For three consecutive years, En’tegrate USA has been the largest reseller of Microsoft Business Solutions Axapta Edition in the United States. That’s no mean feat, given what both the vendor and the reseller have been through.
|En'tegrate USA |
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Of course, Axapta’s developer, Damgaard, was undergoing its own growing pains of sorts. First it merged with fellow-Danish competitor Navision, and then saw that combine get acquired in turn by Microsoft. Axapta is now one flavor in the Microsoft Business Solutions cupboard.
“We did very well with the [Axapta] product line when it was still a boutique,” says Balow, a Baan, IBM, and Ernst & Young alumnus, who heads up marketing and business development for En’tegrate. “Now, if you’re buying enterprise software, because of Microsoft’s buying Navision, Axapta gets on the list-particularly if there’s an engineer involved who has seen the technology.”
He believes the U.S. market is underserved in the enterprise space, especially with small and medium-sized businesses. Lots of companies, even those in the $50 million revenue range and higher, are trying to get by with home-grown or “aging” software. “At least 70 percent of the marketplace have not installed new enterprise software for seven to ten years,” according to Balow.
As a result, “In an economic environment where a number of resellers are finding it difficult, we have a lot on our plate.”
The VAR is seizing the opportunities as they arise. “Our pipeline is two to two-and-a-half times what it was prior to the [Microsoft] acquisition,” reports Balow. Its well-heeled parent is helping to get the word out that “enterprise software can bring value to firms. It can help you save more, sell more, and know more about your business.”
Axapta Edition not only offers multi-site, multi-currency capabilities, it’s also Web enabled to allow for customer, supplier, and employee portals. It’s also easily modifiable. “If a customer gives us [functional] requirements unique to their business, we can typically do [those modifications] in the course of preparing a demonstration,” says Balow. Also, “It’s very easy to add fields to the database, and have that done in a matter of minutes.” The upshot is: “You can actually change the software to fit your business”; there’s no need to scrap customary business processes.
En’tegrate also has several technology partnerships to extend Axapta’s capabilities and meet the needs of multinational enterprises. There are alliances with Mobizol (handheld solutions), Targit (business intelligence), Altas (financial reporting), and Hands (European software implementation).
“We’re starting to see the Tier One guys now,” like PeopleSoft and SAP, when competing on deals, says Balow. Better yet, Axapta can compete at half their sticker price, he insists. He estimates a 20-seat Axapta implementation that includes financials, manufacturing, distribution, and sales will run $90,000 to $100,000. “If you need EDI or BizTalk, that could jump to $150,000,” he acknowledges. But the service-to-software level is only 1 to 1, or even less.
The reseller completed the largest Axapta install in the world last November. The customer only considered Axapta “at the eleventh hour,” but they liked the ease-of-use, how customizable it is, and “the value for the money,” according to Balow. In all, the implementation involved sixty sites and approximately 500 users.
Now a sister operation, which is involved in massive transactional processing with mega-retailers, is installing Axapta as well. This implementation will involve 1,200 users over 120 sites.
“We remain primarily an Axapta house,” even though En’tegrate recently added Great Plains Edition for customers who “don’t want to modify the software; they want to use it out of the box.”