Sunday, April 16, 2006

Details Matter In Advertisements

My trip to Dallas two weeks ago was to a Microsoft conference called Convergence 2006. The focus of the conference was a suite of business enterprise management applications that are scaled based on the size of a business. Applications formerly named Axapta, Navision, Great Plains, CRM and Solomon have all been remarketed under the Microsoft Dynamics brand.

I'm very excited about what Microsoft is doing with Dynamics. The level of integration with the Dynamics suite and other Microsoft platforms like Windows Server, Windows XP, SharePoint Portal and Office 2007 is stunning. What these embedded technologies enable businesses to do is deliver role-based information in a timely, if not real-time, manner. While it is possible to piece-meal third party applications with Windows Server and XP, I believe that Microsoft is tying together servers, clients, Office and enterprise functionality with a level of integration that other solutions will be hard-pressed to touch.

Microsoft is focusing on rebranding the suite by pointing out that the integration enables real-time delivery of information. The following print ad was in Time magazine this week [click to enlarge].


The problem I have with this ad is that it depicts paper charts on the wall. Paper charts on the wall do not convey real-time, integrated, role-based data. It conveys a sense of kludgy, out-dated information that is not distributed based on a role but based on a inter-office distribution list. Microsoft Marketing may be trying to compare and contrast the paper-chart mode versus the real-time method of an integrated, role-based system but I don't think the approach is effective because there's ambiguity about the place paper charts play in the use of Microsoft Dynamics. It isn't clear from the picture whether people are relying on posted paper charts or the Dynamics reports on their screen. This ambiguity doesn't lead a customer to conclude that Dynamics is truly a real-time solution.