Microsoft Business Solutions
Microsoft Business Solutions has good combination of ERP, CRM, Retail Management applications to cover all the needs for small, mid-size and even large company.
These are ERP: Microsoft Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, Solomon, Small Business Manager; CRM: Microsoft CRM and Navision CRM; Retail Management: Microsoft RMS and Navision Retail module.
You should know that these products were not initially developed by Microsoft (except Microsoft CRM), but purchased from leading mid-market software development companies: Great Plains Software, SMS, Navision Software.
This means that Microsoft is on the way to align all its products and make them be granular (so-called Microsoft Business Suites: Financial, Manufacturing, Logistics, Project Accounting, etc.)
Also please know that Microsoft is trying to create integration packages between it’s products – as far as they come from different vendors – these products were not initially designed to be cross-integrated.
Microsoft however covered long way to prepare such integrations – it has Microsoft Biztalk server.
Next point for you – Microsoft is now on the way to move all its products to its database platform – Microsoft SQL Server.
Good example is Great Plains – now it is available on MS SQL Server or MSDE, no Ctree or Pervasive SQL 2000 (with new version – Microsoft Great Plains 8.0).
Also Microsoft is trying to enable other technologies for its ERP, CRM and RMS – the best example is Microsoft CRM: MS SQL Server, MS Exchange, Active Directory, Replication, Message Queue, Text Indexing to name a few.
This means for you, consultant, that your client’s IT group will love these solutions from technical side, if they are Microsoft-oriented and vise versa – they will be more than reserved if they are coming from Java/Oracle/IBM world.
ERP. If you are in USA, UK, Canada, Latin America, South Africa, Australia or New Zeeland – you should first consider Microsoft Great Plains.
In the very complex Project oriented business case (large consulting, construction/project management) – you should take a look at Solomon, or if you have light manufacturing – you may turn to Navision.
If you are in Europe, Russia or the rest of the World – first consider Navision.
CRM. Microsoft CRM is the solution worldwide Retail Management.
If you are outside of Navision realm (most of continental Europe) – you should look at Microsoft RMS (Store Operations and Headquarters – if you need stores consolidation).
If you are in Continental Europe – look at Navision Retail module or check with Microsoft in your country.