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Talking 2016 Year in Review and Microsoft AppSource with Microsoft’s Satish Thomas [Video Interview]

Hi Ya’ll! Welcome to another episode of Dux Quax where today we’re talking about Microsoft AppSource as part of our “What Happened in 2016 and What’s Coming in 2017” series.

One of the biggest factors to Microsoft being a technology leader is its ability to bring together Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Systems Integrators (SIs) into an ecosystem that enhances and adapts the power of Microsoft technologies for individual customer needs.

To learn more, we went directly to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond to hear from Satish Thomas (@SatishThomas), Group Program Manager for Microsoft AppSource. In this interview Satish shares some insights into the latest development of Microsoft AppSource – the newly released ISV and SI ecosystem for the Microsoft Cloud.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”3W73e” via=”yes” ]”AppSource is our destination for end users to discover, try, & eventually provision business SaaS apps.” @SatishThomas @AvePoint_Inc[/ctt]

How will this change the way ISVs like AvePoint deliver new innovative solutions to end-users? Watch the video or check out the transcript below!

More from Dux Quax:

Transcript: Dux Quax on Microsoft AppSource

Starring: Dux Raymond Sy (@meetDux) and Satish Thomas (@Satishthomas)

Dux: Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of Dux Quax. I’m very excited because I’m in the mothership, in Redmond. And I’m very excited today to talk to Satish Thomas. This is part of our “What Happened in 2016 and Looking Forward to 2017.” Satish, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Satish: Cool. My name is Satish Thomas. I’m the Group Program Manager for Microsoft AppSource, and I’ve been around Microsoft for a while. I’ve spent about 10 years in Microsoft Dynamics, and the last couple of months, this (AppSource) is what I’ve been working on.

Dux: So, Satish, AppSource, for me, it’s such a great name. Can you tell everybody what AppSource is, why people should be interested, and what’s going on with AppSource?

Satish: Cool. So Microsoft – and thank you for the compliment on the name, we spent a lot of time on it – Microsoft AppSource is essentially our destination for end users to be able to discover, try, and eventually provision business SaaS apps. So we also have add-ons for Microsoft’s first-party SaaS applications like CRM, Dynamics 365, Office Part VI. So it’s essentially SaaS apps plus, the apps that build on our first party applications as well. And for ISVs, which is also a super important piece, it’s a conduit for ISVs to reach all of Microsoft’s end users out there. So you come on top of AppSource, and we try to make you super successful.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”_0dh9″ via=”yes” ]”#AppSource is a conduit for ISVs to reach all of #Microsoft end users out there. We try to make you super successful!” @SatishThomas @AvePoint_Inc[/ctt]

Dux: So it sounds like Microsoft is all in the cloud. I mean, you mentioned a couple of times SaaS.

Satish: Yeah.

Dux: Leveraging all your cloud technology.

Satish: Yeah.

Dux: So why do you think this momentum, where it’s all cloud first? And frankly, it’s not just Microsoft, it’s the industry. Customers, in general, are looking to the cloud to further innovate and grow their business. Why do you think that is?

Satish: I mean the industry is changing a lot. Coming from a traditional ERP and CRM background, I’ve seen a lot. In the last 10 years, the shift to folks and customers using a lot of cloud solutions and ISV – integrating a lot of this has been tremendous. And these days, people don’t even talk about it as much, and that momentum is very real.

Dux: Absolutely.

Satish: Right? We see it today through AppSource in terms of the number of ISVs that build differentiated solutions.

Dux: Sure.

Satish: I mean, the type of solutions that are coming up are pretty amazing. And for end users, the amount that people try, are open to trying business SaaS solutions, etc. before they buy. You know, by the time they buy, they’ve already done a lot of that evaluation by themselves. And that is the piece that AppSource is really trying to leverage and, kind of, really differentiate around.

Dux: I mean, I gotta tell you as an ISV, I feel like and I know AppSource is a phenomenal platform, not only for us but for our customers. I was showing our customers with our solution in AppSource, and they were initially leery of it. Like “Is this real?” Until they tried it. They’re like, “Hold on, are you saying I can leverage my Microsoft investments, Dynamics 365, Azure, even Office 365 and not hire somebody to code and put together a solution, and just deploy it on that tenant in like five seconds?”

Satish: Yes.

Dux: That’s unheard of, right?

Satish: Right.

Dux: So is this an exciting time for customers but equally, it’s important for us in ISV. It’s an exciting time. Now, it opens the possibilities of deploying solutions without waiting for a long period of time…

Satish: Absolutely.

Dux: …to figure out what the solution is like.

