- January 29, 2013
- Posted by: cemblog
- Category: General
CfMD – Certified for Microsoft Dynamics
Don’t expect every ERP solution to work for every business, right out-of-the-box.
ERP solutions are by nature, huge, complex systems designed to integrate all the intricate process previously handled by specialty software packages. So, where a business once had an accounting package, and customer contact software, and possibly something else for inventory management – now all those functions and more, are interconnected within one big ERP solution. But every industry is different from other industries. And every business is different from other businesses. Thus the need for ERP customization.
Enter add-on software.
The typical way to customize an ERP solution for a given industry or business, is with add-on software. If a particular industry or business needs something very specific, like the ability to track multiple projects and show revenue recognition in real time…chances are the ERP system can’t do this out-of-the-box. But there is probably add-on software available that can sit on top of the ERP architecture and provide this kind of functionality.
Obviously, the ERP provider has a lot at stake in this kind of customization process. If the add-on software doesn’t work properly with the ERP software, the result will most surely be unsatisfied customers. In the Microsoft Dynamics world, there is a system for insuring that this add-on software will work perfectly.
*CfMD is Microsoft’s “Seal of Approval” for add-on software.
CFMD stands for Certified for Microsoft Dynamics, and this certification brings certain assurances that Microsoft extends to Dynamics users. Given the critical nature of add-on software, and the fact that most of it is developed by ISVs, Microsoft has established a process for testing and proving performance. The testing is extremely thorough and is conducted by a third party testing firm, as might be expected to protect Microsoft’s brand name. Ultimately, the add-on modules must work seamlessly with the host Platform, whether it’s SL, NAV, GP, or AX. CfMD software sits on top of the ERP platform and has either an industry focus or business need focus. You can find CfMD software for Architecture/Engineering/Construction, or Financial Management or any number of industries. There are other “business need” CfMD Microsoft products for Payroll, HCM, Sales & Marketing and many others.
The real value of CfMD Microsoft software comes after the initial installation, when you are ready to upgrade to next version of the ERP software.
CfMD is Microsoft’s highest accreditation for partner solutions. The software must be developed using “Best Coding Practices,” and incorporate the same logic/protocols as the host ERP solution. This way, when Microsoft issues updates to the ERP, the CfMD software will automatically be updated at the same time. Conversely, non-CfMD add-ons might very well be compromised with every Microsoft update to the ERP.
So, the bar for certification is deliberately set very high, in order to set a small group of solutions apart from thousands of others. And the long-term goal is to offer certified solutions for all major verticals and business needs. There are five key criteria for software to meet Microsoft certification:
1. It must be developed by a certified and reputable Independent Software Vendor (ISV)
2. It must be developed for a specific industry or business need.
3. It must be tested by a Microsoft-approved independent testing service to work seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
4. It must be used and recommended by at least 10 Microsoft Dynamics customers.
5. It must meet industry-specific requirements and local language, tax and governmental regulations.
Not every implementation needs CfMD software. There are circumstances where the cost of the certified software exceeds the benefit. But certainly, at the proposal stage of an ERP implementation, you would be wise to look for CfMD Microsoft add-ons as part of the Microsoft Dynamics proposal. And the implementing partner should be able to demonstrate the value of the CfMD software as you walk through the Fit Gap Analysis.
CEM Business Solutions is an implementing Partner that creates its own CfMD software.
CEM Business Solutions is a Microsoft Dynamics Implementing Partner, that also has its own Intellectual Property (IP) resources. CEM’s development center is ISO 9001:2008 Certified, and besides creating CfMD software, it provides the technical expertise needed to solve complex coding problems for all CEM installations. CEM AX Payroll, has been certified by Microsoft.