Earlier this week Microsoft broke the news that it was adding the next major application to its Office 365 family. Code named “Project Madeira” Microsoft is looking to bring a new competitor to the cloud based accounting world currently dominated by QuickBooks Online, Xero and maybe even NetSuite.
Out of the box features include basic General ledger, Sales Order, Inventory and Purchasing. Sales Tax comes out of the box as well as integration with Exchange Online. The inventory uses a very visual tool to add items to sales order. In addition, there is opportunity management although the functionality is no match for its more full-fledged cousin, CRM Online.
Project Madeira Integrations and Customizations
Integration with CRM Online is promised in the futureDashboards come out of the box and appear very similar to the dashboards available in CRM Online’s Interactive Services Hub.
Integrations with Microsoft Outlook include a handy “Contacts Insights” Panel that allows easy access to information about vendors and customers.
There do not seem to be many options for end users to customize forms or reports. Microsoft has promised that there will be many opportunities for partners to develop add-ons to increase the functionality of this app. The few add-ons already available include Bank statement integration, Pay Pal Integration and a QuickBooks migration tool.
You can sign up for early access to Project Madeira here. Apps are available for Windows, iOs and Android from their respective webstores. Final Pricing and Release date have yet to be announced, however Microsoft has indicated that release will occur in the September – October 2016 time frame.
I spent about a couple of hours working through Madeira and for a first draft of an ERP app, it shows promise but also some serious holes in functionality, including Payroll, Timesheet Entry and Fixed Assets that would prevent me from switching from QuickBooks Online. We also do not know how pricing will be handled – will the licensing be similar to CRM Online or will it be included as part of an Office 365 product. Over the next six months Microsoft will certainly shed more light in these questions and probably surprise us with even more.