Zap Business Intelligence for Microsoft AX has recently been sold to numerous AX customers that are at the upper mid-market or enterprise end of the spectrum, and are household names. So, what have we found out about selling to this end of the market?
- Reporting issues are still a major pain point (only more so).
Large AX customers have complex reporting requirements. Commonly, they want to report across ledgers, companies, currencies, and languages, and find that this isn’t easy. We often find them experiencing long reporting delays, struggling with end of month cycles, and frustrated about their over-reliance on technical resources to produce reports.
>KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t assume that just because a company is large, that they want to jump straight to scorecards. Make sure you take the time to explore their reporting issues first.
- Reporting and BI affects AX adoption.
When AX customers can’t get the reports and BI capabilities they need, it often affects the entire AX implementation. We’ve seen an entire AX rollout stall due to a failed bespoke BI project; and other AX customers say that ERP adoption is negatively affected when they can’t meet user expectations for reporting and BI.
>KEY TAKEAWAY: If you have an AX customer grumbling about adoption and acceptance, find out if reporting and BI expectations are an issue. When users can’t pull out the insight and analysis they want from an ERP, it can turn them off using the ERP all together.
- Managing performance is a key interest.
For a large company, even a small improvement in performance can have a big financial impact. Some AX customers already know exactly what KPIs they want to measure, but even those who aren’t at this level of maturity can appreciate the benefits that a performance management process can deliver.
>KEY TAKEAWAY: Even if your AX customer says they are only interested in reporting, make sure you paint a longer term vision for expanding beyond reporting to using KPIs, dashboards and scorecards to manage performance. This will steer them away from a short term solution and position you as a strategic provider.
- AX customers usually know something about BI
Staff working for an enterprise organization normally have experience with BI, whether it’s with their current workplace or in a previous job. This has varying effects:
They’ll understand the benefits of Zap CubeXpress: Anyone who’s undertaken a data warehousing project will understand the time and cost savings that Zap CubeXpress provides, particularly the ability to identify and pull through AX customizations. Rapid rollout, reduced reliance on specialists, and easy maintenance are key messages, as is a low total cost of ownership.
- They’ll understand the value of pre-packaged analytics: Again, anyone who’s been involved in a BI project will understand how long it takes to decide what to measure, and then create the right analytics. One AX customer we dealt with knew exactly what metrics they wanted from a BI system. A cross-check with Zap’s new AX Analytics revealed that 75% of requirements would be provided out-of-the-box. Using the pre-packaged analytics is a sure-fire way of getting business users on your side.
- They may go out to tender and/or run a highly structured buying process: A sophisticated company normally runs a sophisticated buying process, and going out to market for reporting and/or BI may involve a tender process. This may put you up against very large vendors, but remember to push the tight integration these vendors can’t provide – from Zap CubeXpress, through to AX integration, through to packaged AX Analytics – it’s a winning combination.
>KEY TAKEAWAY: If you’re dealing with a sophisticated BI buyer, you can use it to your advantage, even in a hotly competitive situation.