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Microsoft Project Madeira: Small Business ERP, CRM, PSA Reinvented?

Microsoft Project Madeira, a cloud-based business management platform for companies with 10 to 100 employees, has launched in public preview. Built on Azure, Project Madeira sounds like it blends and simplifies the best of ERP, CRM, finance — and perhaps even PSA (professional services automation) and quote to cash (Q2C) over the long haul.

In a blog post, Microsoft said:

“Project “Madeira” connects business processes with the productivity tools in Office 365 to help SMBs grow sales, manage finances and streamline operations. Project “Madeira” is public cloud service (Software as a Service) running on Microsoft Azure. Customers can access the service on the Web, or using apps for Windows, iOs or Android devices.”

The Project Madeira preview is available in the United States market today and is expected to launch in the second half of 2016. Additional country support will arrive sometime thereafter. The company demonstrated Madeira during Ingram Micro Cloud Summit this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

What Exactly Is Microsoft Project Madeira?

Among the teasers and benefits Microsoft mentioned:

  • Email-Finance Integration:  It automatically identifies business context such as invoices and quote requests within Outlook.
  • Features, Functions: Microsoft said the platform’s capabilities include financials, dimensions, sales and purchase management, inventory, CRM (opportunity management), multi-currency, and business insight.
  • 3rd-Party Add-ons: ISVs will build extensions for horizontal and vertical markets, Microsoft added.

It’s a safe bet Project Madeira will enjoy a major spotlight at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2016, set for July in Toronto. Sources say Microsoft hopes to have some key ISV integrations on display at the event. In addition to serving end-customers, the integrations may also help VARs and MSPs to run their own businesses, the sources added.

Microsoft isn’t alone in its small business management ambitions. Saleforce.com has been stitching together several software platforms that VARs, MSPs and SMBs may also use to run their businesses.

Potential Software Integrations?

ChannelE2E is checking to see if or how third-party business management platforms — particularly PSA (professional services automation) providers — plan to plug into Project Madeira.

No doubt, Microsoft has built and sold small business server and midmarket ERP systems before. But many of those offerings died amid Microsoft’s shift from a client-server mentality to a cloud-first mandate.

Meanwhile, Saleforce.com has been stitching together several software platforms that VARs and MSPs may also use to run their businesses.

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