After spending a week down in Tampa at the GP User Group, I came away with two very distinct thoughts.
1. Tampa has much better weather than Fargo.
2. I am always amazed about the passion of GP customer’s - and how much they love their systems and are always eagerly wanting to learn more about getting the most out of their GP ERP investment. GP users love how configurable GP is and that they can really tailor it to their businesses.
On the down side - I also spoke to resellers, and read press releases about partners who are starting to pick up and sell other ERP products to complement their GP offering. I have no issue with this at all on the surface, as all businesses need to do what is best for their owners, customers and staff. In fact eOne will be also be looking to expand our product base outside of the pure Microsoft arena.
I do want to ask the question – is the grass really greener on the other side? GP is still a really good ERP product. I am yet to find anything in the cumulonimbus world that comes close to matching it for functionality, flexibility or even cost of ownership (for what it offers).
Sure you can go for less functionality for a low monthly price – but how is that going to meet the specific needs of your business? Online solutions by nature have to provide a cookie cutter approach to ERP which comes cheap – but rarely comes clever.The technology that makes it work in the cloud is clever, but the business functionality seems to provide the same approach for all types of business.
I recently spoke to a reseller that is investigating a cloud ERP. The functional consultant loved it because it just did what it did, and was easy to understand. The technical consultant hated it, as he could not make it ‘do anything’ clever. What VAR’s have been doing brilliantly in the GP space for a long time is delivering ‘clever’ solutions that make a real difference in a customer’s business. This ensures happy customers who are happy to pay for the systems and functions that make their business better.
Now if you are a ‘boring’ partner that still sells GP the way we did 15 years ago, (basically out of the box), then yes you should go to an alternate solution. If you are passionate about being clever and making a real difference - then get deeper into GP and all that it offers by itself and through the ISV community.
GP is a great tool, the Web client is getting better rapidly, there are many awesome implementers and fantastic add-on’s that make it fit your business better. The team in Fargo are still doing their very best to improve and enhance GP – they are passionate as always. I sense that Microsoft is starting to realize how good GP really is as well – and are starting to throw some more money and resources GP’s way.
So before investing heavily on new ERP products – I urge all VAR’s to look at their GP business and decide if they have invested heavily enough in it first. Imagine if you threw $200K in investment into your GP team. A couple of areas to explore:
1. Training Up New and Young Consultants in GP: These are the guys wanting to work hard and get ahead by coming up with great ideas and new ways of doing things.
a. PLEASE invest in presales. Why do you lose a GP deal – it is usually because your presales stinks (now I am being frank). You would never let a sales guy start consulting – but so many people are happy to have a consultant do the presales. That is just silly.Consultants are good trainers – terrible demonstrators.
b. Give your presales guy a chance and time to investigate new ideas and new products. He or she should be the most creative member of your team – hanging together awesome solutions.
c. Challenge your presales guy daily. “Was that your best possible demo?”, “What did you do to make sure we beat Sage, NetSuite, etc”. If they do not have an answer then you need someone new.
d. If you want help in this space – contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. ISV’s: Embrace them and love them. Pick the ones that support your expertise, train your people and really go hard and sell plenty of that solution. There are $’s to be made.
4. Keep Existing Customers: Letting a customer disappear is criminal. I hear every day “They are not using GP anymore...but we do not know where they went”.WOW. Know your customers, stay close and keep them onboard. Invest money into keeping these customers.
5. Ask Microsoft for Help: Go on. Call and keep calling. Don’t let them hide. Prove that if they help you, you can sell more product for them. They will listen (eventually).
So let me know how you go. Rather than voting with your feet, see if you can make all the good things that you have, work in your favor.