79 episodes

Welcome to the "Steve reads his posts podcast". For those of you who are too busy, or too lazy, to actually read my posts, I have taken on the huge effort of reading them to you. Enjoy.

Steve reads his Blog Steve Mordue

    • Technology
    • 5.0, 3 Ratings

Welcome to the "Steve reads his posts podcast". For those of you who are too busy, or too lazy, to actually read my posts, I have taken on the huge effort of reading them to you. Enjoy.

    Steve has another chat with Alysa Taylor

    Steve has another chat with Alysa Taylor

    In this episode of "Steve has a Chat", I catch up again with Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft,
    to get the latest from the Queen of Marketing for Microsoft Business Applications Group. We chat about the success of Virtual Events, Customer Insights, Power Apps vs Power Apps, and touched on SMB.  Enjoy!
    BTW, don't forget, Mark Smith (@nz365guy) and I do PowerUpLive every Tuesday at 4PM EST, click here to be alerted, and here's a link to the replays!
    Transcript below:

    Alysa Taylor:
    Hello?
    Steve Mordue:
    Alysa. Steve Mordue. How are you?
    Alysa Taylor:
    I'm doing well, Steve, how are you?
    Steve Mordue:
    Well, you know why I'm calling, right?
    Alysa Taylor:
    I have a hunch.
    Steve Mordue:
    Yes, yes. I've got the record button on and I just wanted to see if you had a few minutes to talk about just things. It's been a while since we caught up.
    Alysa Taylor:
    Yeah, absolutely. Would love to spend some time and just chat. It has been a little while.
    Steve Mordue:
    So we just came off Business Applications Summit the first pivot over to a virtual conference. And at least from the rumors I hear the attendance was off the charts compared to an in person conference.
    Alysa Taylor:
    It was off the charts. It was actually our first Microsoft virtual, we classify events and this is a tier one event, so it was our first one that we executed as a first party tier one event in a virtual capacity. So we were both nervous and excited. We had over 50,000 people registered. So it really was... And it's a very different format. We condensed two and a half days into a half day. But I would agree, we were very pleased with both the online turnout. And then I think, from what I heard from the community, the format worked well. It was a nice mix, we did a prerecorded keynote, then we had live sessions that were moderated with subject matter experts. And then we were able to do some networking and fun interstitial type activities in between the programming.
    Steve Mordue:
    You know, I would have to think that if I were Microsoft, having done in person events for so long and the expense of doing those and the coordination of putting those together, because it's a production when you guys do those. And then looking at the number of attendees there were able to make it because of schedule or cost because of getting approval by their employers and versus now suddenly a virtual event at no cost. I mean, there was no limits to anybody being able to get into that. And while we might lose some of that in person networking amongst one another, from Microsoft's standpoint getting the information out to as broad an audience as possible seems like this is a better way to do it.
    Alysa Taylor:
    You know, my team and I have talked a lot about that and I think in the post COVID-19 world, because we're learning so much about virtual events, I think we'll end up, and no timeline on this, but we'll end up probably in the future in some kind of a hybrid type scenario. Because I do think there is always that benefit of face to face, being able to network, shake people's hands, see old friends. So I think that in person will never completely go away, but I think we're learning how to do virtual events that will compliment the in person. And so I think, and again, this isn't an official statement, but I think there'll be a world of probably smaller, more intimate events. And then the big scale events will be virtual because at the end of the day we've had over 150,000 views of our content from Microsoft Business Application Summit, compared to we do 7,000 to 10,000 in person. So it's a very different scale.
    Steve Mordue:
    Yeah. It really is. When you think about the ability to touch just so many people that way and the expense. I think that, obviously, we all got thrown into this virtual event motion when we weren't quite ready for it and our

