AXUG Q&A – ISV exposición al partner.

By Garth D. Laird, Chief Operating Officer at ZAP

ZAP is focused on delivering rapidly-deployed, business-focused business intelligence software and solutions for Microsoft Dynamics.

AXUG: Tell me more about ZAP Business Intelligence.  Garth Laird (GL): We specialize in the provision of business intelligence (BI) solutions for the Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM marketplace. ZAP is one of 25 global ISVs working directly with Microsoft to provide industry solutions and support for Microsoft Dynamics AX development. Out of those 25, we are the one and only global ISV for BI in the Microsoft Dynamics AX space.  Our goal through this global ISV initiative is to be the one-stop-shop for all Microsoft Dynamics AX Customers, providing one BI solution so Customers can avoid confusion when undergoing discovery for their Microsoft Dynamics AX BI implementation. By aligning our ZAP solutions directly with Microsoft Dynamics AX, we mitigate risk for Customers and streamline functionality since it’s integrated directly to their ERP software.  AXUG: In 2013, Microsoft became a ZAP Customer. Can you tell me a little bit about that relationship?  GL: Yes, Microsoft purchased a ZAP solution to assist with BI integration of Microsoft Dynamics and non-Microsoft Dynamics data sources.  AXUG: What are the underlying trends or basic needs for companies when it comes to their BI?  GL: As Microsoft Dynamics AX has matured over the years, it has become a very complete ERP solution, allowing smaller Customers right up to large enterprises to successfully improve their process flows and management of their financial and operational systems. This is why AXUG and the Microsoft Dynamics AX channels have grown so much, but one underlying trend that results from that is the need from Customers to see actual outcomes produced by financial transactions and supply chain processes that ultimately help Users manage their business better. Customers are looking for information to better manage their business, and ZAP provides that quick and tangible return for all parties with direct integration into Microsoft’s solution.  AXUG: Given the complexity of Microsoft Dynamics AX, how do you simplify BI for Users?  GL: Some may think you can buy Microsoft Dynamics AX and then magically, BI will be available out of the box. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Microsoft Dynamics AX is much more complex now, and most, if not all Customers, have ISV solutions to complete their solution. In addition to that, lots of Customers are customizing Microsoft Dynamics AX to their own business processes. Once you’ve deployed all of that, the data model is not standard.  We’ve spent years and lots of money to create a data environment that perfectly aligns with a Customer’s entire solution, including all ISV solutions and more. Only then can these Customers deliver real-time information back to their organizations through KPIs, analytics, and dashboards, including the integration of non-Microsoft Dynamics AX data.  In addition, ZAP has spent four years integrating thousands of analytics and calculations on top of Microsoft Dynamics AX, all available out of the box, which can be deployed right away. The time to value with ZAP solutions is so incredibly short, and our Customers get instant value from it.  AXUG: What is the #1 reason Microsoft Dynamics AX Customers love your solutions?  GL: We are very focused on aligning to Microsoft’s future to mitigate risk for end-Users. With ZAP, Customers can get what they need in terms of BI and implement it quickly without taking on the risks, which makes a huge difference for all global Microsoft Dynamics Customers.  AXUG: What’s next for ZAP in 2015? 

GL: We’re starting to see a BI focus everywhere we turn. It’s becoming a prerequisite for a Microsoft Dynamics AX Customer to understand BI and what they can get from it. In 2015, I believe BI in Microsoft Dynamics AX will take high priority and be central to the ERP buying decision. This is exactly why we’re placing a strong focus on community building to create more educated Customers that know the best options for their business.  We’ll be making major announcements at Convergence in Atlanta around product direction and getting more involved within AXUG as well as providing a place for Customers to learn best practices for BI. Stay tuned!  AXUG: What do you love most about the Microsoft Dynamics AX community?  GL: The best part about AXUG and the Microsoft Dynamics AX community is the focus on adding value back to the Customers, and it’s wonderful to be a part of that.  The AXUG local chapters are really starting to take off, and it’s becoming easier for Customers to find the information they’re seeking. It’s also been a good catalyst for us as we get some great referrals from the AXUG community. Other Customers recommending our products tells us we’re doing something right.

Garth D. Laird is ZAP’s Chief Operating Officer. Having seen ZAP from early days through to the present, Garth manages all of the commercial operations globally for ZAP which includes Sales, Presales, Consulting, Support, Training and Customer Advocacy. With BI such a vital part of any ERP or CRM deployment, ZAP has created solutions that massively add value to the Dynamics ecosystem and mitigate risk for organizations. With customers in 45+ countries and spanning local mid-markets to Fortune 500 and beyond, Garth has seen the ZAP brand become synonymous with high levels of customer satisfaction creating an ever-growing excitement in the Microsoft Dynamics channel, this supporting the long hours and tireless exertion needed and making it incredibly worthwhile.