Sana never questioned whether or not Dynamics 365 was relevant to their business. We hopped on board as an early adopter being part of the TAP program for the then Project Madeira, and became one of the first ISVs available for Microsoft’s latest cloud-based ERP system on AppSource.
Michiel Schipperus, CEO at Sana Commerce, took the time to explain Sana’s dedication to the Microsoft Dynamics community, including the organization’s strategy for Microsoft’s latest disruptive technology and what plug-and-play e-commerce can offer businesses.
Q: With the release of Dynamics 365 upon us, what are your speculations around Microsoft’s latest ERP product?
Microsoft is trying to make it easier for businesses to adopt and try out new ERP products. They are being more customer-focused and customer-driven—looking at what the modern business customer, so to speak, is looking for. Making it more available. They are coming up with a product that will be more accessible and they’re trying to alleviate some headaches that customers experience when trying to buy ERP software. They’re focusing on the cloud and making it easier for businesses to run, but also to scale up when needed. I believe this will have a big impact on the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem, and on the market in general.
Q: What does the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 mean for Sana’s e-commerce platform?
Microsoft has been our partner for 10 years, and we have great confidence in them when they come up with visionary products like Dynamics 365. These new offerings provide great opportunities for us, our customers, and the future customers of these products. We align with Microsoft, their vision, and the philosophy behind it. Even though we had never seen Dynamics 365 before, we had no doubt that we wanted to be part of it, which is why we took the opportunity to develop an e-commerce solution for Microsoft’s latest ERP system.
Our whole thinking has always been around the web and on how to make things easier for businesses and their clients. With Dynamics 365, Microsoft is making it easier for businesses to implement ERP systems and add any additional tools they might need. Microsoft being disruptive in this way can create a wave that is the perfect one for us to surf on, so to speak, because I don’t think there is any ISV better positioned to serve the Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer than Sana. Our implementation will be a wizard where you can easily plug and play with our application in just a few clicks.
We see the near future this way: Microsoft is putting valuable tools into the hands of smaller and mid-sized businesses in the U.S., and now we’re working to do the same thing. And there is no pressure. Businesses only buy if they like the tools, and they have the possibility to try them out first. That’s where we want to be. That’s where we’re heading.
Q: With Dynamics 365, end users now have the ability to implement a Sana web store in conjunction with their ERP system in a matter of minutes. What type of impact do you think that will have on businesses?
I really believe that so many businesses can benefit from our solution. But, we understand that taking the first step is incredibly difficult. We see our potential clients looking at an e-commerce project thinking, “This is great, but how am I going to do this?” But if these businesses are empowered to take a few minutes to try out new technologies like Sana and actually see the software—how it looks, how it works; to show their colleagues and ask their customers for feedback—that first step appears far less intimidating.
With Sana, history has shown me that businesses get held up on fear of the unknown. They’re interested and they like our platform, and they know e-commerce will benefit their business, but there are many uncertainties. E-commerce becomes something they’ll implement down the road. But now with Dynamics 365 and Sana, it’s much like our phones. Businesses can use the application, decide if they like it, and if not, they just delete it. Or, we hope, they’ll like it and they’ll be inclined to buy. That first big step becomes much simpler and is accompanied with zero regret. They know exactly what they’re getting and can be confident in their decision.
Q: What is your opinion of AppSource and the idea of a plug and play model for businesses?
With Microsoft’s release of AppSource, they are thinking from the customer’s perspective; they are putting the customer first. That’s exactly what they have done with AppSource and I believe this is how the customer of tomorrow wants to experience and buy software. Being able to quickly try out different applications to find out if they work is essential. Plus, this model is easy to work with. Microsoft is adapting their business to the consumer that is used to having app stores. Sana will also implement this structure to allow clients to add on new technologies for their business needs.
Q: How will Sana handle the new pricing structure imposed by Microsoft Dynamics 365?
We want to come up with a pricing structure that is built from the perspective of the customer. Like Microsoft, we want to look through the eyes of the customers and see what makes sense. From a user perspective, it would be convenient to pay a set monthly rate for my ERP and then another set monthly fee per additional application, just as an example. Sana will officially release its pricing with Microsoft’s release of Dynamics 365.
Q: Anything else?
We believe that there are many more businesses that can still benefit from the opportunities of e-commerce. I am very happy now that we have the opportunity to deliver our product to these customers. For any business running an ERP system, I believe that e-commerce should be easy like Dynamics 365 is making it. And it’s critical that the ERP system is the enabler. I think that every company that has an ERP system should have the opportunity to sell online in the way we do—in an integrated way. To sell online in a way that leverages what they already have. I am excited that we can add this to the Dynamics 365 product offering.