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Microsoft Business Solutions - selecting consultant

By Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Business Solutions has several ERP applications: Microsoft Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, Solomon, Small Business Manager.  It also has CRM package: Microsoft CRM and retail management solution: Microsoft RMS (Store Operations/POS and RMS Headquarters).  Seeing this wide spectrum of products, some of them are marketed in parallel, especially in ERP line   you could expect the difficulty to select on the product and then have somebody to serve your system.  It is always good idea to have internal IT support for your ERP system, but you definitely need outside consultant when you have issues or plan major upgrade, customization or addition.  We will try to give you your options.

Before we begin   we would like you to know what is enhancement program.  Microsoft Business Solutions enhancement program or annual service fee   well, in our opinion all software vendors use the same technique, you purchase the software and then you have to pay annual enhancement/maintenance or other type of fee, which allows you to get new versions of software and receive discounted support from software vendor help desk. Again   this is common practice and you have to pay for using industrial-strength system, such as Great Plains, Navision, Solomon. Of course you have and option not to pay   and still use your current version. Unfortunately   when you need new version   when say your system becomes outdated   if you are not in the support plan   you have to pay penalty to be reenrolled.
 
Types of MBS consultant/VAR/Partner/Reseller/ISV  there are several consultant profiles. 
 
1. Nation-wide established company, usually owned by one of huge auditing enterprises: CBIZ for example. Cost issue maybe in place, but I d say these partners are very reliable. 

2. Regional partner. They usually serve in one business metro, such as Chicago or Los Angeles. Their price is a little bit lower, but still high enough. If you are nation-wide company   you may have issues supporting remote offices, however even if you pick nation-wide provider from #1   their offices are usually not tight together and you will have to repeat your story to the second regional office. 

3. Individual Consultant   these people are heroes of the consulting practice. They somehow mastered to survive recession and their good points are their low prices and top level of the expertise   they live from their expertise. These people are probably the most wanted   but unfortunately they are hiding out and not advertising   it is really hard to find one. 

4. New Nation-wide small consulting companies   yes   things are changing and post recession time requires nation-wide presence and low prices with top level quality. The only way to achieve it is remote support. Fortunately, technology allows it via VPN, Remote Desktop connection and various web-session technologies. Our company is pursuing this business model. 

Happy selecting! if you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-630-961-5918 or 1-866-528-0577! help@albaspectrum.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies   USA nationwide Great Plains, Navision, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft RMS customization company, serving Illinois, California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Australia, UK, Canada, Continental Europe, Russia and having locations in multiple states and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.

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