    • 27 min
    Steve has a third chat with Guggs

    Steve has a third chat with Guggs

    In this episode of "Steve has a Chat", I catch up again with Steven Guggenheimer "Guggs" to get the latest on the ISV Connect program. It seems that the word is out at Microsoft about calls from me... they all seem ready now. But I still had a few surprises for him.  Enjoy!
    BTW, don't forget, Mark Smith (@nz365guy) and I do PowerUpLive every Tuesday at 4PM EST, click here to be alerted, and here's a link to the replays!
    Transcript below:
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Hello. This is Guggs.
    Steve Mordue:
    Hey, Guggs. Steve Mordue. How you doing?
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Good. How are you doing?
    Steve Mordue:
    You know how I'm doing. You know why I'm here.
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    I do. I do. I assume we're get to go do a little update session, and so I know or I assume you're recording and-
    Steve Mordue:
    You bet I am.
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    ... whatever I say is ready to go.
    Steve Mordue:
    You got time?
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Sure. Yeah, I got a little time.
    Steve Mordue:
    All right. Perfect, perfect. Well, it's been a while since we talked. It's actually been a while since we've heard from you. I was looking, and I think November was the last post, kind of an update to the world of what's going on. I've been hearing the hammers banging back in the background, but lots of folks, lots of ISVs are reaching out to me for some reason or other, saying, "Hey, what's the latest? What's going on? What's happening on that ISV front?"
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Yep. Like you said, lots of hammers in the background. Once you get into that middle of the year, you're just mostly heads down trying to do two things, trying to solidify all the work that's going on for this year, so working with the field. The team went out and did a field tour and, on lots of calls, we have our middle of the year checkpoint. You're just grinding away on that, and you start doing the planning for the next fiscal year. It turns out our Q3, which is January, February, March, is kind of double busy. You're working pretty hard to do whatever tweaks you need for this year and you're busy planning for the next year, and so I think everybody's been pretty heads down.
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Then you get into January and February with the virus coming out, I think you're busy trying to figure out, "Are we going to do [MBAS 00:02:13] live?" You plan for one version of it, and then you plan for a different. You're working with customers and partners. I think all of those things combined means everybody's busy. My virtual team gets together on a regular basis, and I've got a couple of calls after this, so that's where we're at.
    Steve Mordue:
    The ISVs have definitely had some challenges with Microsoft. Not all of this, of course, is within your area. You're working on the program for ISVs that will link to the products, which you're not related to the products. You're related the program. But on the product side, even, the ISVs are having some challenges. I know that there's been ISVs that... The platform keeps shifting, keeps moving around, new things added, things dropped. I even know some ISVs that have said, "Hey, they just launched something, and it kind of wiped out my whole solution."
    Steve Mordue:
    I think there's multiple things going on on the ISV side that's got a lot of them nervous, and I think they're looking for some reassurance that, "We bet on the right platform, and was that a good bet, and when are we going to see a payoff on that bet?" What kinds of things can you say to maybe reassure some of these ISVs that are out there that are scratching their heads saying, "Hmm, what's next? I mean was this a good bet?"
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Yeah. I can't think of a better bet right now, but that's me. Of course, I'm on the wrong side of the fence for that. The-
    Steve Mordue:
    Well, we're all biased. Even us ISVs are biased.
    Steven Guggenheimer:
    Yeah, we're all b

    • 33 min
    Tried Dynamics 365? Take another look at Power Apps.

    Tried Dynamics 365? Take another look at Power Apps.

    As I think back to past customers of Dynamics 365, not all of them were successful. The challenges that brought them to Dynamics 365 were real enough, but at the time we only had one solution to try and solve them with. I would love to snap my fingers and take Power Apps back in time.
    Sledgehammers Dynamics 365, borne out of it's predecessor, Dynamics CRM Online, is a software marvel. I'm talking specifically in this post about the "CRM" side of Dynamics 365. For a midsized to large business, D365 has all of the tools you would need to transform your entire operation. XrM was a blessing and a curse. In layperson's terms, XrM was the capability to customize almost any of the significant out-of-the-box capabilities to meet organization specific needs in a highly targeted and relevant way. XrM was also the path utilized to "Extend" D365 to solve other problems not contemplated by the out-of-the-box capabilities. It is a powerful combination that can be brought to bear on almost any business problem.
    The Curse Over the years, many Dynamics 365 partners became very proficient with XrM. As a result, D365 became a solution to "anything", not just Sales or Service related issues. When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. A customer has a business issue, not related to any of the out-of-the-box capabilities, no problem, we can solve it with XrM! And so it begins, provision an instance, hide most of the out-of-the-box capabilities, and start building custom capabilities. Or, maybe to save some time, we'll re-purpose some of the OOB capabilities, and contort them to fit the requirements, sorta. It's one thing to modify the Opportunity capabilities to better fit a customer's specific Opportunity requirements, even if modified heavily, it's another thing to re-purpose the Opportunity process to solve for Asset Tracking. As a result there are a lot of "bastard" deployments in the wild.
    Commitment Many well-intentioned partners, offered D365, planning on extensive use of XrM, as a solution to many customers' non-sales or service related problems. Could it solve those problems? Yes! But never as easily, or quickly or cost efficiently as anticipated. Trying to build a custom solution within D365 to a unique problem, is like doing laps in a crowded pool. Your route from start to finish will end up being far from a straight line. For some customers the cure was worse than the problem. All partners have experienced the customer who eventually pulled the plug on the effort. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to get the XrM capabilities in an empty pool?
    Power Apps Over the past couple of years Microsoft has been rolling out Power Apps, now part of the Power Platform. You may have seen it pop up in your Office 365 environments, you may have even played with it. That is really one face of Power Apps. Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom decided to use the same "Power Apps" name for another, completely different, solution. I personally put this at the top of my Dumb Decisions list... but that's another story. The Power Apps you might have seen or used in Office 365 are what are called "Canvas" Power Apps. If you look at a SharePoint list online, for example, you may have seen the Create Power App button, which if clicked, will automatically create a "Canvas" Power App from your list. As a result, a significant number of customers feel they are familiar with Power Apps, I know because I talk to them all the time, but they are only familiar with half of Power Apps, oblivious to the other face of Power Apps.
    Model-Driven What a s****y product name, or rather qualifier of a product name. Even when I try and explain it to customers, they are confused, because of what they think they already know. Microsoft really botched this one. I know that the plan was that these two completely different things would eventually converge

