Thursday, December 1, 2016

CRM, xRM, 365, CDS – are we chasing ghosts?

Business Solutions MVP Jukka Niiranen recently wrote yet another in-depth analysis of the path Microsoft is taking from Dynamics CRM, via xRM to Dynamics 365 and the greater ecosystem including CDS, Logic Apps, Power Apps etc.

The article led to a brief but interesting Twitter-discussion between Jukka and a Swedish colleague of mine, Peter Björkmarker. The discussion ended up in another article posted on LinkedIn.

So I dug into the 140+ character reply (a bit of an understatement, indeed) to try to get a grasp of what lies ahead. I had hopes that I could come to my own personal conclusion and my own view on the future based on the new products available and the indications from Microsoft, combined with my own experience in the field. And of course trying to decode what may be hidden between the lines from this NDA-bound MVP…

Ghosts

Reading these articles definitely gives you a lot of insights.

But the lingering feeling I really cannot let go of is that we are chasing ghosts.

We "on the outside" try to understand where Microsoft is heading. And even an MVP for many years, who happens to be one of the most well known and respected in the field, is literally guessing what the company that dubbed him is up to.

zorro1I am trying to find a valid reason for keeping secrets this way, where is the business value in keeping us in the dark?

Is it to keep the interest alive? Like that tall dark stranger with the mask is the most interesting man at the party?

Is it to avoid leaking secrets to competitors? All of a sudden your hottest new features are released by someone else before it has passed your own UAT?

Or are they simply putting new platforms and features out there to see what happens, and take it from there?

Add some whispers in the dark, throw in a few new buzz words… Have us googling, analyzing, blogging and discussing, maintain the hype for a bit longer…

Cynical

Some may call me cynical.

135000053But I have to ask myself (since there is no point asking "them")

Do they really have that Master Plan we are all trying to figure out?
Or is the secrecy simply a sales stunt?

I honestly think I would prefer it being a sales stunt.
Hiding existing information of this kind from the developer community in general and the MVP group in particular seems a bit too arrogant.

And probably even counter productive. They have a large community of dedicated partners, resellers, developers and MVPs that depend on Microsoft, as well as Microsoft depend on us.
Having us waste time on speculations and ISVs following the wrong guesses is neither an efficient nor a respectful way to do business.

New dimensions

Well, regardless of Microsoft's possibly hidden agenda – of course I have some thoughts on the actual technical aspects too.

I think the xRM platform is really great for a certain type of systems to support processes and information in a business. I do not think xRM will die easily, and I hope Microsoft does not have plans to kill it soon.

The new possibilities opening up with CDS, Power Apps, Logical Apps, Dynamics 365 and the gigantic Azure ecosystem of services adds the means to add a few more dimensions to existing systems.

Our current systems usually have two dimensions – store information and support processes.
Adding tools from the new service flora can add dimensions to open them up and really becoming alive.