Microsoft Shares Its CRM and ERP Roadmap for 2012

HOUSTON (Microsoft Convergence) -- Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner and Kirill Tatarinov, president of the company's business solutions division, kicked off the Microsoft Convergence user conference yesterday with a keynote address that highlighted the company's commitment to cloud services and upcoming updates to its business applications.

"When you think of Microsoft as a company and where we're heading, basically every product...is either getting refreshed or will be refreshed in the next twelve to sixteen months," Turner told the audience of more than 10,000 attendees. "For every single product we have, speed is extremely important to our business."

Highlights of the address are as follows:

Earlier this year, Microsoft had rolled out a Q2 service update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM featuring native support for mobile devices. At the conference, it was announced that the next Dynamics CRM service update will be released during Q4, delivering capabilities in social customer care and cloud-based data enrichment services.

Microsoft also announced an alliance with software-as-a-service social intelligence provider InsideView. The partnership will allow customers to use the InsideView platform directly within Microsoft Dynamics CRM to analyze social media and user-contributed, traditional, and proprietary information to provide insights about their customers at no additional cost.

In addition, the company revealed its latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM adoption numbers: 33,000 customers and 2.25 million users. Dynamics CRM customers nowinclude Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Nissin Foods Co., The Bradshaw Group Inc., Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and the New York Jets.

For retailers, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 will be available in the fourth quarter and will include multichannel retail capabilities with Web storefronts, as well as the RoleTailored interface, i.e., business intelligence that uses Microsoft SQL server technologies.

Microsoft will roll out its first cloud-enabled Dynamics ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications for Windows Azure, starting with the beta release of NAV 2013 in May, followed by GP 2013. Both applications will be available as on-premise and cloud-enabled offerings.

Tatarinov and Turner emphasized the notion of flexibility when customers are deciding whether or not to "go to the cloud." The most popular demand is for a hybrid of both cloud and on-premise solutions, according to Tatarinov.

"We're finding that people really want to see mixed scenarios and mixed workloads," Tatarinov said. "That's where we're uniquely positioned. Some operations are running through the cloud while others are running offline."

Microsoft differentiates itself from its competitors through the number of choices it offers, Turner maintained.

"We're not trying to move you into our own cloud," Turner said. "If you want to go to a partner's cloud or if you want to build your own cloud, we'll help you do that."

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