    • 6 min
    Steve has a third chat with Charles Lamanna

    Steve has a third chat with Charles Lamanna

    I try and sneak up on Charles Lamanna a third time, but he was ready for it, "fool me once". Recently promoted to CVP, Citizen Application Platform I wanted to check in with Charles, who was working from home, about some of the things that are going on.  We covered a lot of topics, including the post-virus workplace, RPA, API Limits, Multiplexing and Restricted Entities. Enjoy!
    BTW, don't forget, Mark Smith (@nz365guy) and I do PowerUpLive every Tuesday at 5PM EST, click here to be alerted, and here's a link to the replays!
    Full transcript follows:
    Charles Lamanna:
    Hello, it's Charles Lamanna.
    Steve Mordue:
    Charles, Steve Mordue. How's it going?
    Charles Lamanna:
    Hey Steve. I guess this is being recorded, huh?
    Steve Mordue:
    You bet. This is our third time. Have you got some time?
    Charles Lamanna:
    I do, always. I have a lot of time locked in my house right now.
    Steve Mordue:
    Yeah. It's going to be interesting for people who are listening to this in the future, we are recording this on March 27th 2020. The country is on lockdown and we're still heading upwards, so we don't know where this thing will go or end or what things will look like, but that's where we are now and the whole campus has been basically shut down except for essential people. You're all working from home.
    Charles Lamanna:
    Yeah, for a little over three weeks now actually. We did the MVP Summit from home, we did the partner advisory council from home. We even did a virtual offsite where for four days, we all joined a Teams meeting for eight hours each day.
    Steve Mordue:
    Oh my God. How are you finding it, compared to going in the office and being with the team. It was massive loss of productivity of your stuff or is it still okay?
    Charles Lamanna:
    I'd say there definitely is a slight loss of productivity. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but I mean, never thought I'd miss my office so much. I really miss just ... you get used to it for a few years, you get everything in place.
    Steve Mordue:
    There's a bunch of businesses, I look up my apartment window to downtown Tampa at all these office buildings that are full of law firms and all sorts of people, with bunch of cubicle farms within them with people that could actually be doing their job from anywhere and could have for years and now of course are, and I'm wondering how many of these companies that were reluctant to do remote, that felt like I need to keep eyes on you, by the time we get through this, we'll have figured out how to do it remote. I wonder how many of those remote workers will end up coming back to an office. It could be a huge shift.
    Charles Lamanna:
    It definitely will. It's interesting. I was in a talk yesterday and we were talking about how when the original SARS outbreak happened, that actually is what launched eCommerce in APJ, and it's around then this jd.com and Ali basically like mobile ordering took off during that time because people were locked at home and then the rest is history, right? Those are the second largest eCommerce properties out there in the world second only to Amazon. So definitely, I would imagine the way people work and the technology people use will be fundamentally different on the other side of this.
    Steve Mordue:
    Well, I'll tell you what, it's almost prescient the way you guys decided to invest deeply in Teams over the past year before any of this was out there. And now looking back, that's looking like really brilliant move.
    Charles Lamanna:
    Yeah, there's a lot of impact. A lot of people are in trouble, but it's just, it's so exciting to be able to use something like Teams to do remote learning and tele-health and just video plus chat plus meetings integrated, Teams is really the only one doing that right now and it's just phenomenal for someone working remote or working virtually like us right now.
    Steve Mordue:
    You said we d

    • 33 min
    The Cost of Hemorrhaging Money

    The Cost of Hemorrhaging Money

    Most people I am talking to today are starting to think about their businesses in these odd times. Many are naturally concerned about a reduction in revenue. But the counter-part to revenue is cost. Since the revenue side may be out of our control to some degree, the cost side is more critical than ever.

