Microsoft widens Great Plains presence

Microsoft is ramping up its local Great Plains presence by appointing a dedicated channel manager for the accounting software line and recruiting 'associates' to help it spread the word.

Microsoft is ramping up its local Great Plains presence by appointing a dedicated channel manager for the accounting software line and recruiting “associates” to help it spread the word.

The new appointee, who will be hired in the next month, is likely to take some of the workload off Microsoft New Zealand’s business solutions line manager, Mansur Zwart, and Sydney-based Australasian channel manager Nick Fletcher. Great Plains has about 150 users in New Zealand, says Australasian managing director Richard Johnstone, though most are on the Pervasive database rather than the Microsoft SQL Server.

Attendees of a launch for Microsoft Great Plains’ Dynamics accounting package in Auckland last week, which attracted about 100 people, mostly representing software resellers and accounting firms, were invited to join an “associate” programme. Microsoft recognises that companies often rely on accountancy firms to help them choose packages and such associates would become part of the product’s sales channel.

Maclean Computing managing director Allan Maclean was one of those who expressed some interest in the product, but felt Johnstone’s presentation, which went for about 15 minutes, was too short and lacked detail. Microsoft officials suggested Maclean Computing would be a good candidate for the associate programme. The firm’s client base includes a number of chartered accountants and legal firms.

Johnstone believes there is “latent” demand for Dynamics particularly among organisations running older legacy accounting systems. The product, along with Solomon IV, is aimed at what Microsoft calls the mid-market — firms with 20 to 250 employees. Microsoft’s eEnterprise product is aimed at the large enterprise, with 1000-plus employees.

Great Plains Dynamics costs about $4500 per seat.

Microsoft is not yet offering its Small Business Manager accounting product in New Zealand. It is sold in the US and Canada, where it is targeted at companies with $US5 million in annual revenue and fewer than 25 employees.

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