Podcast Review: Building a business around the Microsoft Power Platform

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The Microsoft Power Platform remains a hot topic among the Dynamics ERP and CRM community, but the reality is that it is still in an early phase of adoption and partner readiness. Sven Noomen, founder of Process4People, joined the MSDW podcast to share how his company is building a business focused on Power Platform in combination with Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Building a business around Power Platform

Noomen has years of experience training on the strategic deployment of ERPs like Dynamics NAV and Business Central. In the mid-2010’s he decided to transition toward consulting. He joined two other partners with Business Central technical experience who were eager to do something new and a bit more exciting than the same old work on ERP, and together they built a new Power Platform division at Process4People in January 2019.

The team has grown to six people who do customer implementations and develop apps for needs like HR, invoice approval and time registration. Unlike traditional ERP customization projects, the team builds entirely outside of Business Central, using web services and tools to do queries into ERP as needed. He said:

We need to make ERP slimmer, not fatter…NAV was always sold as an easy to customize ERP package. “Look this is how easy you can add a field to the database.” NAV was already a low-code platform when that term wasn’t in use. [Developers worry], ‘What do I do if 50 to 60 percent of the customization is going to move to the Power Platform?’ Natural resistance won’t change overnight. Most NAV partners will still look at customizations first and doing that in Business Central. Because we have NAV and Power Platform developers, we have a chance to look really at the best place to put that code.

Noomen noted some of the key success factors for partners delivering solutions on the Power Platform:

Skills are the first thing… Once we know Power Apps and Power Automate, you get [knowledge about] Logic Apps, you get Azure. You need a team that wants to get up every morning and learn new stuff—all new for next few years. When I was an ERP consultant, an 80 or 90 day project was nothing unusual. Now with pre-built apps, we can do a CRM implementation in three days. You don’t have a project manager to steer everything and expect [programmers] to handle their own resourcing and communication. People need to have good communications skills. In every project, you’ll find stuff you’ve never done before or it isn’t documented. [That means]] Googling and doing proof of concept to see if we can do that. [We’re] almost a system integrator for SMBs.

A growing opportunity

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