- Priyanka Pugaokar

In a major move to win the competitive edge in the cloud business in the country, software major Microsoft announced the launch of Dynamics 365 and AppSource in India. With the launch, Microsoft intends to capture the market share of established players in the CRM and ERP space by offering a unified CRM-ERP solution. The company is heavily leveraging its partner ecosystem to position Dynamics 365 in the Indian market. Microsoft has announced a slew of partner initiatives around the Dynamics 365 and AppSource business and is making a substantial investment in its channel business in India.

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First unveiled in July at Worldwide Partner Conference 2016, Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP capabilities, which is essentially a set of apps for seven CRM and ERP functions that include financial, operations, marketing, sales, customer service, project service automation and field service management. Whereas, AppSource is a SaaS marketplace for business applications, with more than 200 business oriented apps, add-ins and content packages. Powered by advanced analytics and machine learning, the service will be available in two editions — Enterprise and Business — on a subscription per app/per user model from Microsoft Data Centres located in India.
Channel ecosystem is a critical component of Microsoft’s cloud strategy.

The company is betting big on its ISV partners who can build their solutions on Microsoft’s platform. The company is also adding Solution Integrator (SI) partners to AppSource to help customers find a partner for deployment. Microsoft has established the new “Dynamics 365 Partner Community” to help partners build Microsoft Dynamics 365 practices. In an exclusive interaction with Channel Times, Peter Gartenberg, General Manager, Enterprise Partner Group, Microsoft India, shared his vision of partner enablement in the entire growth journey of Microsoft’s cloud business in India. Gartenberg also explained the key essence of Microsoft’s channel strategy in India and how can partners capitalize of the latest offering from the company.

“We are the first movers in terms of hyper scale cloud in India. We have seen massive adoption of our cloud offering and especially, Office 365 and Azure services from our local hyper scale data centers. Dynamics 365 has been designed to drive the digital transformation and drive it fast. It is also designed to allow our customers to innovate rapidly and drive the entire ecosystem of partners’ innovation cycles with their customers”, Gartenberg said.

Indian partners have given thumbs up to Dynamics 365 and AppSource saying that the integrated CRM and ERP software solution will enable them to showcase their solutions worldwide and expand their reach into the new growth areas. However, they expect more clarity on business opportunities with the new offering.

Though Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a market leader in the public cloud space with a USD 10 billion revenue mark this year, Microsoft is steadily growing in the SaaS and PaaS space, especially in the SMB and enterprise segment. The company is quite encouraged with some of the major customers win such as Yes Bank, VLCC, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals and is expected to continue the growth momentum ahead. However, in a highly contested cloud business in India, where all the major players are very aggressive on the front of building local data center capabilities, the battle for the lead position is set to become fierce. Hence, it will be very critical for cloud vendors to put partners at the central of their cloud strategy.