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    February 25, 2022

    How to Be a Microsoft ISV Partner: Insider Tips and Best Practices 

    Why partner with Microsoft? Would you like help with capturing and expanding your market opportunities? Microsoft partners with independent software vendors (ISVs) because such a partnership helps ISVs reach these same goals. 

    Partnering with Microsoft allows ISVs to leverage resources, such as co-selling, co-funding, and private preview early access to new application releases. ISV partners can also get involved and help influence Microsoft’s direction.

    For instance, Enavate helped a public-sector ISV, Tangicloud, develop a relationship with Microsoft. Tangicloud became part of Microsoft’s Industry Cloud Early Access Program and provided Microsoft insights and guidance that informed the government sector industry Cloud development before launch.   

    Tangicloud gained credibility and exposure in the Microsoft space, thanks to the experience and its relationship with Enavate. 

    At Enavate, we help ISVs position themselves to be more attractive to Microsoft so they can capture the most significant benefit from the partnership. As a Microsoft ISV Development Center, Enavate provides complete life cycle ISV services, such as: 

    • Concept to architecture – design, build, test  
    • Go-to-market assistance  
    • Channel strategy  
    • Ongoing maintenance and support activities 

    Enavate is your partner’s partner to help you reach your business and product goals.

    Connect with our Enavate Partner Services team during Directions North America, April 3-6, 2022, in Orlando, the main event for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner community

    How the Microsoft ISV Partner Program Works

    The Microsoft ISV Partner Program is ideal for most ISVs regardless of industry or size. Signing up is free, and each partner program is optional. 

    ISVs partner with Microsoft for various reasons. An ISV with a mature solution wants to get their solution in one of the two Microsoft app stores: AppSource, which is for Dynamics and Office products, or Marketplace, primarily for Azure. A mature ISV might have the funding and resources to support the solution from there.

    Other ISVs with more limited resources and funding could find tremendous benefit in Microsoft’s programs and support. Specifically, the co-funding and co-selling programs.

    Co-Funding Programs

    Microsoft offers funding for ISV partners for various initiatives, including training, product development and modernization. Training can be beneficial as technology industries experience a labor shortage.  

    “Maybe you’re an existing ISV, but your technology’s become stale. You’ve had a vertical veterinary office administration app running on top of Dynamics CRM for 10 years. You need to modernize it, but there isn’t room in the budget. Partnering with Microsoft means that you can ask them to invest in your solution to modernize it for your customers, and theirs.” – Robert Shurtleff, Global Microsoft Technology Evangelist 

    Co-Selling Programs

    Microsoft also helps partners reach more customers and optimize their solution for discoverability in the marketplace. Microsoft expects solutions to meet the following criteria: 

    • Your solution is already established and in existence.  
    • You already have published and/or public case studies.  
    • You have demonstrable success.  
    • You have referenceable clients in vertical or horizontal focus areas of Microsoft.  

    If your ISV fits in a focus area or industry Microsoft is developing and you fit these criteria, they will want to work with you and advertise your solutions.

    Why Become a Microsoft ISV Partner?

    According to the Forrester Total Economic Impact Report on being a Microsoft ISV Partner, ISVs will drive 57 percent of business application revenue in the Microsoft marketplace by 2022. 

    As a Microsoft ISV Partner, you can capitalize on available programs and access markets that prefer Microsoft. By tapping into the Microsoft ecosystem, ISV partners can connect to innovate and solve problems, be involved in what Microsoft is developing, access and preview what’s coming down the pike, and more. 

    Today, we operate in an app-based economy, and businesses and consumers take a hybrid approach to apps. They are not necessarily brand loyalists with their solutions – they’re looking for the best functionality for their purposes. 

    For example, whereas Salesforce and Microsoft might appear to be enemies, they partner together to ensure their ecosystems work seamlessly together. 

    Regardless of your core technology and existing market focus, all ISVs can benefit from broadening the reach and accessibility of their solutions and increasing your market opportunity. 

    Plugging your solution into the Microsoft ecosystem means you’re expanding your market and reaching those customers who will come to prefer your solution. 

    When to Become a Microsoft ISV Partner 

    Now is the right time for an ISV to partner with Microsoft. Such a partnership is beneficial in a variety of ways:

    • You are a small company without the sales resources and funding you need to make your solution successful and grow your market share. You could leverage co-funding and enlist the help of an ISV Development Center, such as Enavate, to elevate your solution.   
    • You have a good product and market demand but can’t go after that market. You could leverage Microsoft through co-selling to expand your market opportunity vertically or horizontally.   
    • You are a proven, established ISV outside of the Microsoft ecosystem, but you’re being pulled into it by your clients and market.  
    • You already have a Microsoft-centric solution and are in the Microsoft ecosystem but aren’t an ISV partner. You already have one foot in the door and connections you can use to expand the relationship.   
    • You are Microsoft-based but not plugged into the overall Microsoft ecosystem. Having a Microsoft contact and plugging into the ISV Partner and ISV Connect programs will offer many advantages. You may need to enhance your solution to plug into the bigger ecosystem, with which Enavate can help you.  
    • You are an SAP-centric ISV solution, and your customers are switching to Microsoft products. You’re completely outside of the Microsoft ecosystem but getting pulled in. If you’re unfamiliar with Microsoft, a partner like Enavate can help in this scenario.   
    • You are a non-Microsoft-centric ISV (e.g., Salesforce, Oracle), but most of your new target market consists of Microsoft customers. You need to get plugged into Microsoft to capture that market and grow. This might require re-architecting, which Microsoft might co-fund. If you work with Enavate to connect your non-Microsoft product(s) into the Microsoft ecosystem, we do the legwork so you can focus on your core strengths.

    Role of a Microsoft ISV Development Center 

    As a Microsoft ISV Development Center, Enavate collaborates with ISVs to guide their vision and provide valuable expertise to build, sell, maintain and improve their products. 

    Enavate provides complete life cycle ISV services. From concept to architecture, design, build and test to go-to-market assistance, channel strategy and ongoing maintenance and support, Enavate is your partner’s partner to help you reach your business and product goals. 

    We know Microsoft and the ecosystem and how to help you maximize your partnership, differentiate yourself and achieve growth. 

    Whether you’re updating a successful solution to serve today’s customers better or developing a newer solution that will solve unique business challenges, we will collaborate with you to optimize your outcomes. Look to us for solution building, integration services, solution maintenance, Microsoft onboarding and more.  

    Reach out to our Partner Services team to learn how Enavate can help your ISV business grow.  

    Tag(s): cloud

    Pablo Saez

    Pablo is the ISV Sales Leader for Partner Services at Enavate. He helps ISV partners produce results with solutions and services targeted to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. At Enavate Partner Services we provide services from assisting you to modernize your intellectual property on the Dynamics 365 platform to migration services and implementations of Dynamics 365. Before joining Enavate he worked as an Enterprise Account Executive for Fortune 500 companies focused on Collaboration solutions using Office 365 and SharePoint. Previously Pablo worked at Microsoft for 15 years in either consulting or sales roles. He is fluent In English and Spanish, receiving his BS in Mathematics - MCL from the University of Puerto Rico.

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