Satish: So we’ve talked a lot about, you know, “five seconds to try and five minutes to wow.” And trying to enable that for the third-party ecosystem that builds on top of Microsoft cloud is what we’re really going after. I think the more we do that for our first-party apps and also our third-party ecosystem, the better the experience for the end users.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”bToM4″ via=”yes” ]”The more we do for our 1st-party apps & also our 3rd-party ecosystem, the better the experience for the end users.” @SatishThomas @AvePoint_Inc[/ctt]

Dux: Sure.

Satish: And ISV is getting more successful with all of that.

Dux: So what’s the feedback so far from ISV? Because you launched it what, July?

Satish: Yeah.

Dux: And it went GA like a month ago?

Satish: Yes.

Dux: Tell us the feedback so far?

Satish: So we actually GA-ed, we actually previewed at WPC. So Satya and Scott announced at WPC. The momentum has been tremendous, right? I think that it’s crazy in a very good way, the amount of end users, etc. But from an ISV perspective, right? You know, a lot of ISVs have been getting leads, better business outcomes through it. But I think, you know, since AvePoint was one of our launch ISVs, I would love to hear from you in terms of what the takeaway is.

Dux: So at least from our experience, right? So it’s a couple of things. I can speak about three specific areas. Number one is just it’s a great opportunity for us to learn, because it’s an ISV. While certainly we’re good at what we do, but being able to be a part of this new way of delivering solutions to customers, an easier way, I think was a great experience.

Satish: Yup.

Dux: The second part is you mentioned about the leads and at the end of the day, we’re all here to get work done, to do business. And boy, we don’t have to worry about, “Okay if somebody comes to AppSource, looks at it, how would we know who they are?” So Microsoft, especially through your team, provides a seamless way to capture all the leads and pass it to us. And it’s our job to certainly go follow up and make sure that the customer is happy and if they want to further deploy and take to production.

Satish: Yeah.

Dux: But the third aspect, that’s at least from an ISV perspective, it now provides us a reason to maximize and take advantage of all the advance workloads in Azure for example. So for those not familiar to AvePoint built AvePoint Citizen Services, we’re the public sector launch partner. And it’s essentially, a case management platform, SaaS based, in the cloud. But what’s exciting about that – and certainly it uses Dynamics 365 and Azure – but we’re able to leverage things like IoT hub, machine learning, embedded RVI, Cortana. And that’s really exciting because now we see the possibilities not only taken from an academic, cool factor perspective, but putting it into a very specific use case, in this case for government. And then when we show it to customers, they’re like, “Oh, wow, that’s what machine learning means in my world. That’s how IoT can help me be a better government agency.”

Satish: Actually, yeah. It’s great to hear it from ISV and I think that is the kind of success story that we’d like to build. You know, from an end-user perspective, we like to say, “business transformation one app at a time” and I think the type of apps etc., similar to what you guys have built, is I think what that world looks like in the future and AppSource will kind of be a catalyst to all of that.

Dux: So Satish, you know, you speak a lot about ISV, you speak a lot about the partner ecosystem. But what about our SI partners? What’s in store for them?

Satish: Yeah. So very timely discussion. So two weeks ago at Dynamics EG, we launched a new part of AppSource which is essentially enabling SIs to be part of that AppSource ecosystem. So what that means is… let’s say a business end-user comes and discovers an app like your app; They love what it does, they evaluated it, provisioned it, it looks very good. However, for that last-mile implementation, they would like to work with an SI.

Dux: Sure.

Satish: So what we’ve done is we’ve actually enabled ISVs to bring the SIs, onboard the SIs on to AppSource and we provide that…

Dux: Wonderful.

Satish: …ISV-SI matchmaking. So if you look at Microsoft’s SI ecosystem and ISV-SI ecosystem, we basically bring them all together. And from a business end-user perspective, it just completes the story for them.

Dux: Absolutely.

Satish: So this is something that we launched two weeks ago, and it’s been getting a lot of good traction, and ISVs will bring their own SIs. So that’s something that we’re investing on.

Dux: Wonderful. Well, that’s great. And for those interested, make sure you check out appsource.com.

Satish: Yes.

Dux: I’m sure you’ll find all the information about AppSource there.

Satish: Appsource.com, it’s super easy. Just log in with your work ID and it’s super simple to use.

Dux: Yeah, wonderful. So it sounds like a lot of great momentum in 2016.

Satish: Yup.

Dux: Now, what’s in store for 2017?

Satish: A lot, right? So one of the things is… I mean going back to that point about the ISVs, I think when an ISV builds a solution on top of the Microsoft cloud, we want to make them super successful through all the avenues we have. So AppSource is a great conduit for that. So to your feedback, that is super important and we try to learn a lot from the ISV feedback.

