If a tree falls in the forest, but nobody is there to hear it, does it actually make a sound? And if you implement an ERP system, but only a select few are allowed to use it, does it produce results?
Plenty of SMBs are learning the answer to that question the hard way, according to some analysts. Aberdeen Group says SMBs, as a group, are paying more per user and per functionality than larger enterprises.
So Microsoft aims to get to the root of the problem by expanding its Microsoft Dynamics solution in such a way that the functionality can be spread more easily throughout the company, lowering the cost per user -- and the overall cost of improved business results.
MS has had SMBs in its sights since the beginnings of what has become the Dynamics line, and at the Convergence conference this week, it's attempting to clarify why smaller companies should let it provide its brand of integrated access to ERP system information. (Its partner and channel relationships don't hurt in this effort, by the way, when working with smaller companies, who want their solutions customized, thank you very much.)
The Microsoft Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office lets users (at $195 per) access Dynamics features from within their Office apps, with a customized interface, if the RoleTailored software is used, as well. Another license option that includes a Dynamics Client for SharePoint will run $395 per user, but that's still going to allow a lot more users to benefit from the system than would be the case if each were subject to the full Dynamics license (up to around $4,000).
The other major carrot dangling in front of potential customers and upgraders is the Microsoft Dynamics Community, which includes all those lovely Web 2.0 features, like blogs and wikis (financial folks are a major focus of this push). It may be overly simplistic in its attempts at user-friendliness (the blog home page begins by explaining what a blog is), but it could be just the thing to get all those users to ease into and maximize their newly obtained access to formerly off-limits decision-making info.