Let me start by saying that I am a card-carrying member of the Microsoft fan club. I own and love my Windows 8 phone, nChannel runs on Windows 8.1 with Office 360 and CRM, we develop on .NET, utilize Azure and just implemented a Lync-based phone system. I really believe Microsoft doesn’t get enough credit for how they’re leading the market in these areas, but that doesn’t change the fact that Dynamics is lagging behind in addressing multichannel for its users.
Many of our Microsoft partners have asked me if we’re going to be at Convergence this year. They’re often surprised when I tell them “no,” despite our growing Dynamics user base. The reality is that we don’t have a huge marketing budget so we need to fish where the fish are biting and a quick search of the conference guide revealed that there wasn’t a single session at Convergence 2014 regarding how to leverage Dynamics to operate a multichannel or omnichannel retail business.
While there are some retail sessions, they promote Microsoft’s new Dynamics AX for Retail (a solution desperately needed by the Microsoft channel back in 2008) which is billed as an all-in-one retail software suite built on AX. Meanwhile the thousands of Microsoft Dynamics ERP attendees running GP, NAV and SL will have not a single multichannel retail session for their platform. While i95Dev will be on the expo show floor demonstrating their multichannel integration solutions for GP, Vanit and his team paid to be there – Microsoft did not have the foresight to invite them, which frankly I don’t understand. There seems to be an assumption that only pure retailers are interested in multichannel. But based on the 150 or so inquiries nChannel has received (just in the last two months) from manufacturers and distributors looking for multichannel operations solutions, I must respectfully disagree.
Here’s the reality – there are thousands of companies running GP, SL and NAV with a strong interest in multichannel. We know this because we hear from them every day. We get more GP users looking for eCommerce, eBay and Amazon integration than any other ERP solution – followed closely by NAV. They don’t want to replace their ERP systems – they have invested a lot of money in those solutions and they have local support from resellers they love. But they have multichannel requirements too – which so far, have largely gone unmet.
So while I can’t promise that Microsoft will listen to anything an emerging software company from the Midwest has to say, nor can I guarantee that multichannel will be better addressed at Convergence 2015, I can promise this: after Convergence, nChannel will be here to help, advise and guide Dynamics GP, SL and NAV users on how to achieve multichannel with their EXISTING investments. Just call us.