Microsoft Dynamics Debuts AX 2012

Microsoft yesterday unveiled Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 at its annual Convergence user conference in Atlanta. The new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution will give users access to a foundation of prebuilt ERP functionality for financial, human resources, and operations management in a single, global solution.

"This week we are celebrating a pretty substantial milestone for all of us who are involved with Microsoft Dynamics: 10 years of Microsoft delivering business solutions to our business customers," said Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president at Microsoft Business Solutions. "Ten years ago we had less than 30,000 customers working on Microsoft Dynamics. Today, we have over 350,000 customers and 5 million users logging into Dynamics every morning."

With AX 2012, users will have access to context-sensitive business intelligence delivered through the Microsoft Office user interface. According to Marie Howe, director of global marketing at Microsoft Dynamics, AX 2012 will provide both large and small companies the ability to function at their optimal levels due to the "simplistic" design.

"The larger the customer, the more they ask you for simple and easy to use," she said. "Simplicity popped when doing the brand research for the ERP market, and the larger the company, the more it popped. Smaller companies can run their businesses in the kind of way that they only thought possible if they were much larger."

Tatarinov emphasized that AX 2012 "frees customers from the electronic concrete that has plagued the ERP industry for so long," giving them "flexible yet cost-effective business applications that work the way they do instead of being forced to adapt to the software.

"Each major version of ER will run on Windows Azure and the cloud at scale for our customers supporting essentially the same business model [they have now], giving them the full-advantage of the cloud that does not disrupt," he explained.

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said AX 2012 is another example of the company's commitment to serving the business community. "At Microsoft, we come to work everyday focused on creating products and services that help you win," he boasted.

Ballmer remembers the "highly fragmented" nature of the market when Microsoft Dynamics was created. "Companies were using groups of disparate of systems or they were trapped in rigid business processes that were quite hard to change," he recalled. "People said 'enough already. I need technology solutions that I can bet on for the long run.'"

Tatarinov said Microsoft's business suite is unique because customers have the choice when it comes to the cloud, which he said can be hit or miss depending on the customer. "To a certain degree, there is still a lack of trust that some people still have," he said. "We see different degrees of acceptance and trust that exist in different geographies. That's why we are so focused on supporting mixed workloads and mixed deployment models."

Microsoft also announced the availability of on-premises version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011 on Monday. "Today, we are positioned to deliver a range of devices and services that help you do businesses from anywhere, with anyone, and of course at anytime," Ballmer said. "We're making a broad set of investments to do this."

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