While I was in the Microsoft Dynamics world, we were contacted by the local subsidiary of a Swedish company that was looking for a full ERP system – financials, inventory and manufacturing. I think we did a good job showing off NAV, but the company’s local CEO couldn’t get budget approval from head office. It was only at the end of last year that the decision process started again.
It’s 9 months since that first meeting, and today I heard that the company had finally made its ERP choice, having had more rounds of head office delays. Despite my earlier efforts and Microsoft’s input and influence, the decision was made for SYSPRO, not NAV, and my new employer made the sale and will implement it.
As with the previous SYSPRO win I blogged, it seems that software licence pricing was an important factor in the decision. But as I get to learn about projects here, I am becoming increasingly aware of the depth of manufacturing experience and knowledge in this company. That type of knowledge seems to be quite rare in the Microsoft Dynamics partner space, in SA anyway.
It’s not the vendor, or the software functionality, that finalises the decision in the SMB market. The typical SMB customer is in the late majority or laggard sector of the technology life cycle, where cost and risk avoidance are significant. So by showing knowledge, stability and longevity (this company has been around for over 10 years), that should appeal strongly to the SMB prospect.
From my dealings with Microsoft’s partner managers, I think their performance metrics encourage them to go for growth of partners without appropriate specialisation. Certainly a few years ago Microsoft’s goal was to get more ERP partners, without adequate qualification or understanding how it would affect the other partners.
Maybe this is all just another sign of Microsoft’s immaturity in the ERP market.