There seems to be plenty of smoke and mirrors in vendor approaches to the ERP market for SMBs -- which is unfortunate, since more SMBs than ever are interested in ERP applications, according to the Aberdeen Group.
While Oracle is reportedly considering offering an SMB version of its Fusion middleware, it seems largely content to focus on frying bigger fish. SAP is rushing to offer products geared toward SMBshttp://www.itbusinessedge.com/item/?ci=25063, though its approach still seems a bit scattershot.
And then there is Microsoft, which has been struggling mightily to integrate several ERP product lines it purchased from four different companies. It could be 2010 before it fully achieves this task, experts say.
However, the software giant appears to be making significant headway. At least that's the take of Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), which attended Microsoft's recent Convergnce conference. Microsoft Dynamics, where all of this activity is taking place, is "a much more cohesive business unit than in previous years," says PAC.
In particular, PAC lauded the maturity of the ISVs and resellers working with Microsoft, Redmond's entirely indirect sales model and pricing, and its commitment to using common components in Dynamics products.
PAC was frustrated by Microsoft's apparent reluctance to come clean as to which products it showed were real and which were still concepts (more smoke and mirrors). It is also concerned by the recent exit of the senior executive who had led the group.
Still, PAC gives Microsoft the edge over SAP and other vendors.