In recent engagements with prospective customers, I have come to the conclusion that many decision makers in small and medium businesses (SMB) have very little idea about the issues, questions and implications of ERP and CRM applications. Most of the bloggers in the ERP/CRM arena seem to have a focus on larger organisations which have more knowledgeable resources; Jyoti Banerjee’s KiteBlue is an exception.
The problem is that SMB people are focused on the operational issues of their business, and as far as IT is concerned it is mainly around Internet, security and the accounting package. So when they start to look at ERP or CRM solutions, they have very little idea what to look for and what to ask. Which means they either make a decision based purely on price, or they take ages to make a decision because the learning process takes time.
I therefore I am beginning to feel quite critical about the vendor community (SAP, Microsoft etc) who claim the SMB sector is an important market for ERP and CRM, but whose marketing is all about positioning and messaging, and are not trying to educate the SMB market.