Tips From the Inside for Microsoft ISV’s!

If you missed the presentation Carol Bowman & I did at the Australian Partner Conference on the Gold Coast last week, it incorporated a listing of the key resources & tools that Microsoft provides to help ISV’s along their way to ultimately achieving a best of breed solution that can be awarded Certified For Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) status.

I chose to highlight the tools & resources I wish had existed when I had my own Dynamics Partner Business (prior to starting at Microsoft) or ones that I wish I had known existed! Even trying to collate this list proved once again that Microsoft does so much to help their partner ecosystem – but sometimes in too many ways & on too many different sites so it can be hard to find exactly what you are looking for!

I have included the link to the presentation & notes on slide share below:

Developing Microsoft Dynamics ISV Solutions That Address Customer Challenges

View more presentations from Catherine Eibner.

I want to pull out some of the key sites, tools & resources in this blog post that I mentioned in the presentation because I want to make sure partners know about them.

There are quite a few to check out including the links below – but I want to draw attention to what I believe is the most important one: ISV Destination.

ISV Destination

ISV Destination:

This is an APAC specific Site that brings together links & resources from a range of MS Sites to help you build a solid business model around your software & develop your application on the best platform to gain competitive advantage.

What does ISV Destination Offer?
By bringing together resources from a wide range of MS sites, ISV Destination is designed to provide you with the tools you need to develop your application on the best platform and reinforce your business value to grow revenue.

ISV Destination is a feature-rich resource that helps you gain a vital new edge in your business. We'll walk you through the stages of planning, developing, marketing, selling, deploying and maintaining your solutions. You'll also find a wealth of information on building and maintaining a solid customer base.

A Rewarding Partnership
ISV Destination is part of the Microsoft Partner Program, and combines with our local Community Days to offer ISVs a new level of both online and offline support. Our commitment to ISVs has been expanded by incorporating them into our partner program. By joining the 'ISV Competency' you're on a fast track to becoming a Microsoft Certified Partner. In doing so, you're making a wise investment in your company that will expand your product credibility and value in the marketplace.

So apart from ISV Destination, the below sites are also worth knowing about. I have broken down into the following sections:

  1. Get the Tools You Need
  2. Get the Skilz
  3. Get Recognition
  4. Stay Ahead of the Competition


1. Get the Tools you need


I see BizSpark as one of the most exciting ways that Microsoft now enables entrepreneurs & start ups to gain access to the Development tools, Support Programs & Communities for minimal upfront cost.

The Microsoft BizSpark program is based on the belief that if Microsoft helps Startups  succeed, we will help build a mutually beneficial and valued long-term relationship, and together build a more vibrant global software economy. Microsoft BizSpark helps Startups by
providing Microsoft software inexpensively, when they most need it and can least afford it, and by supporting a global network of support organizations − Startup incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies − that are equally involved and invested in software-fueled
innovation and entrepreneurship. Microsoft is committed to working with these organizations as part of the Microsoft BizSpark Network to ensure that we are supporting the broadest
possible Startup audience, in a way that complements the value those network organizations already provide.

Empower Pack For ISVs

Microsoft Empower for ISVs is a two-year initiative that gives independent software vendors access to vital software development tools. For just U.S.$375 per year you can take advantage of these great benefits*:
MSDN® (Microsoft Developer Network) Resources
One (1) MSDN Premium Subscription with Five (5) Development and Testing Licenses

Software Licenses
Up to five (5) internal-use software licenses and up to five (5) client access licenses
Technical Support
Up to ten (10) hours of phone-based consulting

As an introductory service for independent software vendors, Empower is not available to existing Microsoft Certified Partners or Gold Certified Partners.

Solution Finder

This is a newly released tool that allows you to find partner-built solutions that work with Microsoft Dynamics to meet the unique needs of your business and industry. This is also a very handy tool for identifying opportunities in specific geographic areas, and Industry Verticals.

Dynamics ISV Playbook

2. Get the Skilz

Innovate On

Microsoft created the Innovate On initiative to help propel leading-edge software solutions from the drawing board to your customer's desktop or device.

The global marketplace for Microsoft based solutions is large and growing rapidly and we want to help you drive your software solutions based on Microsoft technology to market faster. Sign up and use the Innovate On resource information and benefits to build, test, and deploy your products to market quickly. The tools, technologies, testing and support you need are all in one place—sign up today.

Technical Advisory Service

Access Knowledge. Experience. Support. A service I stupidly never took advantage of whilst I had my business. Partners each get minimum hours included in their partner support to access to this Global team of Experienced Partner Technical Consultants.

They have the skills to provide:

  • Technology talks and customized workshops to help you build deep skills at a fast pace.
  • Implementation and deployment practices, design reviews, tools, and methodologies to build the right solution.
  • Technology architecture guidance, application certification, code review and samples, and best practices.
  • Guidance and demonstrations to help you leverage Microsoft technologies in your application design and development.

Use the hours you have available to you in this great service!!!

ISV Zone

This is the primary source of Developer related content. MSDN Developer Centers pull together content and resources around specific products and technologies. They connect you to code samples, community sites, technical articles and documentation, upcoming events, and much more. Each Developer Center gives you a clear road map to understanding and working with your technology of choice.

The Dynamics area of MSDN includes Ramp Up Kits, the SDK and a vibrant community of developers & forums.

AU Partner Readiness:

Our internal team responsible for scheduling & promoting upcoming local training & readiness events. An INVALUABLE list of resources:

3. Get Recognition

Certified For Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD)

Certified for Microsoft Dynamics is a certification that your solution can achieve. This is the ultimate recognition for your company & your product in the Dynamics arena. It proves that not only does your application meet stringent guidelines, integrate completely with the underlying dynamics product and is fully documented, but that your company is established enough to provide consistent support to your end users, and can demonstrate proven examples of successful implementations. This identifies your solution as a best of breed solution!

4. Stay Ahead of the Competition

Metro Early Adopter Program

The Metro program is an exclusive early adoption program designed to help Microsoft Partners and Customers access the resources and support available to you as you build upon and extend the very latest cutting edge Microsoft products and technologies.

Technical Adoption Program (TAP)

The Technology Adoption Program is designed to provide a consistent experience for Microsoft partners to obtain real-world customer feedback on Microsoft pre-release products.

Participating customers find that some of the most powerful benefits include:

  • Product team engineering
  • help in deploying their Microsoft solutions.
  • Early product education.
  • An opportunity to influence product through their feedback.
  • The strategic edge all this can give them in their line of business.

The goal is to improve customer/partner experiences in evaluating and adopting our technologies and improve our ability to track and manage customer/partner relationships across programs. TAP is not an additional program. There are four different types of TAPs:

  • Product Validation
  • Product Evaluation
  • Rapid Deployment
  • Solutions Implementation

Availability by invitation only; contact your Microsoft account manager about upcoming opportunities.