Clearing the Mountain for Microsoft Business Applications ISVs

There is a mountain between many ISVs and their potential customers. It is not new… it has been there for a long time, but recently Microsoft created a tunnel under it. For ISVs with significant I.P. this tunnel is worth exploring.

The Mountain

As an ISV who has chosen to build on top of Dynamics 365 or, you are keenly aware of the mountain we are referring to. You have nothing to sell until someone else sells something else. This is a truth for any ISV built on top of anyone else’s platform. If your ISV solution runs on top of Dynamics 365 only, you have even more hurdles that need to be cleared by someone else first. In that case, you first have to hope that someone else is successful in selling Dynamics 365 against In either case, you have to hope that after the customer has spent a significant wallet share on those licenses, they still have enough left for yours. Not a big deal if you offer widgets, but many ISVs offer critical business solutions. Sometimes the primary motivation of a customer to even move forward is to get what you have… but they have to make a stop first.

A fast-growing part of our business is helping these ISVs pass through the tunnel under “someone else”.

It was what it was

There are probably a few reasons you chose to build on top of Dynamics 365 at the time. You most likely wanted to tap into Microsoft’s existing Dynamics 365 customer base. Maybe Dynamics 365 offered many capabilities related to your IP, but you did not want to have to build, like platform, security model, etc. Depending on how long ago you started, overcoming a $40/PUPM license before the client could buy your IP was not that big a deal. Now that license may be $95/PUPM or more. Maybe you have already captured most of your share of customers willing to pay big money. Is that the end? How do we know all this? RapidStartCRM also used to run on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 when we initially launched it in 2015!

The Power Platform

You may be aware of Microsoft’s Power Platform. It was a bold move by Microsoft, fueled by its desire to become a “Platform” company and a much stronger passion than its desire to be an applications company. You may also be aware that Dynamics 365 runs on top of this Power Platform, which used to be an integral component of Dynamics 365 that has since been “separated”. You may have considered building a version of your solution to run on this Power Platform, but it was not a “complete” enough solution without your having to build a bunch of other stuff. But the Power Platform is growing exponentially faster than Dynamics 365, and you are missing out.

RapidStartCRM as a “Front-end”

RapidStartCRM is our free, Simple-to-Use CRM that runs on the Power Platform. It was the first and is the fastest-growing CRM solution built on the Power Platform, with over 100,000 users and growing about 10%/month. Why might this be something for you to consider? Well, it is free for starters. It is also a very well built, simple solution for managing Prospects, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities, and Cases… the Bread and Butter of all CRM solutions, including Dynamics 365. It is the perfect front-end for your solution. The best news is that it runs on a Microsoft license that costs as low as $5/PUPM! How is that for leveling the mountain?

This Sounds Too Easy

The difficulty is directly related to the level of dependency your solution has on the Dynamics 365 “first-party’ entities (excluding Accounts and Contacts). For example, if your solution works with the Dynamics 365 “Opportunity” entity, some refactoring would need to be done to have it operate the same way with our RapidStartCRM “Opportunity” entity. The level of effort varies significantly from ISV to ISV. But it is something you must at least explore.

How would this Change your World?

You no longer have to wait for someone else to do something. You can now directly offer your customers a complete solution at a fraction of the cost while maintaining 100% of your margin. No channel is required. The customer buys some low-cost licenses directly from Microsoft, installs our free RapidStartCRM app from AppSource, and then installs the RapidStartCRM version of your solution. Done, done, and done!

How can we help?

In addition to being an ISV ourselves with RapidStartCRM, our parent, Forceworks, is also a highly skilled Custom Project Services shop and a Microsoft Gold Application Development Partner. We can offer you consulting on refactoring and GTM or our development services to do the refactoring for you. In addition, we can assist your customers with other customizations they may want to do outside of the scope of your solution.

Wanna talk about it? Click here to schedule a free exploratory call with our Microsoft Business Applications MVP/CEO.

We released some optional but highly recommended design standards for RapidStartCRM you may want to review.


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