The Microsoft Dynamics® ecosystem is diverse and broad. Many independent software vendors (ISVs) support all of the Dynamics products– Dynamics SL, Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP. Some of these companies are also involved with non-Microsoft enterprise software products.
Diversity can be an attractive business model. You have more products to sell, and more people to sell to. Within the Dynamics space, some ISVs can effectively address all of the Dynamics products, and sometimes even non-Microsoft products like Netsuite, Oracle, SAP or other enteprise resource planning (ERP) products. We admire our integration partners who are successful in this, and sometimes covet their broad market base.
But when it comes to inventory tracking and warehouse management systems (WMS), trying to stretch a single product across multiple ERP products is a mistake. Inventory is the lifeblood of an organization, and an ERP package will have its own highly-developed conventions and features to manage inventory. A WMS product that stretches across multiple platforms will not be able to leverage the underlying inventory functionality of each of the software packages it integrates with, and the vendor may have trouble supporting new versions of each of its supported ERP products. Remember that while all of the Dynamics products are owned by Microsoft and have been migrated to a Microsoft technology stack, they originated as separate products under separate ownership. Their architecture and functioanlity for inventory will be widely divergent. The WMS vendor's consulting and support staffs will also find themselves feeling stretched a mile wide but an inch deep as they cannot be experts in the conventions and functionality of every product they deal with.
Because ERP really originated with materials management, we feel it is important for an extension that handles inventory to be a mile deep. The PanatrackerGP product is tightly focused on Dynamics GP. Dynamics GP offers powerful inventory management functionality that should be intelligently exposed, extended and used by our customer base through automatic data capture software. That is our only mission.
What does this high degree of focus mean for our customers and prospective customers? We can think of three important considerations.
1. We really know Dynamics GP.
When you are planning your project and going through implementation of our PanatrackerGP software, you can be confident that each person on your implementation and consulting team has undertaken similar projects. Working with professionals who are not intimately familiar with your enterprise computing environment could make for delays, cost over-runs or suboptimal results that could rob you of the efficiencies you were banking on when you budgeted for warehouse management system (WMS) or inventory tracking extension.
2. We are committed to you.
Microsoft has been working to drive Dynamics AX further into the middle market and enterprise-level companies. A single WMS sale to one of those enterprise-level Dynamics AX companies could amount to a typical PanatrackerGP sale several times over. When WMS vendors are making development investment decisions, what level of priority will Dynamics GP receive? What priority will a WMS software vendor that supports multiple products place on adding new features for and supporting the most recent version of Dynamics GP? What percentage of your maintenance revenue will go to developing and evolving the product for use with Dynamics GP? Are you the sole priority of that WMS vendor?
3. We leverage the underlying features of Dynamics GP.
This is where PanatrackerGP is truly a mile deep. PanatrackerGP uses Dynamics GP as the data master, so we truly extend your enterprise software rather than adding another data silo. This is hard to do–or do well–if you are supporting multiple enteprise software products with divergent tables, field definitions and conventions. But because the software is specific to Dynamics GP, we can also make use of features of the software and expose advanced functionality to you in an intuitive, usable fashion.
For instance, let's say you are a manufacturer and scan an alternate item number for a part. Dynamics GP has a field to accommodate this data point. Can a WMS or inventory tracking system that cuts across multiple softare packages use this field? Probably not. PanatrackerGP, however, has a Manufacturer Cross Reference feature to leverage the underlying Dynamics GP functionality for those times when you have an inventory item with a barcode item number that differs from your setup item number. When you scan an item number on your handheld barcode scanner, PanatrackerGP can automatically translates it to the Dynamcis GP item number. Or, if the alternate item number is not already populated in Dynamics GP, PanatrackerGP can prompt you to associate the item with an existing item number. It's really slick! Check it out in this quick video.