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Microsoft Looks To Provide Sage Harbor

The other day, while lounging in a hammock on his back porch, your editor spotted a hawk circling overhead. He was probably using that super hawk vision to try to pick out a field mouse or a rabbit or something to snatch away...or he could have been working for Microsoft.

A couple of weeks ago, enterprise resource planning vendor Sage Software's biggest U.S. reseller, MIS Group, just shut down, and somewhat unexpectedly at that. Here's where that hawk -- or maybe more of a vulture -- comes into play.  

Microsoft swooped down on Sage this week, assuring customers that are worried about Sage's stability that Microsoft, and specifically the Dynamics line of enterprise applications, is there for them. This swoop has ramifications for partners, too; Microsoft is actively seeking partners to help customers make a transition from Sage applications to Dynamics.

That means that Microsoft is picking up recruiting of Dynamics partners and is especially interested in looking for Sage partners who want to sail to Microsoft's port in the midst of Sage's storm. But Dynamics, of course, has taken on a bit of water itself lately. As is the case with most the rest of the company's wares, Dynamics' revenues have suffered, relatively speaking, in recent quarters.

And the infamous four-suite strategy that Microsoft was definitely going to change and now is definitely not going to change still causes confusion among customers and even in the channel. Word out of Convergence and the Worldwide Partner Conference, too, is that a lot of Dynamics partners are really struggling right now. So, Dynamics is no sure thing when it comes to competing with ERP titans such as SAP and Oracle.

But it does still have the advantage of being cheaper and less complicated than its non-hosted competitors, and Dynamics as a product line certainly seems in better shape than Sage does as a company. Microsoft, after all, might be getting ready to report declining profits in a difficult environment, but nobody's seriously talking about Redmond's demise.

The real point here, though, isn't how much trouble Sage is in or how little trouble Dynamics is in. The point is that now is a good time for Dynamics partners to storm into Sage accounts and play on the insecurity customers might be feeling. (Nice, huh? Gotta love capitalism.) And it's time for Dynamics partners to look out for competition from -- or partnering opportunities with -- Sage partners that have decided to not be scooped up by the Microsoft hawk and move into the Dynamics channel.

As if the packed Dynamics channel needed more participants...but that's another post altogether. For now, partners should adopt Microsoft's hawk mentality.

What's your take on Sage? Do you think Microsoft can benefit from the demise of a major Sage partner? Sound off at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on July 22, 2009 at 11:55 AM