Friday, March 11, 2011

Software Advice’s Interviews With Brad Wilson

Lauren Carlson of Software Advice e-mailed me regarding a set of seven videos they had put together with Brad Wilson. She asked if I would be interested in doing a write-up, so here it is.

Brad Wilson is the Microsoft’s GM for Dynamics CRM so understanding where his focus is, gives clues to the future of the product.

The seven, five-minute videos cover the following topics:

Now while the topics do sound juicy, do not expect any ground-breaking exclusive nuggets of gold from Brad. He is seasoned, media-trained and every answer will come back to the key messages that Microsoft want to push e.g. “it is about delivering value, not being the cheapest”. You are not going to hear hard numbers for any of the above topics.

This being said, Brad does give us the following:

  • His thoughts on how the CRM market has evolved over the last 15 years
  • Microsoft is bordering on obsessed to getting people using their products via the cloud
  • How the partner model is undergoing a revolution and where the new opportunities are (hint: partners need to deliver more value than pressing the ‘next’ button on a DVD install)
  • Brad tells us why Dynamics CRM is not sold in modules but as one big package

The interesting one for me is Microsoft’s focus on getting people to use the cloud. Selling upgrades for on premise software is often criticised as a way of gouging money for arguably little gain. Microsoft being a significant player in this game also receives this criticism. Going to the cloud completely changes this model with the income coming in the form of a monthly per-user fee. Software companies cannot, as some cynics suggest, boost the bottom line by releasing a new ‘version’ if they are in the cloud. The cost of upgrades is effectively built in to the monthly fee so this fee has to be right.

It is interesting times for Microsoft and, while Microsoft are quick to claim they have been providing cloud services for over ten years, there is a difference to providing cloud services and having them as a fundamental part of your revenue stream. Just as with the partners who sell Microsoft’s products, Microsoft is undergoing a revolution and the new opportunities lie very far away from familiar ground.


Dave Berry said...

Leon, I appreciated the contrast of your write-up of these interview videos to mine. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that Microsoft is really in new territory with cloud services as a revenue stream.

Leon Tribe said...

When you said 'contrast' I thought we were disagreeing but this isn't the case, just different focus.

I completely agree with your post regarding how selling partner-hosted is like selling bottled water next to a pouring faucet. It is really hard for partner-hosted to make money in the current model from the masses. Niche is the only play I think.