Which Microsoft Dynamics ERP Software Solution Is Right For Your Industry?

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So you're in the market for a new financial management and operational management software package.  You know that you want an ERP solution that is built on technology you trust, has a familiar look and feel for your people so that you don't loose too much time in training, works with the Office programs you use every day, integrates with your existing systems and has the capacity to grow with your business.  Based on your criteria, Microsoft Dynamics ERP is an easy choice.  However, once you've decided to go with Microsoft, there is a bigger question to answer...which one? 

The Microsoft Dynamics family of ERP products includes four different solutions:  GP (formerly Great Plains), NAV (formerly Navision), AX (formerly Axapta), and SL (formerly Solomon).

One of the first questions that leaps to mind when trying to differentiate between these four products is "which one works best for my industry?"   That is the primary way to determine which one might best suit your company's unique business needs.  However, that is not the simpliest question to answer. 

There is no arguing that certain Microsoft Dynamics ERP products serve certain industries more effectively than others. You need only look at the industry lists on each of the Dynamics product pages on Microsoft’s website to see which industries Microsoft thinks their solutions fit best in.  However, when you compare the functionality of the products, there is a tremendous amount of overlap (as you can see by viewing this chart.)

As you can see, all four are equally suited to fit the needs of a 250 employee distributor and manufacturers with 500 employees will receive a comparable experience using Dynamics GP, NAV, or AX.  That is why there are two other critical factors to selecting the right Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution for your industry:  ISVs and Partners.

There are over 9000 independent software vendors (ISVs) providing customized solutions for Microsoft Dynamics products.  Many of these ISV solutions are industry focused.  Pairing an industry specific ISV solution with a Dynamics product can provide you with the proprietary software experience without the headaches of maintaining and updating a proprietary system. 

When you are considering a Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution, you are not just shopping for software, but for a Microsoft Dynamics Partner as well.  The best way to find a solution that fits your industry is to look for a partner that understands your unique needs and has experience working with other companies in your industry.  

Some partners have either worked with ISVs or developed their own industry specific solutions built on Microsoft Dynamics solutions that they take to market.  Others have consultants on staff with industry expertise that they use to manage the software selection and implementation process to ensure that the right ISVs are engaged and the right solution is crafted for each individual organization.  Regardless of which track your partner goes down, if they have experience serving your industry, they will provide you with references and evidence of their expertise that you can use to assess not only the partner but also the software solutions they offer.  

If you select a Microsoft Dynamics partner that has a great depth of knowledge in your industry, the right software solution for your organization will likely be assured. 

To help you determine which Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution is right for your business, request a complimentary Business Strategy Assessment .

by Socius, an Ohio Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner.

1 thought on “Which Microsoft Dynamics ERP Software Solution Is Right For Your Industry?”

  1. The overlap in the functionality of the 4 products doesn't mean there is optimal functionality. I would also question the accuracy of the chart you cite. For example, Dynamics SL is clearly best for project-driven organizations, hence Microsoft and SL partners focus on mid-size engineering, architecture, construction, research, pharmaceutical, and IT firms, in addition to professional services. Also, the chart does not list SL in manufacturing, but clearly SL is superior for make-to-order manufacturers.

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