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Microsoft Moves to Small Business Accounting/Retail Market ? Stakes and Thoughts

In this small article we will be looking at the new opportunities for Microsoft Small Business Server specialists, but rather look at the global business strategy and possible ways of future ERP modules standardizing and interoperability. This is important to get into consideration for midsize and large corporate business IT decision makers. Let's look at the chronology and possible future development.

? Great Plains Software acquisition. When Microsoft took leading position on the operating system market and released stable and reliable Windows 2000 Server, the next logical step would be getting into ERP market. Microsoft decided to try midsize market, and the reason is probably this ? it is wise to create small accounting as the extension to Microsoft Office, not to purchase existing small application. However if you plan to try midmarket ? you better purchase something established with broad client base. Developing midsize package from scratch might deplete all the resources. As the stake on Great Plains was high ? Microsoft formed business systems subdivision ? Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions, later on Great Plains name was taken off and now we see Microsoft Business Solutions.

? Navision Software Acquisition. There are multiple opinions among the MBS partners. Considering the fact that Navision Attain had strong clientele in Europe, and the fact that currently MBS promotes Navision on the majority of emerging markets: East Europe, Russia, Brazil ? the point of view that Microsoft got very large pool of clients in Europe and one of the goals of Navision acquisition was geographic expansion.

? Axapta. Navision Software was indeed very robust and it was one of the Danish software "dragons" (in the good sense of this word), the other nice company was MacHanza. We would like here to credit Danish ERP vendors. Axapta was new product on the moment of acquisition and it is rich-functionality ERP and so ? a rival to SAP, Oracle Financials, PeopleSoft

? Small Business Manager/Small Business Financials. This was natural way of downsizing the functionality of Great Plains Dynamics/Microsoft Great Plains to gain small business market. Small Business Financials is Great Plains Dexterity written accounting package. You see similar marketing moves from SAP and Oracle sides.

? Small Business Accounting 2006. It took Microsoft about four years to feel itself comfortable on the ERP market before it decided to create its own small business package, targeted to take over market share from QuickBooks, MYOB, PeachTree. Small Business Accounting 2006 is really nice application, which is excellently integrated with Microsoft Office/Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft is right ? majority of Windows users spend their computer time in Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Excel. And it create accounting application, allowing you to do 50% of work from Microsoft Outlook directly

? Microsoft POS. As you know that there are several thousand small retail businesses in the USA, using just one cash register and these folks have to use a lot of small Retail Management applications, which are competing on this market for a long time. And it is a good momentum to take over this unreliable and turbulent market offering cheap and solid rock solution, working with POS devises. Please, take into account that Microsoft has another high-end Retail Management system ? Microsoft RMS, which can automate midsize and huge retail stores and chains.

? Market is taken over? Well ? the last flint of Microsoft Small Business Accounting and Microsoft POS give customer an option to stay in Microsoft framework from the company inception till going public as a large corporation. This fact would be very difficult to ignore for such folks out there on the market as BestSoftware, SAP, Oracle, Sun.

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ) ? USA nationwide Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving clients in the following industries: Aerospace & Defence, Logistics & Distribution, Freight forwarding & Transportation, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, Wholesale & Retail, Education, Biotechnology, Chemicals, Healthcare, Beverages, Conglomerates, Food & Drugs.

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