Great Plains sets its sights on Europe

The mid-market solutions provider is keen to grow its market share in Europe and increase the proportion of its revenues earned outside the US.

Great Plains undertook the biggest change in its history when it was bought by Microsoft in December last year after coming close to extinction in the mid 1980s. The deal, which was finalised in April, has already brought huge benefits to the company.

‘We saw a dramatic increase in the number of enquiries as a result of the acquisition,’ Darren Laybourn, executive vice president for products and services, told at the French meeting.

And, according to Laybourn, some companies which had ruled out purchasing a Great Plains solution, brought the North Dakota-based company back into the frame once the Microsoft was on board. Lorne Borgal, Microsoft Great Plains European president, agreed that the $1.1bn stock deal with the Redmond giant provided an incredible boost.

‘Microsoft helped us a lot,’ said Borgal, who sees Europe as the immediate focus for the company’s international growth. ‘To get the Great Plains name better recognised in the market would be very expensive. Add Microsoft and it becomes a different story.’

Borgal hopes Great Plains can now dent mid-market domination by rival Navision and reckons its product is strong enough to gain ground.

‘We have a good product for the UK market which measures up well against our main European competitors, Agresso and Navision and, to a certain extent, Systems Union,’ he said.

Key to the company’s goal of becoming the largest vendor of mid market solutions in the UK is an increased marketing effort and the addition of more partners to develop Microsoft Great Plains’ functionality.

But among the developers at the company’s Fargo headquarters, the real excitement is over a new concept in delivering business applications across the internet. Prior to the Microsoft acquisition, work had already begun on Microsoft’s .NET platform and Laybourn said the investment and early start by Great Plains would pay off.

‘Is anybody going to build something better [in the business arena] for .NET than us?’ Laybourn asked.

‘I doubt that’s going to happen because we have a couple of years on the rest and have invested a lot more.’


Microsoft finalises Great Plains deal

Great Plains deal could affect MS partners

Related reading