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Microsoft Dynamics AX Software Review


The Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP Suite

Manufacturing Software

Most ERP systems focus on either process- or discrete-based functionality, rarely both. Dynamics AX 2012 is an ERP solution capable of both these types of manufacturing. The mixed-mode capabilities allow lean techniques to be applied to inventories and for supply/demand management that can be catered to specific distribution processes and company practices. For production-related activities handled by a scheduling engine, a new resource modeling tool enables organizations to schedule vendors, people, machines, tools, and locations to specific jobs and operations, based on the level of skill required for the tasks. New lean manufacturing techniques built into the system enable organizations to trim and balance inventory levels between work centers, treat contractor labour as a service (not as a bill of materials [BOM] component), and support continuous improvements through deeper Kanban functionality. This later technique is useful for keeping raw materials inventory in check, managing interplant transfers, supporting JIT requirements, preventing over-shipping and keeping actual production in sync with supplier schedules.

A new constraint-based product configurator is now available—and delivers a competitive differentiator in a crowded ERP software marketplace. This change from a rule-based configurator allows a more granular level of control for each product, down to the SKU level. This capability enables creation and reuse of components, assemblies, product models, and attributes. Touch-enabled job registration forms can be created for employees to register quantities and status at each production station, through a stationary touch screen on the production floor.

Areas of AX manufacturing software deficiency include the lack of native product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing execution system (MES), facility management, and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), but such modules are available in varying capabilities from the Microsoft ISV channel.

Human Resources & Payroll Software

The newly created enterprise employee portal works intricately with the human resources functions. Role centres facilitate employee information, timesheets, and employee self-service, and job-specific/skill-level tasks are imported into the human capital management portion of the application.

More advanced human resource software capabilities such as benefits administration, succession management, talent management, performance management, compensation management, labor management and workforce management are either absent or minimally present within the HR application.

Most notably, payroll is not included within the base functionality of AX 2012, but many payroll applications from the MS partner network can be integrated to compensate for this shortfall.

Customer Relationship Management & Sales Force Automation

Dynamics CRM is MS Dynamics AX's customer relationship management software solution. Dynamics CRM is a full featured CRM suite, including marketing, sales force automation and customer service. Without question, the SFA portion of Dynamics CRM is the strongest, marketing is the weakest and customer service has steadily advanced to become quite competitive. The SFA software is easy to use while providing advanced functionality such as integration with popular sales methodologies like Miller Hieman, Spin Selling, and Target Accounting Selling (TAS).

The CRM software has full interoperability with MS Office, for simple integration with Word and Excel, and is tightly integrated with Microsoft Outlook—even permitting near full CRM operation within the Outlook application. Workflows can be created to automate sales and marketing processes for improved staff productivity and decreased cycle times. Dynamics CRM also has mobile functionality for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows phones. Dynamics CRM business intelligence is relatively strong, and features an analytics component for reporting, trending, and forecasting with key performance indicators (KPIs) and real-time dashboards.

Other Dynamics CRM software strengths include choice of deployment (on-demand or on-premise), cloud ubiquity (run it on most any public cloud you want to) and a very high cost-value proposition (stemming from one of the lowest CRM SaaS price points in the industry).

Dynamics CRM weaknesses include poor support for social CRM capabilities and very limited cross-platform support—including narrow support for browsers, operating systems and databases.

Next - Dynamics AX Capabilities >>

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Microsoft Dynamics AX



Microsoft Dynamics AX Software Review



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