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Microsoft Dynamics AX Traction, Train Stations and the View from the Dynamics Channel

by Jack Boyer
Founder, Boyer & Associates, Boyer & Associates
May 23 2012

Among leading Dynamics ERP partners, there is this ongoing debate about Microsoft investing disproportionate development and marketing money into Dynamics AX and what that means to partners that heavily rely on their base of Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL clients.  Is Dynamics AX leaving the station where the other Dynamics ERP products are staying?  My contrarian opinion is "no". The real danger for Dynamics resellers could lay in a temptation to hedge investments in their Dynamics businesses as Microsoft moves ahead with its retooled partner program and long term product plans.

While I've worked with Dynamics AX and have been  impressed by it, evidence from Microsoft product management points to continued investment - usually quite robust - in all the Dynamics ERP products.  And real world deals that my firm sees reflect a continued demand for all of the Dynamics ERP products.

In my view, the non-enterprise Dynamics ERP products - Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics SL - are not going away any time soon. I bought a GP practice in 2002 because I thought SL was "going away".  It ended up being a great acquisition but we still sell lots of new SL clients each year that need solid project accounting in the middle market on a reliable MS platform. We continue to support hundreds of both SL and GP clients. ERP is sticky. Even in a good economy no one is looking to upgrade or change out an ERP system that works well and is being constantly improved by one of the world's best run and largest companies.

AX is impressive, too, but the implementation costs are too high to make a switch for firms unless they have really outgrown GP or SL. In my experience, it ...

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About Jack Boyer

Jack founded Boyer & Associates in 1994 with a vision to create a firm that could attract and keep the area’s best ERP consultants, developers, and business development people.

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Jack’s career began doing application and sales support for Solomon Software- the firm that created Dynamics SL. Jack was promoted to regional manager when the firm moved him from Philadelphia to Chicago in 1988.

Jack believes that finding the right software is only a piece of the challenge in implementing software. Without the right people to implement it, you only have half a solution. You need the right business analyst to flush out a company’s requirements and you need the right consultants to make the software align with those needs.

Jack has an honors degree in accounting from Penn State (1984) and passed the CPA exam while at Boyer & Associates.

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Submitted by michaeljm on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 19:35 Permalink

I like your article. Lots of changes over the last year or so for Microsoft Dynamics resellers, but you have to keep thinking logical, not emotively. Fewer partners make other opportunities for those that are left. Microsoft also has pages within its public facing websites that position the products. At Renown we provide more that 1 Dynamics ERP product. I agree, AX is more expensive to implement, but as soon as the customer needs development (and they are looking at the other Dynamics ERP products), that price differential over the life of a system may just disappear with the out of the box functionality of AX..... I have also written a story on this at; Michael

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by encore on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 11:20 Permalink

Great article!!! Touched on some key points. However, I'm not sure where people get the numbers to say that AX is more expensive to implement than GP. Take a 50 user AX or GP implementation, and if there's any significant cost difference between the two, someone is cutting corners and putting the project at risk. E.g rushing to configure rather than investing the time and resources to first understand the business and architecting an end to end solution that makes the business run better. I've implemented about 12 GP implementations around the 20-90 user mark, and I've done about 9 AX implementations around the same user point. The cost difference between the two was insignificant. Regardless of the software, you are going to do some key tasks: Project Planning Data migration Report modifications or creation (Mmgt Reporter) hardware/software deployment Organizational change management etc.. Training Acceptance Testing Those are the stuff that cost money not the config... module for module, A good AX consultant can configure AX in much the same time as a GP consultant does. when I've got my requirements, I usually do my AX configs something over a weekend, or in a week. My experience has been that people in the GP world really do a bad job of implementing. They cheap out, and most projects end horribly. They take a 5 user GP implementation mentality into a 40 user implementation and things just head sideways. AX implementations tend to cost a little bit more because our enterprise customers are really demanding that we implement using formalized processes -- business process maps, project plans, test scripts, data migration strategy, training scripts, organizational change management strategy etc.... In the end, they do get a solution that really works for their business because we can tweek the system to meet some specific needs. ...

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In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)