Some Say: “ERP Systems Have Become a Commodity.” I Say: “No Way. ERP Systems Solve Business Issues.”

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If you travel in the same circles that I do, you’ve probably heard this “complaint” before: “ERP systems have become a commodity.”  Another indication of that mentality is the claim that “It’s all about price.”  I reject those statements, because the implication is that it’s all about the technology.  Sure, technology in and of itself is a commodity.  But ERP systems solve business issues.

How do I know this?  Because I work with clients every day.  And trust me, they didn’t purchase Microsoft Dynamics GP the same way they would purchase a toaster.  Does it toast?  Fine, I’ll buy it.  No, our clients expect a lot more.  They expect their new ERP system to do a lot more than the accounting systems they purchased 10 or 20 years ago.  Back then, all an accounting system had to do was handle your General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, and Accounts Payable (GLAPAR as it’s known in the industry).  And you were a satisfied customer.  Resellers of accounting software lived on easy street.  Demo GLAPAR and pick up the check.

The world has changed.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve encountered a company that doesn’t have accounting software.  It’s as basic as having a telephone.  Today, companies come to us with their business issues and they’re not focused on the technology.  They want to know how Microsoft Dynamics GP will solve their business issues.  The conversations are deeper, the software presentations are custom tailored to the issues each company is facing.

At the simplest level, wholesale distribution companies have supply chain issues.  Manufacturers need multi-level Bills of Material (BOMs).  Professional services companies need to track revenue, expenses and profits by project.  Medical device manufacturers and distributors need to track lot and serial numbers.  Pharmaceutical companies need to comply with FDA regulations.  Software development companies need to track license renewals.  And businesses across all sectors need to integrate their ERP systems with custom applications that are specific to their processes.

Some might say that in this brave new world, industry specific solutions are king.  I would dispute that as well.  Because as I see it, enterprises are best served by horizontal solutions that also offer strong vertical capabilities – breadth and depth. Let’s say you’re a nonprofit.  Nonprofit-specific fund accounting systems are available.  But you might also need a membership system, e-Commerce, and event management.  If you purchase a standalone fund accounting system, how and where do you manage the other aspects of your business?  I hope you see my point.

That’s what I love about Microsoft Dynamics ERP.  Using Microsoft Dynamics GP we solve business issues for clients in more industries than I can count on two hands.  But let’s look at the top 10 (our marketing director actually tracks these metrics): manufacturing, wholesale distribution, services, software development, finance, life sciences, high tech, nonprofit, retail, and education.  Then take any one of those, manufacturing for example, and break it down to the next level.  What do they manufacture? Industrial lubricants, abrasives, epoxies, lighting solutions, centrifuges, optical devices, altar bread, machine parts, heavy equipment, navigation systems, sausages, circuit boards, refrigeration systems, containers, orthotics, microchips, computers, drink mixers, juice products, radiators … you get the point. Right?

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s never been a better time to solve your business issues by purchasing Microsoft Dynamics GP under the promotion that Microsoft is running called Give Me Five – 5 user licenses for $3000.  But only until June 22, 2012.

Contact Altico Advisors at 508-485-5588 x115 for more information about Microsoft Dynamics GP and Give Me Five.


By Joel Hatin,  Altico Advisors, Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner for Manufacturing and Distribution serving New Hampshire (NH)

2 thoughts on “Some Say: “ERP Systems Have Become a Commodity.” I Say: “No Way. ERP Systems Solve Business Issues.””

  1. As a long time Sage reseller, I agree wholeheartedly. ERP systems are not a commodity. However, sometimes they are sold like one. A recent case in point is a $70k Epicor install where the end user just bought the software and figured they could install it themselves. This is one case where the customer is not right. They failed to install it and now they are suing the reseller and software manufacturer. Would Zimmer allow one of their knee replacment kits to be sold through a distributor directly to the end user? No, because that process is regulated. A doctor has to install it. People expect that. But software has a perception problem that it is "user friendly". This is not always the case, and somehow the reseller has a duty that goes against his financial interests to warn the end user that this is "not something to try at home".

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