IT Department Skills to Support Microsoft Great Plains and Microsoft CRM
Microsoft Great Plains as ERP and Microsoft CRM as Client Relation Management system is very robust combination and could serve midsize to large corporation as Business System. Being VP IT or IT Director you need to foresee the positions to have in your IT department to do internal MS Great Plains and MS CRM support.
Let us give you the directions, based on our research and consulting practice.
Microsoft SQL Server Specialist - we specially do not name this position as MS SQL DBA, because both Great Plains and MS CRM are not very complex from the database administration side, they do not use indexes optimization, referential integrity, probably do not require complex transaction log backup/recovery scenarios. On the other hand this position requires Great Plains and Microsoft CRM tables structure analysis and some primary Great Plains data fixing skills via SQL queries, described in MBS Customer source techknowledge database. The best candidate should have some accounting background - to be able to address ongoing issues to MBS technical support.
Network Administrator with good Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory skills. Microsoft CRM uses all the newest Microsoft technologies, and Exchange is a workhorse here. In order to install and upgrade MS CRM this guy needs to understand the under-laying Microsoft technology. In the best case - she/he should know Exchange security structure and probably program Exchange handlers, due to the fact that CRM/Exchange connector is not a perfect tool yet.
C# or VB.Net programmer with excellent SQL Skills- if you are midsize or large company - you should have this position - you will need web publishing and MS CRM customization and its support. Currently Microsoft CRM SDK has C# examples - so C# programmer would be the best fit, it may have more VB code in the future, so the C# - VB balance maybe restored.
Crystal Reports Designer/Programmer - Crystal Reports is the best tool available on the market to address both Great Plains and MS CRM reporting needs. This position maybe merged with one of the above.
These people should be probably cross-trained in both Great Plains, Microsoft CRM, Crystal Reports, SQL and C# programming, so you do not depend on the unique skills of one person. In our opinion, which is based on our long term consulting practice - these skills will allow you to keep the cost of IT support reasonably low and avoid paying high consulting price to your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner.
Happy hiring and training! But in any case you need to select Microsoft Business Solutions Partner/Var/Reseller to be your official representative. This is how MBS has its channel working - it assures that Microsoft Business Solutions products are properly implemented. If you want us to be your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner - give us a call 1-866-528-0577! firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies - USA nationwide Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Great Plains implementation and customization company, based in Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, and Miami and having locations in multiple states and internationally (www.albaspectrum.com), he is Dexterity, SQL, VB/C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.