Thursday, January 17, 2008

Microsoft Dynamics: management changes spell lack of direction

Jeff Raikes, head of Microsoft's Business Division (which includes its enterprise applications group), is leaving Microsoft. Once again, the future of the Dynamics products (Axapta, Great Plains, Solomon, and Navision) is clouded by leadership issues.

Raikes joined Microsoft in 1981 and has been one of the most influential leaders at the software giant, after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. However, enterprise applications have never been his forte. His main responsibility was Microsoft's Office products. The Dynamics products were added to his portfolio in 2005 in a reorganization that pushed aside Doug Burgum, former CEO of Great Plains. Burgum later left Microsoft in 2006.

The current head of the Dynamics group, Kirill Tatarinov, has only been in the job for about seven months. He will now have a new boss in the person of Stephen Elop, who is a Microsoft outsider: he was the former CEO of Macromedia/Adobe and most recently at Juniper Networks.

The main problem I see in the leadership changes at Dynamics is that none of the players since Doug Burgum have any experience whatsoever in enterprise applications. As I've said in the past, selling shrink-wrapped software--whether it be Microsoft's or Adobe's--is a far cry from selling enterprise applications that require months of presales team effort.

It's a shame, because Dynamics is a good set of products. They just need the right people in the lead at Microsoft.

Josh Greenbaum takes a similar view:
And it’s not very reassuring to see the resume of the Raikes’ replacement either, Stephen Elop: Juniper Networks may be a decent credential to help run an enterprise apps group, insofar as the Junipers of the world are heavy consumers of this kind of technology, but Macromedia, the other star position in Elop’s firmament, isn’t exactly the best finishing school for someone to decide the fate of Microsoft’s AX, GP, NAV, and other enterprise software products.
Ina Fiend has more on Raikes's departure and the management changes.

Related posts

Microsoft's Project Green is dead
Doug Burgum leaving Microsoft Business Solutions
Burgum pushed aside as head of Microsoft Business Solutions
Reorg highlights troubles at Microsoft Business Solutions
Microsoft: selling enterprise software is a "humbling experience"

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