Microsoft recently announced the public preview of Project Madeira, a business management solution built on the Microsoft Dynamics ERP software platform, with integrated Office 365 productivity tools. Aimed at the SMB market, Madeira is intended for businesses with up to 100 employees. It’s designed for companies that have outgrown their modest accounting software, but are not looking to make a large investment of time and money in a customised business management system. It is not quite Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP software, but a version of NAV tailored to a “cloud first, mobile first” world. It runs in the browser, and as an application on Windows 10 UWP, iOS and Android phones and tablets, very much at the heart of Microsoft Office 365; alongside Dynamics CRM software.
Let’s look at some of the key features that may appeal to the needs of the SMB market.
The benefits of Project Madeira for SMBs – Increase sales, monitor finances and streamline processes:
Reduce time switching between applications
Project Madeira allows you to run your business from within Office 365. There is no need to login to a separate ERP software system. Create customers, quotes, invoices etc. without having to leave Outlook, reducing the time it takes to switch between business applications. It recognises content such as invoices inside Outlook and presents the tools needed to complete the business process from within Outlook. Ad-hoc tasks are completed using the web client.
Rapid implementation and ease of use
The Madeira preview has an on boarding experience that takes you through the system and familiarises you with navigation and usage, with wizards to set up financial processes. If you know how to use Office, then you can easily use Project Madeira. As a public cloud service running on Microsoft Azure; businesses can manage costs, benefit from quick implementation and are reassured in the knowledge that their data is secure. As the solution is aimed at companies who are looking to expand their current accounting system functionality, tools have been built to easily migrate data from Excel and Quickbooks.
Optimised for the mobile workforce
Built for the mobile workforce, Madeira has a consistent user experience across any device and platform. With optimised processes, workers can complete quotes, orders, and invoices in the field and register expenses and purchases; saving time and ensuring information is always updated in real-time.
Built to facilitate business growth
As well as being a multi-currency platform for businesses with overseas operations, Madeira has competences covering finance, measurement, sales, purchase management, inventory optimisation, opportunity management, and business forecasting.
Microsoft have already developed extensions for the Madeira platform with an extensions management window, allowing users to install and uninstall all available extensions. In addition, Microsoft’s partners such as Prodware have the opportunity to build extensions to expand functionality such as industry specific features. This presents a large opportunity for Microsoft customers with tried and tested ERP software readily available for direct installation.
Microsoft are launching Madeira throughout 2016, starting in the U.S., with other countries to follow; due for release in UK in the first half of 2017.
Microsoft MVP Eric Ernst points out the big difference between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Project Madeira is you only get a part of the solution with “modified functionality”. It is important to note that Madeira has been developed to complement the existing Microsoft Dynamics product range, rather than replace.
Therefore whether you are an SMB or an enterprise organisation it is important to research the solution which is best for your business; with the addition of Madeira to the business management family, Microsoft have enabled all organisations to benefit from world leading ERP software functionality; whether it is Madeira, Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX.
Madeira will be sold via the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner programme rather than directly to customers from Microsoft.
by Justin Herbert, Commercial Manager, Manufacturing and Distribution, Prodware UK