Guest post by Pam Misialek, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Dynamics ERP
Kati Hvidtfeldt has moved on to lead application program management for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. With the discontinuation of Kati Unplugged, we will continue to give partners perspectives on the benefits and challenges of offering cloud-based solutions to their customers.
Pam Misialek has worked across Microsoft Dynamics GP product roles—from sales to support, and consulting to product marketing—for 17 years. This week, Pam shares her insights into the Microsoft Dynamics GP differentiators that can help your small business customers compete and grow.
As a Microsoft partner, you’ve likely encountered a lot of customers struggling to compete and grow their businesses with older systems and backward-looking accounting software. In helping your customers make the right choices, it’s important to give them insight into what makes Microsoft Dynamics ERP different from other solutions, and why these differentiators matter.
When businesses are looking at growing, they face a number of challenges—and the key to selecting the right ERP solution has to do with making sure the business is free to work on the challenges around competition and growth, rather than the challenges of learning and managing new software.
By helping customers change the way that they search for new solutions through expanding their search beyond just features, partners can help them make the right choice for their business giving them more value. There are three important factors to point out.
Software demos often focus on features. But the right solution is about more than features and functionality. It’s about making it simpler for the people who use the software every day.
On average, companies that have an accounting system or business solution use only about ten percent of the functions because they’re just too complicated. Customers need to consider whether people will be able to effectively use the software to do their jobs, will have to spin cycles on learning to use and maintain the software—or will need to hire someone else that knows how to use it.
It’s what’s behind and inside Microsoft Dynamics GP that really makes it easy to use. We are a culture that demands technology to be simple and intuitive. It’s not just a generational understanding, but even older people are now able to ramp quickly on new technologies like smartphones. These expectations drive where software is going, and how we design our products. Role-based home pages came out of research on more than 2200 customers to discover how they navigate and use software. Users can select exactly what they want to see on their home pages, so even casual users can get more out of the solution without having to go to power users to get what they need. And because Microsoft Dynamics ERP products leverage the familiar Microsoft Office user experience, users are up and running quickly.
More than accounting
With Microsoft Dynamics ERP it’s more than just getting a new accounting system. It’s really about bringing in other technologies businesses use every day and getting more value from using them together. It’s a solution that runs the entire system so your customers can focus on growth and competing.
In our research with prospects and Microsoft Dynamics GP customers, the number one reason people move from one software to another is reporting—and they always say they want more. They know the information they need is there but they don’t know how to get to it.
But what they really want is answers to their questions. “Am I going to meet my forecast for the following year?” “What are my most profitable product lines and channels?” Customers need flexible and easy-to-use reporting to answer those questions, based on the trends in their business.
Microsoft is a leader in business intelligence and reporting, and customers expect more from a Microsoft solution. All the research that’s been put into Microsoft Excel, SQL Server and the full range of Microsoft products help us deliver ERP solutions that give customers more from their investments.
Cloud—On the customer’s terms
Positioning a business for competition and growth is not just about replacing an accounting system. It’s about giving people a new way to work and be more productive. People are demanding to work in a different way. They want to work on mobile devices, and be “at work,” even if they’re at home. For businesses, offering this kind of flexibility makes people more productive.
And of course cloud implementations enable customers to scale back on infrastructure and house IT.
But not all businesses should move everything to the cloud. For example, a lot of customers want their sensitive financial data on premises, where they can keep control of it. But they want to have other software in the cloud so they don’t have to support the on-site infrastructure. They want to be able to say “yes” to employees when they want to work at home, or work in a different way to make them more productive and empower the business. Microsoft gives customers the flexibility and power of choice: cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid of both.
With so many challenges and choices available, you can help your customers look beyond product features to recognize the strategic value of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions It really is a business solution from Microsoft.
For a deeper, customer-facing perspective on this topic, including supporting demos, see the on-demand webinar Pam recently presented with Microsoft Dynamics Partner Technical Advisor Craig Crescas, “Your Business Looking Forward: Competing and Growing Your Business,” from the Microsoft Dynamics ERP series for SMBs.
To learn more about how to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans visit the Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud page on PartnerSource. Go to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/growyourbusiness for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions can benefit their businesses.