Fixing Problems

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-06-07 Print this article Print

But SAPs high-end software just makes too much sense for a Microsoft acquisition to be about much else. Paul Hamerman, an analyst at Forrester, in Cambridge, Mass., said the Great Plains and Navision products that now fall under Microsofts Business Solutions, with the exception of ERP (enterprise resource planning) product Axapta, are unsuitable for the enterprise because they just dont scale—mainly because theyre client-server products that werent designed to scale to hundreds of users over a network. "I think Microsoft is looking at the Axapta product and looking to make enhancements from a functional standpoint and improve the scalability of that product in hopes of winning business in the upper end of the market," Hamerman told me. An SAP acquisition would have helped Microsoft solve the scalability and functionality deficits its MBS tools now suffer.
It also would have helped Microsoft leap another serious barrier to the high-end enterprise market: namely, the fact that its entire sales model is indirect and its products are sold through resellers and channel partners.
"That channels good for the midmarket, but they dont have a direct sales model," Hamerman told me. "The SAP merger would be a way to do it," he said, albeit an expensive one. Microsoft has been fine-tuning its Microsoft Business Solutions products, of which Great Plains is now part. Click here to read more. What does this all mean to you? It means that Microsoft is on track to offer you another option when it comes time to purchase or update financial or human resources software. It means that at some point, you will have more sway with vendors during the purchasing process, because youll have one more competitor to hold over their heads. It means that you should pay attention to what Microsoft says when its on the witness stand. Next page: Well glean good info on sales tactics, too.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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