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Reader Responses: Dynamics and TAS

We're huge fans of acronyms here at RCPU -- we even refer to ourselves as an acronym -- so we were very impressed to get the following e-mail from frequent contributor Jon in response to a brief but acronym-laden post:

"You seem to be enjoying acronyms in today's RCP Update. Here we have many acronyms that start with the same letter as the name of the company, which has resulted in a few that sound very similar. So we invented another acronym:  TAS -- Tangled Acronym Syndrome."

Tangled Acronym Syndrome! We love it. It's not just your company, Jon -- the whole industry suffers from it. Heck, our whole culture is full of acronyms; even the name of our country shortens nicely to one. Add TAS in the tech industry to the relatively recent fashion of referring to athletes by initials or by first initial and last name (for instance, KG for Kevin Garnett or T-Mac for Tracy McGrady), and it's clear that this has been a fantastic decade for the single letter and collections thereof. LL Cool J was truly a visionary in the '80s.

Here's where we skillfully tie today's two reader e-mails together. Ready? Speaking of acronyms (oooh, very smooth), there's no product that relies on them more than Microsoft Dynamics, with its four suites -- although, strictly speaking, we don't think that referring to the erstwhile Axapta by "AX" strictly qualifies as using an acronym.

The same could be said of NAV and Navision and even SL and Solomon -- although GP is a very solid acronym for Great Plains. Still, we're not here to split hairs. Dynamics, which we wrote about last month, in case you were wondering, is alphabet soup (or TAS, perhaps) at its chunkiest. And that's still a problem for a lot of users and partners. Wrote Joseph back in November:

"My biggest problem with the Dynamics lineup, and I doubt it has changed with NAV 09: It is very difficult to understand or comprehend what the different products actually do or do not do. There is also very little in the way of partner support available for these particular products."

That's an interesting point about partner support, Joseph, and we weren't aware that it was a problem. We are aware, though, of the confusion that still surrounds Microsoft's four-suite strategy with Dynamics. Without rehashing a bunch of stuff we've hashed before, we'll just say that the four-suite thing is the proverbial (and horribly cliché -- sorry) elephant in the room in every conversation about Dynamics.

Nobody wants to talk about the confusion that four suites create, but it's definitely there, and there still seems to be a lot of channel conflict to go with it. We understand that Project Green is dead, at least from a marketing perspective, and we think we understand why (talk of merging the four suites was hurting sales, as customers waited for the final product), but we're just not sure that customers and partners will continue to digest Dynamics' alphabet soup. And a struggling economy is the worst environment in which to...well, do almost anything, really, but especially to go out with a befuddling branding message. Still, we'll likely see Dynamics TAS survive for a long time to come.

Thanks again to Jon and Joseph for their contributions. If you have anything else on your mind, be it related to ERP, CRM, SFA, SQL, MSPs, MOSS, WEBS, SLED, SAP, RCPU or anything else, spell it out and send it to lpender@rcpmag.com. And don't forget to send your top 10 lists for 2009.

Posted by Lee Pender on 12/17/2008 at 1:22 PM


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