Lots of companies, particularly those in the software industry, are fond of touting their products’ newest and glossiest features and the number of new bells and whistles all in the name of customer acquisition. And truth be told, we are guilty of this practice from time to time as well.
What we should really be highlighting are the ways in which our customers are driving benefits from using our software—not how we’re driving benefits from developing it. And we’re seeing this approach find a welcome home in the ERP marketplace today.
Now there’s always going to be noise in our industry, and everyone loves a competitive headline proclaiming the “next big thing” and the “death of so and so.” But in the world of the business decision maker, the person or team who’s tasked with getting *this* IT purchase decision right, they’re looking for ERP solutions that deliver the simplicity users demand, solutions that provide a rapid return on their investment, and solutions that are as agile as their company needs to be in today’s challenging business environment.
This is the sweet spot for Microsoft Dynamics, and exactly the type of solutions we’re focused on delivering to companies around the world. It’s evidenced in the thousands of new customers that have purchased Dynamics ERP solutions in the last year (indeed for Microsoft Dynamics GP, we recently had the best quarter in the history of the product!); the number of larger organizations that increasingly adopt Microsoft Dynamics AX as a two-tier solution in combination with their headquarter ERP implementations; and the number of independent software vendors and partners who continue to drive customized vertical solutions on top of applications like Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics SL.
The questions we’re digging into as our momentum in the marketplace accelerates are focused on the “why” and “what” of these purchasing decision drivers. “Why” are they choosing Microsoft Dynamics ERP, and “what” is the buying trigger that’s tilting the decision on our favor? Here are a few key factors we’re seeing:
· Customers want a solution that’s simple to use. Now “simple” and “ERP” are not often used in the same sentence, I’ll admit. But the days of the multi-national, one-size-fits-all ERP system are long behind us. With IT budgets cut to the bone, when organizations look to upgrade and update their old systems, they want an application that their users pretty much already know how to use. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they don’t have the time or interest to spend weeks training on the system—they want minimal training, and they want it to look like the other products they already use today.
· Customers need a rapid time to value for their purchase. Whether they’re upgrading to ERP from their basic accounting package, or are updating a company-wide system last installed before Y2K, the pressure is on to ensure that the time to value of the purchase is measurable, and that it exceeds the alternative solutions. Being able to streamline and simplify complex supply chains, organizational hierarchies, and business processes is no small feat. But organizations today can’t afford to spend years on these tasks—they can afford to spend only weeks. So they need a system with proof points, with results, with customers who look just like them, so they can gain the assurance they need that they’ll get the intended benefits from the system as well. Combine this with the customer’s ability to leverage other Microsoft investments in the database (SQL Server), the enterprise portal (SharePoint), business intelligence (Analysis and Reporting Services), unified communications (Lync), CRM, and a multitude of other systems, and customers are telling us that the value to them is pretty clear.
· Customers need a solution that’s as agile as their business needs to be. Having a portfolio of ERP products that serves multi-national organizations (like Dynamics AX), specific verticals and industries around the world (such as Dynamics NAV and Dynamics SL), and customers just graduating into ERP (like Dynamics GP) provides us with a great deal of flexibility to provide the customer with the best solution that fits their business—today and tomorrow. Continuous innovation on all of these products, including new versions of every Dynamics ERP product this year, means that we can keep up not only with the latest trends and processes our customers face, but deliver these solutions in the cloud, on-premise, or in a combination of both, to fit how the customers want to use the product.
To see some of the stories from our customers who are deriving benefits from solutions that meet these requirements today, we’d invite you to view a few video case studies from Bruun’s Bazaar, who’s using Dynamics NAV to drive performance optimization in the fashion industry; The American Red Cross, who uses Dynamics GP to optimize their supply chain to get relief where it’s needed most; and Peet’s Coffee and Tea, who’s brewing up a rapid expansion into retail offerings and new stores with Microsoft Dynamics AX. These customers are great representations of the over 300,000 Dynamics ERP customers around the world that drive our mission, our passion, and ultimately, our success in the marketplace.
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