Cloud business changes roles and responsibilities
Cloud business changes roles and responsibilities, no question about that. An interesting incident happened to me today. My production Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online environment (Update 1, May 2015) was updated last night. This was an event that I had been waiting for and I really love some of the new features this new release brings along such as new and easier navigation, better support for mobile phones and tablets, extremely fast form loads etc.
Later in the morning I found out that one third-party plugin had stopped working so I contacted this vendor for assistance. What happened next was something that I did not expect. This major software vendor in Microsoft CRM space sent me the error log and asked me to “figure it out”… and suggested me to contact Microsoft for assistance. This made it perplexing to me due to following reasons:
- I have no ability to debug what is happening between two clouds (the ISV cloud and Microsoft cloud)
- I would be the last person on the planet to be the intermediary between the ISV and Microsoft. Why would I be the project manager and acting as the “bridge” between these two organizations?
- From Microsoft perspective, I would be useless as I would not be able to respond to any of the questions that Microsoft might have. This is a managed solution in my Microsoft CRM 2015 instance.
- I am sure that I am not the first one with this issue, this ISV has thousands of customers.
I decided to test out what would happen if I just send the request to Microsoft from my Office 365 portal with the error log. In less than 1 hour, Microsoft support contacted me and asked if we could have a session where I could show him the issue…. or the end result of the issue. Due to my background and knowledge of Dynamics CRM 2015, I was able to show him what was going on and even showed the records from previous day before the update was done.
This support person escalated the issue to the engineering team that manages the SDK development (software development kit). I did ask this support person whether this should be handled by the ISV or Microsoft… he politely said that ISVs should of course test out the compatibility of their solutions on the platform but it is of course not easy.
What was the learning from this for software vendors? Every software vendor should really think through how they want to deal with these kinds of issues when a customer is dependent on environments not controlled by the client. In our “former life” it was easy for software vendors to conclude that “we are not responsible” for the hardware and operating environment, the client is. In the era of clouds and communication between clouds, the story is a bit different. I could have pushed hard on the software vendor, but wanted instead turn this into a “research project” and “study” to see where all this ends. This is valuable information to me personally and a good case to be discussed during my upcoming workshops and seminars with independent software vendors (ISVs) and system integrators (SIs) building IP assets.
This is on of those challenging areas where Microsoft and partners (ISV, SI amd LSP) need to work together to define the handoff points. Of course, this is right along the lines of what we spoke about last week at the #WPC15 — Change Management is going to need a lot of focus and hand holding in the coming months and years.
Our next business is right along these lines.
I agree and I think all parties are still learning and defining what these roles and responsibilities are. We are living in an era that is intriguing and lots of things that we can learn and spread the learnings. I think overall the app model is something that will still evolve but slowly there will be best practices that we can learn from.