Microsoft Business Solutions refocuses for SMBs

Microsoft Business Solutions execs bet that a software insurance policy will endear them to the SMB market.

The direction of the Microsoft Business Solutions’ division, formed in September 2002, came under consideration

at the company’s Convergence 2003 event, which wraps up Friday in Orlando. The gathering of customers and partners was an opportunity for the software giant to introduce some of the products it has dreamt up for small and mid-market companies but also a time to re-group, says Microsoft Business Solutions general manager Garth Dean.

The organization change, includes the formation of a new group, Sales Marketing Solutions and Partners (SMS&P Group), which will more formally align the sales and marketing resources of Microsoft around the business group products, Dean says.

The company has seen a tremendous market response to the first release from the Business Solutions division, MS CRM, Dean says. He credits Microsoft’s unwavering focus on understanding and addressing the needs of SMB companies.

Great Lakes Power Ltd. generating division manager of finance and administration Gary Wight says that understanding has made his job much easier. An 80-year-old company based in Sault Ste. Marie, Great Lakes Power is a lean operation when it comes to budgets, but that doesn’t mean that their business tool requirements are small.

Wight’s company has introduced the Great Plains E-Commerce throughout its operations and is using it as its ERP system. He says the company has mostly been using the software to do project accounting. It’s a critical function for an organization as capital intensive as the power company, he says.

“”To have integration throughout all of our processes has been a dream come true for me,”” he says. “”The financial close is tremendously quicker . . . It improves our bottom line tremendously and it’s a very user-friendly product because it has such a similar look and feel to other Microsoft products. Training costs are way down.””

Kia Canada Inc. accounts payable specialist Diane Dowding says Microsoft Business Solutions has meant a respite from major daily operational problems for her company.

The new kid on the automotive block was having problems with generating financial reports until the company decided to roll out a core financials business intelligence solution.

Prior to the Microsoft solution everything was done in Excel, she says.

“”Well we’ve gone from basically no reporting to reporting at the push of a button,”” Dowding says. “”That was a definite 180 degree turn. We still have some work to do in getting the reports out to the rest of the company. But generally the reporting is much simpler.””

Kia pl

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