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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS customer base is exponentially increasing. Having over 15,000 customers on SaaS now, Microsoft is seeing a 200 percent annual growth in users, as per Mike Morton’s speech at Directions North America 2021. In tandem, 1ClickFactory observes strong interest in Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS upgrades, which increased by 250% since the beginning of 2020. The continuous release of various enhancements, such as the changes in pricing and allowances on Business Central cloud storage, influences Business Central SaaS customer growth and increases the demand for various ISV solutions. To give the Business Central SaaS ecosystem a chance to catch up with this growing demand, and to accelerate a cloud-first strategy, Microsoft announced the launch of the upcoming Publisher program.

What does a cloud-first strategy mean for Microsoft ISV Partners?

What is cloud-first? The cloud-first or SaaS mentality is a set of business practices that aims to utilize cloud services as much as possible. Microsoft Dynamics Partners with a cloud-first strategy provide customers with a cloud-first path by offering Dynamics 365 Business Central solutions, typically implemented for multiple customers as Apps via the Microsoft AppSource.

The Microsoft Publisher program will encourage Dynamics Partners to embrace a cloud-first strategy, to make a jump from the traditional setup to a modern approach where all infrastructure is managed by Microsoft, and to invest in compatibility with Business Central SaaS. 

One of the main benefits of having a cloud offering is the scalability, as Microsoft ISV Partners can provide it as an option to customers. You may start with just a few new customers on SaaS, but, within time, customers will gradually grow until most of them are on SaaS. Considering this, and the fact that the CfMD program is retired, it might be just the right time to start a commitment to cloud-first.

CfMD is replaced by AppSource Validation

AppSource validation was always a clear route to start a SaaS strategy. However, ISVs who certify their solutions for On-Premises use, experienced a lot of uncertainty after the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) program was retired.

Since Microsoft announced the Publisher program launch (expected sometime over the next six months), it has clarified that the program will replace CfMD and the Registered Solution Program (RSP). This means that On-Premises solutions will have to maintain SaaS requirements and be certified for SaaS.

Thus, you can keep distributing your solution On-Premises, however, if your solution is still in C/AL and if you have a customized Base App, you need to transition C/AL to AL, ensure your solution meets all the technical requirements for SaaS, make your solution cloud-ready and register it on AppSource. Otherwise, if your solution is not registered on AppSource, and you intend to distribute it On-Premises, you will face additional fees. 

Microsoft ISV Partners who have medium-sized solutions have plenty of time to get ready, but Microsoft Partners who own complex solutions or solutions with high incompatibility with SaaS, have a shorter timeframe to achieve all this as the additional, gradually increasing fees are expected to start at the end of 2022.

How to get ready for SaaS and avoid the upcoming fees?

1ClickFactory can help to create a transition plan from an On-Premises to a Cloud-based business and support you every step of the way. As a Microsoft appointed ISV development center, we can cover your full Dynamics Add-on product lifecycle from development right through to go-to-market strategies and ongoing support. 1ClickFactory’s “Ready to Go” Activate and Accelerate Program is designed specifically to help Microsoft ISV Partners to accelerate the transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS and Microsoft AppSource. Based on our extensive experience and best practices, we take Dynamics Partners to Business Central SaaS in four simple steps.

Accelerate with 1ClickFactory in four simple steps

The first step for the transition is preparation. During the preparation, it is important to define a strategy, plan the required effort and understand the rules to follow. Do you know what would it take to transition, and which skills you need?

Once prepared, you can proceed with the second step - development. To build an Extension​, validate it and publish it on AppSource, first you need to answer these questions:

  • Is the solution design right for SaaS?
  • Do you have enough capacity for the work involved?
  • Are you ready to dive deep into every aspect of the App validation process requirements?

After that, the third step is taking care of selling/deployment. You can accelerate and scale your growth by joining QBS Cloud ready marketplace which provides the possibility to monetize your IP and grow your revenue. With the built-in ExtensionAgent, QBS marketplace is a secure and flexible way to offer your IP to the reselling channel and its customers. In addition, migrate as many existing customers to a new version as possible and minimize version-tailored consultations. Are you ready to begin the lengthy Add-on to Extension data migration tool development process to achieve this?

Finally, the last step is answering the question of how to maintain the solution in the most efficient way? AppSource Extensions must comply with new versions of Business Central to remain listed on AppSource. This requires additional effort and efficient resource planning to reduce the risk of Extension maintenance tasks taking focus from the development tasks of new features. Can you ensure that with each new release of Business Central all resources are not focused solely on solving Extension compatibility problems? Can you meet AppSource validation deadlines on time?

Overall, there is a lot to consider! Which step are you at? Are you looking for the answers to similar questions or do you need help with something else? Let us know by booking a FREE consultation online and we’ll do our best to give you answers and help you along the way.