Merlin Schwaiger recently joined Boyer as a partner for the company’s Power Platform/CRM practice. Schwaiger adds 16 years of Microsoft CRM experience to Boyer’s well-established ERP business.
Schwaiger received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Macalester College. After a year or two of doing general IT work at Warner Connect, he decided to specialize. On a whim, he chose to focus on Microsoft CRM 1.2. He spent the next 16 years as a Dynamics CRM specialist, first at Warner Connect, then at OTT and more recently at PowerObjects.
“Looking back on the decision to jump into CRM — Talk about just randomly making a choice to get involved in software that subsequently exploded,” Schwaiger said. When he started working on the CRM platform in the early 2000s, SharePoint seemed like the future. Now, he said, SharePoint has been completely overshadowed by CRM.
Schwaiger believes the next big shift is toward the Microsoft Power Platform. After all, he said, the Dynamics CRM apps are basically just preconfigured Power Apps. While most partners see the toolset as a sideshow to Dynamics CRM, Schwaiger and his fellow Power Platform specialists at Boyer believe it’s only a matter of time before that focus flips.
“If you shift it around and put Power Platform first, then your starting point can be one process. It can be one app that takes you a week to put together,” Schwaiger said. “As you grow, you add more apps and more data … and it’s (all in) the same database. It changes the way in which you implement because you can do smaller pieces that don’t have to be thrown away later.”
Schwaiger said the Power Platform gives Boyer the opportunity to help companies solve lots of small problems. “Historically if you want to put in a CRM system to keep track of sales or do customer service, you’re looking at a large product that you have to implement. … It’s a major undertaking,” he said.
The Power Platform, on the other hand, allows businesses to start small with the big finish in mind. “Every business has a little problem that needs to be solved, but they might not have the budget to buy CRM,” he said. “I can save them a lot of work and a lot of effort, and they can solve more problems over time.”
Schwaiger first met Boyer & Associates owner Jack Boyer at a TechPulse tradeshow in 2010 when both were exhibitors. Schwaiger is excited to be working with Boyer and setting up the vision for what he believes will be a successful area of business for the company.
His long-term goal is to help more mid-sized companies solve problems.
“I would like to help more businesses gain the benefits of technology at a lower investment point that is appropriate to the size of their business and their problem,” Schwaiger said. “There’s a lot of companies that could benefit from the technology, but up until now it has been cost prohibitive. I’d like to change that.”
According to Schwaiger, the fact that the Power Platform is entirely cloud-based gives the toolset an even bigger boost. Companies, including Boyer, don’t have to worry about hardware, external backups or other concerns related to on-premises systems. They can do everything in the cloud from anywhere. During our interview, Schwaiger was sitting at a desk in his home with a picture of Merlin the magician hanging in the background.
Schwaiger said if he weren’t in CRM he could see himself as a park ranger living isolated in the mountains and talking to himself. Instead, Schwaiger lives in southeast Minneapolis with his wife Molly and their two young children, Nora and Griffin. When he’s not working or spending time with his family, he enjoys first-person shooter games such as Overwatch.