Last week I had the opportunity to attend Microsoft Dynamics' Fall Analyst meeting in Bellevue Washington; the annual soiree that Microsoft puts on in order to share about the current state of, and future vision for, their enterprise ERP and CRM business applications.
These are exciting times for Microsoft. In fact, 2012 has been the biggest launch year in the history of the company. While Windows 8 and the new Surface Tablets are garnering a lot of attention in the press, unbeknownst to many, Kirill Tatarinov, the President of Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS), has been building a powerhouse of senior talent that has every intention of making waves in the enterprise software marketplace for years to come.
And why not? For quite some time Microsoft has been building one of the industry's most impressive technology platforms. Now, the MBS group, working collaboratively with the teams responsible for tools such as Azure (cloud computing platform), Powerview (analytics), Yammer and Skype (collaboration and communication), combined with a wide selection of new delivery form factors (phone, tablets, PCs) all running the new Windows, this group is beginning to deliver on its strategy of having Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM becoming the unifying fabric that pulls together all of this into an impressive suite of cloud-based (or on-premise) applications for running an enterprise class business.
And the Microsoft customers that spoke with us during the 2-day event seem wholeheartedly in support of and excited about all of this. Nissan is investing more than $50 million with Microsoft to build a new Dealer Management solution that will initially be deployed to 1,000 Nissan "Leaf" dealers in Japan and eventually to 20,000 people in Japan, China and India. And Carrefour, one the largest retailers in the world, with more than 10,000 stores serving 10 million customers every day, is rolling out Dynamics initially to 1,600 stores and 23,000 users.
Throughout all of the customer presentations there were repeating themes as to why these organizations were investing in Microsoft Dynamics; solid functionality, quality of architecture, scalability, competitive pricing and a strong, collaborative partnership with Microsoft.
Yes, you heard that right; these enterprise customers were actually stoked about the strategic relationships they were building with Microsoft and the Dynamics group in particular. Microsoft has always been known for a strong partner channel, (now at more than 5,000 businesses). But , understandably, when large enterprises are investing millions of dollars in Microsoft business solutions, they want Microsoft to have skin in the game. So, the MBS team has built a strong services team to work directly with these large enterprise customers in addition to supporting their own partner channel, when needed.
My takeaway from all of this was: look out Oracle, SAP and salesforce.com. As it has done over the years in other technology markets, Microsoft has got its act together in the enterprise business software space. They are, and will continue to be, a force in this marketplace and as a result, Dynamics deserves to be on most SMB or large enterprise's business software short-list for evaluation.
Oh, and the first day started out with an early morning visit to the Microsoft store in the Bellevue Collection Mall where we had the opportunity to meet with the store managers and staff and to get some hands on experience with Microsoft's new Surface RT Tablet. Personally, even as an Apple Geek, I liked this new tablet device and enjoyed my brief opportunity to play with it. When the Surface Pro tablet comes out, I'll definitely look to invest in one for myself.
Throughout the presentations there were repeating themes as to why organizations are investing in Microsoft Dynamics; solid functionality, quality of architecture, scalability, competitive pricing and a strong, collaborative partnership with Microsoft.