ERP Consulting: Microsoft Great Plains Partner Future Directions

In the Clinton era the status quo was simple: you serve your local clients and if you want to expand your business ? open offices in other business metros. Great Plains Software was granting generous margins on the software sales and stimulated local leading VARs/Partners/Resellers with so-called orphan leads ? customers who lapsed in payment annual enhancement program or called Great Plains Software directly to comply about quality of service by their VAR. When Microsoft purchased Great Plains Software and formed Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions (soon renamed into Microsoft Business Solutions) and acquired new ERP/MRP/accounting applications: Navision, Axapta, Solomon (Solomon Software was bought by Great Plains Software in the late 1990th). When Microsoft introduced Microsoft CRM ? it tried to change traditional partner reselling model, let's see what it is and why (this is our personal opinion ? we are trying to envision the future for generic ERP VAR)

? Remote Support. This means that you do not have to be at the client office to troubleshoot, install and even train users ? to be more direct and dare to say ? implement the system remotely. Of course ? in the close future it will unlock the doors for offshore consulting firms, but in this article we are sticking to US nationwide and Canadian markets and consultants in the USA and Canada. For Microsoft Business Solutions it means that if client is technical enough ? it can serve the client from its customer support center by increasing the number of servicing technicians

? Software Sales Margin Decrease. If you can serve the customer your self ? you can probably cut software sales margins. We see this happening with new Microsoft CRM line ? in general it is harder to get new customer (new customers tend to purchase the software directly through MBS and then scream about the need to help them). We see more and more new customers purchasing Microsoft CRM from Microsoft for pilot project or just placing on the shelf

? "Open Technology". Microsoft CRM SDK you can download from Microsoft website and use it at will ? if you are C# or VB.Net programmer. This is opposite philosophy ? remember old-good-days Great Plains Dexterity ? you could not get this EDI free and you needed to purchase training class to get skills in this proprietary programming language. This trend probably indicates the maturity of the industry and consulting prices decrease

? Go Nationwide and Internationally. Yes ? this is what we got to do ? following the Microsoft Business Solutions way. Plus we'll have to try to cut down our expenses by opening offshore facilities. International business is very tough from cultural standpoint and the earlier you jump there ? the better. At this moment we see companies from India and Philippines who are trying to get USA subcontracts ? these are your potential partners.

? Cross-Platform Integrations. We believe that XML introduction launched new epoch of computer platforms integration and harmony: Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, IBM DB2/AS400/RS6000, Oracle. Corporate clients, including manufacturing, logistics, consignment, international business, distribution ? will leverage multiplatform strategy to decrease the risk and increase longevity of the ERP/MRP

Good luck with selection, implementation and customization, if you have issues or concerns ? we are here to help! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577! help@albaspectrum.com

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies ? USA nationwide Microsoft RMS, Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving clients in Chicago, California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Arizona, Minnesota, UK, Australia and having locations in multiple states and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is CMA, Great Plains Certified Master, Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer. You can contact Andrew: andrewk@albaspectrum.com

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