later.
- Don’t get misled by the concept of a “low-code development platform”:
Initially, the Power Platform was introduced by Microsoft as a low-code/no-code or citizen development platform, where everyone can start creating basic functionality with Power Apps. As a result, many Central and Eastern European Microsoft Partners that were developing customizations, saw a risk that their knowledge and competence would no longer be required by customers and thus, impossible to market and sell. However, don’t be misled by this idea: additional technical skills are required when customers need something more specific, so the objection that the Power Platform is ‘too simple’ is a moot point.
- There are just too many options, and you need to be aware of them all:
The Power Platform enables so many different technologies such as model-driven and canvas apps, Portals, Dataverse (e.g. Common Data Service) Power Automate, AI Builder, Power Virtual Agents and more, so there is a deeper knowledge required. And you will need to make sure your developers are comfortable with all of them.
- If you choose to create a product based on the Power Platform:
Experience shows, it can take from six months to a year to actually get the basics for publishing a product, developing a sales and marketing approach, R&D solutions and still continue to develop it further. However, the added value is provided by Microsoft marketing channels such as the AppSource and the additional support from the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem.
Microsoft suggests using all of the available Microsoft resources and the Microsoft Learn platform, while also getting certified for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Still, the training sessions organized by the experts can deliver much more value even for experienced Power Platform users and Microsoft Partners can get the right guidance and consultancies that help to establish their Power Platform business. Our recommendation would be to sign up for a 1ClickFactory Acceleration Program (more info on this below). Microsoft is investing heavily in building and promoting the Power Platform and there are a number of activities to support this, such as the Partner Program, new Certification exams, funding, investment programs and much more. And with such support available Microsoft is sending a very strong message that the Power Platform is here to stay.
- Sign up for the 1ClickFactory Acceleration Program:
We have a detailed program prepared for Microsoft Partners interested in adding a Power Platform practice to their portfolio and are ready to support you through this journey by providing you with very specific training, tools, and guidance. There are no commitments for you as a Partner to sign up for the program, and it will be up to you on how much value you want to take out of it.
- Join the 1ClickFactory CEE Community:
There are many initiatives (round table discussions focused on challenging topics, webinars and trainings etc.) organized for Microsoft Partners from Central and Eastern Europe, and the majority of these events are either sponsored by 1ClickFactory or by Microsoft. Join the community group at LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss an invite to the next event.
- Utilize Microsoft resources:
Microsoft rapidly innovates, updates and releases new products and solutions, which can make staying on top of changes difficult. There is a lot of materials, trainings and resources available, not to mention the time commitment required, but the connection with Microsoft can make the process much easier for Microsoft Partners looking to start developing with the Power Platform.
If you have any questions or concerns about getting started with the Power Platform, don’t hesitate to get in touch today