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As we highlighted in a recent blog (“ERP Software Clash of the Titans”), SAP and Oracle have very distinct differences, strengths, and tradeoffs for larger business considering ERP software options. But what about the #3 ERP player, Microsoft Dynamics?

A recent poll on our web-site asked visitors to choose the top ERP vendor for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). Microsoft Dynamics, which includes the Axapta (AX), Navision (NAV), and Great Plains (GP) suite of products, finished with the most votes at 33%. Microsoft Dynamics was followed by “other” (26%), SAP (17%), JD Edwards (11%), NetSuite (6%), and QuickBooks (4%).

But how do these results compare with Panorama’s experience with mid-size companies and research? It is fairly consistent. For example, we have found that Microsoft Dynamics can be more flexible, user-friendly, and easier to implement, features that many SMBs value more than their larger counterparts. On the flip side, Microsoft Dynamics is often considered to have less robust manufacturing, product configuration, and other complex functionality sometimes required for larger or more diverse organizations.

Below are a few other key metrics that highlight some of the strengths and weaknesses of Microsoft Dynamics:

  • Its product line is evaluated, selected, and implemented in an average of 18 months, compared to an average of 20 months for other solutions
  • The total cost of ownership averages $2.6 million for the initial investment, or 5% of the implementing company’s annual revenue, the lowest of all the leading ERP solutions covered in our study.
  • Highest predictability of actual ERP implementation costs compared to other vendors
  • Leads all vendors in the product’s level of employee satisfaction, largely due to the Windows look and feel that many employees are accustomed to

However, in addition to the above strengths, there are three tradeoffs to consider when selecting or implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP:

  • Below average executive and management satisfaction
  • Highest variance and unpredictability of actual implementation duration
  • Above average level of business and operational implementation risk

These are just a few points to consider as part of a more robust ERP software selection process. Your organization’s unique needs and requirements should be clearly defined so you can make a decision that’s right for your organization. We’ve found that Microsoft Dynamics ERP is a viable ERP software option for many SMBs, so it may be worth including on your company’s long-list or short-list.

What do you think? Take our poll to vote which ERP solution provides the overall best functionality for small and mid-size companies.


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