Microsoft Dynamics has a Ford Truck problem

Ford F150A few years back, Ford was under pressure to improve their fuel economy. The Ford F150 pickup truck was, and continues to be, the best-selling vehicle, car or truck, in the United States. For years, owners would periodically upgrade their truck to the newest F150 with the next generation V-8 engine under the hood and give no thought to competing trucks. But it's hard to improve fuel economy when your flagship product is a steel beast being pulled along by 8 cylinders. It also didn't help that there were world class competitors like Chevy and RAM waiting to pounce on every little mistake. Still, the world was changing.

...

Requires FREE Membership to View

Login
Become a Member Joining MSDynamicsWorld.com gives you free, unlimited access to news, analysis, white papers, case studies, product brochures, and more, and it’s all FREE. You’ll also receive periodic email newsletters with the latest relevant articles and content updates.
About Mark Polino

Mark Polino is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Microsoft MVP for Business Solutions. He is the author or coauthor of 5 books related to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Mark also maintains the Dynamics GP focused website DynamicAccounting.net. He speaks and writes regularly about ERP related topics. Mark has been a controller and CFO for a division of a publicly traded company and he has  worked as a consultant implementing ERP solutions. Mark holds additional certifications including Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) , Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Dynamics Credentialed Professional for Dynamics GP 2015 (Core Install and Core Financials), Xero Certified. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Rollins College. Mark lives with his family in Florida.

Read full bio...

Yep

Imagine if Ford had asked all their customers to throw away all their current trucks and required them to instead make a monthly payment until the end of time for a truck missing a few things; right rear wheel, passenger seat, radiator, turn signal....

Now imagine if Ford had pressured dealers for not getting with the program and modernizing to the new system all customers are and will be clamoring for. It doesn't matter that it was the manufacturer wanting the change and the loyal customers are being funneled into it unwillingly, dealers must join hands and jump.

I wonder if Ford knows customers sometimes read the stuff meant for dealers?

Jeff Frye
Systems Analyst

Love that final comment, Jeff...

"I wonder if Ford knows customers sometimes read the stuff meant for dealers?"...

GP and the Dynamics website

There is one part of your article that really got me thinking, and that's the missed opportunities and issues that arise from GP's poor placement on the Dynamics website, and the difficulty in finding it by simply navigating through the menus. Unfortunately, that's neither new, nor isolated to GP. NAV and SL have suffered from the same fate for some years now.

Before Dynamics 365 came along, a generic search for Microsoft Dynamics (or a visit to the Microsoft Dynamics homepage) would show you more about CRM and AX than any of the other products. And in the Dynamics 365 world, the dynamics.com domain almost entirely caters to the products with that prefix, leaving official micro-sites and landing pages for traditional offerings like GP, NAV and SL almost impossible to locate without using a search engine.

And when you do locate it (for instance, go to GP's landing page at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/gp-overview), you will see two or three blocks on GP, and the final block is a call to action for Business Central. The top level and second level menus all take the customer away from GP to other D365 products (including the pricing link). I think this does a disservice to existing customers and new prospects alike. It wouldn't take long to make a half-decent micro-site and it will go some way into re-energizing folks that this is an important product in Microsoft's portfolio.

Spot On

Great article, Polino.

That guy at Ford

Years ago my memory of the Ford Fortune Reversal orchestrated by Lee Iacocca (bringing Ford back to life with the Mustang) prompted me to propose the perfect political solution.

It would still be the perfect solution in my mind had not one of my proposed team members died.

Eliminate the House and Senate and let Lee Iococca run the country as the President (Executive Orders Rule) and Paul Harvey as Vice President.

Lee would fix all our political problems with his clever insight and deft management skills. And Paul Harvey would make us all feel GREAT again by explaining it all to us in a Press Release as he did in The Rest of the Story.

Mike Lupro - MCP

Ford is not entirely in the clear

Ford apparently invented the current Microsoft strategy in the early 90s when in the wisdom of the ages they introduced the curiously styled and cheaper-to-build Ford Probe in order to usher the Mustang out the door.

Ford was busy getting rid of all rear wheel drive cars by simply eliminating them one at a time. At the same time the end of production of one model was used as proof that the public was clamoring for front wheel drive since the public was buying them more.

No one ever thought to question the logic of herding customers away from their preferences and the effect that would have on future sales. A couple of decades later and Ford is stuck selling cars primarily to fleets and rental car agencies.

Microsoft is busy taking away choices from current customers in the ERP space and crowing about growth in the only line they are marketing. It does not seem that no one there has thought of the impact on large numbers of customers.

I think we are not a dumb bunch. We know that a product not being marketed is not long for the world. We also know that a development roadmap with "Ongoing Development" and "Top Features Requested by Customers" after years of listing actual numerous improvements in advance is not the work product of a company with a desire to continue selling that system.

In the end the Ford Probe became a joke and the Mustang survives. The Probe is barely a memory (the funniest joke was no one ever wanted to be rear ended by a Probe). The lesson learned by Microsoft new culture is to not admit defeat. Admitting that cloud is not for everyone would be an embarrassment for an executive suite coming almost entirely from that side of the operation. And investors are demanding the cash flow from SaaS.

Jeff Frye
Systems Analyst

The Worst Part...

The worst part of all the product confusion and changes is that it is mana for competitors. Netsuite's deft and dedicated sales team and other competitors are capitalizing on Microsoft's blunders as so correctly described above.

While I am at it: Long ago we asked Microsoft to do what Netsuite did. Create a dedicated demo team that Partners could engage to do nothing but demos. There are as many demos as there are Partners and sales staff. The quality is all over the place. Let the Partners move away from spending time, effort, and money on doing demos so we can focus on selling and developing the relationships.