Custom Information Services (CIS)

ERP Software Vendors: Which One Should Your Business Trust?

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With the recent ‘retirement’ or ‘end of life’ announcements of two long time software applications Sage PFW and MAS500 or Sage 500, customers really have to wonder whom to trust.  Investing and implementing ERP software takes a lot of time and money.   Even value added resellers or partners have to make a huge investment in picking up a product line to sell and support.  Yes, it is big business for companies for many years for software vendors like Sage and Microsoft.   Today’s customers have so many choices in the ERP arena like NetSuite, SAP, and Epicor.   Making an ERP choice should not just be about your software selection, it should also be about the publisher of the software.

A few questions to ask your value added reseller or software partner about the software publisher:

Are they owned by an investment firm?  If so, what is the history of this investor?  Are they historically improving companies and products that they purchase?   We had a fairly large manufacturing company that was one of our Sage PFW customers.   They knew that PFW was not going to be around much longer because another Sage MAS500 partner told them.  This partner sold them MAS500 with a newly developed add-on for food manufacturing.  I wonder how both the partner and customer are feeling today.  This customer does have a few years to replace the MAS500 solution, but I can tell you that if they had known that it too was going to be retired they would not have bought the solution.   Now they have to plan another software selection process, more demos, more costs and lost productivity.  I am sure that Sage will try to sell them their latest investment property Sage ERP X 3.

If they are not owned by an investment firm, then are they solvent and making money?  If not, then they too might be primed for purchase.

Has the software been around for several years and the functionality I need implemented previously?  I have been competing with NetSuite on an opportunity with a manufacturing company here in North Texas and the NetSuite reseller keeps telling the prospect that the manufacturing functionality he needs is coming out soon… well it just was released in January.  I would be concerned about installing critical line of business software that was just released.

How many software packages does the publisher support?  To put this in perspective look at the number of packages that each publisher owns:

  • Epicor has 67 Products…I think I counted correctly
  • NetSuite appears to have 4 primary products
  • Sage has 37 packages listed
  • Microsoft has Four Primary ERP Products Plus One CRM and One Point of Sale Product:
    • Dynamics GP (In late 2000, Microsoft announced the purchase of Great Plains Software for $1.1 billion. This acquisition was completed in April 2001.)
    • Dynamics NAV (Acquired in July 2002)
    • Dynamics AX (Acquired in July 2002)
    • Dynamics SL (Solomon was acquired by Great Plains Software in June 2000 and Microsoft in April 2001)
    • Dynamics CRM for sales and marketing
    • Dynamics RMS for Point of Sale

Microsoft has continued to upgrade and enhance their ERP product lines.  Of course I am a bit prejudiced because we are a Dynamics GP partner and have a strong loyalty to Dynamics GP.  However, I can say that we were also a Sage partner for many, many years as well as an Epicor partner.  We choose to terminate those relationships due to the lack of commitment to the product line and to us a partner. I am doubtful that I will say the same about Microsoft.  We have been a network technology partner since 1997 and a Dynamics GP partner since 2004.  So far, we are extremely pleased with the products produced and the effort that Microsoft makes to publish new and improved products.   To me, Microsoft is truly a technology company for business productivity.

Here are some links to show the commitment to the Dynamics ERP product lines: 

Numerous online blogs written by Dynamics experts!  Here are just two of the many that I follow:

If you would like more information on Dynamics GP, I would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about this product or refer you to another partner in your area.  Custom Information Service or CIS is located in North Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth and mid-cities).  We have been in business since 1989 as a software implementation company.   CIS also offers managed IT services. 

By Nancy Phillippi


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