It is likely that Access competitors in the middle market for accounts software (vendors selling to companies with between 20 and 200 staff) will be surprised and disappointed at this point of view. It is however a simple fact that Microsoft’s strategy to establish its new technologies as industry standard requirements can only serve to strengthen the place of Access in its own market sector.
The only affect that Access has noticed since Microsoft bought Great Plains is that prospective customers have a greater awareness of the need and benefit of Microsoft technologies in business and accounting software.
Navision and Great Plains resellers target companies with higher staff counts and are most interested in companies with thousands rather than hundreds of staff. Access is unaware of having lost any reseller or end user to Great Plains as a result of its acquisition.
The acquisition of Navision is an admission from Microsoft that addressing the needs of the European market is more challenging than it had envisaged.
It is a particularly expensive acquisition for Microsoft given Navision is the only natural competitor to Great Plains, both in its sector and from a technology stand point.
There is significant product overlap between the two companies and yet the reseller skills in implementing these two products are very different. One is left speculating whether Navision will be required to pull out of the English speaking world forcing its dealers to switch to Great Plains. In this instance the UK could be caught in the middle as a VAT and potentially euro-orientated country that speaks English.
It is clear that Microsoft is sending a message to the financial software industry and users that adoption of strategic Microsoft technologies as such are of paramount importance.
Access anticipates that the customers of the future will demand that Microsoft technologies be part and parcel of their financial systems as an accepted industry standard.
Software houses that have not shown the will or foresight to keep their products up-to-date may have to rethink their product plans in a hurry.
Access Accounting is working closely with Microsoft UK in running a series of seminars, fronted by Sir John Harvey Jones, to explain the benefits of modern IT and how it can enhance profitability.
- Alistair O’Reilly, managing director, Access Accounting.
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