I noticed a press release that quotes Tracey Newman as the new group business manager for Microsoft Dynamics in SA. This is the third or fourth management change for Dynamics in SA in the last 2 years. (I knew Tracey when she was at Front Range 4 years ago; she was at MWeb for a while last year).
As I have mentioned in other posts, Dynamics has been through some major management changes at the corporate level – Satya Nadella moved, and recently so did Orlando Ayala. It makes me wonder what is happening to Dynamics when management changes so much. From down here at the tip of Africa, it seems that they struggle to find the right people or move the good ones elsewhere. Which ever option, it doesn’t make sense to me.
Can anyone comment on the Dynamics management in other countries? In SA they have never had anyone with a background or track record in enterprise software.
I wouldn’t mind getting the chance to run Dynamics (in SA that is). I reckon the Microsoft mindset hasn’t grasped the essence of enterprise software and I would love to try and shake the attitudes up a bit, and show them how things should be done. But then again, if I went into the interview at Microsoft (something I have done once before) with that approach, they probably wouldn’t hire me.
I am testing out the Windows Live Writer blogging tool. It’s a beta product, part of the Windows Live apps, but seems to quite easy and functional.
The link to WordPress works, automatically creating the blog on WordPress, and it picks up my existing categories, but with my previous post about the cricket world cup I noticed that I can’t add new categories in Writer - I have to do that on the WordPress site.
The nice thing is that it has a spell checker, and I can create blogs while I’m offline. I often get ideas for blogs but am not in a situation where I can quickly get onto the WordPress site and blog. Now I can write a blog and then upload to WordPress later.
There doesn’t seem to be consistency in the way the team plays. They got thrashed by Sri Lanka, then beat the English easily, but couldn’t sustain that performance against the Aussies.
So the final will now be the Aussies vs. Sri Lanka – I think its the 3rd time the Aussies have got there. I suspect they will win, but my family will be supporting the Sri Lankans.
I am waiting with bated breath.
When I commented that Microsoft’s expansion plans for emerging markets looked realistic, I hadn’t counted on the follow-up analysis by Joe Wilcox who now questions whether $3 for MS Office and a few other packages is too expensive.
Many commentators liken it to a drug dealer who gives away his stuff to kids at first so they become addicts. Likewise, once you have hooked students on Office, you can charge them the full +R2000 once they want the real thing.
The other interesting comment is that governments in those countries may also not want to get hooked. I know some SA governement departments are strongly anti-Microsoft – i.e. pro open source – and R21 for MS Office probably won’t change their minds either.
After my previous comment about how the global software vendors should create product frameworks for their subsidiaries to tailor, it occurred to me that the B2C vendors, like FMCG companies, do that already. For example, Cadbury’s chocolate has a global brand but it tastes different in SA than it does in the UK because the SA subsidiary found that South Africans like their chocolate sweeter. The car companies do the same because of the different climatic conditions.
Chris Hoskin’s points out how B2C markters are using technology to drive demand in ways that B2B marketers should start thinking about.
Sandhill has an article about marketing software to small- and medium- businesses (SMB). Quite frankly a lot of it has been said several times before, but very few people are able to accurately quantify the size of the SMB market.
I know Meryl at SYSPRO reckons that the major enterprise software vendors have significantly over-estimated the size and potential of the SMB market. For example, according to Microsoft SA’s SMB group, the local market looks like this:
Small Mid Corporate Enterprise
# PCs <25 25-500 500-1000 >1000
# Employees 1-49 50-1000 1000-5000 >5000
# SA entities 578,000 19,000 <200 <20
But how much of the 19,000 mid-size companies are viable customers for the ERP majors?
The Sandhill article makes the usual comment about creating “a complete product offer with the right fit”. My problem with that comment is that it is the people in Redmond, Walldorf and Redwood Shores (aka, HQ’s for Microsoft, SAP and Oracle) who typically make the product decisions. But invariably they have minimal knowledge about local situations and conditions, especially in developing countries. What they tend to come up with is a global product set that works in the US, and maybe other similar countries like the UK, but the rest of the world struggles to make it work.
Instead they should develop a framework of products and give local in-country subsidiaries responsibility to tailor specific products to local requirements. But that would require having marketers in-country who were actually knowledgeable and creative, and not just executers (gasp! note my distain).
What I do like about the Sandhill article is the point about creating a “marketing pipeline” that drives awareness, brand consideration, product consideration, preference and leads. In SA, the only international vendor that seems to be doing this well is SAP; you wouldn’t think Microsoft had ERP solutions, and Oracle seems to only focus on the larger opportunities.
The reason why local ERP vendors can do well is that they know the local market in breadth and depth, are close to the market and therefore can react quicker, and can tailor products to more closer match local requirements. More power to them!
As a father, my heart goes out to the parents of the victims of the VT massacre this week. As a Christian, I am also trying to make sense of this tragedy. In that I am not alone, major Christian websites like Crosswalk have lots of commentary on it, but I let our bishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner make the point - God Cares. God Loves. We Choose.
Following my earlier blog about SAP’s expansion objectives, I hear Microsoft has announced its own plans targeting emerging market countries.
As an aside, I see from the Microsoft announcement that Orlando Ayala is now part of an Emerging Segments Market Development group. He used to be part of the Dynamics group and I didn’t know until now that he had left. If it means he has left, then that is another departure that the Dynamics group will sorely miss, and shows that Microsoft’s focus is definitely off Dynamics and onto other areas, like Office and Search.