Microsoft kicked off its Convergence 2010 conference by announcing that two of its business-software platforms, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, would be integrated to connect their respective business intelligence and productivity tools. In addition, Microsoft executives also announced that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online would receive a variety of updates in May. Microsoft is attempting to make inroads into the SMB (small and midsize business) market with its Dynamics GP, an ERP platform for midsize business, even as it faces competition from other end-to-end business platform providers such as Oracle.
Microsoft kicked off its Convergence 2010 conference in
Atlanta with the announcement that Microsoft Dynamics GP, its ERP platform for
midsize businesses, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, its enterprise-management
platform, would be integrated to connect the two systems' business intelligence
and productivity tools. In addition, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will receive
several new updates in May, including availability in Spanish, French and Brazilian Portuguese.
That combination of platform integration and updated tools
seems particularly targeted at Microsoft's competition for the SMB (small and
midsize businesses) market, at least according to one analyst.
"The latest investments highlight the priority in winning
the small to midmarket and taking market share from Epicor, Exact and Sage,"
R. "Ray" Wang, an enterprise-strategy analyst with the Altimeter Group, wrote
in an April 24 posting on his "A Software Insider's Point of View" blog.
"More importantly, the integrating [of Microsoft Dynamics GP] with Microsoft
CRM now provides users a full suite of critical end-to-end business processes
required to managing a small- to midmarket organization."
With the May update, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will
feature expanded language support, portal accelerators that include Event
Management and Partner Relationship Management, developer tools such as a SDK (Software
"The true competitive differentiator for Microsoft is the
value customers derive through a consistent and world-class user experience and
well-designed interoperability across our solutions," Stephen Elop, president
of Microsoft's Business Division, wrote in an April 25 statement. "Our upcoming
Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM releases light up this philosophy by delivering
solutions that work well together and take advantage of existing IT
On April 20, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010,
an ERP platform for midsize businesses that includes business-intelligence
reporting tools and interoperability with Microsoft Office Unified
Communications and other software. The platform also streamlines approval scenarios
for daily workflow, such as allowing a warehouse manager to detect any
depletion in supplies and re-provision with a few mouse clicks.
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 also offers 350 integrated Web
services, and will be generally available starting May 1. In a bid to encourage
adoption, Microsoft will allow Microsoft Dynamics GP customers to obtain a
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online license for a monthly fee of $19 per user, as
opposed to the standard $44.
Microsoft has been positioning its online CRM offering as
the alternative to cloud-based competition from the likes of Salesforce.com,
including add-ons and Accelerators designed to help businesses pull information
from social networks and Web interaction channels. Oracle
and other rivals have also been building out their business-intelligence and
management-platform offerings, with Oracle in particular engaging in a
rapid cycle of releases.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.