ERP Remote Support: Microsoft Great Plains analysis pluses & minuses
Former Great Plains Software Dynamics/eEnterprise and currently Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains serves midsize and corporate clients as ERP system in the following countries and regions:
USA, Canada, Mexico and Latin America, Brazil (where MBS actually promotes Navision and has GP for multinational corporations), Saudi Arabia, OAE, Egypt and the rest of Middle East, South Africa, Nigeria and the whole African continent, U.K. and Ireland, partially France and Belgium, Poland, Pakistan, South East Asia, Philippines and Pacific.
The fact that Ernst & Young consulting subdivision was specializing in supporting Great Plains eEnterprise for clients in remote locations, such as Bermuda, having small offices over there and later on E&Y had to stop it – due to the fact that Microsoft purchased GPS – left large number of so-called orphan clients, who are still without support and using Dynamics, eEnterprise or even old DOS-based Great Plains Accounting.
As the result – there is very lucrative market niche for Microsoft Great Plains remote support. In this small article we’ll give you pluses and minuses of GP remote support – so to say optimistic and pessimistic points of view.
1. Internet Connection Performance. 10 years ago it would not be possible to support remote clients who doesn’t have dedicated high-speed line from you to their system. Old PC Anywhere would do the job from the software side, but again, it is not as efficient as Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Connection
2. Web-Sessions. This technology allows you share computer screen with the user and so, provide remote support user training, especially if you can use VOIP or computer telephony (such as Skype)
3. Customization Technology. Microsoft Great Plains has long history of Great Plains Dexterity customization and to Dexterity chunk as being easily integrated with Great Plains workstation is very convenient for being distributed and installed remotely. Other customization technologies: VBA/Modifier (DYNAMICS.VBA, FORMS.DIC files), ReportWriter (REPORTS.DIC file), SQL custom stored procedures and scripts require more expertise and efforts to be installed remotely, but it is still doable
4. IT Department. Usually midsize and large businesses or non-profit organizations have IT department or specialist in staff, who can facilitate the support and follow technical instructions.
1. High Consulting Rates. If you plan to serve remote support clients from the US – you will probably find out that the normal US hourly rates are too high for the remote places.
2. Difficult to get new clients. Yes – you should probably target existing orphans only. New sales would be difficult without high quality presentation and visit onsite
3. Language Barrier. If you consider supporting the country where English is not in use, especially among the system users – you should have multi-lingual support technicians
4. Different Time Zone. If your employees do not agree to be available overnight, especially if the portion of your remote clientele doesn’t allow you to establish attractive incentives for nightly remote support.
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies USA nationwide Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Great Plains customization company, based in Chicago, California, Texas, New York, Georgia and Florida and having locations in multiple states and internationally (www.albaspectrum.com), he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.