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A sneak preview of keynote insights from this year’s Dynamics Day: A Q&A with Microsoft’s Director, Product Manager for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

This year’s Dynamics Day – held for the fourth time in Auckland on October 31 – is just around the corner and we’re looking forward to three streams of really great content. If you haven’t yet registered for this free event – especially if you’re a Dynamics user or looking at becoming one – we still have some spaces available here.

Dynamics Day

In the lead-up to the big event, we had the privilege of catching up with this year’s Dynamics Day international keynote speaker, Craig Dewar, and asking him a few questions. A born and bred New Zealander, Craig is Microsoft’s Director – Product Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We’re very excited to have Craig joining us for this year’s Dynamics Day, and we’re looking forward to the insights he will bring us and conference delegates into Microsoft’s plans and direction.


Craig Dewar, Microsoft Director - Product Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM


Tell us a little about yourself and your time with Microsoft.

I am a New Zealand native hailing from the great city of Wellington. I joined the Microsoft New Zealand subsidiary in 1995 focusing on our early server infrastructure products. In 2001 I took the opportunity to move to Seattle to work on Microsoft’s initial foray into the world of mobile software. Since that time I have been fortunate to have a number of great career opportunities and now find myself focused on the customer care capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I love the Seattle area which is actually quite reminiscent of New Zealand in many ways. Mountains, lakes and pine trees abound. I have shared these experiences with my wonderful wife and three great sons.


The next 12 months are a busy period for Microsoft and its partners. What do you see as being the most exciting releases over the next 12 months?

There are a tremendous number of products about to burst onto the market. Windows 8, Surface, Windows Phone 8, Office 2013, and updates to all the Dynamics products, to name a few. I am personally very excited by the combination of Windows 8 and Surface. Finally a device and software experience that combines cutting edge hardware design, long battery life and a world class consumer software experience with all the richness of enterprise productivity and the breadth of device support the Windows ecosystem delivers. I am going to try and buy a Surface on launch day to bring on my trip, so if you make it to Dynamics Day you can take a look.


With Windows Phone 8 and devices such as Surface coming out, Microsoft is innovating in a wide range of areas. How do you see these developments changing how people work, from a CRM perspective?

We have seen a real change in how people think about usability of business software. You don’t need a manual for Facebook so you shouldn’t need one for CRM software either. We have really honed in on user experience in Microsoft Dynamics and have some dramatic new experiences coming to market soon after Windows 8 and Surface. Again I will be showing these for both ERP and CRM software at Dynamics Day. I think you will find them compelling and exciting.


As part of your role with Microsoft, how do you see Microsoft Dynamics CRM evolving over the next few releases?

We have three areas of focus:

  • Compelling applications. We will focus on more complete finished CRM processes out of the box. You can expect to see more robust sales, service and marketing capabilities built right in. We will also focus on closing the seams between these areas.
  • Tailored experiences. We will be creating specific experiences across a range of platforms and roles. Experiences for mobile, for Outlook, for web and for agent desktops. Each will be optimised for the job and hand and truly beautiful.
  • Open and Extensible Platform. The strength of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has historically been its modern meta-driven platform. We will continue to keep this at the cutting edge and ensure maximum speed of development.

This is all detailed in a new Statement of Direction and will be one of the topics covered in more detail at Dynamics Day.


What impact has the cloud had on the delivery of Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

The impact of the cloud has been huge. We already see more than 60% of all new customers choose this deployment model. People love the rapid time to value and set and forget backend. We have transitioned our entire development model to a cloud first approach and are delivering much more rapid innovation for customers. In the old world we released every three years and customers typically upgraded every five or so. In the new world we are on a path to deliver new innovation every six months and every customer can have it straight away if they like. A huge difference in realised business value.


What business benefits will Windows 8 deliver organisations? And how will Dynamics customers benefit from Windows 8?

Windows 8 brings the ease of use and long battery life of a consumer device but does not give up productivity, management and security. Companies struggling with the consumerisation of IT will be able to have their cake and eat it too.


You’ve been at Microsoft for a number of years. How has the company changed in that time, and where do you see Microsoft heading in the future?

When I joined Microsoft it was definitely a PC company. In the early years I was there it transitioned into a PC and server company. We are now at an inflection point that sees us transforming into a device and services company. We have enterprise services and devices and consumer services and devices. There is commonality where it makes sense. It’s going to be an exciting few years as the change fully lands throughout the product lines and into the market.


When were you last in New Zealand? What are you looking forward to doing?

It’s been five years since I was last back and I am looking forward to catching up with family and friends, some good old kiwi food and maybe even a rugger game.

Posted by: James Page, Practice Director Partners, Alliances & Channels | 09 October 2012

Tags: CRM, Cloud, Microsoft, Surface, Dynamics Day, Mobile, Windows 8, Dynamics Day 2012, Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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