There are three kinds of Microsoft partners as it relates to GP & all Dynamics product lines:
- Consulting Partners
- Independent Software Vendors
Sometimes better known as a VARs (Value Added Resellers), Resellers can sell you software & annual maintenance for GP. Reseller partners also provide implementation & support services of course, and often represent multiple software vendors or product lines, whether that is multiple Dynamics products or competing products. As the software pricing models continue to change, the reality is there is little “profit” in software sales, perhaps outside of the initial sale (& even then often only if it’s a large number of users), and consulting hours are where resellers are earning their profits.
Consulting partners provide services for GP but can’t resell the software. Generally speaking, there are not many “large” consulting partners out in the marketplace, simply because once an organization is of a certain size, they likely can attain the minimum requirements to be a full Reseller quite easily. It’s often the independent consultants or 2-3 person consulting firms that may be *just* consulting partners. My firm, Kuntz Consulting Inc., is one of these types of partners.
Independent Software Vendors
Also known as ISVs or Third Party vendors, Independent Software Vendors develop applications for GP. These applications can be add-ons inside of Dynamics GP, such as alternate bank reconciliation modules, or applications that are completely external to Dynamics GP but connect with GP in other ways, such as a requisition & procurement add-ons or external integration tools.
In the Dynamics GP community, there are hundreds of add-on products & utilities that offer a wide range of minor enhancements to major functionality. (It’s a good thing!)
Why does it matter?
Every Dynamics GP customer can have both a Reseller and a Consulting partner associated with your Microsoft account, they don’t have to be the same firm! Few, if any, Resellers will ever tell a customer this without them asking, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Resellers who aren’t aware of this fact. The reality is, most resellers don’t want their customers to know this; they really don’t want their customers to take their consulting hours elsewhere!
How do I know this? Early in my consulting career, I worked for Deloitte, who audited Microsoft. Due to that conflict of interest, Deloitte wasn’t a reseller but was the “consulting” partner of record on their clients. Another firm worked with them as the reseller and managing software licensing, demos, and annual maintenance renewals. Strange but true!
When someone asks you who your “partner” is, they usually are referring to your Reseller/VAR. Only the Reseller can actually renew your annual maintenance and sell you new software licenses. Both of those can have otherwise full access to your account at Microsoft, which includes things like:
- Viewing what products & modules you are registered for
- Viewing what ISV products you own, if the ISV partner lists them on your account
- Viewing and obtain your registration keys
- Submitting support cases on your behalf (that you can also see on your account)