Determining Which Microsoft Dynamics ERP Solution is Best for Your Industry

In his recent post “Microsoft Dynamics for Manufacturing – Understanding the Difference Between GP, NAV, SL and AX“ on Manufacturing Software Advice, Houston Neal provided a past, present and future look at Microsoft’s four ERP software solutions:  Microsoft GP, Microsoft NAV, Microsoft SL, and Microsoft AX. His thorough analysis of these Microsoft Dynamics products was made help those in the market for enterprise resource planning software determine which solution is best suited to their specific industry.  However, in his post, Houston spoke only of the software and glossed over two very important factors in selecting the best ERP software for your business:  ISVs and Partners.

There is no arguing that certain Microsoft Dynamics ERP products serve certain industries more effectively than others. You need only look at the industry lists off of each of the Dynamics product pages on Microsoft’s website to see which industries Microsoft thinks their solutions fit best in.  However, as you can see in the chart below (which Houston referenced in his post as well) there is a tremendous amount of overlap in the products functionality.

As you can see, all four are equally suited to fit the needs of a 250 employee distributor and manufacturers with 500 employees will receive a comparable experience using Dynamics GP, NAV, or AX.  That is why these other two aspects are of such great importance.

As Houston mentioned, there are over 9000 independent software vendors (ISVs) providing customized solutions for Microsoft Dynamics products.  Many of these ISV solutions are industry focused.  Pairing an industry specific ISV solution with a Dynamics product can provide you with the proprietary software experience without the headaches of maintaining and updating a proprietary system.

When you are considering a Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution, you are not just shopping for software, but a Microsoft Dynamics Partner as well.  The best way to find a solution that fits your industry is to look for a partner that understands your unique needs and has experience working with other companies in your industry.

Some partners have either worked with ISVs or developed their own industry specific solutions built on Microsoft Dynamics solutions that they take to market.  Others have consultants on staff with industry expertise that they use to manage the software selection and implementation process to ensure that the right ISVs are engaged and the right solution is crafted for each individual organization. Regardless of which track your partner goes down, if they have experience serving your industry, they will provide you with references and evidence of their expertise that you can use to assess not only the partner, but also the software solutions they offer.

Often if you select a Microsoft Dynamics partner that has a great depth of knowledge in your industry, the right software solution for your organization will follow.

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