The second piece is for end-users, we want to make sure that when they come and find that, they have a predictable experience to try it, provision it.

Dux: Sure.

Satish: And all those good things, right? That the quality of the app, the quality of the experience is super important there. Along those lines, one of the things that we’re working on, it’s a construct called AppSource Solutions. So what you guys have built with AvePoint, in terms of using Azure Compute, SQL Azure, Cortana Intelligence, IoT, SCRIM data, Power BI embedded. We think we’re building a way for ISVs to be able to more easily package these things up and publish it on AppSource. And for end users, to be able to come and consume that in a consistent and predictable way.

Dux: Wonderful.

Satish: So think of that as that way AppSource, kind of, moves more towards discovery, trial, and provisioning of that as well.

Dux: Correct.

Satish: In addition to just the discovery aspect of it, which is more where it’s focused today. So this is something that we’re very, very invested in right now…

Dux: Sure.

Satish: …and spending a lot of time. on.

Dux: And certainly, I’m sure beyond that, you’ll… The vision is you complete to full life cycle, right?

Satish: Absolutely.

Dux: And then perhaps pushing further. Being able to manage and figure out other apps that, you know, as customers they can leverage.

Satish: Absolutely and that’s where the full story comes together, right? So it could be apps for industry application, it could be add-ons for one of our first-party application.

Dux: Sure.

Satish: So having all of this and having AppSource as a destination for all of this. And having a predictable experience for discovery, trial, and provisioning, that’s where, kind of, that end story is. Now there’s a lot, lot more that we can do there.

Dux: Wow, I gotta tell you, it’s very exciting. Because not only with the momentum of the cloud, just working with customers around the world, commercial, public sector, the cloud is it. In fact, personally, I’m very impressed with a lot of the government agencies I work with, because now their head is around cloud first. But once they’re there, these business solutions that Microsoft offers would certainly provide a lot of great benefit.

Satish: Absolutely.

Dux: Because they have a lot of Microsoft investments.

Satish: Yup.

Dux: Go ahead, I’m sorry.

Satish: No. So I think, yeah, I think you nailed it. And I think that’s where the momentum and the feedback that we’re getting is along those lines but we have a lot more to do. And I think that’s where, you know, feedback from folks like you and other early ISVs, and feedback from end-users. That’s what we’re super focused on.

Dux: So speaking of feedbacks, Satish, for folks watching, how can they provide feedback to you? So let’s say they’re end-users, they’re trying it out, they have some ideas, how can they best reach you and your team?

Satish: Yeah. So a few ways. I think the feedback is something that we spend a lot of time looking at, just from a continuous improvement perspective. So obviously, you can go to appsource.com, contact us through there or the, you know, the feedback dialogues. Or you can reach me directly, I think Dux does a lot too and I appreciate it. So you know, Satish Thomas on Twitter or just my email, sthomas@microsoft.com. And I’ll get you connected either to the folks on my team or we’ll help you answer your question or listen to your feedback one on one.

Dux: Awesome.

Satish: Cool.

Dux: Well Satish, you know, thank you so much for your time. I’m sure this is very helpful to people watching. But before I let you go, I have one question that I ask everybody.

Satish: One more last thing.

Dux: Yeah. But wait, there’s more. If you were a Microsoft product other than AppSource, what would you be and why?

Satish: Okay, good. I was hoping I could just say AppSource.

Dux: No.

Satish: That’s a very tricky one. So I play a lot of poker.

Dux: Okay. You made a lot of money playing poker?

Satish: Not really, but I enjoy playing poker. So I don’t even know if we make a Microsoft, like a poker game on Xbox, but if we ever did or if we do…

Dux: Sure.

Satish: …I think that will be a…

Dux: Microsoft Poker, I gotta check with my son, but maybe it’s a new product coming out. Are there any… So you’ll be a poker game.

Satish: Yeah, yeah.

Dux: All right. Well, wonderful. Well Satish, thank you.

Satish: Cool. Thank you very much.

Dux: I appreciate your time.

Satish: Yeah, thank you.

Dux: Make sure again you catch up with Satish, and check out AppSource. Thank you and stay tuned for the next episode. Bye!

AvePoint and Microsoft CityNext at Smart City Expo 2016

Come chat with us and AvePoint, a Microsoft partner helping governments use IoT to dramatically improve service to citizens via their Citizen Services solution, at the Smart Cities Expo. Microsoft and AvePoint will be attending the expo in Barcelona, Spain from November 15th – 17th.

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Try AvePoint Citizen Services Now on Microsoft AppSource

Built on Microsoft Cloud technology, AvePoint Citizen Services modernizes incident and case management to better serve the constituents you support.

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