I get so caught up in the day to day busyness of work that it is sometimes hard to see the big picture. At eOne we have been very busy in 2010 with the release of GP 2010 together with Microsoft, a new build of SmartConnect, a new build of eXtender enterprise and Convergence rushing upon us.
We also had a new developer join our team (Kevin) who was familiar with all our applications from a few years back. We have been taking the time to ensure he is up to speed on all the solutions we offer. I spent an hour or so going through the functionality of Dynamics GP Extender and eXtender Enterprise. When I was finished with the demonstration and overview his simple response was “Every GP customer in the world must have purchased that – it makes so much sense”.
Of course I agreed with a laugh and said ‘of course they should’.
I have since had two new experiences that have got me to thinking how cool eXtender really is.
Firstly, I was asked to build some sample applications in Extender for Microsoft to present on stage at Convergence. I was reluctant at first, but as I got into the project it was exciting. I came up with a bunch of clever and creative ideas, and built a whole mini application in less than an hour. (I will keep the details as surprise for those at convergence). When I was done I sat back and said “that is amazing . . . look what I have built in an hour and I am NO developer”
Secondly, We have recently made our demo servers available to our partners which has been adopted really strongly (call Abbey to get on board). To support this we needed to put together a mini booking system to ensure there are no double bookings or overlaps etc. I initially built a spreadsheet that contained all the required data fields (dates, times, server names, contacts, partners) to handle the booking influx and placed it on a network drive. How foolish. This should be an eXtender application. I then deleted the spreadsheet, recalled my email to the team and built my solution in eXtender. It took 18 minutes from start to finish and provides a couple of key things that I could never get from a random spreadsheet.
1. All fields are validated and controlled for data values and types.
2. My partner list already existed in GP, and so there is no duplication of data and we select partners from the master list that is always up to date.
3. It is permanently on a GP menu in one safe secure place.
4. I can run reports on the data via SmartLists and Excel Report Builder
5. I get a full calendar based record search.
This is what my 18 minutes produced. I sat back and said ‘how cool is that’ with a little inference to ‘how cool am I’. So once again, as happens every few months, I get excited about eXtender and all the possibilities it brings to the world of Dynamics GP.
So two questions remain:
1. “Why doesn’t every Dynamics GP customer own Extender”?
2. “Is eXtender shown in every Dynamics GP demo every presented”?
To answer question 1: When I was running eOne as a VAR, 90% of all our customers owned Extender. It was fundamental to every sale I made. I did not know how to sell GP without it (still don’t). It was my differentiator and the tool that got my prospects excited about ERP. Every customer has a need for either Dynamics GP Extender or Extender Enterprise. That is an indisputable fact. The only conclusion I can come to is that there are 40,000 GP customers that have never heard of eXtender or never been told how it makes their lives easier.
To answer Question 2: I have no idea how you demo Dynamics GP, meet all the requirements on a customers Request for Proposal and differentiate your solution from the competition with using eXtender. Is BI a selling differentiator? Is SRS a selling differentiator? Is project accounting a selling differentiator? Is audit trails a selling differentiator? Extender allows you to present the most flexible ERP solution shown to a customer (yes much faster and easier than either NAV or AX and you can still upgrade!). You can show things that none of your competitors can. So why would anyone do a demo without finding a need to differentiate their solution? – I have no idea.
So to all our partners out there. Pull a list of all your customers that do not own eXtender. Then arrange a time with Abbey or I and we will show you how to take eXtender to almost everyone of those customers. This will be the easiest software sale you have ever made. This will be the easiest professional services sale you have ever made.
Remember there are 2 version of eXtender, and we are equally passionate about each.
Microsoft Dynamics GP Extender: entry level solution available from Microsoft
eXtender Enterprise: full featured solution available from eOne