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Microsoft takes Dynamics AX to the cloud

By Catherine Knowles, Fri 11 Mar 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The latest version of Dynamics AX, released this week, enables organisations to run their entire business in the cloud with Microsoft - from productivity with Office 365, to business analytics with Power BI and Cortana Analytics Suite, and customer engagement with Dynamics CRM.

“Customers from around the world are using the cloud in incredible ways to accelerate and transform their business,” says Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise executive vice president.

Microsoft customers are already using Dynamics AX to run their business processes in the cloud - from single domains like human resources and manufacturing to end-to-end business, the company says.

The new Dynamics AX brings ERP, business intelligence, infrastructure and database services together in a single offering. This enables organisations to run industry-specific and operational business processes that are extendable with specific solutions from partners, Microsoft says.

This week, Microsoft announced more than 50 ISV solutions that are available on the Azure Marketplace. These pre-configured industry and vertical solutions help customers discover and implement the solution they need, such as Dynamics AX, and enable timely consumption of updates and improvements, Microsoft says. In addition to the 50-plus solutions already available, hundreds are in development, according to the company.

With the new Dynamics AX Lifecycle Services (LCS), businesses will be able to combine best practices for their mission-critical apps with the flexibility of upgrade via the cloud. With LCS, Dynamics AX will formalise the concepts of development, test and production, making the ongoing upgrade quicker to implement and deploy and more manageable, Microsoft says.

“Lifecycle Services represents a shift in how companies manage the life cycle of an ERP system in a way that’s never really been done before,” says Josh Greenbaum, Enterprise Application Consulting principal analyst.

“The ability to test in the cloud and use the cloud’s natural elasticity and functionality to take the test, flip a switch and make it the actual production environment, that truly is magic,” he says.

Harnessing the Azure cloud, Dynamics AX provides enhanced security along with global availability and scale, enabling businesses and people to work more safely anywhere, while respecting the data sovereignty requirements of global customers no matter where in the globe they operate, according to Microsoft.

Dynamics AX delivers a simple user interface that is touch-enabled. Dynamics AX works like other Microsoft applications that people are used to, increasing adoption and usage, the company says. The new intelligent user experience is also optimised to deliver value to organisations through the ability to make smarter decisions with increased speed.

Furthermore, the new Dynamics AX brings new constructs such as Workspaces that provide a collaborative canvas unifying key performance indicators, business intelligence, views of critical data, processes and actions. The Financial Period Close Workspace, for example, streamlines this critical, complex process.

According to the company, software vendors that partner with Microsoft have expressed interest in the new solution, and the fact that it could represent a turning point in the ERP industry as cloud ERP solutions are adopted by customers to run their business-critical operations.

“This release is further proof that Microsoft is leading the charge with innovations not just in ERP but in cloud,” says Peter ter Maaten, CEO from Microsoft partner HSO. “Dynamics AX will be a game changer for enterprise customers.”

Customers can sign up for the service today as the new release is available as a monthly subscription in three versions that include a self-serve user, a Task user and an Enterprise user. 

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