Letters to Redmond

Letters@Redmondmag.com: Dec. 2006

This month, readers size up Microsoft Dynamics and Virtual PC. Plus, is the world ready for President Gates? Some readers aren't so sure.

Dynamics: The Perfect Fit?
I am preparing for an ERP [enterprise resource planning] system selection and really enjoyed Doug Barney's article in the November 2006 issue, "Should You Buy Microsoft Dynamics?" I've seen a lot of companies make a huge ERP system selection mistake by trying to "run with the big dogs." The size of the "organization unit" staff should be the indicator, not the size of the overall company.

I'm currently working for a company that has roughly $1 billion in sales and almost 7,000 employees. I can tell they want to go with the "best" and seem to be leaning toward SAP. If we were a single business with factories in multiple locations serving the same or similar markets, they might have a valid point.

The fact is we have at least five different markets served by three very different businesses with 27 fairly autonomous locations on three continents. We only have two sites with $100 million in sales, and the average is closer to $25 million. I think we'll be making a huge mistake trying to force the complexity of Oracle or SAP on $25 million business units where each has less than a 50 total G&A headcount. We need a flexible SMB system with some of the financial consolidation and analysis tools of an enterprise -class company.

In my opinion, one of the selling strategies for SAP and Oracle has been to focus on total corporate sales volume and not operating unit size to expand their target audience.
Name withheld by request
Los Angeles, Calif.

No Great Expectations
[In regard to the November 2006 Reader Review, "Microsoft Virtual PC: Good Enough -- for the Price,"] when Microsoft bought Connectix (and thus gained Virtual PC) it was a very competitive product with VMware. That was a bit over two years ago. Since then, VMware has added a whole slew of new features. I haven't seen a single new feature in Virtual PC or Virtual Server in that time. I don't expect anything from Microsoft. However, its virtual offerings aren't even close to VMware and I wouldn't recommend or use them in a corporate environment.
Dan Gilbert
Austin, Texas

Tough Crowd
Sorry, but currently Bill would only garner the "Windows geek" vote, as discussed in Doug Barney's October 2006 column, "Bill for President." He needs to drop exclusive alliances and broaden his acceptance of alternate worldviews.

For example, Bill should install VMware Workstation on his XP laptop and run at least three different flavors of Linux. This would likely endear him to "all geeks."

Second, Bill has no appeal in the southern "red" states. He needs to start a NASCAR racing team (a la Joe Gibbs). He can endear himself even further by jumping over the pit wall from a standing position.

Finally, Bill needs the "Hollywood celebrity" vote. Bill should hire Mel Gibson to do a movie about his life. Mel can get some blood and guts in the screenplay to toughen Bill's image. At this point, Bill will be ready to take on all comers, including Arnold. But, with Microsoft's software release track record, could Bill accomplish all this by 2008?
Randy Johnson
Alpharetta, Ga.

Nice thoughts, Barney, but unfortunately that is all they are. You answered your own question when you doubted that all regimes would react the same way. Why? Because their approach to the world is not logical. Is Islam logical? Or, as a matter of fact, is any religion logical? Or is any human really logical?

I'd like to think I am, as I'm a very analytical type. But I have to admit, I do have my illogical moments. Who am I going to vote for? Probably a Republican—lower taxes, less government regulation, a strong defense, pro-life, marriage between one man and one woman and a host of other reasons.

Bill? Well, I doubt it, but then again, I didn't think a former actor who became governor of California would make a good president, either. Now I think he's one of the best we've had.

I'm an independent software developer developing custom database applications with Microsoft Access. I'm also a retail business owner. I've got 35 years of experience in the software business so I've experienced just about all of it.
Lon A. Wiksell
Overland Park, Kan.

About the Author

This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at letters@redmondmag.com and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.

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