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Does Microsoft really care about the SME business market?

by James Crowter
Managing Director, Clever Dynamics

Over the last few months I've really started to wonder if Microsoft executives understand the small to medium business applications space. Is their attention and focus completely enterprise-focused? Is their obsession with matching up against the only competitor they think matters, Salesforce, skewing the thinking too much? Is it dominating their thoughts to the extent that they have become blind to the real competitive threats and priorities of SME-level decision makers?  

I'm a Microsoft advocate to a level where I get frequent accusations that I'm an obsessive. Having built a business over twenty-five years that is totally focused on the Microsoft technology stack, it has been a fantastic company with which to be allied. For the first time I can remember, I'm now wondering if that's the best call for the future.

My growing doubt is not about the products or technology, its about the strategy and focus. The technology previews of Dynamics NAV and the Dynamics 365 customer experience apps (formally known as Dynamics CRM) are just stunning, and when we get in front of the customer with them we don't lose.

No, my doubts come from the market strategy Microsoft seems to be acting on, which leads me to believe they just don't get it. I have a horrible suspicion that the enterprise market matters more to them. Do they doubt  SMEs have the time or funds to properly adopt the cloud services and digital transformation that Microsoft believes is key to its future growth? Has their failure to get CRM Online to stick in enough SMBs scarred them too badly?  Have they written this market off?

Look where top Microsoft executives choose to show up and spend their time. Which SME events have Satya, Scott, ...

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About James Crowter

I'm passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I've worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I've seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I've also had some hard projects over that time where it's felt more like warfare at times.

Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I've been working with a small Danish product called Navision that's now become Microsoft's Dynamics NAV and I've also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I've been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It's my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction.

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