SAP Business One vs. Microsoft Dynamics GP – highlights for consultant

In this small article we will not make side-by-side technical specs comparison. We would rather like to give you opinions from both sides – Microsoft and SAP. Both products target mid-size businesses in the USA, Europe (however Microsoft Great Plains – Dynamics GP will be leaving continental Europe market starting with version 10.0 – somewhere in the year of 2008, where Microsoft Business Solutions will probably stake on Microsoft Dynamics NAV – again this is contingent to the progress with Project Green or now Microsoft Dynamics project). Let’s come to the topic:

• Microsoft Dynamics GP strong points. Microsoft, being leader in Operating Systems, Office Products, and also having such platforms as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server – can now capitalize on ERP technology infrastructure, which includes ERP integration: SQL heterogeneous queries, Sharepoint workflows, web portals. At the same time, long time presence on the market for such products as Microsoft Outlook gives Microsoft the option to count on Outlook user experience – Microsoft Dynamics products will not require user training (from the interface intuitiveness standpoint) – Microsoft Dynamics CRM has Outlook Client, Microsoft Dynamics GP will have tighter integration with Outlook in its version 9.0. Making some comments on another Microsoft product – Microsoft Small Business Accounting – it is integrated with MS Outlook, where you can create invoices and promote outlook contacts to your MS SBA customers.

• SAP Business One. This product was purchased by SAP from Israel software development company four years ago. The driven reason was probably the need to go down to mid-size and even small clientele, plus SAP needed such product to be easily adaptable to Multilanguage and complex international taxation rules. SAP Business One has CRM, ERP/Production modules and technically can serve as ERP/MRP/CRM for manufacturing or servicing subsidiary of large corporation. SAP Business One has modern architecture and design and this is what could be a strong point in decision making to select ERP platform. SAP Business One has integration to Microsoft Office – it could use email messaging through MS Outlook client / SMTP and in integrate with MS Office on the level of COM objects

• Microsoft Dynamics arguments. At the time when Microsoft Dynamics / Project Green are working to enable Microsoft ERP products to work with Microsoft Office technologies SAP is several years behind in this direction. SAP is currently contracting Microsoft to enable SAP mySAP integration with Microsoft Office. Microsoft has this strong argument against SAP Business One – SAP deploys industry Experts who are very strong in general ERP/MRP plus probably Business and Industry Vertical Consulting to implement ERP from midsize business, where technology consulting and expertise come first. The result is longer implementation cycle plus complexity with SAP Business One integration with technology innovative and legacy products

• SAP Business One Arguments. Microsoft is trying to trap you to its technical solutions and proprietary technologies. It is enough if we give you excellent ERP platform which has good integration tools to Microsoft Office plus enables some integration with Windows platform itself – you can use VB.Net or C#.Net (our commentary – you can have your SAP Business One to communicate with outside world with such non-Microsoft platforms as IBM Lotus Notes Domino and use Lotus Notes as Document workflow)

• Additional Microsoft Arguments. There are analytics out there on the ERP strategic research market who support Microsoft in the opinion that SAP Business One will need technology advances (such as developing its own Office platform or tighter cooperation with Microsoft Office products) to stay current with the ERP market I the year of 2010…

• Additional Considerations. Of course SAP has additional bells and whistles, such as language switch – you can switch from German, French or Brazilian Portuguese to US English by pressing Cnrtl key combination. Microsoft Dexterity was designed in earlier 1990th and doesn’t support such a nice functionality and Unicode – the question frequently asked by the prospect from China, India and Arabic World.

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