EDS today called itself the world’s largest Microsoft CRM hosting partner. With 180 data centers supporting untold numbers (really, they’re untold) of hosted Microsoft CRM customers. Overall, EDS says it oversees 3.3 million Windows desktops and 100,000 Windows servers.
The CRM news isn’t shocking, given that a year ago pretty much to the day, EDS called itself Microsoft CRM’s enterprise partner of choice. But Monday’s press release brings up Microsoft Business Solutions’ conundrum. In the early years of MBS, just after Microsoft’s 2001 buyout of Great Plains and then Navision, the company was careful to position itself as an ERP-then-CRM provider to SMBs. Later it refined that message to appeal to departments of larger companies and the spokes of hub-and-spoke organizations. Much of that was out of respect to ERP partner (and at one point merger target SAP.) After that proposed deal fell through, Microsoft started being more open about its enterprise ambitions. EDS, which typically serves big companies, helps there.
Microsoft could use Convergence 2009 this week to launch a more aggressive enterprise foray. What better time than this crappy economic downturn to point out the costs of Oracle and/or SAP ERP and CRM implementations? On the other hand, rivals could argue that the full Microsoft stack—required for its business apps—really isn’t so cheap at all.
An interesting aside on this EDS thing: The Plano, Texas-based services giant is now part-and-parcel of Hewlett Packard. HP was once a huge Lotus Notes shop. I don’t recall the sequence, but suffice it to say, IBM acquired Lotus, IBM competes with HP in hardware and services, and an HP executive last week actually asked if Lotus Notes/Domino was still on the market. The independent EDS also had a huge Notes practice. Keep that in mind when you hear of these massive vendor alliances. They’re usually transient at best.