Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Microsoft in Retail

In one of my previous post I've mentioned the lack of investment from Microsoft in the EPM space. In this post I'll touch on the Retail space and some transformations that organizations partake.

I was with Microsoft Dynamics between the years of 1990 to 2000 and very privileged with the opportunity. In the last 10 years it has been unfortunate though that most of my engagements (mostly Retail and CPG) have been moving Microsoft to SAP. Why is that? It took me awhile to realize that there were commonality between these companies.

Here are some of my observations:
1  Scalability. They have outgrown Microsoft products, their processes have become more complex and existing investments cannot scale.
2  Relationship. They don’t have direct relationship with Microsoft so they find another partner to help them with their transformation.
3   Support. They need more support from their partners including technology, processes and data. Their current partner don't have all expertise, they can only do one not all.
4  Technology. They want to explore new technologies like Cloud, Big Data, IoT and others. Even though Microsoft can fill these space, the companies don't know who to contact.

If you look at the reasons, Microsoft could’ve easily filled the gaps. SAP does this pretty well, their regional AE's are in constant contact with their clients. They’re constantly asking and they take care of companies that carry weight in the verticals, brands that matter in that space. 

Retail is one vertical where Microsoft can capture some market share. Here are some reasons:
1- Retail companies have complex processes from store operations to back office. Microsoft have all the toolset to help but they're not selling it bundled. They need to go to these retailers and sell their products from store to back office. Show how the POS can integrate with Microsoft Dynamics Inventory then show them Analytics thru Power BI. Do a retail suite of solutions that can solve a retailers process from end-to-end.

2 - Microsoft needs to put more investment in their Retail space. They have the products to scale up and capture a market share but it’s not happening. They’re even losing clients and more importantly “brands” that matter in the space. SAP talks directly to top brand customers to know what processes are changing because of regulations, compliance, tariffs and others. In the Enterprise Applications technology takes a back seat, CIO’s look at vendors who can solve complex processes, use best practices, able to provide solutions to regulatory or country specific requirements and others.

I can go on but my point here is Microsoft does have the products but they need to understand the business needs and how they’re going to selling their products effectively. I’ve seen demos where the CFO and CIO just walk out of the room because they’ve missed the mark so bad. SAP is not untouchable, they just know how to sell their products well and Microsoft needs to learn from them.