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Another Microsoft exec, another hosted ERP story

HOUSTON — Microsoft executives aren’t exactly toeing the company line when it comes to vendor-hosted ERP. In fact, the more people that talk, the more it’s becoming evident that there may not even be a company line.

Yesterday here at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, senior news editor Barb Darrow and I met with Microsoft Dynamics execs Doug Kennedy and Chris Caren. When we asked if Microsoft will offer a hosted version of its ERP software, Caren said:

“The significant portion of customers want hosted ERP. What we’re not convinced of is the business model.”

Caren added that Microsoft is still analyzing its options about vendor-hosted ERP. Pretty much every Microsoft exec we’ve asked in the past few months has told a different story. Let’s recap:

  • Marie Huwe, general manager for partnering strategy, July 7: “I think you will see something from Microsoft. … Is the R&D team working on it? Yes.”
  • Steve Ballmer, CEO, March 12: “You should expect to see more from us in [vendor-hosted] ERP and other areas as we move into the future.”
  • Michael Park, corporate vice president, March 7: “The architecture we’re making the bet on is CRM. With ERP, we’ve got a good number of partners who are hosting it for us.”

Normally, Ballmer’s remarks would trump all others. But if what he said is true, why aren’t some of his underlings sharing the same message?

Microsoft-hosted ERP could have a major effect on partners that are hosting ERP themselves now, and Microsoft needs to spell out its plans definitively so partners can prepare.

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