One thing that I have been thinking about recently is the future Microsoft story. I am not talking about Microsoft Corporation in total, mainly around the offerings for the MS Dynamics line of business product lines.
I mean sure the Dynamics AX ERP and the Dynamics CRM product have now reached their competitors in their respective categories. As with any new software there are always challenges and features that have to be tested and tried before a real leveling effect can occur within the marketplace.
I believe myself, and from what I have recently seen from others as well is that they are achieving this with their latest software releases. But that is today and now. What about the future? What could the ERP & CRM landscape actually look like say in 2013? I believe that the future Microsoft Dynamics story is the one that shows us the most promise and interesting potential.
As customers become more familiar in their daily lives with the idea of external data storage they will most likely enjoy the benefits of low IT overheads and more reliable systems at their disposal. We already have seen this in the past with traditional SAAS giants such as salesforce.com and other solutions such as windows live and amazon web services as well.
For the companies that have a single model only they are now going to be the ones facing a mounting uphill battle. For instance, Microsoft now offers the ability to store and run their software locally on premise, off premise, hosted by Microsoft, or hosted by partners. This is going to be a hard pill to swallow for most SAAS only solutions that don't have a plan in place for new additional consumer offerings soon.
In the past Microsoft has been focused heavily on building stable on premise solutions first, and now they are taking these solutions "to the cloud" so to speak and giving customers the choice about how and where they want their software available.
Another interesting piece I think we will see is segmentation of data and prioritization of how data is stored. In the future customers will additionally have the ability to store specific information that they have either in the cloud or locally providing a true "hybrid" storage system. This will allow future users the ability to store more secured information in house and less sensitive information in the cloud for a tighter control of business critical information.
I think that this will be only one of a few major distinctions that are going to make it hard for other competitors to cope with the changing tides. I truly feel that the Microsoft story will be the one solution that truly will cater to all customers no matter how or where they want to use their systems.
Nicholas Cole -