I believe in the new app ecosystem. I can see the change happening in front of my eyes and I can see this in many ways. I can buy and install value-added apps for our Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online solution without having to call anybody and most of these solutions can be tried out for a period of time. I can also buy apps to my Windows Surface Pro and RT and some of the same apps can be purchased to my Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows 8 Phone.
The app economy is here and we can’t stop that. I also have a tremendous opportunity to see what is happening on the marketplace as I have to talked and worked with many ISVs about their cloud and app plans. It is fascinating to see how the change is impacting every single company and person that has to deal with software. If you are in denial mode, you will be left behind and many have already lost market share to smaller and nimbler vendors due to ignorance and in some cases arrogance.
I put a question in my title whether you feel that the app developer is going to be able to support your app use. I have already acquired quite a few Dynamics CRM 2011 solutions into our Dynamics CRM instance and each one of these solutions are critical in our daily use. To give an idea what type of solutions one can use is PowerAutoNumber from PowerObjects, an amazing company in the US that was selected as 2013 Microsoft Partner of the Year Winner in the Customer Relationship Management category. PowerObjects have identified a nice niche in their business by adding value to a software platform that is used by many system integrators and software vendors as a platform for derivative software product line development.
This PowerObjects solution module does one thing very effectively: it enables me to generate numbers to CRM entities with a 1-to-many relationships. I recently had a need to start tracking all of TELLUS Academy course participants and decided to build a small app in Dynamics CRM 2011 (like XRM) using custom entities but I did not realize that auto numbering was not part of the “base Dynamics CRM 2011 pack” so I had two options: to build one using JScript, use a bunch of “open source” code from the Internet or buy/pay for a solution to an ISV that will maintain and amend the solution. I decided to stick to the last option.
In my case, it is like having a bunch of Lego blocks that are assembled together and each building block brings value to the overall solution. I am sure that this is nothing new to the ones that still remember the discussion of component-based development in 90s. What has made this a reality in my mind is the acceptance of SOA-based solutions and some ISVs have really understood the importance of building effective APIs for others to consume.
What I like in the case of PowerObjects is their innovation of solutions that any Dynamics CRM 2011 user really needs on a daily basis. I will explain more about these and other topics in our solution portfolio in my later posts.
My message to any organization is that it should select very carefully the solutions/components that it is going to rely on in its operations. This is of course nothing new, but the new app/solution ecosystem is assumed to make everything so easy and we tend to forget that many easy things might break and the ISV even go out of business. What are we going to do then? Do check the background of the company that you are going to bet your business on, that is just a logical thing to do even if the buying and installing is easy in the new app economy.