Microsoft Updates Dynamics SL and AX ERP Offerings

Paul Ferrill

Updated · Apr 08, 2011

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has unveiled new versions of its ERP products in recent days, and more details could be coming next week.

A recent blog post announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011, which the company first unveiled last fall.

Microsoft recommends Dynamics SL for mid-sized project-driven organizations, like those in construction, professional services, government contracting, architecture and engineering.

The new version offers improved role-based dashboards and more of a Microsoft Office look and feel, as well as more than 50 predesigned queries and integration with Microsoft Project Server 2010, SharePoint 2010, Office 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft acquired SL as part of its 2001 acquisition of Great Plains Software, which became its GP ERP offering. Microsoft positions GP for companies that need strong financial and human resources features, such as professional services, finance and government.

Microsoft this week also previewed the manufacturing foundation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 at Germany's Hannover Messe, a conference on industrial technologies, materials and product ideas, and followed with the release of some Dynamics AX 2012 beta developer papers.

Microsoft's AX and NAV ERP offerings both came from the 2002 acquisition of Navison. AX is aimed at large enterprises and NAV at midsize businesses, and both are good for manufacturers and distributors.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is expected to be generally available in the third quarter of this year.

Microsoft said Dynamics AX 2012 will support discrete, lean and process manufacturing processes in a single solution to simplify operations and increase flexibility in production planning and execution. The software giant said AX 2012 will offer visibility across a unified resource pool to help optimize resource utilization and increase responsiveness to customer needs.

The updated Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Dynamics AX is designed to track a company's energy consumption, carbon footprint and related costs, and it supports a manufacturer's ability to address growing supply chain requirements and government regulations. New dashboard features include additional key performance indicators for waste and water usage, a graphical interface, and a what-if analysis feature to help assess the impact of proposed changes.

Dynamics AX also gets new interactive touch-based capabilities and Kanbanvisualizations for lean manufacturing, automating a typically manual replenishment process. It also offers a familiar Microsoft Office interface and interoperability with the latest Microsoft Office 2010 applications such as Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Excel 2010.

Microsoft is expected to discuss its ERP and CRM offerings further at next week's Convergence 2011conference in Atlanta. Monday's keynote session featuring CEO Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, will be webcast live.

For more on Microsoft ERP, see Enterprise ERP Buyer's Guide: SAP, Oracle and Microsoft.

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  • Paul Ferrill
    Paul Ferrill

    Paul Ferrill has been writing for over 15 years about computers and network technology. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering as well as a MS in Electrical Engineering. He is a regular contributor to the computer trade press. He has a specialization in complex data analysis and storage. He has written hundreds of articles and two books for various outlets over the years. His articles have appeared in Enterprise Apps Today and InfoWorld, Network World, PC Magazine, Forbes, and many other publications.

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