I don’t know if anyone is starting to realize this, but with the upcoming releases, Microsoft is going towards integrating stand alone software with their accounting systems (Business analytics, forecasting, MS CRM, etc) Does this even alarm anyone? One of the main selling points in Navision was that it was a “all in one” solution without you having to learn different interfaces and deal with integration problems. Or am I just paranoid?
Actually they are going towards a complete ALL IN ONE. That’s what their ultimate goal of Green is. But on the way getting there they are integrating all the parts that are going to be in the end package…
I just don’t see how they’re going towards the “all in one” function by releasing all these other components that you have to integrate with the main product. This is the same as the modular approach used by Great Plains.
If MS is really going to combine a bucket full of Best of Breed solutions they are on the right way. This will be the future. The “I can do evereything” ERP software will be a dinosaur in a few years. The future efforts and tasks will be on the integration platform. MS has the power to build a new standard for such a thing. Let’s see !!!
I don’t believe the “I can do everything” ERP systems will ever go away. Assuming everything is simliar, the one advantage that “all in one” solution instead of the “best of breed” solution is that there are no integration issues. Plus, I haven’t seen one “best of breed” products (accounting and other softwares) that offers the same consistent user interface.
You definitely have a very good point there, Dead Lizard.
Thank you! At least someone agrees with me. [:D]
I actually meant 2 very good points. The standard-across-the-board Navision user interface makes it dead easy to learn the system (learn one part and you basically already know the next part). Plus, dealing with integration issues is always a nightmare. Problems with limited system-interfacing, data extraction, transformation and loading, etc. make up a long list of show-stoppers.
I would make the same comparison to current way Microsoft has “integrated” the MS Office together. Yes, they can integrate with each other, but it’s still a pain in the ass.
I also agree with Dean and Nelson that the “best of bread” approach will bring interface issues and make it more difficult actually to learn and develop in all those different environments. I think Navision made it very easy in this sense, as it is large enough to handle a lot of business, but not too large that a consultant or developer can not handle and know several modules at a time. But on the other hand, you have to take into account that all these kind of mid-sized solutions are growing larger and larger and including new functionality as standard, like all the e-commerce part, business analytics, special SCM tools. This requires quite some specialization and breaking apart the “all in one” solution into manageable parts. Especially the large ERP solutions have taken this approach already and IMHO MS might be one of the few companies that will be able to build a succesfull “best of breed” solution, that might in the end appear as “all in one” [;)]… The Office integration can of course still be better, but it’s still the best thing around, and if you compare it with Office 4-5 years back, it’s simply amazing… Saludos Nils
I don’t really see the interface as being a big issue. From what I understand Microsoft is developing the Office Suite into a platform based in the .NET framework. I’m sure that they will develop a generic (standard) interface for all products that will be released in this grouping of solutions. For instance look at the direction they have taken with changing the menu in Navision 4 to mimic the Outlook 2003 Navigation Pane.
The comparison of the control panels between MS Outlook and Navision are only similar in looks. But the implementation of it (at this point anyway) is certainly quite terrible. It’s tough that the sales order screen requires you to scroll left and right while having panel taking up 1/4 of your screen. One can argue that the panel can be hidden. But that’s one additional key strokes that the users will need to push. And sometimes, that one extra key stroke makes all the difference in the world. But that’s besides the point of this topic… My guess is as soon as Microsoft completes “Green” with the Best of Breed approach, someone, somewhere will release an new software that promotes the All in One solution that will give Microsoft a run for their money. Ahh… well… The pendulum swings again… [:D]
You are talking about integration problems in a best of breed environment. This is true today, but when we are talking Project Green we are talking about the near future with new features and technologies. Then the integration issue will become smaller. The other thing is: Why don’t we talk about missing functionalities, software extensions and all the upgrade problems out of this what we have today ? I think we cannot say, the one problem is easyer than the other. I am sure, in a couple of years we will have abest of breeds.
It looks: Great Plains will be base for Green http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,1995,1774121,00.asp
I took that article as a forecast of what will be included in the next version of Great Plains, Wave 1 of Project Green. Not that Great Plains is the new base for Project Green. (I personally think that Office or Sharepoint might be User Interface, driven by SQL Server) It also stated that Navision, Solomon, Axapta etc. will also have a Wave 1 rollout. So I’m sure that all these products will start to offer similar functionality as that described in the article.
Looking on the bases of new license sales in the previous quarters, I still cannot understand the genius behind putting their main development efforts in Great Plains instead of Navision. Perhaps it’s because I’m so familiar with Navision that I’m more biased towards it. However, looking from a purly business standpoint, it just doesn’t make sense ot me.