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Microsoft Dynamics AX Evaluation


Other Microsoft Dynamics AX Capabilities

Enterprise 2.0 & Social Capabilities

Windows Live is the internal and external social collaboration tool for Microsoft Dynamics AX. Windows Live features Messenger as a chat tool and SkyDrive, which allows simple storage and sharing of files. Both Messenger and SkyDrive are mobile ready. Messenger allows for video, messaging, and access to Sharepoint, as well as more limited integration with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Simple aggregation of social network updates from Facebook and LinkedIn are also available with Messenger. Key features of SkyDrive include collaboration of documents like Excel spreadsheets, mobile capabilities for uploading files, and file/document storage in the cloud.

Skype, another social collaboration technology, was more recently acquired by Microsoft and may give MS Dynamics AX further enterprise 2.0 capabilities for collaboration, video, and VoIP calling. The newfound functionality might also find its way into Windows Live as well as new social networking and Enterprise 2.0 components in Dynamics AX 2012.

Unfortunately, Microsoft's Enterprise 2.0 capabilities are essentially limited to IM and SkyDrive. More advanced social capabilities—such as sophisticated internal social networks, real-time integration with social network activity streams and support for peer to peer social networks—remain absent from any of the Dynamics ERP or CRM systems.

Reporting, Business Intelligence & Analytics Capabilities

Major improvements have been made to the new Dynamics AX in terms of reporting and analytics functionality, including the addition of more than 800 MS SQL Server reporting services, 11 MS SQL Server data cubes, and enhancements to the framework. The new role-based, drag-and-drop dashboards can be configured to specific user features, including the ability to change languages based on report framework and to leverage the use of colour codes for data cubes and applications. User- and session-level security enhancements have also been introduced. Server reporting gives customers strong flexibility to use Visual Studio 2010 to create charts and basic reports.

To the dismay of many, the long-time FRx (Financial Reporting Extender) solution was discontinued some time ago, and has been replaced with the Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics ERP — a financial reporting and analysis solution used to create financial statements such as income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements and other financial schedules. Management Reporter has come a long way in a short time, and combined with Dynamics balanced scorecards, data warehousing and OLAP (online analytical processing) gives Dynamics AX a leg up in business intelligence.

Industry Specific ERP Solutions

Industry-specific ERP capabilities, feature sets, compliance, reporting and support are extremely minimal with Dynamics AX, however, are frequently satisfied by Microsoft ISV partners and integrated third party solutions. For the most part, Microsoft's ERP strategy is to deliver functionally rich horizontal ERP systems, along with powerful development and integration tools to empower third party ISVs and industry domain experts to accommodate vertical markets. A complete library of Dynamics third party solutions can be found at the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, an online ecosystem that is also called Pinpoint.

Global Support

Dynamics AX is a global ERP application. In addition to a worldwide sales and support organization, consisting mainly of VARs, the product delivers localization in several regions, offers a EULA license, supports multiple currencies and multiple languages, including—Arabic (with right to left navigation), Chinese (Simplified), Czech, Danish, Dutch (Netherlands), English, Estonian, Finnish, Dutch (Belgium), French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,Spanish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.

Business Partner Network

Microsoft has what is arguably the most mature VAR and ISV channel in the business software industry. However, like all business partner channels, not all channel partners are equal, in fact far from it. Even with thousands of ERP channel partners, there are fewer than 50 certified with an industry badge, and a much smaller number that are competent to deliver the ERP solution in the cloud. Therefore, ERP buyers must give careful consideration not just to their ERP software decision, but to their implementation partner choice. Relying on a Gold partner designation is not enough to separate those partners delivering innovation and leading services to their customers from lifestyle partners who may deliver one-off customization services and live from a future of maintenance streams.

Most recently Microsoft has released RapidStart—an accelerated implementation methodology designed to speed software configuration and deployment. This Azure-based tool facilitates lower implementation costs, faster deployment and quicker time to value—but only if leveraged with your consulting partner. Those partner advocates that push the envelope will not only leverage this tool, but will make investments to tailor it for vertical markets, different geographies and other factors that build upon the tools original purpose. Understanding how your potential Microsoft partner leverages this tool is merely one example of many to assess partner value.

Next - Dynamics AX Software Technology Review >>

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Microsoft Dynamics AX



Microsoft Dynamics AX Software Review



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