to offer up ERP and CRM brew
nterprise resource planning software surged in the early 1990s and has since become part and parcel of any serious manufacturing activities. ERP software has also become increasingly sophisticated … and complex. So much so that an army of consultants has sprouted to guide businesses through what can be a tortuous installation process.
Heading into the new millennium, Microsoft — never one to pass up a lucrative digital proposition — wasted no time in gobbling up smaller shops that had been developing a variety of business and operational management systems. Companies like Navision, Great Plains and Axapta provided the foundation for Microsoft Dynamics, an array of planning and manufacturing applications that today is a dominant force on the ERP landscape.
And where Microsoft goes, so go those who make a living quarterbacking users through an often mind-numbing implementation of some very complicated software.
Enter mcaConnect, a group of consultants and technicians who have been shepherding clients through the labyrinth of MS Dynamics deployment since 2002. From their offices in Greenwood Village, they have been steadily accumulating extensive expertise and knowledge of the Dynamics software family. Today, the company boasts 140 employees, with clients in industries ranging from automotive suppliers to energy companies.
And they are about to get bigger.
Earlier this month, the company announced the acquisition of SalesMetrix, a Houston company specializing in the one MS Dynamics component in which mcaConnect does not have a stake in the ground: Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Dynamics CRM is a customer relationship management system, focusing on sales, marketing and service. According to Microsoft, it is currently used by more than 40,000 customers. It can be deployed as an on-site client-server system or online as a software as a service (SaaS) offering.
Founded in 2003, SalesMetrix specializes in implementation, training, and custom development of Dynamics CRM, primarily for the oil and gas industries.
According to a company announcement, the merger “creates one of North America's largest Microsoft solution provider partners supporting the energy and manufacturing verticals.” As part of the deal, all SalesMetrix employees and management will join mcaConnect. SalesMetrix's president Will Moseley will become mcaConnect's Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
ERP software is the Swiss Army knife of business management. It is used to manage myriad processes, including product planning, parts purchasing, inventory control, supplier interactions, customer service, and order tracking. It can also include modules for finance and human resources.
Microsoft Dynamics AX, at the head of the Dynamics family, includes capabilities for financial management, human resource management, manufacturing, supply chain management, project management and accounting, and business intelligence reporting.
Flush as it is with features, it can be a bear to deploy, requiring considerable business process analysis, employee training and new work procedures. MS Dynamics AX is an advanced system; you can't just turn it on and expect it to run. That’s why Dynamics applications are primarily implemented by specialized resellers. In fact, Microsoft reportedly removed some user-accessible features from its 2013 Dynamics software version, now requiring those features to be implemented by approved resellers.
"SalesMetrix is a perfect complement to mcaConnect, and represents an important foundational piece to our delivery capability and long-term growth strategy," says mcaConnect president Claude Watson. "Their unique Dynamics CRM expertise in manufacturing and energy is extremely hard to find, and will help us better serve our clients in those industries, plus, we think the cultural fit is going to be great."
Both mcaConnect and SalesMetrix have long been devout parishioners of the Dynamics platform. Last year, mcaConnect was anointed Microsoft's “2013 Dynamics Industry Partner of the Year” and SalesMetrix was named a Microsoft “2013 President's Club & Inner Circle” member.
"I am extremely excited by the opportunity that combining with mcaConnect creates for our clients and employees," says Moseley. "Combining with mcaConnect enhances our ability to create strategic and complementary solutions for our clients by leveraging Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX, as well as the Strategic Services and Managed Services that mcaConnect now offers.”
Not surprisingly, Microsoft is pretty happy with merger, too. Says Jeremy Thies, Senior Director of U.S. Microsoft Dynamics Partners, Industry and SMB: "The solid reputation and expertise in the energy and manufacturing domain that these two companies have, combined with greater global presence, is certain to help Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers realize a greater return on their investment."