At Boyer, we have a number of Independent Software Vendors, especially on the Dynamics GP side of our practice, that we consider tremendous. Most of the ISV’s we sell are quite honestly reactive. We have a client that needs the software to do punch out for requisitions and work with a certain vendor’s medical materials management software…so we research, demo, have the ISV demo to the client and like magic…problem solved. Microsoft has to take some credit here due to their screening process of ISV’s but generally the quality is great.
We have both a strong Dynamics SL practice and a strong Dynamics GP practice. For both products we have found more of a long term opportunity for improvement than a reactive “solve this problem for this individual client” situation.
For example Microsoft markets Dynamics SL as a strong project management software product…and it is. But there are things missing from the Dynamics SL product that we find also missing from Dynamics GP in the project accounting arena. What are they? You will see answers to that question below in items one and two.
1. The software is web-based.
Clients love web-based software because its architecture allows the software to run on many devices. To say that the professional services industry has wanted web-based programs that can run on Windows Phones, Droids, iPads and iPhones is a serious understatement. If you can enter your time on the plane on your tablet or phone, doesn’t that make the person you are asking to travel a happier employee? I know at Boyer & Associates here in Minneapolis, MN, we ask for daily timecards. Making that daily timecard easier with a web-based deployment helps a lot to allow the employee to be timely and not ask them to enter their time when they get home at 8pm after being gone for a few days.
Notice how gracefully and completely the Alert web-based project details delivers the critical project information you need. Many SaaS vendors outside of the Dynamics ERP space can not deliver the functionality or completeness of this Fieldpoint program. Most SaaS products can not touch the functionality of the Dynamics ERP products either-especialy in financial reporting.
2. The software has functionality that your target industries want.
In the professional services space, one of the key features that people want is spell check in time entry along with the ability to enter time quickly. Another thing that users want is the ability to schedule resources easily. Clients want to be able to tell if they can take on work they are pitching from a resource standpoint but then also facilitate the scheduling of those resources once that work is sold. Having a product that allows it’s calendar for scheduling to link with your Outlook calendar is priceless. Who checks more than one calendar-unless they absolutely have to? If they have to-are they happy about that? You see my point.
3. Integration is “done”
The particular ISV product that we like is FieldPoint’s Alert Stratus. This product has a CRM version and a more fully featured .net version. The .net version has a lot of pre-existing and vital integrations that are already there for Dynamics GP.
For customers that have existing or planned Dynamics GP implementations for financials, inventory, purchasing, and payroll, Alert software offers optional “out of the box” integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP. If you are not using Dynamics GP but another Dynamics ERP program such as Dynamics AX , Dynamics NAV or Dynamics SL, you can implement Alert integration services API for specific integration points to your existing ERP system…although this is more work and more money.
4. The developer (ISV) has a strong track record
One of the things I notice when I am speaking with potential clients is how much they relax when they hear about the strength of our balance sheet and that we’ve been in business since 1994. Having the highest certification levels with Microsoft helps too. Clients feel that if you have 300 local and referenceable clients-you must be reliable and trustworthy.
We look for those same things when we speak to ISV’s on behalf of our clients. Another critical item is can the ISV back us up with strong support if we are working with many ISV products and don’t have the same level of expertise for support that we have with our main products-Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, and Dynamics SL. Great support makes for a great relationship. Knowing that the ISV will support us OR our client directly in a pinch means a lot to us.
I hope this post was helpful for you in determining what Microsoft Dynamics ERP products are useful to you-whether or not you are located here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and whether or not you are looking for a professional services ISV.
Jack Boyer, CPA (inactive), MCP