Microsoft Great Plains and Microsoft CRM become more and more popular, partly because of Microsoft muscles behind them. Now Great Plains is targeted to the whole spectrum of horizontal and vertical market clientele. Small companies use Small Business Manager (which is based on the same technology ? Great Plains Dexterity dictionary and runtime), Great Plains Standard on MSDE is for small to midsize clients, and then Great Plains serves the rest of the market up to big corporations. Microsoft CRM is extremely scalable and fits to all the market niches.
It is always good idea to install everything on your own - however Great Plains requires combination of computer networking, some programming, good accounting/distribution/logistics/reporting background - so it is not a surprise that Microsoft Business Solutions requires their customers to have specially assigner Microsoft Great Plains Partner/VAR/Reseller to serve the account.
If you are IT Director/Controller who has the dilemma of proper partner selection ? read this and you will have the clues on where to look further.
1. Local partners - if you are in the remote area - there is often seen the opinion that local partner is the best choice. Consider this however as a contra argument - local partners maybe tiny with one/few consultants and they may not serve you adequately when you have somewhat complex - such as Manufacturing, complex Project Accounting needs, integration with UNIX-based legacy system, etc.
2. Mid-Size partners in Major Business Metros ? these companies were classical Great Plains VARS/Resellers with balanced application consulting and technical expertise. Please, consider these points, however: in recent recession most of such partners were bought or merged with big auditing companies and lost their flexibility, plus their consulting fee went up due to the fact of belonging to big conglomerates.
3. Nation-wide partners with local representative offices. This maybe a very good option, if you need kind of reliability and complete expertise - missing parts could be taken from different location with this specialization. However the hourly rates are probably the highest among the first three.
4. One-Project-Manager partner with Offshore consultants ? Well - this is very new type of partners - and you potentially can save a lot of money if you are risk taker - hourly rate is usually lower, price of the failure maybe higher.
5. Nation-wide partner with tiny local representation, serving via remote support. We are in this category, so let me tell you couple of good points here. Companies like ours - have to specialize in order to do excellent job in what we claim is our specialization (technology challenging projects with heavy customization needs). Serving via remote support lets us keep reasonably low rates and often go for fixed bids.
Also couple of hints about how do you switch the partner. It is actually more easy than you may think - you just send the new proposed partner the letter in free format saying that you would like to switch to you as my Microsoft Business Solutions partner - and this is it.
Happy shopping! if you want us to help you - give us a call!
About The Author
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies ? USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, based in Chicago, California, Texas, New York, Colorado, Washington, Florida, Canada, UK and having locations in multiple states and internationally www.albaspectrum.com, he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.