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What I Learned at Amplify 2017


A year ago I blogged about GPUG Amplify, the little event that did. I am back today having returned from another 3 days locked in the Marriott Anaheim, attending Amplify 2017.

One of my favorite parts of a conference like this is the flight home, as it gives me a few hours to think through what I learnt and what those things I learnt mean for eOne as a business. I wanted to write about a few of the late night thoughts I had as our tiny little plane trundled over the Rocky Mountains on the way back to Fargo.

  1. Why is the plane flying so low?
I think it shows that I am getting older but I spent a great deal of time wondering why pilots do not give themselves more clearance when flying over mountains in cloudy and turbulent conditions. I still do not have an answer to that.


  1. Dynamics GP partners are still selling lots of Dynamics GP.

Why I know that:

  1. AJ Justus of Microsoft highlighted during the partner opening session a number of new customers that are currently implementing Dynamics GP. It is always great to hear customer stories and understand the decision making process they used to choose Dynamics GP over the competition.
  2. I had many hallway discussions with partners who are really busy, have too many new deals and are looking to hire additional resources.
  3. I talked a lot with cloud partners who are ramping up their Dynamics GP businesses.

 

  1. That Dynamics GP is still the best mid-market ERP available.

How I know this:

  1. I attended a number of functional product sessions where it is reinforced again that GP provides very deep functionality across all ERP areas. Customers who were requesting additional functionality were really only asking for very simple enhancements that would make their day a little better.
  2. I led a software compete session to analyze how Dynamics GP stacked up against our mid-market competitors. A group of around 100 people unanimously concluded that there was no core area of functionality where any of our competitors could beat Dynamics GP. There is no reason to ever lose a mid-market deal based on functionality as GP is still the best.
  3. Microsoft’s delivery of great reporting via Power BI, the amazing Add-on App community for GP, API integration via SmartConnect together with the strength of a fully featured ERP that has been proudly evolving for 20 years leaves us with a phenomenal solution to take to the mid-market.

 

  1. Confusion over the S and M in SMB.
What I heard was:

A great deal of confusion about Microsoft’s definition of SMB and how the ERP market is or should be segmented. I met some partners that I felt had been sucked into a thought bubble that suggested they needed to retool and target the S in SMB. The small companies.    Dynamics GP is a mid-market solution. The kind of Startup Company or small retail outfit that is buying their first ever ERP, moving from Excel-based accounting or considering a tool such as Xero – IS NOT A GP PROSPECT. Qualify them out in your sales process early. 

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a really, really big market opportunity and I can see why Microsoft want to compete and gain market share. Tools like Xero are doing big things in the small market and Microsoft is hitting that hard with their Dynamics 365 Business edition ERP. 

The message I come away with is that the Mid Market still exists. They still need strong ERP solutions like Dynamics GP.

My definition of a mid-market company (at the small end) is those companies that have grown enough to hire a financial controller. These companies have established business processes. They are already successful and profitable organizations. They have a successful and proven sales model. They have likely a 3-4 man accounting and finance team that do more than book keeping.

My definition of a mid-market company at the high end is a company turning over hundreds of $millions a year. They have 40-50 people that need to be in an ERP all the time. They may have another few hundred people that need information from their ERP. GP can scale and scale really well; I heard of the company that has 2000 GP users this week.

The mid-market is not going anywhere. Those companies still have the same complex compliance needs, the same complex business model and the same demands of ERP software as they always have. Do not get lost in the news stories that everything must be an app, and that ERP can implement itself! It is just fake news!

 

  1. GP can be delivered on-premise or in the cloud – easy.

How I learnt this:

  1. I spent a great deal of time with a number of GP cloud providers. I was impressed by the offering available and the speed at which you can be up and running on a new GP install.
  2. I talked to partners that appreciated the options available and the GP cloud not being a ‘like it or lump it deal’. There were private clouds, public clouds, multi-tenant offerings, web client only options, hybrid options, infrastructure offerings and many more. Mid-market IT departments have strong opinions and this variety means that just about all IT managers will be able to find a suitable way to take GP to the cloud solution. If they are not ready to let someone else take control of their vital business data then they have the option of keeping everything in house and on premise.

 

  1. GP has a huge market share that 3rd party developers want a piece of.
What I saw:

A large number of ISV’s who turned up to show their solutions to the partner and customer community. There were even a number of software companies that I had never come across during 15 years attending such conferences. I approached some of these vendors and asked why they had decided to come to a GP event and the answer was no surprise. Each of them stated that they are always bumping into GP customers and have decided that the community is so large they need to penetrate into that market. This is really interesting to see in a world where all you read about is cloud and other ERP’s tout to be growing so rapidly, that software add-on companies are still desperate to be part of the GP community. It says a lot about the future of GP that new companies are investing in GP and getting on board in 2017.

 

  1. Microsoft is investing heavily in ERP

We all know Microsoft is putting a lot of marketing and development into their Dynamics 365 ERP offerings to the S(mall) market and the Enterprise market. This is fantastic and I believe over time these are going to become very strong contenders in the market. All the buzz about ERP is attracting more customers, partners and developers into the Microsoft ERP space.

Much of this development energy around Azure, Power BI and Office 365 integrations is functionality that is available to all their ERP offerings, including Dynamics GP. I had a number of resellers that were excited about the number of new leads coming into their funnel who had been attracted to the marketing. Those partners were in a stronger position than ever to be able to offer them a 365 product or Dynamic GP – whichever fitted their needs the best.

 

Overall, I was inspired by how passionate both reselling partners and GP customers are about the Dynamics GP space. I am very excited about the future of Dynamics GP, the energy Microsoft is investing in it and the overall strength of the ERP market.

3 Comments

  1. hasib rahman on May 11, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Great post.

  2. Wassim Rahme on June 18, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Fully agree.

  3. Adolfo Lopez on September 22, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Excelent post, I agree all you posted. There are an investment of millions of USD in GP development using Dexterity that Microsoft won’t kill this market.

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