In a couple of respects, Microsoft Dynamics looks different at the end of this week than it did at the beginning. Yesterday, Microsoft discontinued mobile access for Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV. A stated main driver for the change was wide availability of third-party tools designed to "meet specific business and industry needs" (from a notice earlier this month of the coming cancellation).
Microsoft also acquired from four vendors intellectual property that, when added to Dynamics AX, will expand the package's ability to offer industry-specific functionality that customers increasingly demand.
Process manufacturing and professional services software, acquired from Fullscope, Inc. and Computer Generated Solutions, respectively, are available in Dynamics AX now. Retail industry software from LS Retail EHF and To-Increase Denmark A/S is not yet integrated. Crispin Read, Microsoft Dynamics ERP general manager, took a swipe at competitors in The Register, saying that they are failing to successfully respond to functionality needs from industry, instead mismanaging acquisitions and "cutting corners."
IT Director Jeff Kadlec told SearchCIO-Midmarket this week that he wants minimal customization as much as anyone in an ERP solution, but decided on a Dynamics AX implementation two years ago based on cost analysis of initial implementation plus support, staffing and vendor stability. His company, Ridley, Inc., spends $1 million less a year than it estimated it would with an SAP, Oracle or Lawson solution. One key number: a Microsoft developer costs half what an SAP developer would, annually. Fullscope, provider of some of Microsoft's new industry ERP expertise, acted as systems integrator on the project.
And last week, IT Business Edge's Ann All wrote about the key decisions within a successful Dynamics AX implementation at Peet's Coffee & Tea. The company chose a systems integrator familiar with both the Microsoft software and the food and beverage industry, and created AX modules to replace several legacy systems, two moves that reduced customization work.
We should expect to see in the near future more acquisitions of intellectual property, if not entities, like those announced this week, and further specific solutions on top of vertical-specific software within Dynamics AX, too, says Directions of Microsoft's Vice President of Research B. Robert Helm, as Microsoft expands AX's scope by making more narrow its industry-specific offerings.