How satisfied are you with the work they delivered?
Very satisfied. We have subsequently worked with them on a number of other projects. I’ve known them for years. I have a wonderful relationship with them, and I’m happy to help them grow their business. I’ve given several referrals to them and references. I’m really happy with them, and I know a number of them now personally.
How satisfied are you with Microsoft Dynamics as a platform?
I’ll be honest, on a scale from one to ten, with ten being completely overjoyed, I’d say probably about a seven.
What are the positives, and what’s holding you back from being completely overjoyed about Microsoft Dynamics?
The positives are the customizability, the fact that it has a very similar environment as SharePoint and some other things so I can leverage my internal skill set, and .NET. I think that it’s a remarkable product. I like that it’s a major vendor out there. We go to Convergence every year and see what Microsoft is doing with the product, and I like that very much. I definitely feel that it’s a platform rather than a product, and that’s important if I’m going to build out a business using CRM as platform rather than just trying to do CRM on some guy’s products.
The things that I don’t particularly like are things that are no surprise. Microsoft makes products that serve the Microsoft Windows and Office strategy. As a result, I don’t like having a product that forces me into other platform decisions, because the vendor wants it that way. I much more appreciate something like a Salesforce.com from a business strategy standpoint because they support every platform equally. Had I gone with Salesforce, I would be able to support a broad variety of platforms, mobile, on premise, Mac, and PC with first-class clients, and Microsoft won’t do that.
When working with AbleBridge, is there anything that you find to be unique or special about them compared to other consultants or developers that you’ve worked with?
Sure. I consider them a true partner in helping me get my job done. That sounds like sales talk, and it probably will be in some slide somewhere, but I’ve been in the business for 15 years—maybe 17 years—and from the time we met, AbleBridge truly impressed us with their professionalism. I felt like I was talking to somebody who cares as much about my business as I did, who understood what I meant, and who I can really trust with a huge amount of responsibility. I just don’t find that that is as common as I would like it to be with many consulting firms.
Is there anything that you would do differently a second time around or think that they could improve upon?
If I could do anything differently, I would engage them with a bigger team on my end, just because I think there’s a lot to learn, and I think that they can work well when we do that. If I asked any consultant to reverse engineer or implement a shipping product, I would do a better job on reducing the amount of features that I actually try to implement. It’s not a failing at all on AbleBridge’s part. It’s more of just an insight that we gained. When you ask a business what they want, they would tend to say “everything” for fear that they were going to miss something. So, we took that approach, and it made the approach of the project bigger than it needed to be. It was successful, AbleBridge did a fine job, and Dynamics CRM was a fine tool to do it. But had I been able to have a bit more insight and scale the project back a little, I think we would have saved some money. Also, we would have avoided some performance problems that later had to be solved, and our implementation time would have been shorter.