    Athletic I work with a lot of businesses of all sizes. From my first-hand experience, the smaller the business, the leaner they operate. That is not a result of smaller profit percentage, many have very high margins. The biggest difference is that from the smaller business owner's perch, they can see better. There is not much that is missed in a small a business. As businesses grow, layers are introduced that start to obscure visibility. Undetected leaks start to form... leaks that can be hidden by high margins.
    BBW At the opposite end of the scale are large businesses. While their margins may be smaller, their volume is huge, and of course their costs are also huge. Well beyond the scale that a single person can have any visibility; with layers upon layers, there are leaks all over the place. We are working with a Fortune 500 customer right now that discovered a $250K/month leak that had been unnoticed for quite a while. The solution was not complicated, we are plugging the hole with a Power App at a total cost of about $15K. Of course since this was a big ass company, it took 4 months to approve the expense, and about 90 days more so far, to mobilize their side. This leak could have been plugged in two weeks, but instead another $1.5m will have leaked out first. Such is the ineptitude of large business, this could never happen in a smaller business.
    A Few Extra Pounds Sitting in the middle, between small and large businesses, are the midsized businesses. While a $250k/month leak will not go unnoticed for a second, the midsized business has enough layers to have many leaks. Where are these leaks? Usually some faulty, or inefficient business process. What kind of leaks? Time not captured properly, customers not billed properly, vendors not paid properly, inventory not managed properly, inefficient project management or production line management... leaks are potentially all over. Every business has leaks, some are significant enough to warrant immediate attention, and others are just considered a "cost of business", absorbed by margin. But if margins compress, every leak will start looking pretty important.
    Plugging Leaks Depending on the leak, you may need to use a different set of tools, but many of these leaks will be occurring in your business processes. Microsoft's Power Platform is the tool to use for those. Unlike Salesforce.com or even Dynamics 365, both of which require significant time and cost to implement, the Power Platform can solve many business process issues in days. Built on top of the Common Data Service, the Power Platform includes a suite of tools including Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents. Each of these tools are low-code options that can be deployed quickly, and at a low cost, to plug leaks.
    If you would like to learn how you can plug leaks with the Power Platform, we offer a free briefing to get you up-to-speed. Go to Appsource.com and search "forceworks".

    • 4 min
    The Last Nail in the On-Premise Coffin

    The Last Nail in the On-Premise Coffin

    The Conona Virus is having many different effects on the world, most are negative, but there are some that may actually be positive. For example, with workers being asked to work from home at an unprecedented rate, and that will no doubt go higher, one major point of failure will be on-premise based solutions. Let's unpack this.

    Remote Workers Looking from the balcony of my downtown apartment, my view is dominated by office buildings. They are full of financial services firms, law firms... professional services firms of all kinds. Most of these office spaces consist of executive offices, conference rooms, kitchens and cubicle farms. With the exception of decor choices, they are all very similar. Recent events have lead many of these firms to voluntarily, yet reluctantly, allow many of the people who work in these spaces to work from home... "temporarily". It does seem like an unnecessary risk to pack all of those people in elevators a few times a day, just so they can sit in their cubes. In many places this has already been mandated, and the list of those places will continue to grow. I see a couple of eventual outcomes from this. First, many companies who believed that virtual workers was not an option for their business, will realize that they were wrong. Over time, they will adapt to remote workers and become efficient out of necessity. In the meantime, they will continue making expensive office lease payments for unused space, shining a bright light on that recurring cost. When current events pass, I foresee many companies will continue with the remote worker concept. Now is probably not a good time to invest in Class-A Office Space.
    First-Mover Advantage For those companies who had previously transitioned to cloud based productivity and business solutions, this move to a remote workforce will be much simpler. But for those companies with on-premise infrastructure, there will be challenges. Even those who had VPN solutions in-place, for occasional remote access, will find their systems woefully inadequate for full time use by the majority of their people. In addition, their IT staff will be overwhelmed by the new demands. I expect there to be shortages of VPN related hardware and equipment as companies frantically try to upfit to meet these new requirements. In addition, security and compliance requirements are not going to be waived. This will be particularly acute for those whose on-premise systems are actually on their premises. What happens when their physical access to their server rooms becomes limited? Their peers who previously made the transition to cloud are going to look as smart, as they are going to look stupid. There will be some Monday-morning quarterbacking going on. The credibility of IT will be in question, as their past reluctance to move to the cloud, will suddenly become a huge issue for their business. In some cases, some may be unable to even work properly and compete, in a time when it is the most important to be able to do so.
    Cloud is the new Toilet Paper We are already seeing the wave. Every customer who had been talking to us about moving to the cloud, is now wanting to execute on that immediately. Some out of necessity because of reasons I explained above, and others who are seeing this as a good time to make a disruptive move, like migrations, and be prepared when current events pass. In addition to the move to a remote workforce, few businesses will avoid a general slowdown. For those who had been hesitant to move to the cloud while their businesses were operating at full capacity, some are seeing this as as good a time as there has ever been, and hopefully ever will be again, to make that kind of transition. All cloud providers and their dependent service companies are going to be very busy for a while. Capacity is going to be an issue. Not for the cloud services, they were built for f

    • 7 min

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